Well enough certainly, Damen thought, to know that the rather tepid and capricious nature of Ioniko’s words were downright unnatural.
“You either like her or not.”
“I do.” Ioniko’s tone seethed with frustration. “Wanting her, being attracted to her has never been the problem. It’s how it started that’s all fucked up, and I…” He breathed hard. “I just want to make sure that I don’t suddenly wake up one day and realize I never liked her for the right reasons.”
A taut silence followed, and then Damen asked quietly, “Why did you come to me?”
Ioniko’s laugh was hollow. “The fuck if I know.” His lips twisted. “But somehow, it was all I could think of.”
And he had a feeling he knew exactly why that was, Damen thought.
But first he had to be sure.
“How about the two of you join Nala and me for dinner at home tonight?”
The invitation, coming out of the blue, disconcerted Ioniko. “Do you think it’s a good idea?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
Ioniko’s lips tightened. Damen’s voice was a little too smooth for his liking, but then…the other man was right as well. There wasn’t anything inherently wrong about having dinner with Damen and his daughter. Right?
Schuyler had lied to Ioniko. The truth was, she had canceled on her meeting with Sara. She wasn’t even at Associate. Instead, she spent the day walking aimlessly, entering one shop after another, and it was in one such store she had found a book called The Art of Catching a Greek Billionaire.
She had bought it on a whim, grabbed a latte at the nearest cafe, and then settled down to read.
The first chapter began with a lesson.
To catch a Greek billionaire, you must first find a way to get in his line of sight.
And from there, its author – a Greek billionaire named Damen Leventis – began to tell the story of how he had fallen in love with a woman named Mairi. She was an American like Schuyler, and one who had flown all the way to Greece to work as an English teacher…and, as the title suggested, to catch herself a Greek billionaire.
So she was right, Schuyler thought. This was about a gold-digger. But a few pages after, the book’s author introduced another character. One who was also a Greek billionaire and happened to be in love with said school teacher as well.
And his name was Ioniko Vlahos.
The book slipped from her fingers and dropped to the ground.
Except for that one time she had looked his Instagram up, she had promised herself to never look the billionaire up online. She had felt it was unfair, knowing that he couldn’t exactly do the same to her, and ever since that day he had ambushed her at Starbucks, she had deliberately changed her browser and social media settings to automatically omit any news or search results that included the name Ioniko.
And while she had no intentions of breaking the promise she made to herself…
Schuyler opened her iPad and began typing.
She hadn’t made any promise not to research about other people so this was technically fine. Right?
The first page of search results came up and she clicked on the top link. And the one after. She clicked until she ran out of content to devour and she moved on to an image search. Hours passed as she studied every image she could find of the woman, and there was something about her…
It would’ve been easier if what Schuyler was feeling was mere jealousy, but she knew it wasn’t. There was a part of her, the part that had known from the very start it was meant to belong to Ioniko Vlahos – that part told her this woman was someone Ioniko should have told her about.
Her gaze flicked back to the woman on her screen. Petite like her, a bit more slender and paler, and that was it. Mairi was a brunette while Schuyler was a redhead. And although the other woman was a few years older than Schuyler, she didn’t look like it at all. There was a freshness and radiance about her, and it made the other girl look the type to cry easily but laugh quickly and view the world with rose-colored glasses made rosier by her wide-eyed naïveté—
The sudden vibration of her phone almost made Schuyler jump out of her seat, and when she saw who it was calling her…
Her heartbeat sped up even as the queasiness in her stomach grew, and she had to inhale deeply before answering the call. “Hey.”
From the other end of the line, Ioniko frowned at the note of unsteadiness he immediately detected in Schuyler’s voice. “Is everything alright?”
Schuyler cleared her throat. “Of course. I, um, just woke up.” And because she herself knew she wasn’t really that good at lying, she quickly changed the subject, asking, “Are you done with your meeting?”