Rachel Lyndhurst - Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire
Kidnapped by the Greek Billionaire
“Damn this place!”
Andreas Lazarides stared up through the Bentley’s dark-tinted windows into a dull London sky. His driver was parked illegally, his delegates were late and he was in danger of forgetting how much he stood to gain by courting this parliamentary lobbying group.
He hated it when people were late.
As he sat there, waiting, Andreas realized with disbelief that this was his second no-show in the capital that morning.
He made a grab for his briefcase as a police officer indicated they should move immediately. His chauffeur turned the key in the ignition and waited expectantly.
“Okay, I’ll get out here and call when I need you back.”
Andreas glared as the car’s red taillights disappeared into traffic. His hand tightened into a fist; his cell phone was still on the back seat of the Bentley. He inhaled savagely as he pictured his already tight schedule being squeezed. And none of this was his fault.
“Bloody politicians,” he muttered as he glanced across the river to Big Ben. His annoyance intensified into volcanic exasperation as the first warm, heavy drops of a summer storm began to spatter the shoulders of his Canali suit.
Stalking across the gritty pavement, Andreas Lazarides cursed every atom on earth that had brought him to this particular place and time.
The secretary was immaculately dressed and coiffured, and her huge white reception desk was equally intimidating. “I’m sorry to disappoint you, Miss Dean, but the senior partner left the building some time ago.”
Kizzy Dean felt her stomach churn with panic. There had to be some mistake. “But I have an appointment, a long-standing one. It’s taken me over two months to get a meeting, in fact, I—”
“You’re late,” the other woman snapped. She returned the passport Kizzy had been instructed to bring along as ID. Her long, red nails reflected the cold neon strip light overhead. “Ten minutes late, to be precise.”
Kizzy felt heat flood her cheeks as their eyes locked in a silent impasse. Clearly, it would be a waste of breath to try to explain that her train journey had taken four hours instead of two due to a bomb scare. Her obsessive forward planning had failed spectacularly and she was, as had been so sharply pointed out, a full ten minutes late.
And she was never, ever late.
Kizzy’s eyes fell helplessly to the secretary’s gilt nameplate on the desk. Nervously, she fingered the envelope in her hand. Things were starting to go terribly wrong. It felt as though she were slipping off the edge of a cliff; she needed to take action to save herself. And fast.
“Listen, Mrs. Hoppenwilde, Isabella, this really isn’t my fault and in the light of this letter it’s imperative that I speak with him immediately.” Kizzy battled inwardly with her pride; she hated having to beg. But what choice did she have? “Please. Is there anything you can do to help me?”
“I’m afraid not. By my calculations, he’ll be on his first glass of champagne one hundred meters up on the London Eye, and he’s due to leave London immediately after that engagement.” Isabella Hoppenwilde regarded her frostily. Her thin smile verged on the sadistic. “Looks like you’ve had it.”
Kizzy fought to steady her breathing and palmed the weave of her skirt, willing it down another discreet inch or two to cover the snag her hosiery had sustained on the London Underground.
She was still struggling with what she had read in the dark oak-paneled offices of Heliades International Inc., the chilling words that had made her chase like a lunatic across London toward the river Thames. The words that meant she had no choice in the drastic step she was about to take, because she had nothing left in the world to lose.
Her frantic bolt to the London Eye—where she now stood, staring up at the wheel—had left her feeling disheveled and clammy, her heavy woolen suit an instrument of torture. The tweedy garment was the only suitable business attire she owned and the last of her funds had been sunk into the new stilettos she was wearing.
And now those new stilettos really hurt.
Kizzy glanced down at her pointy toes and wondered if she dared slip her heels off for a moment, but she forgot her discomfort when she noticed once more the large white envelope protruding from her bag. Its forbidding, formal whiteness made her heart flood with dread.
Tearing her eyes away, she looked determinedly up at the colossal ring of glass and steel that held her future, a future for which she intended to fight tooth and nail.
Oh, how she wished she were somewhere else right now.
Kizzy tottered backward as a large raindrop landed forcefully just beneath her eye, stinging her skin. As her eye began to water, she scrubbed at it angrily in case it ushered along a flood of real tears.
“Here,” came a deep male voice from beside her. A blue, folded silk handkerchief was thrust into her hand. “Same thing just happened to me.”
“Please don’t worry.” She instinctively went to push away the offering. “It’s very kind, but—”
The breath stalled in her lungs as her eyes focused on the striking physical embodiment of That Voice. His tall body was all angles, a mass of square and triangular planes of masculinity, which shifted powerfully beneath the fabric of what was obviously a very expensive suit.
As she slowly dared to look up farther, his face was close enough for her to take in every detail.
Her knees went as weak as a newborn lamb’s.
A shock of jet-black hair stroked his smooth caramel-lacquer brow above a pair of assertive eyebrows tapering elegantly over dark onyx eyes that shimmered with tiny flecks of gold, pewter and slate. Briefly, trying not to stare like a schoolgirl, Kizzy’s gaze slid to his aristocratic, almost Roman nose and the terse line of his mouth below it, a mouth that made her tingle with sudden and acute female awareness. Before she could stop herself, her lips parted to exhale a soft, involuntary breath of excitement.
“It’s not contaminated.” He pressed forward the triangle of navy blue silk again and nodded with satisfaction as she took it from him. “You look harassed. Not here for pleasure, then?”
She must look a mess, Kizzy realized with horror, and hurriedly swept the handkerchief across her face. She did her best to ignore the trace of male scent within its fibers, though it was difficult.