A Deal with Demakis

By: Tara Pammi

CHAPTER ONE

“MS. NELSON IS here, Nikos.”

Nikos Demakis checked his Rolex and smiled. His little lie had worked, not that he had doubted it. Not an hour had passed since he had had his secretary place the call.

“Instruct security to bring her up,” he said, and turned back to his guests.

Another man might have felt a twinge of regret for having manipulated the situation to serve his purpose so well. Nikos didn’t.

Christos, it was getting more unbearable by the minute to see his sister trail after her boyfriend, trying to make Tyler remember, and playing the role of the tragic lover to the hilt. Only instead of the usual volatility, Nikos was beginning to see something else in her gaze. Obviously he had underestimated how much power Tyler had gained over her. The announcement that they were engaged had stirred even his grandfather’s attention.

* * *

Just as Nikos had expected, Savas had laid down the ultimatum. Another excuse for the old tyrant to postpone declaring Nikos the CEO for Demakis International.

Sort out Venetia and the company’s yours, Nikos. Take away her bank account, her expensive car and her clothes. Lock her up. She will forget that boy soon enough once she starts remembering what it feels like to go hungry again.

Nikos’s gut roiled, just remembering Savas’s words.

It was time to get the charming, manipulative Tyler out of her life. However, he had no intention of starving his sister to achieve that end. Nikos had done, and would do, anything for survival but hurt Venetia in any way. But the fact that Savas had not only considered it but dangled it like an option in front of Nikos, expected Nikos to put it into action, was unsettling in the least.

His expression must have reflected his distaste, because Nina, the leggy brunette he usually got together with when he was in New York, slipped to the other corner of the lounge.

“Ms. Nelson would like to meet you in the café across the street,” his assistant whispered in his ear.

Nikos scowled. “No.”

Bad enough that he would have to deal with not one but two emotionally volatile, out-of-control women in the coming days. He wanted to get this meeting done with as soon as possible and get back to Athens. He couldn’t wait to see Savas’s reaction when he told him of his triumph.

He grabbed a drink from a passing waiter and took a sip of the champagne. It slid like liquid gold against his tongue, richer and better tasting for his sweet victory. Against Savas’s dire predictions that Nikos wouldn’t find an investor, Nikos had just signed a billion-dollar contract with Nathan Ramirez, an up-and-coming entrepreneur, by granting exclusive rights to a strip of undeveloped land on one of the two islands owned by the Demakis family for almost three centuries.

It was a much-needed injection of cash for Demakis International without losing anything, and a long-fought chance that Nikos had been waiting for. This was one victory Savas couldn’t overlook anymore. His goal was so close that he was thrumming with the energy of it.

But a month of intense negotiations meant he was at the tail end of the high. And his body was downright starved for sex. Swallowing the last sip of his champagne, he nodded at Nina. Ms. Nelson would wait.

Just as they reached the door to his personal suite, the sound of a laugh from the corridor stalled him.

He ordered Nina back into the lounge and walked into the corridor. The question for his security guard froze on his lips as he took in the scene in front of him.

Clutching her abdomen, the sounds of her harsh breathing filling the silence around her, a woman knelt, bent over, on the thickly carpeted floor. His six-foot-two security guard, Kane, hulked over her, his leathery face wreathed in concern. The overhead ceiling lights picked out the hints of burnished copper in her hair.

Nikos stepped closer, curiosity overpowering everything else. “Kane?”

“Sorry, Mr. Demakis,” Kane replied, patting the woman’s slender back with his huge palm. A strange familiarity with a woman he’d just met. “Lexi took one look at the elevator and refused to use it.”

Lexi Nelson.

Nikos stared at the woman’s bowed head. She was still doubled over, slender shoulders falling and rising. “She did what?”

Kane didn’t raise his head. “She said no one was forcing her into the elevator. That’s why she had me call you back asking you to meet her at the cafe.”

Nikos tilted his head and studied the state-of-the-art elevator system on his right side. One sentence from her file popped into his head.





Trapped in an elevator once for seventeen hours.





 Of course she could have turned around and left. His irritation only grew, a perverse reaction because her leaving wouldn’t serve his purpose at all. “She walked up nineteen floors?”

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