The Billionaire's Secret Marriage

By: Elizabeth Lennox

Prologue




“What can I do for you, father?” Dante Liakos asked as he walked into the home that had been in his family for the past two hundred years.

The older man looked up from his newspaper, his crumpled, arthritic hands gripping the newspaper instead of his fingers because of the pain. “You married yet?” he demanded. No greeting, no small talk. Just straight to the point. That’s the way these two men had been all their lives. Business ruled their world, although Jossen Liakos acknowledged that Dante was exponentially better at business in just about all respects. But this one time, Jossen knew that he was going to come out the winner.

Dante refrained from rolling his ice blue eyes. They’d had this conversation many times over the years and it was becoming tedious. “Father, I’ve restored your fortune, tripled the family empire and renovated the six houses we own throughout the world.” His biting tone was brutally harsh but he rarely held back when he was impatient with an issue. “Since I took over the business, you now have more money to spend on whatever toys or mistresses you want. As I’ve mentioned before, all I ask in return is that you refrain from interfering in my personal life. I don’t want to be married,” he told his father. Not for the first time. His father had just divorced his sixth wife, the last five of them mercenary women who were out for one thing: a chunk of the Liakos fortune. And all five of them had eventually flitted back out of his father’s life with the treasure they had sought, thanks to his father’s inept handling of pre-wedding agreements. Or perhaps just his serial optimism.

Dante could ignore his father’s bimbos, turning a blind eye to the older man’s ridiculous behavior since it was his father’s money, and therefore none of Dante’s business. But years ago, Dante had graduated from college and returned home to find the family business nearly bankrupt. From the moment he’d grasped the critical financial straits into which his father had sunk the family, he’d worked night and day for years to repair the damage. He’d restored the power and fortunes of the Liakos’ empire and he didn’t have the time or the patience for a wife and family. And he definitely didn’t have the inclination to tie himself to one woman for the rest of his life and have disgusting babies that were completely dependent on him for both financial and physical survival. Dante was determined that anything that he devoted that kind of support to needed to contribute adequate compensation back. And babies gave nothing back. They were just useless blobs that he wanted nothing to do with.

Jossen sighed and glared at his son. “Yes. You’ve given me money and power but I want you married. I want grandchildren. It means nothing that you’ve done all this,” he said, waving his hand around at the elegant room that had been about to collapse before Dante restored the house to its former glory, “if there isn’t anyone to pass it on to. I want a legacy. And you’re going to give it to me.”

Dante showed no emotion to his father’s emphatic statement. In fact, he turned on his heel and started walking out. He’d had this conversation too many times to waste another moment on it again.

“You only control a third of the company,” Jossen said to his departing son’s back.

Dante froze, his fury instantly rising. Turning slowly, he faced his father once again. “Is that some sort of threat?” Dante asked, his voice low and menacing. Father or not, no one messed with the company that he’d sweated and bled to build back up. This was his company now! His father had inherited the company from his father, but Jossen had done nothing but run it into the ground with bad decisions and poor management.

Jossen saw the look of fury in his son’s blue eyes but wasn’t intimidated. “I’m not getting any younger, son. And I want grandkids. Which means you have to be married. I’ll give you six months,” Jossen stated firmly. “If you aren’t married in six months, I’m going to re-write my will.” He let those words sink in to his son’s agile, brilliant mind. “You own a third. I own a third.”

“And Lasa, your second wife, owns a third,” Dante finished off, knowing exactly where this was going. Jossen had been smitten by his second wife and had foolishly given her a third of the company on their wedding day.

“Exactly,” Jossen replied, triumph lighting his eyes as he continued to watch his son’s reactions carefully. “I’ll change my will and bequeath all my shares to her if you aren’t married in six months.”

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