The Tycoon's Rebel Bride(4)

By: Maya Banks



“Surely I didn’t sound so autocratic, Ms. Caplan.”

“Please, call me Isabella. Or Bella. Surely you remember when we weren’t so

formal? Granted it’s been a few years, but I haven’t forgotten a single thing about you.”

There was an uncomfortable silence. And then, “All right, Isabella.”



5



“Bella, please.”

“All right…Bella,” he conceded.

He made an exasperated sound in her ear and then said, “Now what was it we

were discussing again?”

He sounded distracted, and though he was unfailingly polite, she knew he wanted

rid of her as soon as possible. She grinned. If he only knew…

“We were discussing your autocratic demand for me to appear at your office

tomorrow.”

“It was a request, Bella,” he said patiently.

“And of course I will honor it. Shall we say ten in the morning then? I’m a bit

tired, and I’d like to sleep in.”

“Of course. Don’t overtax yourself. Order in room service tonight for dinner.

Your expenses are being taken care of.”

Of course. She hadn’t expected anything less and knew better than to argue. The

Anetakis brothers were thorough if nothing else. And very serious about their perceived

obligations.

“I’ll see you tomorrow then,” she said.

He uttered an appropriate goodbye, and she hung up the phone. A smile popped

her lips upward as she hugged her midsection in delight. Oh, she’d planned to pay him a

visit the next day, all right.

Two

T heron sat back in his chair and surveyed the skyline of the city from his

window. After a busy morning of meetings and phone calls, he actually had a few

minutes to breathe. He glanced at his watch and grimaced as he remembered that Isabella

Caplan was due in a few minutes.

He felt like a revolving door. Isabella was in, and then she’d depart for Europe,

while Alannis would be arriving in a week’s time from Greece. Thankfully he’d be rid of

his obligation to Isabella in short order. He’d make sure she was adequately provided for,

arrange for someone from Anetakis International to meet her in London and have a

security team see to her safety for the duration of her stay.

Alannis, on the other hand…He smiled ruefully. She was his own doing. He and

Alannis had what could only be considered a close friendship. Perhaps an understanding

was a better term, though he was open to the relationship growing into more. He knew he

needed to settle down now that he was taking over the New York office. It was

something he’d discussed candidly with Alannis a few weeks before.

They’d make a good couple. They understood each other. She was from a solid

Greek family, old friends of his father’s. Her own father owned a shipping company.

They were well matched, and so it stood to reason that they’d gravitate toward each

other.

She’d give him friendship and children. He’d give her security, protection.

Yes, it was time to settle down. His move to New York was in all likelihood

permanent, as Marley had no desire to move from the island where she and Chrysander

had made their home. And if he was going to be living here on a permanent basis, it

seemed the best course to find a wife and start his family.

His thoughts were interrupted by a knock on his door. He frowned and looked up

as he uttered the command to enter.



6



“Sir, Ms. Caplan is here to see you,” Madeline, his secretary, said as she poked

her head in the door.

“Send her in,” he said brusquely.

As he waited, he straightened in his seat and drummed his fingers idly on the

desk. He tried to draw on his vague memories of the girl but all he could picture was a

very young Isabella with big eyes, gangly legs and braces. He wasn’t even sure how old

she was now, only that she’d graduated. Wouldn’t that make her somewhere around

twenty-two?

He summoned a gentle smile as the door swung open. No need to scare her to

death. He was on his feet and walking forward to greet her when he pulled up short, all

the breath knocked squarely from his chest.

Before him stood not a girl, but a stunningly beautiful woman. An invisible hand

seized his throat, squeezing until he twisted his neck to alleviate the discomfort.

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