Mistresses: In His Bed: The Billionaire's Trophy / Strictly Temporary / Whose Bed Is It Anyway?. Robyn Grady
paid, but that would undoubtedly plunge Odette into serious legal and financial trouble. And the woman who had financed the surgery that had given Emmie the opportunity to live a normal able-bodied life again deserved better than that from her, Emmie conceded reluctantly. the gift of that life-enhancing surgery truly was a debt that could never be repaid.
‘Why the disguise?’ Bastian enquired indolently. ‘Are you afraid of being recognised in the day job?’
Emmie went pink again. ‘Something like that.’
She couldn’t tell him the truth, had never told anyone the truth. When Saffy’s face had gone global and her twin was constantly pictured in the media, Emmie had no longer felt that her face was her own. Even more awkwardly, people had started mistaking her for Saffy in the street and it had got embarrassing: strangers approaching her asking for autographs and photos, men coming on to her, people getting angry and abusive when she insisted that she wasn’t the famous Sapphire because they didn’t believe her. The attention had mortified and intimidated her, making her feel like a fake copy of her famous sister, incapable of satisfying people’s expectations. She had always been a very private person and could never have put herself on show as her sibling had done to make a living in front of the cameras. She had never had that kind of confidence in her face and body.
Bastian relaxed back against the side of his desk. ‘If you make a good job of the role I have for you I’ll pay you a bonus,’ he told her smoothly. ‘This is very much a business arrangement, not a pleasure trip.’
Emmie wondered if this was what he always did when a woman became difficult: offer her more money, clothes, jewellery, whatever? Did he often use his wealth as a bribe?
‘Are you in the habit of using an escort service?’ Emmie enquired flatly.
‘You will be the first…and the last,’ he informed her grimly.
‘And why didn’t you tell me what you’d done when you spoke to me yesterday about the photo on the website? Wasn’t that complete hypocrisy?’ she asked him drily again.
‘Common sense. If I take you to my sister’s wedding, I naturally don’t want your escort identity to still be visible online,’ he pointed out coolly. ‘And I’m not a hypocrite. What You see is what you get. I’m a very forthright guy.’
‘Your sister’s wedding? You want me to accompany you to a family occasion?’ Emmie prompted in surprise.
‘I don’t want anything to take the gloss off my sister, Nessa’s big day,’ Bastian admitted. ‘Seeing me with you will persuade her that I have moved on from my broken engagement and that will make Nessa happy. She’s a very soft-hearted soul. And as my ex is one of her bridesmaids, it will be more comfortable for everyone present if I have a partner of my own.’
‘One of her bridesmaids?’ Emmie grimaced at the concept. ‘Sticky—’
‘But less so with you on my arm,’ he confirmed. ‘May I assume that you will be accompanying me to my home in Greece?’
Emmie gulped at the prospect, thinking frantically about how she could possibly repay the fee he had paid, knowing that, short of a lottery win, she could not. There was no way out, no convenient escape route. What was one weekend to be spent in the company of family and wedding guests? It sounded innocent, safe. She swallowed hard and then nodded in surrender, curling lashes lowering over her angry gaze.
‘All that remains is the provision of suitable clothing for you to wear over the weekend,’ Bastian remarked.
‘That won’t be necessary—’
‘It will be,’ Bastian contradicted, derisive eyes dropping to scan her loose shirt and ill-fitting skirt. ‘I’ll organise a stylist and personal shopper to furnish you with what you will require. Naturally I’ll cover the bills. I have your phone number. I’ll text you with the details.’
Emmie swallowed hard, dislike and resentment combining in a tangled knot of defiance inside her. He was treating her like an inanimate object to be correctly packaged for public show. He saw her as an escort, a woman for hire and, even though she told herself that she was doing this for her mother’s benefit and to repay a debt, it was an utterly humiliating process and not an experience that she would forget in a hurry.
OUT OF THE corner of her eye, Emmie saw heads turning as she walked through the airport. She was mentally offering up a prayer that that would be all the attention she attracted when a man with a camera stepped right into her path. ‘Stop right there, Sapphire!’
Head high, face expressionless, Emmie sidestepped him, not even bothering to pause and contradict his assumption that she was her sister because she had learned that people and the paparazzi in particular refused to credit that she was not who they thought she was. After all, a photo of Sapphire was worth a lot of money and no pap ever wanted to admit that he had made a mistake. Dressed as she was in designer gear, Emmie knew there was even less chance than usual of anyone believing that she was not her twin. The mini wardrobe of new garments packed into the sleek case she was wheeling was not bargain-basement fare by anyone’s standards. Indeed Emmie had never in her life worn such expensive clothing and, ironically, knowing that she looked her best had lifted her confidence. That acknowledged, however, the prospect of a weekend at the Christou family home still had her nerves leaping about like jumping beans. There was a tight hard knot of anxiety in her abdomen as well, for nothing she had since learned about the Greek billionaire had eased her misgivings in the slightest.
Before his engagement Bastian had been a notorious womaniser and her Internet searches had offered her fertile information on his likes and dislikes for, in common with many rich, high-profile men, he had occasionally fallen victim to the kind of lover who sold her story of their intimate dealings to a newspaper for cash. There had been a sordid little tale of a chaotic affair with two sisters, more than one cringe-worthy reference to his penchant for early-morning sex and all the usual fillers about the extravagant gifts he bought, how easily he got bored, how quickly and coldly he severed ties when he lost interest. At the office he was a neat freak with everything in its place and no clutter and definitely on the emotionally detached side of sociable. Emmie had learned nothing else worthy of note and very little about his true nature. He was extremely intelligent but, having studied his career, she had already known that for a fact. He had built his business from the ground up and it had soared to meteoric heights.
Bastian saw Emmie walking towards him and experienced a rare instant of shock. She was a vision of golden loveliness and sophisticated elegance in tailored cropped trousers, sky-high heels and a soft clingy top. He tensed. Perfect for the role, he told himself sharply; nobody would doubt the veracity of his relationship with a woman who resembled a screen goddess with her simply amazing face, long lazy walk and incredibly shapely legs. OK, shorn of disguise and in the right clothing, Emmie Marshall was absolutely gorgeous, but he was not personally affected, he assured himself on the back of the reminder that he had always preferred small, curvy brunettes. But the cut of his trousers still felt too neat and his strong jawline clenched hard. A little reaction was normal, he conceded grudgingly. He would be dead from the neck down if he didn’t react to Emmie at all and didn’t wonder if that luscious pink-tinted mouth would taste as good as it looked. Only at the last possible moment did he finally appreciate that she was being pursued by a couple of men waving cameras and he could not work out why he had not noticed them first. He signalled his bodyguards to protect her from the intrusion.
‘Emmie…’ he breathed.
‘Mr Christou,’ Emmie replied glacially, resisting with all her might the sheer raw charisma of Sebastiano Christou, sheathed in a dark designer suit perfectly tailored to his lean powerful frame, his jawline darkened by faint stubble, heavily lidded dark golden eyes fringed by amazing black lashes resting on her like a gun to a target. Bull’s eye, she thought maniacally, a burst of heat warming her pelvis, breasts high and taut, her entire body positively