The Greek Tycoon's Achilles Heel

Free The Greek Tycoon's Achilles Heel by Lucy Gordon

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Authors: Lucy Gordon
more wine?’ she asked, holding out her glass and smiling in a way that should have warned him.
    He took the hint and abandoned the apology, making her feel instantly guilty. He was doing his best, but these were uncharted seas for him. It was she who held the advantage. Resolutely, she worked to lighten the atmosphere.
    ‘Actually,’ she said between sips, ‘the most exciting thing that’s happened to me is an invitation from The Cave Society.’
    She told him about the letter. Like Nikator, he was sceptical.
    ‘I’m not swallowing it hook, line and sinker,’ she assured him. ‘I’m too much of an old hand for that.’
    ‘Old hand,’ he murmured, regarding her appreciatively.
    ‘Very old. In terms of my reputation, I’m ancient. This—’ she pointed to her luxuriant golden mane ‘—is just dye to hide the fact that I’m white-haired. Any day now I’m going to start walking with a stick.’
    ‘Will you stop talking nonsense?’
    ‘Why?’ she asked, genuinely puzzled. ‘Nonsense is fun.’
    ‘Yes, but—’ He retired, defeated. It wasn’t possible to say that the contrast between her words and the young, glorious reality was making him dizzy.
    ‘Oh, all right,’ she conceded, ‘I don’t think there’s anything to be found in those caves. On the other hand, I’ll usually go anywhere and do anything for a “find”, so perhaps I should.’
    ‘But what are you going to find that thousands of others have failed to find?’
    ‘Of course they failed,’ she teased, ‘because they weren’t me. Something is lying there, waiting for me to appear from the mists of time—knowing that the glory of the discovery belongs to me, and only me. Next thing you know, they’ll put my statue up in the Parthenon.’
    She caught sight of his face and burst out laughing.
    ‘I’m sorry,’ she choked, ‘but if you could see your expression!’
    ‘You were joking, weren’t you?’ he asked cautiously.
    ‘Yes, I was joking.’
    ‘I’m afraid I’m a bit—’ He shrugged. ‘It can be hard to tell.’
    ‘Oh, you poor thing,’ she said. ‘I know you can laugh. I actually heard you, at the wedding reception, but somehow—’
    ‘It’s just—’
    ‘I know,’ she said. ‘You think too great a sense of humour is a weakness, so you keep yours in protective custody, behind bolts and bars, only to be produced at certain times.’
    Lysandros tried to speak, to make some light-hearted remark that would pass the matter off, but inwardly he felthimself retreating from her. Her words, though kindly meant, had been like a lamp shone into his soul, revealing secrets. Not to be tolerated.
    ‘Are you ready for the next course?’ he asked politely.
    ‘Yes, please.’
    It was definitely a snub, yet she was swept by tenderness and pity for him. He was like a man walking a path strewn with boulders, not knowing they were there until he fell and hurt himself.
    And she had a sad feeling that she was the only person in the world who saw him like this, and therefore the only person able to help him.
    If only she could, she thought with a qualm of self-doubt. She was still feeling her way tentatively. Suppose she persuaded him to trust her, then faltered and let him down, abandoning him again to mistrust and desolation? Suddenly that seemed like the greatest crime in the world.
    As the waiter served them she became aware that a man and a woman were hovering close, trying to get a look at her. When she looked straight at them, they jumped.
    ‘It is her,’ the woman breathed. ‘It is you, isn’t it?’ Then, pulling herself together, she said, ‘You really are Petra Radnor?’
    ‘Yes, I am.’
    ‘I saw you on a talk show on television just before we left England, and I’ve read your books. Oh, this is such a thrill.’
    There was nothing to do but be polite. Lysandros invited them to sit at the table. His manner was charming, and she wondered if he secretly welcomed the interruption.
    ‘I’m just learning that

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