Pretending with the Greek Billionaire(2)

By: Kira Archer

Joseph smiled. “No sir, that about sums it up.”

“Well, then, let’s save the rest of the dire threats for my father then. Wouldn’t want to leave him with nothing to say.”

“Yes, sir.”

Luca rubbed his hand over his face. He’d better get cleaned up and over to his father’s office. Keeping the old man waiting had never improved his temper. And while he’d made these threats before, something was different this time. His father seemed…fed up. Sad, even. This time, he might actually follow through.

Not that Luca had a damn clue what to do about it. He’d tried to curb his partying. Well, he could try harder in that department, but he certainly wasn’t going to find himself a wife and settle down just to make his father happy. The last thing in the world he wanted was to be tied down to some nagging harpy determined to make his life hell. Time enough for that when he was past his prime and too old to have any more fun. For now, he’d say what he needed to appease his father and get on with his life.

Easier said than done.

Within moments of walking into his father’s office he knew he was screwed. Augustine Vasilakis wasted no time on pleasantries. Not even a hello. He leaned back against his desk, his hands tucked with deceptive casualness in his pockets, and gave Luca the barest nod when he entered the office.

“Sit down.”

“Father, I already know—”

“I’m aware of what you know. Now, let me tell you what I know. I know that despite all the advantages you’ve been given in your life, you’ve done absolutely nothing with them. I know if I don’t do anything, you’ll continue to waste that life on frivolous nonsense. And I know if I were irresponsible enough to hand this company over to you, you’d squander it away as well. So now let me tell you something you don’t know.”

Luca sat in silence. He’d never seen his father like this before. Oh, there had been the lectures on his poor life choices. More than he could count. But never had his father had such a cold, determined anger about him. Anxiety took a leisurely stroll through Luca’s veins and set up camp somewhere in the vicinity of his sinking stomach.

“A meeting with the board has been scheduled for one month from now to announce the completion of our new locations in New York and Madrid. During that meeting, I am expected to formally give you control of our New York offices. I have no intention of doing so as things stand.”

“What?” Luca nearly jumped from his chair, his stomach bottoming out. “You can’t do that!”

His father’s frown deepened. “I can, and I will.” He sighed, his shoulders slumping a bit. “Luca, I did not come to this decision lightly. You are my son, but I will not allow you to destroy the company I spent my life building. I started from nothing and now I run one of the most successful international real estate firms in the world. The opening of our new offices could triple our holdings. New York is especially critical and with the right management should do very well, hopefully beyond our expectations, but not with you in charge. I can’t jeopardize the future of this company.”

“I wouldn’t do that. I can run New York. Well.”

“And why should I believe that? You’ve done nothing since your mother died but party and drink and whore around the Mediterranean with an ever-increasing string of gold-digging party girls. Getting your face plastered all over the damned tabloids, and for what? I don’t even know what it is you’re supposed to be famous for. Dating some actress? Partying with musicians? Throwing your money around to impress people who don’t care about you? If you want the fame, you should at least do something for it! Make something of yourself. Be successful at something other than managing to make a career out of being stalked by paparazzi.”

“I don’t encourage them. They just follow me.”

“They’d stop if you’d stop giving them dirt to smear. I know it’s too much to hope that you’ll find some nice girl somewhere who will tame your wild ways, but it would be good if you’d try to find someone who won’t make your mother roll over in her grave.”

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