Pretending with the Greek Billionaire(4)

By: Kira Archer

The woman patted the girl on the head and whispered something to her as she pried the little one off her leg and handed her to one of the older girls. Then she straightened like she was off to face a firing squad and marched, chin in the air, toward him.

A grudging respect mixed with the anger coursing through him. There weren’t many women who could stare him down when he was angry. He crossed his arms and waited.

“I’m very sorry,” she said, her voice with its American accent somehow firm and soft all at the same time. “I realize we are probably trespassing…”

“Probably? How did you even get in here? Do you make a habit of sneaking onto other people’s property and—you! Get out of there!” He pointed at one child who was hip deep in his bushes, several flowers clutched in her hands. “Joseph, do something.”

“What did you have in mind, sir?” Joseph asked, eyebrows raised.

“I don’t know. Just…” He waved his hands like he could make the whole scene disappear. It didn’t work.

“Elena, get down from there! Put those down right now,” the woman said, hands on her hips like some anal-retentive schoolteacher.

“Look, I don’t know who you are…” Luca said.

“Constance McMurty,” she said, sticking her hand out like she was at some job interview.

He shook it automatically before he realized what he was doing. Her fingers were warm and soft against his own, but she shook his hand with a firm grip, no nonsense. Exactly two pumps and then she let go.

She looked at him expectantly with deep sapphire blue eyes that gazed directly into his. Those eyes narrowed and he realized she’d asked him something, but he hadn’t a clue what.

“This is Mr. Vasilakis,” Joseph said, reliable as always. “This is his property.”

“Luca Vasilakis?” Constance said before taking a slow, deep breath.

Good, she’d heard of him. Well, maybe not so good. None of the stories that circulated about him were entirely true. Most were grossly exaggerated if not downright fabrications, and none of them were flattering. Luca frowned, wondering where the sudden urge to put his best foot forward was coming from. What did he care what this woman thought of him?

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “One of the kids wandered in and I…”

“Thought you’d bring the others in for a dip in the pool?”

“No, of course not.”

He raised an eyebrow, taking in the six dripping wet children gathered behind her.

“Well, they did go in the pool, but they weren’t supposed to. Elena wandered in,” she said, pointing to the smallest child, the little girl with a dark braid running down her back who had been digging up his flowers. “I had to come in after her, and I couldn’t leave the other children outside the gates by themselves. So…well, I…we came in and then they saw the pool and they were hot and one of them went in and then the others…well…”

“How did you even get in? Climb the gate?”

Her mouth dropped open with a gasp of outrage. “Of course not! I would never. The gate was open.”

Luca shot a glance to Joseph, his anger spiking. It was hard enough keeping the paparazzi and curious tourists at bay. The last thing he needed was for his gates to be opened wide and welcoming them in.

Joseph frowned. “I will check on it, sir.”

Luca glanced back at the girls, his frown deepening. He didn’t like being around children. It wasn’t that he disliked them especially. They were just so small, and messy, and noisy. And destructive, he thought, looking at the one who’d torn up his flowerbeds.

“Well,” he said, clearing his throat, unnerved a bit by all the feminine eyes staring at him. The bright, blue pair belonging to the crazy mother hen of the group in particular. “If you all have finished with your swimming for the afternoon, perhaps you could…”

Before he could finish, the buzzing noise he’d heard faintly in the background grew to a roar.

“What the fu—”

“Mr. Vasilakis, watch your language, please!”

Luca stared down at Constance in astonishment. Had she really just chastised him for swearing, in his own home, where she was trespassing? His lips cracked into a grin, despite himself. It had been a long time since anyone had surprised him.

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