The Millionaire's True Worth

By: Rebecca Winters

Her head jerked up. “Business? Tonight?”

“My work is never done.” As the music was coming to an end, he danced her over to her parents’ table and let her go. “Thank you, Althea. Theo asked me to mingle so if you’ll excuse me, there’s one more person I should dance with before I leave.” The lie had just come to him.

While she looked at him with genuine disappointment, he smiled at her parents before he moved through the crowded room toward the rear of the ballroom. In order to prove he hadn’t told an untruth, he looked for any woman at one of the tables who didn’t have an escort, whom he could ask to dance.

At the round table nearest the rear doors he saw a woman sitting alone. Another couple sat across from her, but it was clear she didn’t have a man with her. Knowing Althea was still watching him, he walked toward the stranger. Maybe she was waiting for someone, but he’d take his chances.

Closer now he could make out classic features beneath hair an incredible light gold with a natural hint of red. He’d only seen hair that color on one other woman. His breath caught. She wore a pale blue silk suit jacket with a small enamel locket hanging around her neck. He imagined she was in her mid-twenties. He saw no rings.

Akis approached her. “Excuse me, thespinis. I see you’re alone for the moment. As best man of this wedding, if you’d permit, I’d like to dance with you.”

Her eyes lifted to his.

Those eyes. They were the same eyes he’d looked into yesterday, but tonight he discovered they were a stunning shade of lavender blue and he found himself lost in them.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t speak Greek.”

Her comment jarred him back to the present. What was this American beauty doing at Theo’s wedding reception? Switching to unpolished English he said, “We passed in the street yesterday.”

“I remember almost bumping into you,” she murmured, averting her eyes. He noticed with satisfaction that a nerve throbbed in her throat above her locket. She was as excited as he was by this unexpected meeting. “I came close to knocking you down because I wasn’t watching where I was going.”

He smiled. “No problem. Just now I asked you to dance, but perhaps you’re waiting for the man who brought you.”

A delicate flush filled her cheeks. “No. I came alone. Thank you for the invitation, but I was just getting ready to leave.”

He wasn’t about to let her go a second time. “Surely you can spare one dance with me? I need rescuing.”

“Where’s your wife?”

“I’ve never had a wife. As for a girlfriend, I haven’t had one in months.” It was the truth.

“Then who was the woman with the long black hair you were dancing with moments ago?”

So she’d noticed. “You’re very observant. She was the maid of honor. It would have been unkind not to dance with her.”

With a twinkle in her eyes, she leaned to the right and retrieved a pair of crutches from the floor. She stood them on end. “Unless you’re prepared for your feet to be impaled by one of these, I’ll do you a favor and exit the room.”

She’d surprised Akis. This had to be a very recent injury. Her legitimate excuse to turn him down only fed his determination to get to know her better. Yesterday he’d wanted to pursue her, but hadn’t dared for fear of alarming her. “Then let me help you.”

Without hesitation he took the crutches from her and waited until she got to her feet. She was probably five foot seven, with enticing curves. The matching suit skirt covered womanly hips and slender legs. His gaze fell lower to the left ankle that had been wrapped. She wore a sandal on her foot and a low-heeled shoe on the other.

“Thank you.” She reached for the crutches and fit them beneath her arms. The delicate fragrance emanating from her assailed him. “Why don’t you ask the other woman at my table to dance? I’m sure her partner won’t mind.”

“I’d rather help you to your room.”

“I’m not staying here.”

That was interesting. He’d helped Theo make arrangements for all their out-of-town guests to stay here. “Then I’ll walk you outside and take you wherever you’d like to go.”

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