Single mother Trish Melrose has been offered a rare opportunity to mix business and pleasure. While sailing the Mediterranean aboard the luxurious Alexandra's Dream, she's to convince businessman Theo Catomeris to re-sign his shore excursion company with Liberty Line. Theo's long-estranged father has put her up to this assignment, but an undeniable attraction between Trish and Theo is distracting her from the business at hand.
Theo's success and happiness on the island of Corfu suggest that he's a man with blueprints to good fortune, but absentee parents have made it difficult for him to get close to anyone. Having discovered that his father has purchased the cruise line he used to work with, Theo is more than reluctant to trust a relationship with him. But will meeting Trish give him a new perspective on building a future and resolving his past?
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August 06, 2007
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Excerpt from The Tycoon's Son by Cindy Kirk
Trish Melrose felt like a hooker. Or maybe a college student at the end of a bar crawl...
It wasn't even one o'clock in the afternoon and here she was sitting in a taverna with a carafe of Greek wine on the table in front of her.
Okay, so maybe she didn't look like a lady of the evening. Her skirt brushed her knees and the linen shell beneath her suit jacket didn't show a bit of cleavage. And, as far as the coed thing, the fine lines at the edge of her eyes weren't usually found on a college girl's face.
But that didn't change the fact that for the past thirty minutes she'd been sitting in the small cafe in Corfu Town, sipping the same glass of wine and plastering a smile on her face whenever the tiny bells above the door jingled a new arrival. With unabashed interest she'd checked out every man who walked through the door.
She only prayed Theo Catomeris wouldn't keep her waiting much longer.
As the owner of a growing company in Miami that arranged shore excursions for cruise ships, Trish loved everything about her job...except the games.
While arriving late was a common way to show power, in this case it was totally unnecessary. Theo Catomeris had to know that he was the one in control.
If he said yes to her very generous offer, billionaire Elias Stamos would be appeased and Trish would retain her firm's contract with Liberty Line.
Unfortunately if he said no...
Trish's fingers tightened around the wineglass. She didn't want to think about what would happen if she failed.
There was so much at stake. If she lost the Liberty contract she'd have to lay off or cut back the hours of at least one of her two employees. Who would it be? Twyla, the single mother who gave 110 percent every day? Or James, whose wife didn't work and who'd just bought his first house in anticipation of the baby due next month? Her company, Excursion Plus, was more than just a business. She and her employees worked hard but they also had fun. And they all cared about each other. She couldn't let them down.
Maybe if she groveled...
She stopped the thought before it could go any further, appalled it had even crossed her mind. Trish Melrose didn't grovel. Had never groveled. Would never grovel.
She would do her best to convince Mr. Catomeris that it would be in his--and his wildlife foundation's--best interest to continue to do business with Liberty Line. She'd make the points she'd rehearsed calmly and rationally.
The offer she had for him was a win-win. If he renewed his contract with Liberty Line for excursion services--the same services he'd been providing to Liberty passengers prior to the cruise line's buyout by Argosy Cruises, Trish would make a hefty donation to his pet project, a foundation to help the wild horses of Kefalonia.
In actuality the money for the donation would come from Elias Stamos, the owner of Argosy Cruises and now Liberty Line. But the Greek billionaire insisted she leave his name out of the offer. As far as Theo Catomeris was concerned, Trish's company would be the one making the donation. She'd asked several times why the subterfuge was necessary but had never gotten a straight answer.
When she'd seen she was getting nowhere, Trish had checked out the legalities with her attorney and discovered doing it the way Mr. Stamos required was perfectly legal. Only then had she finally agreed to do it his way.
Now all she needed to do was convince Catomeris to sign.
If he ever showed up, that is. What if he'd forgotten?
That seemed unlikely considering she'd confirmed the meeting by e-mail just yesterday.
Did I mix up the time?
It couldn't be that. When Alexandra's Dream had docked off the small Greek island this morning, Trish had made sure her watch was on local time. She'd double-checked her notes for the location and had arrived at the small taverna on the edge of the Esplanade at precisely twelve-fifteen...well ahead of their twelve-thirty appointment.
The arched colonnade lined with cafes at the edge of the vast main plaza and park had practically begged to be explored. But today wasn't about shopping and sightseeing. The meeting with Theo Catomeris was her priority.
Trish had already discussed this issue with him once. Shortly after she'd learned he hadn't signed the new agreement with Liberty, she'd e-mailed him, assuming the contract had gotten lost in the mail...or on his desk. His response had been brief and to the point. Not interested.
She'd immediately started looking for other vendors. But Stamos had insisted on Theo Catomeris. So Trish had tried again. She'd followed up the e-mail refusal with a call. The connection hadn't been good but there'd been no misunderstanding the response. Catomeris had made it more than clear he wasn't interested in working with the new owner of the cruise line.
Mr. Stamos hadn't been happy with the news but he'd given Trish one more chance. She would join one of his cruises, and when the ship docked in Corfu, she would meet with Catomeris and make her plea in person.