The Tycoon's Marriage Exchange

Elizabeth Lennox - The Tycoon's Marriage Exchange

The Tycoon's Marriage Exchange
Elizabeth Lennox

romance/billionaire

Chapter 1

Kallista Papadelias shook her head, her eyes wary as she faced this large, intimidating man who was waiting patiently for her answer. “Surely there’s an alternative. I really don’t want to marry you.” She braced herself, her muscles tense and guarded as the powerful man sitting across from her absorbed her rejection. Goose bumps rose up on her arms and she knew that the shiver running through her were due more to the man’s darkening eyes than the cold air blowing down from the ceiling’s ventilation system. She wrapped her cold, shaking fingers around the coffee cup in front of her, trying to gain some warmth but she was too nervous.

“Have you heard a thing I’ve said?” Hector Christophe asked digging deeper to find more patience. This woman sitting in front of him was lovely, but he wasn’t sure how much was going on inside her pretty head. “Your father’s business is in jeopardy. He is going to lose everything if I don’t help him. And he won’t accept my help because of his pride.”

Kallista tried to focus, truly she was, but the way this man was watching her unnerved her, made her stomach quake and her muscles tense. Unfortunately, if his irritated look was any indication, she’d obviously missed something significant during this discussion. “What does me marrying you have to do with that?”

Hector was proud that he didn’t grind his teeth in frustration, knowing that would only make her more nervous. “Don’t be obtuse, Kallista. You know how our culture works,” he replied heartlessly. “If we are married, I would be family. Your father would accept help from a family member. As it stands now, he won’t even acknowledge to me that there’s a problem. But I can see in his eyes when I try and talk to him about some of the issues I’ve discovered, and I know that he’s fully aware of the dangers to his company and all he’s built over the years. He’s trying to fix this himself but he doesn’t have the resources so he’s making a bigger mess of the situation. I’m already working behind the scenes to help, but I need to become more out in the open to deter the takeover.”

He watched carefully as the woman with soft blue eyes and pale, porcelain skin listened carefully. She was tall for a woman at five feet, seven inches but he still towered over her and he couldn’t help his size. It was scaring her and he shifted to give her more space, but there was only so much he could do. He was six feet, three inches tall which made him loom larger than most of the men she was probably used to.

She smelled good, he thought, then banished that from his mind. Her scent, no matter how lovely, had nothing to do with this conversation. There was a crisis and he could see her occasional shivers so he had to ignore her allure and focus on saving her family’s reputation, and her father’s company.

Kallista’s hands squeezed tightly together under the table. She loved her parents and they’d done so much for her. How could she not do this if it would help them? Hector was right, her father wouldn’t accept help from a friend but in her culture, family was not only allowed to help when needed, they were expected to help however possible. Families stuck together, they worked together, lived, laughed, fought and loved together. And when things got tough, they all came together to find a solution to whatever problem was facing them.

Her father, bless his soul, had more pride than sense sometimes, Kallista thought angrily. She pulled the complicated reports and colorful charts closer, trying to understand the immense data this man was attempting to impart to her. “Okay, so please explain all this to me one more time and let me try and absorb the situation. Surly there’s a less drastic way to deal with this horrible situation other than the two of us marrying.”

Hector sighed and pulled the files together. He’d gone through all the information himself and tried to come up with an alternative but every time he’d approached Demetrius Papadelias with a solution, Kallista’s father, the man had simply shut down and changed the subject. Unfortunately, whenever Hector visited his old friend, he saw that the valuable paintings that were slowly leaving the walls of Demetrius’ once regal home, he recognized the slow