The Power of the Legendary GreekBy:
HE STRODE along the top floor of the building towards the double doors standing open at the far end, savouring the moment as he entered the room to smiles of welcome from eleven members of the board. The twelfth member, the only woman present, speared him with eyes like shards of black jet as he gave her a formal bow. The tall windows looked out on a panoramic view of Athens, but inside the boardroom all eyes were riveted on his face as he took the only empty chair and sat, composed, to open his briefcase.
The woman at the head of the table watched his every move like a cat ready to pounce on its prey, but Luke ignored her, supremely confident of success. Due to weeks of secret negotiations held with every man in the room, the meeting today was a mere formality. Once formal greetings were concluded, Luke got to his feet to outline details of his proposal, ignoring the mounting fury of the woman as he brought his bid to a conclusion.
He scanned each face in turn.
‘All those in favour?’
Every hand but one shot up in instant approval as Melina Andreadis surged to her feet in furious dissent. Dressed in stark couture black, her signature mane of ringlets rioting in cruelly youthful contrast around her ageing face, she directed a look of such venom at her adversary he should have turned to stone where he stood.
She swept the basilisk stare over every man at the table. ‘You fools think you can turn my company over to this—this playboy?’ she shouted, incensed, and shook her fist at the man unmoved by her tirade. ‘I vote against! I refuse to allow this.’
Luke stared her down, his face blank as a Greek theatre mask to hide the triumph surging through his veins. ‘It is already done. My more than generous terms are accepted by the Board by majority vote.’
‘They cannot do this. I forbid it. This is my airline,’ she hissed, enraged.
His eyes glittered coldly as they speared hers. ‘No, kyria. It was my grandfather’s airline, never yours. And now it is mine. I, Lukas Andreadis, own it by right of purchase—and of blood.’
THE smudge on the horizon gradually transformed into an island which surged up, pine-clad, from the dazzling blue sea. As the charter boat grew nearer, Isobel could see tavernas with coloured awnings lining the waterfront, and houses with cinnamon roofs and icing-white walls, stacked like children’s building blocks on the slopes above. She scanned the houses as the boat nosed into the harbour, trying to locate the apartments shown in her brochure, but gave up, amused, when she saw that most of them had the blue doors and balconies she was looking for. She hoisted her backpack as the boat docked and picked up her bags with a sigh of relief. She’d arrived!
Isobel’s first priorities were lunch and directions to her holiday apartment on this picture-perfect island of Chyros. The taverna her brochure indicated for both was inviting and lively, its tables crammed inside and out with people eating, drinking and talking non-stop. She made a beeline for one of the last unoccupied tables under the awning outside, and tucked her bags close to her feet as she sat to study the menu. With a polite ‘parakalo,’ she pointed out her choice to a waiter and was quickly provided with mineral water and bread, followed by a colourful Greek salad with feta cheese. She fell on the food as though she hadn’t eaten for days; which wasn’t far off the truth. She enjoyed the arrival part of holidays a whole lot more than the travelling.
‘You enjoyed the salata?’ asked the waiter, eyeing her empty plate in approval.
Isobel smiled, delighted to hear English. ‘Very much; it was delicious.’ She produced her brochure. ‘Could you help me, please? I was told I could collect the keys to one of these apartments here.’
He nodded, smiling. ‘My father has keys. He owns the Kalypso. Wait a little and I take you there.’
Isobel shook her head, embarrassed. ‘That’s very kind of you, but I can’t interrupt your work. I can take a taxi—’
He grinned. ‘My father is Nikos, also owner of the taverna. He will be pleased if I take you. I am just home from the hospital.’
She eyed the muscular young man in surprise. ‘You’ve been ill?’
‘No. I work there. I am a doctor. But at home I help when we are busy. I am Alex Nicolaides. If you give me your name for my father, I take you to the Kalypso.’
She told him she was Isobel James and, by the time she’d downed more water and paid the bill, the helpful Alex was on hand again.
‘It is near enough to walk,’ he informed her and picked up her luggage, but Isobel hung on to the backpack.
‘I’ll take this.’
‘It has your valuables?’ he asked as they walked along the marina.