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Is it possible to fall in love in the afterlife? The question is answered in this exciting new paranormal romantic suspense from USA TODAY Bestselling Author, Maureen A. Miller.


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Excerpt of The Greek's Chosen Wife by Lynne Graham

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A Mediterranean Marriage
Harlequin Presents
March 2006
Featuring: Prudence Angelis; Nikolas Angelis
192 pages
ISBN: 0373125232
Paperback
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Romance Series

Also by Lynne Graham:

The Heirs His Housekeeper Carried, June 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
The Heirs His Housekeeper Carried, June 2022
Mass Market Paperback / e-Book
Her Best Kept Royal Secret, October 2021
Hardcover / e-Book
Cinderella's Desert Baby Bombshell, September 2021
Paperback / e-Book
A Baby on the Greek's Doorstep, October 2020
e-Book
The Italian's One-Night Baby, March 2017
Paperback / e-Book
The Greek's Christmas Bride, November 2016
Paperback / e-Book
The Italian's Christmas Child, October 2016
Paperback / e-Book
Bought for the Greek's Revenge, June 2016
Paperback / e-Book
The Billionaire's Bridal Bargain, April 2015
Paperback / e-Book
The Sheikh's Secret Babies, April 2015
Paperback / e-Book
The Billionaire's Trophy, July 2013
Hardcover
A Ring To Secure His Heir, January 2013
Paperback / e-Book
Unlocking Her Innocence, November 2012
Paperback / e-Book
The Marriage Betrayal, August 2011
Mass Market Paperback
The Arabian Mistress & The Contaxis Baby, July 2011
Paperback (reprint)
Jess's Promise, April 2011
Paperback
Flora's Defiance, April 2011
Paperback
Jemima's Secret, March 2011
Paperback
A Convenient Arrangement, February 2011
Paperback / e-Book
Ruthless Magnate, Convenient Wife, February 2010
Mass Market Paperback
Desert Prince, Bride Of Innocence, January 2010
Mass Market Paperback
The Greek Tycoon's Blackmailed Mistress, July 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Spanish Billionaire's Pregnant Wife, February 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Ruthless Magnate's Virgin Mistress, January 2009
Mass Market Paperback
The Greek Tycoon's Disobedient Bride, December 2008
Mass Market Paperback
The Italian Billionaire's Pregnant Bride, March 2008
Paperback
The Greek Tycoon's Defiant Bride, February 2008
Paperback
The Desert Sheikh's Captive Wife, January 2008
Paperback
The Petrakos Bride, August 2007
Mass Market Paperback
The Disobedient Mistress, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback (reprint)
An Arabian Marriage, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback (reprint)
The Contaxis Baby, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback (reprint)
The Heiress Bride, July 2007
Mass Market Paperback (reprint)
The Italian's Inexperienced Mistress, April 2007
Paperback
Ballyflynn, January 2007
Paperback
Reluctant Mistress, Blackmailed Wife, November 2006
Paperback
Mistress Bought and Paid For, August 2006
Paperback
The Greek's Chosen Wife, March 2006
Paperback
The Sheikh's Innocent Bride, January 2006
Paperback
The Greek Tycoon's Convenient Mistress, February 2005
Paperback

Excerpt of The Greek's Chosen Wife by Lynne Graham

"I CAN'T MAKE it to your party," Nikolos told the woman reclining on the bed, pulling on the jacket of his suit with the fluid grace that distinguished all his movements.

"Please...pretty please..." Naked but for a turquoise silk wrap, Tania Benson leapt up and curled her arms round his neck, deploying her long, rangy, supermodel body like a lethal weapon of persuasion. "I want you to be there."

"No strings," Nikolos reminded her, irritated by her persistence. Their relationship was basic and not exclusive, for they often went months without contact. He only saw Tania when he was in Paris or Brussels. To complement her position in his life, he enjoyed the company of an Icelandic blonde in New York and a sultry Russian model in London.

The redhead pouted. "I've never asked you for a favour before."

Nikolos shrugged. She had not had to ask, because he was a very generous lover and she knew the score as well as he did.

"You couldn't make it last year either!" 'I have another engagement." His tone was cool, clipped. He came and went as he pleased. Without explanation or apology. That had been the agreement and he had no desire for anything else. Certainly not the whole dating-type scenario of being shown off like some trophy tycoon at a celebrity party. It would also be indiscreet, since his appearance at a fashionable party was a virtual guarantee of photos and comment in the gossip columns. Once, Nikolos conceded grimly, he had been a lot less considerate about the level of public interest his way of life could attract.

Furious at that flat rejection, Tania looked sulky. "I know what that engagement is, too..."

His dark golden eyes became semi-veiled, the hard, dynamic cast of his darkly handsome features suddenly still and impassive. "The limo will be waiting."

"It's her birthday, isn't it? Your wife's?" Tania launched at him.

His brilliant gaze bore the chill of reserve. He swept up his cashmere overcoat and moved to the door. "I have to go —"

"I saw a photo of her in a magazine. She was wearing freaky floral Wellington boots and a woolly hat, and she was holding a rabbit... How can you prefer her to me?" Tania wailed in melodramatic disbelief.

Pale with outrage below his bronzed skin, Nikolos stayed only long enough to spell out the fact that their connection was at an end and he would not be visiting again. A stormy light in his usually cool gaze, he flung himself into the opulent limo. The floral boots had been one of the very few successful gifts he had managed to choose for his wife. How dare Tania sneer at her? He never discussed Pudding with anyone, not even his family. But the state of his marriage did awaken a good deal of curiosity. After all, he had been married for almost eight years and had lived apart from his wife for most of that period.

Time had done surprisingly little to blot out his recollection of their disastrous wedding. When he recalled his own behaviour towards the close of that day, a raw sense of guilt and insecurity wholly foreign to his forceful nature still assailed Nikolos. He rarely let himself think about it: going there was not productive. He had had to accept Pudding's refusal to even discuss what had happened that night. Her distress had silenced him as nothing else could have done. While she had been reluctant to even listen to his explanation and his apologies, he had been too proud to admit that he had no memory whatsoever of events on their wedding night. Naturally he had been afraid of what he might have said or done to her during it. Had he sunk low enough to take his angry sense of injustice out on her in bed? Had he been rough?

Those all too male apprehensions still haunted Nikolos in low moments and sent a cold stab of foreboding through him, for he knew his own flaws only too well. He had the devil's own temper. He was very hard and had often in recent years been called cold, callous and cruel. Dealing with Theo Demakis, he had had to be all of those things many times over. Had he not been strong and ruthless, he would still have been dependent on his father-in-law's goodwill. Instead he had paid back the amount incurred by the debts Theo had settled, left his family secure and bought his independence back. He had then picked the optimum right moment to walk away from Demakis International with Theo's agreement, if not his blessing.

In truth there were very few people in the world that Nikolos cared about. While willing to do his utmost to help those precious few, he remained utterly indifferent to the plight of everyone else. Around Prudence, however, he made a major effort to be a softer, gentler and more compassionate guy than he could ever be in real life. Her temperament was the polar opposite of his, for she was neither aggressive nor cunning. Indeed, human evil always shocked Pudding, who was full of decent scruples and lived life entirely by the rules. Unselfish, kind and endlessly sympathetic, she had trained as a veterinary nurse and now devoted all her spare time to the needs of the animals in the sanctuary she ran. From behind the scenes, Nikolos tried to protect her from those who would have taken advantage of her trusting nature. Of course, he cared about her: she was his wife. Possibly, it would soon be time for him to bring an end to their separate lives and settle down into being married, Nikolos conceded lazily.

Prudence woke up at six on the morning of her birthday and, as always, let her gaze fall on the photograph of Nikolos that held pride of place by her bed: black hair tousled by the rain, stunning dark eyes gleaming, perfect white teeth dazzling against his bronzed skin as he laughed and mopped himself dry in her homely kitchen. It had been taken the previous year on one of his flying visits. She had entire albums and scrap-books filled with photos, tabloid cuttings and memorabilia about him. For so long she had acted like a schoolgirl running a one-woman secret fan club.

Even though she saw him only a handful of times a year, Nikolos had been the centre of her world. His sexy drawl on the phone and the nurse he had insisted on hiring had lifted her sagging spirits when times were tough during her mother's long, slow decline and after her death the previous year. She had enjoyed days out in London when he would meet her for lunch and afterwards give her the official tour of his latest new office building or his most recent business acquisition. Although she had never lived with him as his wife, she was proud that she had had the maturity to overcome the disillusionment of their wedding night and win his trust as a friend.

It was really only after Trixie had died that Prudence had had the time to think about her own needs and what was best for her, and she had almost immediately boxed up the albums and put them away. Nourishing a morbid interest in Nik's taste in other women and cherishing a girlish flame of unrequited love was doing her no favours. Having finally come to terms with those facts, she had sunk her energy into the animal sanctuary. She had got over Nik and her longings for him. That was an achievement of which she was immensely proud. Slowly but surely she had also begun to understand what would really make her happy. To be truly, madly happy, she had decided, she needed a child on whom she could heap all the love she had to give. And very fortunately for her, she thought wryly, medical science meant that she was not dependent on Nik to make her dream of motherhood come true.

Feeling buoyant at the very idea of attaining her dream of eventually becoming a mother, Prudence reached for the photo of Nik, opened the drawer in the bedside cabinet and carefully put it away. Before she could even contemplate having a child, she had to get a divorce from Nik and she was ready to take that step. Once they were divorced, however, Nik would vanish from her life, for she was convinced that he only maintained regular contact with her out of a sense of duty and responsibility. Some day soon, therefore, she would never lay eyes on him again...

An unexpected knock on the bedroom door jolted Prudence out of her disturbing thoughts. Dottie, a rotund little dynamo of a woman in her fifties, appeared with a broad smile and a breakfast tray.

"Dottie...my goodness, you shouldn't have!" 'After everything that you've done for Sam and me, I don't want to hear another word. It's your birthday. Enjoy! We'll feed the animals today —"

"No, no way! Leo's coming and the vet's due later. You'll have plenty to do while I'm out. Anyway, breakfast is more than sufficient."

But of course Dottie and her husband, Sam, the tenants of the tiny cottage attached to the end wall of the farmhouse, had a card and a gift for her as well. Prudence embarked on the morning feeding routine later than she usually did.

"So...this is the big day," Leo commented when he arrived to help her. "Ready for blast-off?"

"Stop teasing me." Prudence threw the tall, fair-haired teacher a cheerful look of reproach as she doled out bran mash for a pair of elderly donkeys. The sanctuary had a rota of willing helpers but Leo Burleigh was the most knowledgeable and regular. He lived only a field away and in recent years had become her closest friend. "Nik won't bat an eyelash when I tell him my plans. He's unshockable — "

"With regard to his own freedom of choice," Leo slotted in wryly. "But I'll be surprised if he takes the same liberal view of his wife's lifestyle —"

"For goodness' sake, don't call me that." Prudence tossed some carrot and apple into the mash before moving on to the next shed to attend to an orphaned fox cub that had been brought in. "I'm not and I have never been Nik's wife —"

"Yet he refers to you as his wife in interviews —" 'That's just because journalists ask him stupid, nosy questions and he's forced to pretend —"

"Maybe he's not pretending. It could be that he's very much an old-style, unreconstructed and thoroughly sexist Greek tycoon —"

"Nik's not an old-style anything!" 'Isn't he? Some would say that accepting an arranged marriage for family reasons was incredibly medieval but he did it. He also runs a stable of mistresses but still has no problem regarding you as his wife —" 'Nik looks on me as a friend but I suspect that a few years back...'Prudence ducked her head down, wishing Leo hadn't mentioned the mistresses as her tummy always turned queasy when anyone referred to that subject. "...well, back then he had a fair idea of my feelings for him. I think that's why he didn't ask for a divorce the minute he was free to walk out of Demakis International."

"You certainly took the heat off Nik Angelis there," Leo mused, watching her take care of the cub with the minimum of fuss. "Didn't your grandfather blame you for walking out on your marriage to come back to England and look after your mother?"

"By that stage I don't really think my grandfather gave two hoots what I did," Prudence countered wryly.

Just when Theo Demakis had been in the act of divorcing his estranged wife that same year, the lady had announced that she was pregnant. Jubilant at having fathered his own child, her grandfather had lost interest in the idea of Nik and Prudence providing the next generation. Sadly, however, the story had recently reached a most unhappy conclusion when DNA testing had revealed that Theo's son and heir was not his child after all. A very bitter divorce had taken place and the older man's response had been anything but gracious when Prudence had written in all sincerity to offer her sympathy.

"But as your husband, Nik may well have a different perspective on your current plans," Leo warned her. "Just watch how you break the news about the sperm bank..."

Prudence turned an uncomfortable pink. "I wasn't planning to mention that just yet."

Nik was not due until one. But a couple who had adopted a dog from the sanctuary called back for a visit and by the time they departed Prudence was running exceedingly late. She pulled on the long grey skirt and a blouse and jacket that she currently reserved for special occasions and began applying polish to her short nails in a rush. When she dropped the brush and smeared peach polish over her blouse and skirt, she could've screamed. The clattering whap-whap of Nik's helicopter was already sounding overhead. Raking through a wardrobe that offered no formal alternatives, she dragged out a flouncy cerise sun dress that she kept for the garden and hauled it on. It fell to her ankles but bared her shoulders and most of her arms. Grimacing at her reflection, she unfolded a lilac pashmina and wrapped it round her as tightly and thoroughly as if she was facing a blizzard.

She liked to cover up and hated wearing anything that might draw attention to her full figure. Her mother had once wept inconsolably in her disappointment at having an only child who had failed to inherit her slender blonde beauty. Having accepted that she was homely, Prudence gave very little thought to her appearance. She was five feet two inches tall with a big bosom and generous hips. Although the adolescent plumpness she had suffered had mercifully melted away as she left the teenage years behind, she knew that she had no hope of ever attaining the tall, skinny, long-legged look of her youthful fantasies.

Excerpt from The Greek's Chosen Wife by Lynne Graham
All rights reserved by publisher and author

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