After the Billionaire's Wedding Vows... by Lucy Monroe

CHAPTER ONE


            GREEK BILLIONAIRE AND societal icon Alexandros Kristalakis stepped into the hall, having wrapped up an international call with one of his business interests in America, unsurprised to find his wife waiting.

            Unlike early in their marriage, Pollyanna was always punctual now.

            Never late anymore, but neither was she spontaneous. Exuberant expressions of affection had disappeared along with her spontaneity. He’d believed, at first, that was the result of being pregnant the first time around, a difficult period for her emotionally and physically. But giving birth and early motherhood had not seen a reversion to the old habits he’d enjoyed so much.

            He could not complain. Pollyanna had worked too hard to adjust to her new lifestyle as the wife of a billionaire Greek from an old and established family.

            Coming from a far more relaxed background and a family that had none of the societal expectations of his own and the very different American culture, she’d naturally found it a challenge. But not a challenge his amazing and resilient wife could not meet.

            Despite speaking almost no Greek to begin with, she had attended the necessary social functions and lent her newfound position to the support of worthy causes. With her naturally open nature and warm personality, she’d won over his friends and acquaintances, making a place for herself in Athens society not reliant wholly on her role as his wife.

            Six months pregnant with their second child, the leggy brunette was more beautiful than the day they married.

            Even if nowadays her warm personality was muted by a dignity more fitting to the name Anna his mother insisted she be called, rather than the more common Polly she used go by.

            Her designer gown in the ice blue that had become known as her signature color clung to breasts that had grown at least a cup size since conception and fell in an elegant drape over her baby bump. His child growing inside his wife.

            It gave him a sense of pride not even his most ruthlessly executed business deal ever had.

            He gave her an openly appreciative look. “You look beautiful, yineka mou.”

            “That’s what you pay the exorbitant fees to the stylists for.” She didn’t smile, or meet his eyes with her crystalline blue gaze.

            She hardly ever did anymore. With him.

            Other people still got the benefit of her warm nature, but he got the elegant wife who never spoke out of turn or reacted without thought. Except in the bedroom. There, she was still the passionate being he had known he could not live without.

            He’d known she was something special the first time they went to bed together.

            So he had asked her to marry him, instead of one of the many proper Greek heiresses his mother had been throwing at him since uni days.

            And she had said yes. Of course she had. Why wouldn’t she?

            He had been able to give Pollyanna a lifestyle she couldn’t even have dreamed of.

            Nevertheless it wasn’t the expensive designer gown or glittering diamonds she’d opted to wear for the weekly family dinner, or even the silky chestnut hair swept up in an elegant twist, but the way she glowed with her pregnancy that had prompted his compliment.

            Even looking a little tired, as she did now, she still took his breath away. “It is all you,” he assured her.

            She gave him a barely there tilt of her lips, clearly unimpressed by his praise.

            She used to smile when he told her how beautiful she was to him, her expression open and full of delight at his appreciation. He did not know what had changed in that regard, but something had.

            Just as somewhere along the way he’d lost the privilege of using the term agape mou. Oh, she never told him not to call her his love. She didn’t do that anymore, make demands, or argue. She just winced every time he used the words, so he’d stopped doing it. She didn’t seem to mind yineka mou, referring to her as his wife, his woman seemed acceptable. So, he found himself using that instead.

            They made the helicopter trip to his childhood home in silence, which was not unexpected. Unless they wore headsets, hearing one another above the sound of the rotors was impossible without shouting. There had been a time she would have curled into his side, and they would have communicated with their eyes, if not their bodies. He did not remember the last time she’d offered that kind of open affection outside the bedroom.