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His Virgin Mistress by Anne mather


His Virgin Mistress by Anne mather

Author:Anne mather [mather, Anne]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


CHAPTER TEN

It was early evening before Joanna had the chance to es cape

from the wedding party. Avoiding the marquee, where earlier in

the day a sumptuous lunch had been served to over a hundred

guests, she went down the steps towards the beach, taking off

her heeled sandals when the sand started to ooze between the

straps.

From Alex and Costas's point of view it had been a suc-

cessful day. Although Alex had confided that the guest list had

had to be pinned because of her father's illness, Joanna couldn't

help thinking that getting on to one hundred and fifty witnesses

was fairly generous by anyone's standards. Another ceremony

was already being planned, to take place in Athens when the

young couple returned from their hon eymoon, to include all the

people they had not been able to invite to the island. But for the

present the celebrations were over; Alex and her new husband

had left for Malaysia, and all that was left to do was bid goodbye

to the guests who had stayed at the villa.

Half an hour ago Joanna had escorted Constantine to his

apartments, aware that he had been exhausted by it all. Despite

his grim determination to give Alex a day she would remember,

at the end he had had to admit his weaknesses. Without Joanna's

help he would never have got up the stairs, but he was adamant

that no one else should be in volved.

Demetri had been concerned, of course. Joanna had been

aware of him keeping an eye on his father, like herself, during the

service, ready to rush to his aid if he'd looked in danger of

imminent collapse.

But Constantine had drawn on strengths even Joanna hadn't

believed he possessed. He'd escorted his daughter to the

ceremony, stood by while she'd taken her vows, and given his

speech at the lunch that followed with every in dication that he

was enjoying the occasion just as much as everybody else.

And he had. He'd kept Joanna at his side, of course, de spite

the many disapproving looks from his older daughter. It was the

only intimation Joanna had had that perhaps he didn't feel as

confident of his stamina as he pretended. But, apart from that,

he'd behaved like any other father, proud of his daughter and

eager to demonstrate his approval of her choice of husband to

the world.

Thankfully, it was all over now. Joanna could feel her own

tension easing as she trod across the still warm sand. Constantine

had achieved his objective, and there'd been no doubt of his

gratitude towards her as she'd helped him out of his jacket and

shirt and replaced them with a silk dressing robe.

Subsiding with evident relief onto his bed, he'd clung to her

hand for a moment longer than was necessary, saying weakly,

'You do not think anyone suspected, do you, agapi mou?' and

Joanna had assured him that he'd done as he'd intended.

'Alex suspected nothing,' she'd assured him. 'Demetri...' She'd

hesitated. 'Demetri was concerned that you might be over-taxing

your strength, but none of them guessed the truth. However...'

She paused again. 'You've got to tell them now, Constantine. It's

only fair.'

Constantine's nod of understanding had hardly been a

promise, but Joanna had had to be content with it.



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