The Greek Children’s DoctorBy: Sarah Morgan
He looked at her blankly as she rummaged in her bag and produced a cheque book.
‘A thousand pounds, wasn’t it?’ She scribbled on the cheque, tore it out and handed it to him. ‘A bit steep, but never mind. It was very decent of you to turn up and buy me.’
She staggered slightly and Andreas closed both hands over her arms to steady her.
‘Why are you giving me a cheque?’
She stared up at him vacantly and he found himself noticing the perfect shape of her mouth.
‘Because that was the agreement.’
Still studying her mouth, Andreas struggled to concentrate. ‘What agreement?’
She hesitated, obviously trying to retrieve something from her memory that the alcohol had wiped out. ‘The agreement I made with my brother,’ she said finally, a smile of triumph on her face as she remembered. ‘He promised that if he couldn’t make it he’d send someone else to save me from Philip, and…’ she smiled at him dizzily ‘…he obviously sent you.’
Andreas dragged his eyes away from her mouth. ‘I don’t know your brother.’
She tilted her head and focused on him. ‘You don’t?’ She bit her soft lip, confusion evident in her beautiful eyes. ‘Alex promised me that if he was too busy to come he’d send someone to put in an outrageous bid for me so that no one else could buy me. I assumed it was you…’
He shook his head, totally intrigued. Her brother had promised to buy her? ‘Not me.’
She swallowed hard. ‘Well, if you didn’t buy me for my brother then why did you—?’ She broke off and backed away from him, her eyes suddenly wary. ‘Who the hell are you? And why would you pay that much money for a stranger?’
‘I thought that was the idea,’ Andreas said mildly. Clearly she was questioning his motives and he could hardly blame her for that. ‘Surely you wanted to persuade the audience to part with their money?’
‘Well, yes, but not a thousand pounds.’ She was still staring at him as if she expected him to attack her at any moment. ‘If you think that paying all that money guarantees you—I mean, if you think that I’ll…’ She stumbled over the words, clearly embarrassed, and then gave up and gave him a threatening look. ‘What I mean is, you’re in for a serious disappointment because I don’t do that!’
He hid his amusement. ‘They were auctioning a date, Libby,’ he reminded her calmly, and she glared at him.
‘And doubtless you took that to mean sex because that’s what all men expect, and then afterwards I discover the wife and the child.’
Andreas blinked, trying to keep up with her thought processes. ‘I don’t generally find I have to pay for sex,’ he drawled, and she tipped her head on one side and studied him closely, her small pink tongue snaking out and moistening her lips.
‘No, I’m sure you don’t. But, then, I bet you don’t usually have to pay for dates either.’
Andreas inclined his head. ‘True.’
Normally he had to play all sorts of games to keep women at a distance.
Which made his current behaviour all the more unbelievable.
She obviously agreed with him if the expression on her face was anything to go by. ‘So why did you pay such an outrageous amount of money for a date with me?’
He was asking himself the same question.
‘Because I can afford it and because you’re very beautiful,’ he replied.
She took a few more steps backwards, clutching her shoes tightly. ‘Well, I suggest you take the cheque I’m offering you,’ she said coldly. ‘I only agreed to do the auction because Alex promised he would buy me. I never, ever would have done it if I’d thought I’d actually have to go on a date. I don’t date men. Men are rats and creeps.’
Andreas ran an experienced eye down a length of perfect thigh. A less likely candidate for celibacy he had yet to see. But there was no missing the utter misery in her blue eyes.
It didn’t take a genius to work out that someone had obviously hurt her badly.
‘You’ve obviously been mixing with the wrong men,’ he said softly, and she gave a humourless laugh.
‘Funnily enough, I’ve worked that out for myself. From now on, no more relationships.’
Unable to resist teasing her, Andreas smiled. ‘What about sex?’
He watched with fascination as colour bloomed in her cheeks.
‘I’m old-fashioned,’ she muttered. ‘I don’t have sex without a relationship and seeing that men are hopeless at relationships, I’ve given up.’
‘So tell me.’ He stepped closer to her, his attention caught by the fullness of her lower lip. ‘Who was responsible for putting you off relationships?’
‘You want the short version or the long version?’ She shrugged carelessly but he guessed that she was battling with tears and he frowned, wondering what it was about her that made him feel so protective. Not that she would have thanked him for those feelings, he reflected wryly. These days women wanted to hunt their own dragons and kill them.
‘Whichever you want to tell me.’
‘Well, I suppose I’d have to start with my parents, who were definitely not a shining example of marital harmony. They never touched.’ She flashed him a suggestive smile. ‘Well, of course, they must have touched once, or they wouldn’t have had me, but fortunately for them they had triplets so they managed to get all the physical contact out of the way in one go.’