Your feelings for me have always been plain. The last thing she needed was Damon extending false friendship because he felt obligated. Where would that leave her? Head over heels in love? God, no!

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Rebecca Grainger wrapped her arms around her stomach, nausea welling up. If she could only stop thinking about it, then maybe the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach would subside.

The wedding was her priority, Rebecca told herself. Focus on that. Last night. That kiss. Concentrate on the wedding. An Asteriades event. A desperate glance swept the tables laden with glittering silver cutlery and Baccarat glasses, the slim crystal vases each bearing six glorious long-stemmed white roses on the tables. Garlands of ivy and hothouse white roses festooned the walls, filling the ballroom with heady scent. Brass wall-mounted sconces held torches that added an intimate glow, while the vast room had been heated to allow women to show off an astonishing array of flimsy designer gowns even though the winter air blew cold outside.

And right now Rebecca wished he were a million light-years away. My dear, did you have to wear scarlet? Like a red flag to a bull? My son has made his choice and he must live with it. Disconcerted, Rebecca turned her attention to the dance floor. The bride tilted her face up, revealing astonishment but none of the sparkling joy expected. She closed her eyes.

She wanted the wedding over. So that she could rid her mouth of the bitter taste of betrayal. Time for us to join them. She forced a smile. I was miles away. The flowers, the menu, the cake, the dress. Women will be queuing for you to organise their perfect day. No one—not Savvas, nor anyone else—knew why she had fretted all day. Or why the memory of these particular nuptials would cast a pall over every wedding for years to come.

Oh, God, how could she have been so stupid last night! She dug her sandal-clad toes in, not budging. It hurt. More fool her. She dragged her attention back to Savvas. Hordes of exquisitely dressed couples had flocked to the edge of the dance floor and stood waiting for them. Rebecca raised her chin. And then her gaze collided with blue. A cold, icy blue. Damon Asteriades was glaring now, disapproval evident in the hard slash of his mouth, his bride clamped in his arms.

His bride. Her best friend. Rebecca tossed her head, slid her chilled hand into the crook of the arm Savvas offered and, forcing a parody of a smile onto her lips, allowed him to lead her onto the floor, the flouncy skirt of her scarlet dress swirling around her legs.

She would dance. Damn Damon Asteriades! Damon would never know what it had cost her to organise his wedding to Fliss, to help Fliss with the myriad choices of music, flowers, fabrics, or how sick and despondent she had felt trudging up the aisle behind the pair of them.

Nor would he ever know of her quiet desperation when the white-and-gold-robed priest had pronounced them man and wife. Of the ache that had sharpened as the bridal couple had turned to face the congregation. Never again would she allow herself to become vulnerable to this raw, consuming emotion.

It hurt too much. She smiled determinedly up at Savvas as he put an arm around her shoulder and ignored the glower from the midst of the dance floor. No pain, no emotion. The sudden stop brought her back to the present, back to the ballroom. Savvas stepped away as the romantic melody faded. In front of her stood her nemesis, the man she knew she would never escape. Even in this dim light his blue gaze glittered. Only the bent blade of a nose that had clearly been broken more than once saved his face from the classic beauty his full mouth and impossibly high cheekbones promised.

Instead it created a face filled with danger, utterly compelling and ruthlessly sensual. A modern-day pirate. Hastily she looked away, grabbing for her departing dance partner. Feeling utterly alone, Rebecca waited, heart thudding with apprehension, refusing to look at Damon. Another crack at the Asteriades fortune, hmm? There was something dark and tumultuous in his eyes. He was angry? What about her? What gave him the right to judge her?

The grip tightened. But the last thing in the world she wanted today was to be held in his arms, to dance with him. She must have said it aloud, because his mouth flattened as he twirled her around to face him. His eyes had turned to flat, unforgiving cobalt chips.


Black Widow Bride by Tessa Radley

Rebecca Grainger wrapped her arms around her stomach, nausea welling up. If she could only stop thinking about it, then maybe the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach would subside. The wedding was her priority, Rebecca told herself. Focus on that. Last night. That kiss.


Black Widow Bride

Tossed without honor into some mass grave in the hot, dry desert of Iraq. Years of unending questions, desperate prayers and daily flashes of hope were finally over. Ended, irrevocably, in the most unwelcome manner nine months ago. And when Candace Morrison revealed her hidden designs on his baby daughter, Nick was ready. October Practically penniless, Tiffany Smith had nowhere to turn except to the gorgeous billionaire who offered his help. But at what price?

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