Elysiana Rouva and the young Michael are drawn together by an inexplicable bond. They share so much more than mere physical attraction. Ellie is at the point where she is questioning her life. Recently overcoming a long, hard battle with breast cancer, she is vulnerable and depressed. Her husband, Pavlos, although outwardly supportive, provides her with no real comfort.
Their marriage is a farce. She no longer loves him and is not threatened by his numerous affairs or his obsession with his work. Her friends say all the right words but she cannot make them understand.
Enter Michael. Michael becomes Ellie’s salvation. The young man Pavlos sends to tend their garden turns Ellie’s world on its head. As for Michael, Ellie provides escape from a past clouded with bad memories.
Can she rid his heart of so much betrayal?
Skin still fragile, pale alabaster after too many weeks of hospital beds, she applied factor twenty five. In a couple more weeks she would risk factor fifteen, hoping to regain the honey glow that used to be the envy of her Saxon-fair friends. Pierre Cardin shades in place; she untied the string on her bikini top and settled down for a good old session with Ian Rankin. One paragraph on and slow tears fell. Who was she trying to kid? It this wasn’t depression then it was a damn good imitation. Her life was a mess; futile and devoid of warmth, compassion and love.
Two hours on and twenty laps later, her nerves returned to fugue level. Eyes closed behind the sunglasses, she drifted, the gentle breeze a soft caress against her tingling skin.
Ellie jump-started back to the land of the living. Hands shaking, she fumbled for the bikini straps, holding the bandeau top against her breasts—or breast rather. It was an instinctive gesture.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you but the gates were open.”
The voice was low, melodic, American but with a top note of European she couldn’t quite place. Fingers as unresponsive as chipolata sausages, she tied the knot behind her neck. “Sorry. I was dozing.”
“Don’t apologize. I didn’t mean to wake you only Mr. Rouvas said I should talk to you. He wasn’t certain where you would want me to begin.”
“Me?” Ellie was amazed. “But he never asks me….never mind.” Swinging legs to the side, she stood. Too quickly, however. Dizziness crashed down in waves.
Cool, slim and tanned fingers curled around her arm.
“I’m fine, thank you.” She swallowed back nausea. “I got up too fast.”
“Look, if it’s inconvenient I can return tomorrow.”
His English was precise, making her think perhaps it was not his first language. “No, really, it’s nothing.” The vertigo passed and she set her lips into a smile. “So…the garden… yes. Well, I presume that’s why you’re here. Sorry…I didn’t catch your name.”
“Michael.” He held out his hand.
The old-fashioned gesture caught her by surprise; no way was this young man a Go4 rep. Remembering her own manners, she took his hand in hers. Palms touched for the briefest of moments but it was enough. A frisson of pleasure licked at her gut. She recoiled from him. Collecting her jagged thoughts, she pulled her glasses down from her head and hid her emotion behind dark lenses. She wished he’s remove his own Raybans. Was he laughing at her awkwardness, although what she had to feel so gauche about, she didn’t know? He must be at least ten years younger than she; still a kid.
Adopting what she hoped came off as a confident stance, she beckoned him to follow. They left the pool area, the boy behind, so close his breath warmed her neck.