She rushed at him, grabbing the lapels of his black cashmere coat. “What have you done with my baby?” She tried to shake him, pounded on his chest. “Where is he?”
He grabbed her wrists. “He is no longer your concern.”
“Give me my child!”
“No.” His grip was grim, implacable.
She struggled in his arms. Once his touch had set her body aflame. No longer. Not now that she knew what kind of man he really was.
“Misha!” she shrieked helplessly.
Nikos’s grasp tightened as he pulled her closer, preventing her from thrashing her arms or clawing his face. “My son belongs with me.”
It was exactly what she’d known he’d say, but Anna still staggered as if he had hit her. This time Nikos let her go. She grabbed the rough edge of the long wooden table to keep herself from sliding to the floor. She had to be strong—strong for her baby. She had to think of a way to save her son.
In spite of her best efforts, a tear left a cold trail down her cheek. Wiping it away furiously, she raised her chin and glared at Nikos with every ounce of hate she possessed. “You can’t do this!”
“I can and I will. You lost the right to be his mother when you stole him away like a thief in the night.”
Anna brought her hands to her mouth, knowing Nikos could use his money and power and man-eating lawyers to keep her from her son forever. She’d been stupid to run away, and now her worst nightmare had come true. Her baby would grow up without her, living in Las Vegas with a heartless, womanizing billionaire and his new mistress…
“I’m so sorry, Anna,” Natalie sobbed behind her. “I tried to stop them. I tried.”
“It’s all right, Natalie,” Anna whispered. But it wasn’t all right. It would never be all right again.
A door slammed back against the wall, causing Anna to jump as a third bodyguard entered from the kitchen and placed a tray on the table. Steam rose from the samovar as Nikos went to the table and poured undiluted tea, followed by hot water, into a blue china cup.
She stared at her great-grandmother’s china teacup. It looked so fragile and small in his fingers, she thought. It could be crushed in a moment by those tanned, muscular hands.
Nikos could destroy anything he wanted. And he had.
“I’ve been here two weeks,” Anna said bitterly as she watched him take a drink. “What took you so long?”
He lowered the cup, and his unsmiling gaze never once looked from hers.
“I ordered my men to wait until you and the child were separated. Easier that way. Less risk of you doing something foolish.”
Stupid. Stupid. She never should have left her baby—not even to go to an all-night market in St. Petersburg. After all, Misha wasn’t really sick, just teething and cranky, with a tiny fever that barely registered on her thermometer.
“I was stupid to leave,” she whispered.
“It took you four months to figure that out?”
Anna barely heard him. No, the really stupid move had been coming here in the first place. After four months on the move, always just one step ahead of Nikos’s men, and with money running out, Anna had convinced herself that Nikos wouldn’t be staking out her great-grandmother’s old palace. Now mortgaged to the hilt, the crumbling palace was their family’s last asset. Natalie was trying to repair the murals in hopes that they’d be able to find a buyer and pay off their paralyzing debt. A fruitless hope, in Anna’s opinion.
As fruitless as trying to escape Nikos Stavrakis. He was bigger than her by six inches, and eighty pounds of hard muscle. He had three bodyguards, with more waiting in cars hidden behind the palace.