His eyes narrowed. ‘The Kemp household still represents the best of British hospitality, I see.’
Georgie hardly heard him; the muscle that clenched and unclenched in his cheek was having a strongly hypnotic effect on her. Dressed all in black, he looked sleek and dangerous and off-the-scale sexy!
‘The house and town are the same, but you,’ he added, allowing his frowning gaze to move over her slender figure, ‘look different…’
Careful not to reveal by so much of a flicker of an eyelash what the critical brush of his eyes did to her, Georgie shrugged and stuck her hands in the pockets of her jeans. She was oblivious to the fact the action stretched the material, lovingly revealing the feminine curve of her slim thighs.
‘Designer clothes, you mean?’ She gave a contemptuous smile. ‘They don’t suit my lifestyle and actually they’re not me. They never were.’
When Angolos lifted his eyes to her face his natural warm colouring was a shade deeper. ‘Actually I meant you look harder.’ Despite this grim assertion, it was her softness that was occupying his thoughts.
You carry on believing that, thought Georgie, pushing her hands deeper into her pockets to disguise the fact they were seriously trembling.
‘There was a time when I actually cared what you thought of me…’ The memory of her anxiety to please him made her shake her head in pained distaste.
The irony was, the harder she tried to be what he wanted, the farther apart they seemed to drift. All the expensive clothes in the world had not made her fit in with the wealthy, snooty Constantine clan.
From day one his family, or more specifically his mother, Olympia Constantine, had made no attempt to hide her disapproval…at least not from Georgie. Around Angolos his mother had been more circumspect. Olympia had saved her sly digs and outright hostility for when Angolos hadn’t been around, which had been most of the time. She had never made any secret of the fact she’d wanted Georgie out of their lives.
And in the end they had got what they’d wanted. Georgie released her breath in a long, shuddering sigh and lifted her chin.
‘I’m not the pushover I once was, certainly.’ She was faintly amazed to hear her voice emerge steady and even. ‘I don’t know why you’re here, Angolos, and I don’t want to know.’ She stood to one side and gestured to the open door.
Angolos didn’t move. A muscle along his strong jaw spasmed as he picked up a toy car from the floor. She watched warily as he pushed the toy back and forth along across his palm. ‘He’s my son.’
Georgie’s slender shoulders lifted. ‘So…?’
He dropped the toy into an overflowing toy box and lifted a hand to his forehead, rubbing the groove between his dark brows. He continued to look uncharacteristically distracted. ‘I have a son.’
‘You say it as if it’s news, Angolos,’ she mocked. ‘You’ve had a son for the past three years and I didn’t notice you breaking any speed records to see him. Not even ab…birthday card.’ She lowered her eyes quickly as she felt the warmth of the unshed tears that filled them.
‘I thought my lawyers made it clear that if the money I deposited wasn’t sufficient I would—’
Georgie’s head came up, her luminous, liquid golden eyes levelled contemptuously with his. ‘Do you really think I’d touch a penny of your money…?’
Angolos’s lip curled. ‘You expect me to believe that you haven’t touched the money.’
‘I never wanted your money!’ she flared. ‘I wanted…’ She stopped dead, dark colour suffusing her pale cheeks. ‘If I gave a damn what you believe I’d get out the bank statement.’ She had given a damn once, though, and it had hurt her more than she wanted to remember.
‘If you haven’t used the money, how have you supported yourself?’ he demanded suspiciously. ‘Or should I ask who has been supporting you?’
She sucked in an outraged breath through flared nostrils and watched the toy ball he had aimed a kick at bounce off the wall.
If he thought she had time for a social life, let alone a boyfriend, he really didn’t have the first clue about what it took to bring up a child single-handed while holding down a demanding job! But then maybe that was all to the good—she preferred the idea of him thinking she had a wild private life.
‘I’ve been doing what most people do. I’ve been working.’
His brows shot towards his hairline. ‘Working…you…?’
‘Yes, me, working. I was training to be a teacher when we met, if you remember.’
‘Yes, but it was hardly your vocation; you gave it up without a second thought.’
Georgie’s eyes widened as she scanned his face with incredulous anger. Didn’t he realise that she’d have given up anything for him…that she’d have done anything he suggested without a second thought?
I must have been out of my mind!
‘What choice did I have?’
Angolos looked exasperated. ‘There is always a choice,’ he rebutted.
She swallowed past the emotional congestion in her throat. ‘You’d have been quite happy being married to a student, then?’ she challenged.
‘At no stage did you say your career was so important—’
‘You’re right, there is always a choice,’ she interrupted. ‘And I made the wrong one…I married you.’
The skin across his cheekbones tautened; his eyes meshed with hers. ‘We both made the wrong choice.’
‘Don’t dwell on it; I didn’t.’ If you discounted the endless nights she had cried herself to sleep. ‘I went back to college after Nicky was born.’
‘A baby needs his mother.’
‘That’s what I always liked about you; you were so supportive of me.’
Angolos’s astonished expression gave her a moment’s amusement and for a second she felt like the empowered woman she wanted him to think her.
‘For the record, Nicky has his mother; it’s his father he doesn’t have,’ she retorted, and had the pleasure of seeing a tell-tale wash of colour darken his golden-toned skin.
It would seem that at some level Angolos was aware that he had behaved like a despicable rat.
‘I didn’t reject him,’ she continued. ‘I’m not the one who couldn’t accept my responsibility.’
Angolos’s nostrils flared as his glittering jet eyes locked onto those of his estranged wife.
‘I didn’t reject my son,’ he rebutted thickly.
Georgie arched an ironic brow, outwardly at least oblivious to the waves of strong emotion he was projecting. She might once have turned herself inside out to pander to his moods, but that time was long gone.
‘You and I must have very different interpretations of rejection.’
Angolos closed his eyes. The curse that escaped his clamped lips drew Georgie’s attention to the sensual curve of his mouth. Her stomach dipped and she tore her eyes away.
‘Sorry, but I don’t understand Greek. Do you mind translating?’
‘You don’t understand my language because you made not the slightest effort to learn it.’
‘No effort!’ she yelped, stung by this unjust accusation. ‘I may not have been very good, but it wasn’t for want of trying. I only stopped going to the wretched lessons when—’
He looked at her in open amazement. ‘Lessons? You did not take lessons.’
‘Well, I had to do something to fill my days other than shopping and having my hair done.’
She had no intention of telling him that she had wanted to surprise him. That she had cherished an unrealistic ambition of casually replying to him in fluent, flawless Greek. Her ambition to make her husband proud of her seemed painfully pathetic in light of what had happened.
‘So you were not content with your life as my wife?’
‘You didn’t want a wife, you wanted a mistress! And I’m not mistress material.’ She watched an expression of astonishment steal across his face and added as a reckless afterthought, ‘I was bored silly.’
Georgie turned a deaf ear to the dangerous note in Angolos’s voice and nodded. ‘Yes, bored. I got bored with you and Greek lessons.’
There was no way in the world she would ever tell him how his mother and sister had made fun of her attempts to converse. Angolos, they had said, would be embarrassed by her awkward grammar and appalling accent. Like all her attempts to fit in, this one had never stood a chance, not with in-laws who had never lost an opportunity to make her feel inadequate.
‘I had no idea that living with me was such an ordeal.’
‘Neither did I at the time. Now,’ she told him calmly, ‘I can be more objective.’