Beauty and the Greek BillionaireBy: Stefanie London
To Sami, for sharing my love of fairy tales and the written word.
For a woman who grew up with seven older brothers, Marianna Halsey knew surprisingly little about men.
Oh sure, she knew they ate like wild animals, forcing her to wolf down her meals as a kid so she didn’t miss out. She knew that they sorted their problems out with fists, and that they believed little sisters needed to be sheltered at all costs. She also knew they thought showering was optional and that it was perfectly fine to make a tower out of empty toilet paper rolls instead of taking them to the rubbish bin.
But when it came to knowing what a man wanted in a woman, she was at a total and utter loss.
Big boobs, small boobs, blondes or brunettes? Did they want witty and extroverted or thoughtful and quiet? She had no freaking clue. Truth be told, she wasn’t sure what she wanted in a partner, either.
What she did know, however, was that men didn’t seem to want her.
Marianna leaned back against the blue-and-white-painted chair, letting her eyes flutter shut as a warm breeze rolled past. Fanning herself, she sucked in the salty tang of the ocean and the sound of people speaking Greek. Allowing herself to get lost in the language, letting her ears delight in the sound of new words, gave her a moment of peace. The only moment of peace she’d had since she landed in Corfu yesterday.
She supposed most people would experience that muscle-loosening sense of relaxation the second they set foot on the idyllic island. But then again, most people hadn’t come here to lose their virginity.
She glanced down at her ereader, the searing words of a romance novel staring back up at her. Since she had no close girlfriends or people with whom she could talk about sex, she’d decided—as she did with most things—that books would be her best option. In fact, she’d barely slept a wink the entire journey from Australia to Greece as she’d devoured the stories, gobbling them up in her quest to garner any information which might help her seduce a man.
It was a damn good thing her ereader allowed her to shrink the text on her screen so her brother couldn’t lean over and see what she was reading! Romance novels should come with a warning: read in a cool place or risk spontaneous combustion.
Fire hazards aside, the books had aided her research and allowed her to create a checklist of important items.
To execute her anti-virginity plan she needed the following: a sexy Greek man, a romantic but private location, some fancy underwear—or in her case, a sexy bikini so she was beach-ready—and a bit of liquid courage. But not too much liquid courage…because vomiting on her target was bound to be a mood killer.
The open-air café across from her hotel was dotted with groups of people, a mix of locals and tourists from what she could tell. As yet, no one had caught her attention.
Patience. You’ve waited this long, what’s another hour or two to find the right guy?
All she had to do was pick her moment to slip away from the watchful eye of her older brother.
“Speak of the devil,” she muttered under her breath. Daniel, older brother number two, strode toward her with his shirtsleeves rolled back and perspiration beading along his hairline. Like her, he was used to the bone-dry heat of home rather than this sticky island humidity.
He dropped into the chair across from her. “How’s the reading?”
You wouldn’t be asking that if you knew how many times I’d read the word “cock” in the last five minutes.
“Good.” She reached for her coffee and sipped in an effort to stifle a giggle. “How was your meeting?”
“He didn’t go for it.” Daniel’s usually relaxed, jovial expression turned dark as a storm cloud. “I was warned he was difficult to deal with, but…he cut me off at the knees before I could even get the whole pitch out.”
“That’s a shame.” Her stomach clenched. As much as she wanted the best for her brother, she had a selfish reason for hoping he’d been successful. This trip could not be cut short.
“I’m not going to take no for an answer.” Daniel raked a hand through his hair. “I told him as much. What we’re doing will totally change how people invest their money. He should be all over it.”
Daniel was the “face” of their invention with his business background, but their younger brother, Matthew, was the brains. A child prodigy, Matthew had completed his degree in computer science before he was legally able to drink. He’d been building computers and designing programs for as long as anyone could remember. Now, with blockchain disrupting the finance industry, Matthew’s program enabled crowdsourcing for cryptocurrency price predictions, creating a whole new environment for making money.
But what they needed were a few high-profile investors to get on board. If they backed the product, then others would follow. And Daniel, never one to shy away from lofty goals, had decided that some fancy Greek billionaire—she’d forgotten his name already—would be target number one. Hence the trip.
“You should have brought me along to the meeting. I could have turned on the charm.” Marianna winked, and Daniel’s hearty laugh was so immediate and so genuine that she frowned. “It’s not that hilarious.”