The Counterfeit Bride

By: Liberty Blake

Boundless Billionaires - Book 1


1





“Stop the wedding!”

Six hundred heads snapped towards the central doors of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Annunciation, the Metropolis, the church of choice for Greece’s elite.

The silly French trumpeters Cassiopeia Dolmides had insisted on blasted a fanfare to announce the new arrival. Theron Christofides’ heart thumped harder. Was this it? Had his legal team found a loophole to get him out of this accursed wedding without a wife he did not want?

Theron did not recognize the voice of the woman now strutting down the aisle. His eyes squinted against the bright Greek sunshine, but still he could not get a clear view of her. Unless his attorney had undergone a sex change overnight, it was not him. The sun’s rays outlined a curvaceous body but hid the details. Never-ending legs were exposed by an extremely tiny skirt.

In ancient times brides would have made a sacrifice to Apollo for a day such as this to wed, but it did not lift the gloom that issued forth from Theron’s heart. It was an unfair God who placed this woman in the vicinity of his mannequin bride on their wedding day.

Cassiopeia, his not so lovely bride, clutched him with trembling hands. The sanctuary and priest loomed behind them and Ajax Pappas, his best man, stood beside him with a huge grin on his face as the guests buzzed. “I don’t remember any of your women being so height challenged,” Ajax snickered.

Up until the time he climbed out of his limo and walked up the steps of the Cathedral, Theron had hoped his attorney would find a way out of this farce, but the realist in him knew there was no way out of this unpleasant situation for him, not if he wanted to take possession of Evadne Island.

The Greek economy was trapped in the River Styx. Unfortunately, he could not single-handedly save the entire country, but he had the chance to salvage the island of his birth. All he had to do was marry the pasty faced fashion horror standing next to him, and beget an heir on her. It was archaic and infuriated him, but it was the only way Dolmides would relinquish control of the shipping line that brought tourists to the island. The tourists the islanders depended on for their livelihood. There was also the small matter of the Dolmides Cruise Liner wrecked off the north coast of the island. The ship had struck a sandbar and “sunk” the year before and yet its carcass still littered the coast. A fresh reminder to the world of the incident that had taken ten lives.

Theron was pulled out of his thoughts by Ajax’s quip. Before he could reply a melodious voice rang out loud and clear, “Is this when I say I have an objection? Or have I already missed that part?”

His bride gasped and turned even pastier. Theron watched the woman in her wedding cake gown shift from foot to foot. She was as jumpy as a young cat going through its first heat; too thin, too needy, and shameless in her endeavors to climb into his bed. Her claw-like fingers squeezed his arm. He wondered if his white shirt would have blood stains on it before this was all over.

“Damn American tourists,” Theron muttered under his breath. “They think they can burst in anywhere they want, with no care for the privacy of others.” The woman’s boots clattered noisily on the tiled floor as she strode briskly up the aisle. She headed straight for the sanctuary with no regard for the wedding that was in progress. The crowd tittered at this unprecedented breach of etiquette. They probably thought she was one of Theron’s discarded lovers, since several of them had made scenes in the past. Apparently the best way to find another high profile lover was by publicly humiliating your past lovers.

Theron had never seen anyone stride and sway at the same time, but somehow the intruder managed to do so. Her top did not meet her skirt and a sun beam danced through the stained glass window to sparkle on a jewel in her navel. The heeled boots gave her a boost in stature that she needed. He was bemused to see the footwear; they were not fashionable in any way. They did not feature heels so high the wearer had to have two inch lifts on the soles to accommodate the height of the heel. In addition, they were purple and appeared to be made out of snakeskin. Were they cowboy boots? The hat wasn’t a frothy wedding concoction favored by the other women attending the wedding; it appeared to be a cowboy hat. She looked like she had just stepped out of a movie or a stable. He suppressed a grin at the incongruity of her appearance in the stately old cathedral.

She was attractive with a capital H for hot. The woman fizzled like a pyrotechnia, ready to explode at any moment. The set of her jaw and the no nonsense stance she took when she came to a stop halfway up the aisle proclaimed her firecracker status louder than a neon billboard in New York’s Times Square.

“I’m sorry for the interruption, folks, but it couldn’t be helped,” her voice flowed over his senses like warm honey waiting to be lapped up, and sent his blood rushing south. Cassiopeia’s voice was high pitched and whiny; no blood ever rushed at her nasally voice. “Does anybody here speak English?” Strands of fire curled around the woman’s body. Would that fiery hair scorch his hands when he touched it?

The cathedral doors closed and in the reduced light Theron stared at the petite woman in a miniscule denim skirt. It went well with the cowboy boots and hat, but was out of place in Athens’ great cathedral.

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