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She shook my hand, the sensation of her skin against mine more intensethan I’d expected. There was something about this woman, something I’d never before experienced.

“Georgia,” she said, her eyes on mine, speaking as if she were in a trance. “Very nice to meet you, Alex.”

“Es-tu sûr?” the other woman asked.

“Yeah,” Georgia said. “I’m sure.”

“Ne t’inquiete pas,” I said. “Elle est en bonnes mains.”

My French managed to put a small smile on the friend’s face.

“Alright,” she said. “Let me know if you need anything.”

“I will.”

The friend took one more look at me, making it beyond clear that she would be keeping her eye on me, then left.

“Sorry about that,” Georgia said. “Hard to be an unattached woman in Greece without the men being all over you.”

I smiled slightly, memories of that idiot who’d been hitting on her returning.

“Us Greek men aren’t shy about beauty,” I said. “I’m no exception.”

She bit her lip once again.

“Can I invite you to sit?” I asked.

Georgia looked me over once more, undoubtedly weighing the pros and cons of my offer.

“Yes, you can.”

I wasted no time placing my hand on the small of her back and leading her away from the bar, toward the stairs leading up to the next level. A large bouncer was positioned in front of the door, and he stepped aside as we approached.

We made our way upstairs to the bar’s VIP area. I recognized some of the patrons; local business types with a few low-level gangsters mixed in among them. All recognized me, their bodies tensing as they prepared to get up and move if I were to ask them.

The view was spectacular—the open patio looking out over the town on one side, the water on the other, the salty, fresh smell of the beach thick in the air. The floor was a stunning fresco of reds and whites and yellows, indeed my favorite part of this otherwise run-down establishment.

“I don’t often get to come home these days,” I said, leading her to a private, two-person table near the edge of the patio. “But whenever I smell that sea air, I can’t help but feel nostalgic.”

“This place is like nothing else,” she replied as she sat down. “There’re beaches in Texas, of course. But there’s something about the smell and the ambiance of the Mediterranean.”

I sat next to her, Georgia’s legs close enough to brush against mine. The sight of those nearly bare thighs was enough to get me wondering what they felt like, their warmth and softness wrapped around my hips as I drove into her again and again…

“Texas?” I asked. “That explains the accent.”

She smiled shyly, taking her gaze away from the water. “That’s right, and don’t even think about making any jokes about a girl from Texas named Georgia; I’ve heard them all.”

“It does give one the impression your parents had something of a sense of humor.”

“Oh, they do, my dad, especially. They named me that because I was born there; guess they thought it was fitting.” She pursed her lips for a moment. “Alexandros… named for ‘the great’ by any chance?”

“You’re right on the money, as you Americans say. My father had big ideas about what kind of life I’d live.”

“And what kind of lifedoyou live, Alex?” she asked. “Sorry to be so nosy, but when a guy walks into a bar and the staff all but rolls out the red carpet, a girl gets to wondering. Not to mention, the way these people reacted,” she swept her hand toward the rest of the patrons on the patio. “I don’t want to sound like a hayseed, but some of them look like pretty high-class folks. And they all got nervous when you arrived.”

There was no way I could tell her the truth of who I was. At the same time, I wasn’t the sort of man who lied, or one who was deceitful.

“My family is well-known around this part of the country,” I said. “Lots of history to our name, and names mean a lot in Greece.” I was being a bit careful with my words, but there wasn’t a lie among them.

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