The Counterfeit Bride(2)

By: Liberty Blake

“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.

The bride-to-be did not fare well in a comparison with the flaming beauty. Cassiopeia’s skin had a grayish tinge, causing her make-up to stand out like a clown-face mask. Her hair, although red, did not have the glow of flames in it; instead it was as dead and lifeless as a pile of bricks. Disgust flowed in his veins at the sight of her. He did not want Cassiopeia Dolmides in his bed. Ever.

He blinked as the elderly priest rushed past him in a whoosh of air. The old cleric stood in front of the young woman, shaking her hand. “I speak English. I spent many years in your country. How may I help you?” His damn hand was still holding hers. “Perhaps there has been an accident?”

Theron could not stay near his bride; he had to get away from the woman. She was a clinging vine and her touch annoyed him. Distaste stamped his soul as he left Cassiopeia with Kelley Flynn, her mother, and joined the priest with the pyrotechnia. He could feel the waves of hot sexual energy pouring off the woman. Was she dipped in pheromones the way Achilles was dipped in the River Styx?

Another honeyed laugh came out of the woman’s rosy lips. They were not full or puffed out like Cassiopeia’s, but they looked luscious enough to lick. Would they taste of honey from her laugh? Theron’s body reacted to her again as his arousal grew harder. He wanted to taste those lips. He needed to see if they were sweet or tart.

What was happening to him? The last time he had so little control over the urges of his own body had been when he was a fourteen-year-old boy and Angeliki, the tavern owner’s daughter, taught him how to please her.

“Oh, no, Padre, it’s nothing like that,” her sigh accompanied a small pout. Theron wanted to tug on her lower lip with his teeth. “I’m sorry about my hat. I know it’s a bit unusual around here, but I wasn’t sure if your church required women to have their heads covered or not. I didn’t have time to change into anything more appropriate, although this is my best hat.” Her cute little nose wrinkled up. “Do you think I should have added some flowers? I was running so late and there was just no time to change. I really needed to be here before you reached the part about forever-after-hold-your-peace thingy. I thought it was better to keep the hat on and err on the side of poor taste, than to offend the rules of your beautiful church.”

The priest gazed at the black cowboy hat cocked flirtatiously on her gleaming copper hair. “Your hat is quite charming. It looks authentic, like it’s from a John Wayne movie.”

“Why, thank you, sir.” Her eyes twinkled at the old man. “I worked hard to get that look.” She cocked her head. Theron’s pulse continued the flood south. “Have you gotten to the part where you ask if anyone has any objections yet?”

Theron had many objections to the marriage, beginning with his intense dislike of Costas Dolmides and ending with his revulsion of Cassiopeia Dolmides, but he had no idea what this sexy little package’s opposition might be.

“Is this is one of your floozies, Christofides?” Costas’ loud voice and stocky body pushed into the aisle. Apparently Costas had decided to take umbrage at a perceived insult to his family honor.

Theron wanted to respond in kind, but the contracts would not be signed until after the wedding ceremony. Until he had the deed to Evadne he could not allow his righteous indignation to show. “I have never seen this woman before.” But I wish I had, Theron thought.

“Woman, you have barged in on a private ceremony. This is a holy place and you dare to come here dressed like a whore.” Costas Dolmides’ body shook, his anger palpable, as he stood between Theron and the young woman. Theron wanted to pound him for his crudeness to the woman. His protective feelings surprised him. “You are desecrating my daughter’s wedding. Get out before I call the police.”

The little firecracker looked down her nose at Costas. She did not quake or crumble as most women did around him when he was abusive. Instead a flame burst behind her eyes. Theron had the eerie sensation he should duck to avoid getting burned. “You dare to talk of desecration, old man!” Dolmides, one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, shook his fist at the tiny slip of a woman. She gave him the disdainful look of a Sunday school teacher facing a rude little boy clutching a toad in his dirty hands. Theron had to bite the inside of his cheek to keep from smiling at her audacity. He admired her spirit even as he disliked the scene she caused.