Greek's Last Redemption

By: Caitlin Crews

CHAPTER ONE

THEO TSOUKATOS SCOWLED when his office     door swung open despite the fact he’d given strict orders that he wasn’t to be     disturbed. He expected his orders to be followed—and they usually were, because     no one who worked for him enjoyed the consequences when they were not.

He was becoming more like his widely feared father by the day,     he thought grimly. Which he could tolerate as long as that was only true here,     in the business sphere. God help him if he ever acted like his father in his     personal life.

Never, he vowed, as he had since he was a child. I         will never let that happen.

“I trust the building is on fire?” he asked his secretary icily     as she marched inside, because it could only be a crisis that brought her in     here against his instructions, surely. He glowered at her. “Or is about to     be?”

“Not as far as I’m aware,” she retorted, appearing utterly     unperturbed by his aggressive tone. Mrs. Papadopoulos, who reminded him of his     hatchet-faced, steely-haired and pursed-mouthed aunt and acted about as enamored     of Theo as Aunt Despina always had been, was meant to keep him from distractions     rather than cause them. “But it’s early yet.”

Theo sighed his impatience. He was in the middle of compiling     the rest of his notes on fuel efficiency and trim optimization strategies for     the meeting that he’d be running in his father’s stead today, now that wily old     Demetrious Tsoukatos was focusing more on his mounting medical issues than on     the family business. He glanced out the wall of windows surrounding him and saw     all of Athens arrayed at his feet, the sprawling commotion and hectic madness of     the greatest city in Greece serving as a reminder, the way it always did.

That all that rose must fall—before rising again, stronger than     before.

That was the unspoken Tsoukatos family creed. It was the story     of Theo’s own life, certainly. It was built into every inch of the proud     Tsoukatos tower, where Theo now sat. Just like the steel girders themselves that     made the building an imposing physical testament to his shipping magnate     father’s searing vision and ruthless success in the face of all obstacles, from     sworn enemies to the faltering economy.

These days, the tower stood as a marker of Theo’s own growing     reputation as a fearless risk taker and out-of-the-box thinker in a business     cluttered by those who played it safe straight into bankruptcy. That wasn’t     going to happen to the Tsoukatos fleet. Theo might have acted the spoiled heir     apparent for most of his twenties, but in the past four years he’d dedicated     himself to proving he was every bit as formidable and intimidating as the old     man himself.

It turned out he was good at this. As if ruthless power really     did run in his veins the way his father had always assured him it did. Or     should.

And he’d decided he could emulate his father here, in the     boardroom, where that kind of ruthlessness was a positive thing. Theo’s own     personal life might have been a mess, such as it was, but not for the same     reasons Demetrious’s had been. I may not be happy, he often told     himself fiercely, but at least I’m not a liar, a cheater or a         hypocrite.

He was surrounded by too many who couldn’t say the same.

Theo aimed his most ferocious glare at Mrs. Papadopoulos as she     came to a sharp stop on the other side of his wide desk. She eyed him right back     with her special brand of mild judgment and automatic condemnation, which,     perversely, he quite enjoyed. The woman was his own, personal version of the     proverbial hair shirt and Theo was nothing if not the kind of man who liked to     keep his sins as close as possible to his skin.