Kristian Koumantaros might be fabulously wealthy and able to afford an eccentric and reclusive lifestyle in the Peloponnese, but that didn’t excuse his behavior. And his behavior was nothing short of self-absorbed and self-destructed.
She was here because Kristian Koumantaros couldn’t keep a nurse, and he couldn’t keep a nurse because he couldn’t keep his temper.
The voices in the library were growing louder. Elizabeth, fluent in Greek, listened as they discussed her.
Mr. Koumantaros didn’t want her here.
Pano, the elderly butler, was attempting to convince his employer that it wouldn’t be polite to send the nurse away without at least seeing her.
Mr. Koumantaros said he didn’t care about being polite.
Elizabeth’s mouth curved wryly s the butler urged Mr. Koumantaros to at least offer her some refreshment.
Her wry smile disappeared as she heard Mr. Koumantaros answer that as most nurses from First Class Rehab were large women Ms. Hatchet could probably benefit from passing on an afternoon snack.
“Kyrios,” Pano persisted, “she’s brought a suitcase. Luggage. Ms. Hatchet intends to stay.”
Listening to the ludicrous conversation, Elizabeth had to bite her tongue to keep from interrupting.
“Stay?” Koumantaros roared.
“Yes, Kyrios.” The elderly Greek’s tone couldn’t have been any more apologetic but his words had the effect of sending Kristian into another litany of curses.
“For God’s sake, Pano, leave the damn glass alone, and dispense with her. Throw her a bone. Get her a donkey. I don’t care. Just do it. Now.”
“But she’s traveled from London--.”
“I don’t care if she came from the moon. She had no business coming her. I left a message two weeks ago with the service. That woman knows perfectly well I’ve fired them. I didn’t ask her to come. It’s not my problem that she wasted her time.”
Speaking of which, Elizabeth thought, rubbing at the back of her neck to ease the pinch of pain, she was wasting time standing here. It was time to introduce herself and get the meeting underway.
Shoulders squared, Elizabeth took a deep breath and pushed the tall door open. As she entered the room, her low heels made a faint clicking sound on the hardwood floor.
“Good afternoon, Mr. Koumantaros,” she said. Her narrowed gaze flashed across the shuttered windows, cluttered coffee table, newspapers stacked computer high on a corner desk. Had to be a month’s newspapers piled there, unread.
“You’re trespassing, and eavesdropping.” Kristian jerked upright in his wheelchair, his deep voice vibrating with fury.
She barely glanced his way, heading instead for the small table filled with prescription bottles. “You were shouting, Mr. Koumantaros, I didn’t need to eavesdrop. And I’d be trespassing if your care weren’t my responsibility, but it is, so you’re going to have to deal with me.”
At the table Elizabeth picked up one of the medicine bottles to check the label, and then the others. It was an old habit, an automatic habit. The first thing a medical professional needed to know was what, if anything, the patient was taking.
Kristian’s hunched figure in the wheelchair shuddered as he tried to follow the sound of her movements, his eyes shielded by a white gauze bandage wrapped around his head, the white gauze brilliant contrast to the thick onyx hair. “Your services have already been terminated,” he said tersely.
“You’ve been overruled,” Elizabeth answered, returning the bottles to the table to study him now. The bandages swathing his eyes exposed the hard carved contours of his face. He had chiseled cheekbones, a firm chin and strong jaw shadowed with a rough black beard. From the look of it, he hadn’t shaved since the last nurse had been sent packing.
“By whom?” he demanded, leaning crookedly in his chair.
“Yes, indeed. We’re in daily contact with them, Mr. Koumantaros, and these past several months have made them question your mental soundness.”
“You must be joking.”
“Not at all. There is discussion that perhaps you’d be better cared for in a facility—“
“Get out!” he demanded, pointing at the door. “Get out now.
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