A Tycoon Too Wild to Wed

Book 1 in the Teras Wedding Challenge Series
Satisfyingly Spicy

He’ll claim his convenient bride
But she has her own demands!

Powerful CEO Asterion Teras has no intention to wed. Yet even he can’t ignore his beloved grandmother’s outrageous dictate to marry a woman of her choosing. Brita Martis is part of the local convent, however Asterion is certain he can convince her to say yes!

All innocent Brita craves is freedom from her grasping family. The chemistry that burns between her and Asterion at first sight thrills her. She’ll accept his proposal, but when their passion explodes, she is lost! Unless she can tame the wildest tycoon of all…

This sizzling new book is the first in the deliciously hot Teras Wedding Challenge duet with Jackie Ashenden!

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Chapter One

Proud Asterion Teras gazed down at the elegant and diminutive old woman before him in dark, arrogant astonishment, his default expression. “I beg your pardon?”

“You heard me,” his grandmother replied. Her gaze was canny and sharp, as ever. She sat in her favorite chair as if it was a throne, but Asterion was not the sort to bend a knee to anyone, not even the matriarch of what was left of his family. Then she said the same astounding thing again. “You need a wife. Badly.”

“I can think of nothing I require less, Yia Yia,” Asterion replied dryly.

And that should have been the end of the matter, but he knew very well it was not.

He looked across the elegant, airy room that offered views of the island from all sides with the Mediterranean gleaming in the distance. The Teras villa had been the family’s prize jewel for generations, sitting on the estate that some glorious ancestor or another had won by finding favor with a long-ago king.

The villa was unofficially known as his grandmother’s castle, high on the most sought-after hill with one of the finest views around of the whole of the island kingdom. And these days, Dimitra Teras was more than happy to consider herself a sort of queen of all she surveyed.

Given that Dimitra was one of the few residents of the island who could boast of a friendship with the actual queen, who was rarely seen in public any longer, no one would dare question her on this.

Not even Asterion, who otherwise questioned everyone. On everything. As if it was his duty.

He sometimes thought it was.

His twin brother, Poseidon, stood by one of the far windows, and Asterion could tell from the set to his twin’s shoulders that Poseidon was no more interested in a potential wife than he was. It was a topic of some amusement for the both of them that while newspapers and ambitious strangers were forever intimating that there was strife between the two heirs to the Teras family fortune, the brothers actually enjoyed each other’s company.

They were a mere minute apart, after all.

But they preferred not to let the truth get out—not when it was far more entertaining to read reports of their nonexistent enmity instead. The reality was that Asterion and Poseidon had competed for everything because they liked competing. They had each taken to their part of the family empire with the competitive spirit that had marked their relationship since the womb, according to their mother, who they could both remember telling them stories of what she was certain had been brawls while tucked away in her belly.

They’d lost her in the same car accident that had taken their father and grandfather, too, when the twins were twelve.

Asterion preferred not to think about unpleasant things he couldn’t change. Particularly that. Not when he could still recall the jolt of impact. And worse, what came after.

“Both of you,” Dimitra was saying, with an unfortunate sort of ring in her voice, as if she was issuing proclamations. “The pair of you are little better than wolves. From day to day, I don’t know which one of you has the worst reputation.”

At this, Poseidon laughed. “I have endeavored to make certain it was me.”

“Nonsense,” Asterion responded, lifting a brow. “What are you but everyone’s favorite playboy? A mere trinket, to be used and discarded.”

“Not all of us take pride in being considered the Monster of the Mediterranean, ton megalýtero adelfó,” Poseidon replied with his usual ease.

Poseidon smiled. Asterion brooded. They had been thus since birth.

“I am old,” their grandmother announced. Which was a shocking statement from a woman who had previously made it clear that she intended to defy the ravages of age by remaining immortal. Asterion had not doubted her. Now, as both of her grandsons stared at her, she smiled. In a manner that could only be called dangerous. “Death stalks me even now.”

“Only last week you made a great song and dance out of the fact your doctors told you that you are healthier than the average thirty-year-old,” Asterion said. “Or have you forgotten? Is that the sort of stalking you mean?”

“I wish that I could gracefully recede into the shrouds of a foggy memory,” Dimitra replied crisply. “Sadly, my mind is all too sharp. I see the two of you with perfect clarity. I am forced to read about your exploits daily, and I am not a young woman. I have no intention of seeing this family die out simply because the two of you are so useless.”

“Useless,” Poseidon repeated, with that laugh of his that one tabloid had once called more dangerous than an earthquake, such was its seductive power. “I’m not sure the shareholders would agree, Yia Yia.”

“Last I checked,” Asterion said in agreement, “Poseidon’s Hydra Shipping and my own Minotaur Group far exceed the average annual earnings of any other member of this family. Ever. Not only this year, Yia Yia—every year. But you know this.”

“You demand this,” Poseidon murmured.

Dimitra pretended not to hear him. “I want great-grandchildren,” she replied, waving a hand as if accomplishments in the corporate world mattered little to her.

When Asterion knew all too well that Dimitra Teras had a keen business mind that she never hesitated to use as a weapon, taking her competitors out at the knees.

Where did she imagine he and his brother had learned it?

“Are you well?” he asked, while Poseidon only laughed. They were identical, but no one had any trouble telling them apart. The same dark hair. The same blue eyes the color of the sea all around them. But one of them never smiled. The other never stopped. “Since when have you been domestic?”

“It has nothing to do with domesticity, paidiá,” their grandmother replied.

Children. As if Asterion and Poseidon were toddlers, clambering about in short pants.

No one else would dare speak to two of the most powerful men in the world in this fashion. No one else ever had. Their exploits and accomplishments were known the world over. Business rivals surrendered rather than attempt to fight them. Women flung themselves at their feet. Since their twelfth birthday, there had only ever been one person with the audacity to suggest to them that they, too, were mortal beings.

And she was laying it on a bit thick today.

“The sad truth I have come to accept is that neither one of you can be trusted to find suitable mates,” Dimitra was saying now, in a particularly long-suffering way that suggested she was enjoying herself. “Far too dissolute, the pair of you, for all that you come at it differently.” The brothers eyed each other, but could not argue. “Nor can either one of you be trusted to take care of things in a reasonable amount of time. I would like to see my great-grandchildren, if only to ensure that they are brought up properly. This has nothing to do with my severe concerns about your characters, and everything to do with the family legacy.”

The brothers gazed at each other once more, then aimed that look at her.

“We are the family legacy,” Asterion said quietly.

Dimitra sniffed. “I have given you both many hints over the years, none of which you have appeared to notice. So this time I will speak to you in a language I know you understand.” She leaned forward in her chair, clasping her hands together so that her many priceless jewels caught the light and sent it spinning this way and that, as if she controlled that, too. “You will each marry the woman of my choosing, or I will make certain that your inheritance is left to an outsider rather than split between you. An outsider who will then, lest you have forgotten, have a controlling interest in the family trust.”

Asterion made a disapproving sound. “We have not forgotten.”

“You hate outsiders more than we do,” Poseidon reminded her.

“The choice is yours,” Dimitra said resolutely.

And smiled, a bit too cat-with-the-canary for Asterion. If it had been anyone but his much-beloved grandmother saying such things to him, he would simply have turned on his heel, left her presence, and set about destroying her. But he loved his grandmother—and not only because he knew too well that she did not make idle threats.

And besides, she was their only weak spot. They had made their own fortunes. They had carved their own paths. She was the only family they had left after the accident and she had cared for them ever since. In her own inimitable way, certainly, but Asterion did not have to consult with Poseidon to know they still felt as they always had.

If Dimitra wanted a legacy, they would give her one.

However grudgingly.

She waited, as if she expected explosions. Crockery tossed against walls, fists through walls—but she had not raised them to be so obvious.

Dimitra smiled wider when all they did was wait. “I want to be very clear that this is under my control, not yours. You both must agree to both woo and marry the women I select for you.”

Again, the twins looked at each other, communicating without words.

“You say this as if it is some hardship for us to woo women, Yia Yia,” Poseidon drawled. “I do not wish to make you blush, but this has not been a great challenge for either one of us. Ever.”

“I said woo and then marry,” Dimitra replied tartly. “I did not say seduce and then discard. And these will not be those dreadful cardboard creatures the two of you favor. You need a good woman, each of you. And in the interests of full disclosure, I will share with you that I do not believe either one of you is capable of gaining the regard of a decent woman.” There was a glint her eyes, the same blue as theirs. “Given that you never have.”

Asterion was frowning. “I don’t understand why you would risk the family legacy over something as silly as wooing and marrying.”

“The two of you are miserable, whether you know it or not,” she said, and shook her head, even though her eyes yet gleamed. “Too powerful for your own good, too set in your ways, and what do you have to show for it? Brokenhearted women of low caliber trail about behind you, telling appalling tales of your treatment of them.”

“No one complains of the way we treat them,” Poseidon said. “Rather that we do not continue treating them that way as long as they would like us to.”

Dimitra didn’t quite roll her eyes. “You are forever in the tabloids, one scandal after the next, and trust me when I tell you that at a certain point you will be considered irredeemable by any decent woman.”

Poseidon laughed. “You say that as if it is a bad thing.”

“You have responsibilities to this family and its continuing legacy, Poseidon,” she shot back. “And at present you are on the verge of being known as little more than a silly whore.”

In another family, that might have been an insult. But Poseidon only laughed.

“Never a silly whore, surely.”

Dimitra turned her glare on Asterion. “Meanwhile, you delight in brooding about like something out of a gothic mystery, when the only real mystery is how any female alive confuses that for anything but the worst kind of narcissism. No one is interested in your pain, Asterion. It is not a personality, it is an affectation.”

Asterion lifted a brow at her, ignoring his twin’s laughter. “Not all of us are charming, Yia Yia. Some of us must be challenging instead.”

“I’ve made my decision,” Dimitra shot back. “And you must decide right now, as death could take me at any moment.” She was literally flushed with good health, but neither one of them argued. So she went on. “Either surrender your inheritance entirely, or, for once in your life, do as you’re told.”

The brothers looked at each other and for a moment, all was still.

But they communicated the way they always had. And Asterion could see his own reaction reflected in his brother’s eyes.

How bad could it be? Poseidon asked silently.

Asterion remembered his parents’ marriage and knew it could be very bad indeed. Terrible, even.

But he decided, then and there, that while he might acquiesce to the trappings of this farce if it would please his grandmother—and he knew he would always do what he could to please Dimitra, old dragon though she was, and within reason—he had no intention of allowing any of the other things people were always trumpeting on about when it came to marriage to ensnare him. Connection. Intimacy.

He was not built for such things and would not permit them anywhere near him. And as he thought that, he knew it to be true, for there was so far nothing in his life that he could not control. And nothing he did not control, even his grandmother.

For she might think she was getting the upper hand here, but Asterion knew full well she could not force either one of them to any altar.

The fact of the matter was that the Teras legacy needed heirs.

It was all the better that he was to be provided with a suitable bride so he could make that happen and then carry on as he always had, doing precisely as he pleased in pursuit of his goals.

Not that he would tell his grandmother this. She was a Teras, after all. She also liked to win.

As for the potential bride, he was unconcerned. Women were like dessert. Fluffy, sugary, quickly consumed, and easily forgotten. Test

Asterion had to assume the “decent” ones were, too, perhaps beneath a few layers of tedious virtue.

He indicated this, more or less, to his brother. Silently.

Then he and Poseidon, in perfect accord, nodded. Then they turned back to their grandmother, who sat in her chair looking nothing but serene.

“We will marry the brides of your choice, of course,” Asterion said.

Forbiddingly, but that only made Dimitra seem to glow.

“Someone should notify the press,” Poseidon added. “As I expect there will be much lamentation. Wailing in the streets, rending of garments—the usual.”

But Dimitra Teras only smiled, as if she knew something they didn’t.

When surely that was impossible.

End of excerpt