The Surprise De Angelis BabyBy: Cathy Williams
COULD THE DAY get any better?
Daniel De Angelis stepped out from the air-conditioned comfort of his black chauffeur-driven Mercedes and removed his dark sunglasses to scan the scenery around him.
Frankly—perfect. Brilliant sunshine glinted on the calm turquoise water of the Aegean Sea. He’d never made it to Santorini before, and he took a few minutes to appreciate the scenic view of the bowl-shaped harbour from where he stood, looking down on it from a distance. He could even make out the vessel he had come to snap up at a bargain price.
It looked as picture-perfect as everything around it, but that, of course, was an illusion. It was semi-bankrupt, on its last legs—a medium-sized cruise ship which he would add to his already vast portfolio of conquests.
He knew down to the last detail how much money it had lost in the past five years, how much it owed the bank, how much its employees were paid, how discounted their fares were now they were desperate to get customers... He practically knew what the owners had for their breakfast and where they did their food shopping.
As with all deals, big or small, it always paid to do his homework. His brother, Theo, might have laughingly referred to this extravagant purchase as nothing more than a toy—something different to occupy him for a few months—but it was going to be a relatively expensive toy, and he intended to use every trick in the book to make sure he got the best possible deal.
Thinking about his brother brought a grin to his face. Who’d have thought it? Who would have thought that Theo De Angelis would one day be singing the praises of the institution of marriage and waxing lyrical about the joys of love? If he hadn’t heard it with his own ears when he had spoken to his brother earlier in the week then he wouldn’t have believed it.
He looked around him with the shrewd eyes of a man who knew how to make money and wondered what he could do here. Exquisite scenery. Exquisite island, if you could somehow get rid of the hordes of annoying tourists milling around everywhere. Maybe in the future he would think about exploiting this little slice of paradise, but for the moment there was an interesting acquisition at hand, and one which would have the benefit of his very personal input—which was something of a rarity. He was relishing this break from the norm.
Then there was his successful ditching of the last woman he had been dating, who had become a little too clingy for comfort.
And, last but not least on the feel-good spectrum, a sexy little blonde thing would be waiting for him when his time was up on that floating liner so far from paradise...
All in all this was going to be something of a holiday and, bearing in mind the fact that he hadn’t had one of those in the longest while, Daniel was in high spirits.
‘Sir? Maybe we should head down so that you can board the ship? It’s due to leave soon...’
‘Shame... I’ve only been here for a few hours.’ Daniel turned to his driver, whom he had brought with him from the other side of the world on an all-expenses-paid, fun in the sun holiday, with only a spot of driving to do here and there. ‘I feel Santorini could be just the place for me... Nice exclusive hotel somewhere... Kick back and relax...’
‘I didn’t think you knew how to do that, sir.’
Daniel laughed. Along with his brother and his father, Antonio Delgado was one of only a few people in whom he had absolute trust, and in fairness his driver probably knew more about his private life than both his brother and his father, considering he drove him to his numerous assignations with numerous women and had been doing so for the past decade.
‘You’re right.’ He briskly pulled open the car door and slid inside, appreciating the immediate drop in temperature. ‘Nice thought, though...’
In truth, kicking back by the side of a pool with a margarita in one hand and a book in the other wasn’t his thing.
He kicked back in the gym occasionally, on the slopes occasionally and far more frequently in bed—and his women all ran to type. Small, blonde, sexy and very, very obliging.
Granted, none of them stayed the course for very long, but he saw that as just an occupational hazard for a man whose primary focus—like his brother’s—had always been on work. He thrived on the pressure of a high-octane, fast-paced work-life filled with risk.
He had benefited from the privileges of a wealthy background, but at the age of eighteen, just as he had done with Theo, his father, Stefano De Angelis, had told him that his fortune was his to build or not to build as the case might be. Family money would kick-start his career up to a certain point, but that would be it. He would fly or fall.
And, like Theo, he had flown.
Literally. To the other side of the world, where he had taken the leisure industry by storm, starting small and getting bigger and bigger so that now, at not yet thirty, he owned hotels, casinos and restaurants across Australia and the Far East.