Read Billionaire on Board Online
Authors: Dasha G. Logan
Tags: #Contemporary, #Women's Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary Fiction, #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romantic Comedy
BILLIONAIRE ON BOARD
By Dasha G. Logan
© 2014 by Dasha G. Logan
All rights reserved
Cover image "Ocean Liner Cruise Ship Boat At Sea" is credited to creator
This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters, other than historical persons, are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
PLACES OF RELEVANCE
Antigua and Barbuda:
A twin-island state situated between the Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Caribbean Sea. According to the 2011 census it has 81.000 inhabitants. It is a former British colony whose main industry is tourism.
A stunningly beautiful island in the south of Italy in the Naples province. Home to the world's most expensive marina.
An extremely wealthy and elegant merchant city state in the north of Germany, the country's second largest after Berlin. Famous for its white villas, its parks, rivers and lakes, for its international seaport and for the foundation of the Beatles. The city has 1.8 million inhabitants and the metropolitan area of Hamburg is home to over 5 million people. It is the largest city in Europe that is not a capital.
A purpose built seaside resort for the glitterati, situated on the west-coast of the Italian island of Sardinia. It was created by Prince Aga Khan and fellow investors and is famous for its beautiful beaches and turquoise water.
An Italian fishing village on the mainland, in the Liguria region; also an extremely upmarket resort, known to be frequented by celebrities and the ultra-wealthy, preferably by yacht.
A town of world renown in the Swiss canton Valais, nestled against the foot of the Matterhorn. Its exclusive skiing resort boasts over 300 miles of pistes, even reaching across the border into the Italian region of Val d'Aosta.
Other well-known places of interest:
A Coruña, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Cambridge, Cannes, Harvard, Ibiza, London, Mallorca, Mogadishu, Monte Carlo, New York City, Nice, Saint-Tropez, Tokyo.
(Images of all locations can be found online)
"Congratulations! You got married!"
"Wow, finally you popped the question, right?"
"How nice not to tell your oldest friend beforehand…"
Christian coughed into the receiver. "Sorry, Jude, you know how Corinna feels about you and— "
"Well, you know exactly how I feel about Corinna, but that jealousy of hers is utterly ridiculous. Especially now, since she's got her claws firmly dug into you. She should see a therapist."
"She IS a therapist."
"That's why she's a nutcase. Anyway, guess my face when your mother told us the news on boxing day! Mum, Dad… even Mary Lou couldn't believe her ears."
"Mary Lou's a dog."
"So she is. But she has known you longer than you have known Corinna."
"That's not true. Come on Jude, it was only the registry, we had to do it this year to save taxes. I'm sure I can make you welcome at the church wedding, that's the big event anyway. After the ceremony we'll have a party at the tennis club. 3
I laughed. "Church? When have you turned religious?"
"She wants the white dress."
"As if you hadn't shagged her already — I really can't get over it. You're not telling me you're getting married because your girlfriend, sorry, your wife thinks I have the hots for you?"
"And vice versa."
"Chris, I've known you before I could even walk. If there had been any attraction between us, doesn't she think it would have come out after twenty-six years? You were my babysitter, you made me watch horror flicks so you could read porn mags in the meantime! What's her problem?"
He was silent for a moment. "On your dad's sixtieth birthday..."
"Not that again," I sighed. "That was a hundred years ago! My mother asked me to get people to dance and I had to force
below the age of fifty."
"She hated it."
"She was crying over it all night on deck of our party ship and Lilly had to comfort her.
best girlfriend had to spend a January night on a ship deck because your silly psycho threw a hysterical fit."
"You were really dressed up!"
"What do you expect me to wear for my dad's birthday gala. Dungarees?"
"If you only had a boyfriend! Then it would be different. She has the idea fixed in her mind. To her, you stay single because I'm the only man you want."
I went into a giggling spasm. "Chris, you bonked my exchange student on my parents' couch."
"Yes, I know, but—"
"While your shoulder was in a cast and your hand was protruding from it in front of your chest. The image of you and Angie at it, teenage style, and your hand bobbing about…! How could I
want to go to bed with you?"
"I know that, Jude! Wow… I was drunk then."
He sobered before I did. "Jude, I can talk her into having you at the big party if you could
come with a man. I know you're the lone wolf type, but it can't be difficult for such a pretty girl like you to conjure up some alright looking fellow, now, can it?"
"Tell her I'm a lesbian."
"She knows you're not. She knows you had a fling with a guy when you were in Cambridge."
"I invented it. You see, that's exactly your problem, Jude. You hardly ever show serious interest in men."
"I simply find very few of them attractive. I don't like one-night-stands with strangers and I don't want to be dragged into some boring relationship in a three-bedroom flat full of IKEA furnishings and with missionary position sex once a week after the X-Factor."
"Sounds familiar, right?"
There was a beep in my ear.
"I get an incoming call, that's work. Gotta take it."
My display said: "Hamburg Cruise Center - Andy."
"Hello, Jude. Did you have happy holidays?"
"Sure, it all went rather well. Except for the episode where I hurled a Lebkuchen at my mother because she wouldn't stop nagging about how badly I had set the table."
"The regular stuff then. Our cat set the Christmas tree on fire."
"The same procedure as every year, Andy. — Now, what can I do for you?"
"Are you free this afternoon? I have a group of French speaking Swiss coming in on the Queen Elizabeth who want a private tour. Three hours. Fourteen guests. A family. 2 pm."
"Sounds good to me, it's not as if I was drowning in work right now."
I jotted it down on the back of a cornflake box. So much for being organised. I had been making an attempt to clean up my kitchen while having a go at Christian.
"How's the doctoral thesis coming along?"
"I won't ask anymore questions. Rightie, your contact is a Mr. Parriaux."
I hung up and scrutinised my little kitchen. I decided it was in an acceptable condition. It had not been used in the last days since I had only just returned from my parents' house in the suburbs.
I had spent Christmas the usual way. Meaning: in a state of constant but gentle inebriation caused by champagne, wine or eggnog, cuddled up with my mother and the dog on the couch, accusing my father of being a closet gay because he only ever wanted to watch movies starring Hugh Grant or Don Johnson. There had been food too, plenty of food.
"Time to hit the gym."
The clock told me it was a quarter past eleven.
Knowing my tendency to dawdle, I forced myself into the bathroom and looked into the mirror.
I know you're the lone wolf type but it can't be that difficult for such a pretty girl like you to catch some alright looking fellow?
Pretty? Yes, fine, okay, I think I probably am kind of pretty, there is a certain evidence to it, but I was not too happy about my looks. What girl really is? My problem: I was too blonde and too snub nosed to be accepted by the intellectuals, and too intellectual to be accepted by the snub-nosed-blonde-lovers. The men who felt attracted to me at first were not attracted to me anymore once they had discovered there was a brain behind the face, whereas the men I was interested in usually ended up with sophisticated looking, flat chested brunettes. Not necessarily with brains.
It had to do with this city, I thought.
Here, everybody had to fit into a drawer. If you did not, you were incalculable.
"Why can't I live in Paris, or London, or Los Angeles?" I asked my mirror image as I brushed my teeth.
But I could not. At least not for some time.
I had to finish my doctoral thesis first and being an only child, I found it hard to imagine living so far from my family and my beloved dog, especially now, as they were getting older.
I had spent a lot of time abroad, both as a child and as a student, and I somehow needed to be rooted for a few years, to take a breath and to find out where I was really going.
Also, I had to save some money.
Fortunately I could work quite independently for my mother's tour guiding agency.
My father is German. A maths professor.
My mother is English, originally from Oxford, so I grew up bilingual. She holds a Ph.d. in behavioural sciences (that does not mean she knows how to behave). You get the picture.
In the olden days, my dad had taken terms abroad, twice in Paris, twice in Bologna and three times in Madrid.
As a child you learn languages quickly and to me it never seemed like an accomplishment to be so linguistically versed. It still embarrasses me today when people start complimenting me about it. I always say it is my job. Other people design houses or cure cancer. I can speak a lot of languages.
Of course, it helped me get a scholarship for Cambridge (and my mother will never get over it not being Oxford), but it had also helped me nearly getting expelled during my two years at an English girls school, because I was caught watching saucy French movies with the dreamy twenty-two year old assistant teacher Michel from Nantes.
Had they known I had also lost my virginity to him, I would most certainly have been expelled, but well, we had not been caught in the act.
This brought me back to the matter at hand.
Back in the days of my youth, my love life was much more interesting. But since I had reached my mid-twenties, I rarely found a man worth my attention.
To tell the truth, I was living like a nun.
It was not too bad. Actually, I had always been a happy single. Until now.
Hot anger welled up in me.
That stupid cow, Corinna!
I picked up my phone one more time and wrote a text to Christian.
'Sorry, I meant to tell you, but then the call got in the way. I have a boyfriend at the moment, he's beautiful and ultra-rich and we're totally in love. Just don't tell your mother, it's still hush hush. I'll bring him to the wedding. Corinna can rest her case. His name is…', I thought of several fantasy names, but then something came up from the fog of long forgotten memories. I typed 'Ryan Corvera-Fabergé.'