Authors: Shadonna Richards
THE BILLIONAIRE’S ISLAND ROMANCE
(THE ROMERO BROTHERS, BOOK 3.5)
2014 by Shadonna Richards
by Keri Knutson
rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted
by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the
prior permission of the publisher.
This book is a work of fiction. The names,
characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or
have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is
Thank you, God, for all my blessings. To my
cherished son and husband for your unconditional love.
gratitude to my family and friends for your endless support.
Jermaine, Merdella, Nesitta, Monica, and Percell. To my editor M.M. for always
being brilliant. To M.H. and K.D. for your wonderful support.
THE BILLIONAIRE’S ISLAND ROMANCE (THE
ROMERO BROTHERS, BOOK 3.5)
romance, hotter than the island sun…
Coming from one of the world’s wealthiest and most
influential families, the Romeros, Christian Romero knows better than to turn
down an invitation to a mega family reunion in Jamaica for his cousin’s
wedding. The family is gathering at the exclusive Duponte Hotel & Resort in
Montego Bay for the highly anticipated nuptials of former playboy billionaire
Zack Romero and ex-reporter Blue Monroe. Christian’s ex-girlfriend, Arianna
Duponte, who walked out on him over a month ago just when things were getting
hot, happens to be the general manager of the five-star palace resort where the
family is gathering. No woman has ever turned him down before. Yet, sweet Arianna
wasn’t just any woman. She’d given him her virginity and he’d given her his
heart. So what went wrong? Will this be a bitter reunion or a better
opportunity to find out if there are truly second chances?
Arianna Duponte has always had a special
place in her heart for sexy, hot Christian Romero, her first true love, but
getting close to him would be too risky given her past and a scandalous family
secret. She refuses to break his heart again. She tries to keep her distance
while preparing for the big Romero wedding but it’s not as easy as it looks. As
the wedding bells echo in the sultry island air, will they rekindle the union
they once had?
“Oh, the dress is gorgeous,
.” Arianna Duponte beamed at her friend Blue Monroe as
she held up the white satin and lace gown to marvel at its intricate details.
The bright Jamaican island sunlight burst in through the window of the fourth
floor bridal suite at Duponte Hotel & Resort in Montego Bay. The water
splashing from the pool outside, laughter of guests, and the live reggae band
playing Bob Marley’s “One Love” could be heard from the open patio door.
“You really think so?” Blue cocked a brow.
Arianna grinned. “Oh, don’t be so nervous, girl. Really. It’s fine.”
“Thanks, Ari. I totally trust your opinion.
And thanks to Venus here for helping me pick out the design.” Blue carefully
took the dress from her friend and placed it back inside the lace garment bag.
She appeared giddy, like a schoolgirl in love. “In seven days, I’m going to be Mrs.
Zack Romero,” Blue gushed, looking dazed as she sucked in a deep breath.
“Hey, that’s what friends are for,” Venus
“So, are you getting the wedding fever,
too?” Arianna turned to Venus.
Venus’s smile evaporated. “Um. No,” she
said quietly. “I…I won’t be getting married.”
“Never? You sound so final,” Arianna said
“Oh, I’m very happy for Blue but…I…” Venus
closed her eyes then opened them again and drew in a deep breath.
Arianna felt terrible for bringing it up.
She sensed the topic was painful for Venus.
Venus appeared as if she was trying to
lighten the mood. She playfully wrinkled her nose and shook her head. “I don’t
think I would make the best wife. Besides, my little guy is my world. I just
want to raise him the best I can.”
“Of course,” Blue added.
“By the way, thank you so much for the
special daycare program,” Venus said to Arianna. “At least I know my son is
safe and happy with the other children while I help out with the wedding.”
“Oh, no worries,” Arianna replied. “That’s
one of the perks for visitors here. Childcare is free for children of our
“Thank you.” Venus glanced down at her
watch. “Oh, no. I’d better get my son. Tristan likes me to give him his asthma
medication. It was nice meeting you, Arianna.”
“Likewise,” Arianna said, still looking
confused about Venus’s previous reaction.
Venus left the hotel suite after she gave
Blue a bear hug.
“She’s wonderful,” Blue commented after
Venus left. “She’s been working for the Romeros for a while now and she’s the
sweetest person I know.”
“She seems nice.”
“Anyway, I’m glad I hit it off with Zack.
Being with him and being a part of his family has changed my life, Ari.”
Arianna smiled then briefly turned her gaze
towards the wonderful view of the glistening bluish-green sea outside the
window. The aquamarine water had sparkling diamonds of white dots entwined in
its waves from the bright reflection of the sun. The splendid white-crested
waves rolled along the sandy beach swirling and crashing into the coast. The Duponte
Resort had one of the best beachfront locations in Montego Bay. It was an
intimate, five-star hotel and resort property that boasted several massive
pools, pool bars, party rooms, snorkelling adventures, tours around Jamaica and
ample poolside entertainment. Not to mention the breathtaking view of the green
hills, a golf course and a tennis court for guests.
“You can’t go wrong with the Romero family,
Blue. They’re amazing,” Arianna murmured, swallowing a painful lump that just
climbed in her throat. She then turned to face her friend. Her smile was
heartfelt. Arianna knew Blue hadn’t had much luck in the past with men. She was
glad she’d found someone truly worthy of her heart. She’d heard about how well
Zack Romero treated her. If anyone deserved a good man it was Blue.
“Thanks, Arianna.” Blue blushed. “I know
that. I feel so lucky to have met Zack. Just goes to show that you can’t trust
“Oh, some old stuff. I’ve covered so many
events the Romeros held over the past few years when I worked for Channel 31
News, but getting to know them up front was so…different. Special. To be quite
honest I hated seeing those online tabloid headlines about his love life and
his too-many-to-count girlfriends. Zack is so…romantic.
good to me.
“The Romeros are,” Arianna agreed. “They
all are,” she continued in a low voice.
“I guess you should know.” Blue arched a
Was Blue fishing for more information?
Arianna drew in a deep breath. Her heart was beating fast and hard again. So
hard it burned her chest. “Listen, Blue, I’m not gonna go there again. It’s
over between Christian and me.
End of story.
“Okay. It’s just that…well, you were so
happy when you guys were together. Are you sure you can’t work things out?”
“No. I mean, yes. I’m sure.”
“Ari, look at me.
? You and me go way back.
Back to high school.
Come on. It’s me you’re talking to
here. What really happened?”
I… Never mind.”
“Oh, no. It’s not about…your parents, is
“Why don’t you tell him what’s up with your
mom and dad? I’m sure he’ll understand, Arianna. Don’t do this to yourself.”
“Blue, I know you care about me and I
appreciate it. Really, I do but…I think it’s best I just stick to my plan and
stay a bachelorette. Maybe I’ll go visit a sperm bank when I’m ready to have
“No, seriously, Blue. He wouldn’t
“Why don’t you try him, Ari? I’ve
interviewed him before. I’ve gotten a chance to know Christian. I’ve done a lot
of research on most of the Romeros. He’s a good man. He really is. And he is so
in love with you. I see the way he looks at you whenever you guys are...or I
should say, were together.”
Arianna’s heart sank to the floor. Blue was
probably right but she just couldn’t handle any kind of rejection. No. He would
surely reject her if he found out about her family history. What was worse, she
could end up losing everything. Everything! It was a risk she just wasn’t
willing to take. Not now. No way in hell. But what really crushed her spirit
was not being able to have sweet, sexy Christian Romero in her life again. He
was…her first love.
He was the first guy she’d really trusted
to go all the way with. He’d been so gentle and loving with her. Respectful. He
treated her like a treasured queen. She could still feel the silky touch of his
warm skin on hers, running her fingers down his smooth, muscular body. The heat
of his passion left her begging for more. He pleasured and pleased every inch
of her body with his lips, his soft touch and his caresses. She’d never
experienced such an erotic avalanche of emotions before meeting him. He was and
would always be her one true love.
Yet, sadly, she could never have him
again—except in a locked chamber that held her memory of their time
“Really, Ari. How long can you really keep
“As long as I need to, Blue. It’s called
survival. I can’t handle…I mean, I can’t…do this. It could destroy my family.”
“I understand your fear of losing your
family,” Blue empathized, her eyes now downcast.
Arianna wanted to curse herself. “I’m
. I know you’ve had it rough. Oh, God!”
“It’s okay, Ari. I’ve come to terms with
things. My mom and dad are no longer around. And I’ve come to accept it.”
“Did you find out about what really
happened in that fire? Was it arson or accident?”
“Well, the report said accident and you
know what? It doesn’t make sense to stress over it. It’s not like it would
bring them back. In fact, it may bring me closer to them if I stress over it
too much, if you know what I mean. Stress can kill!”
“Blue?” Arianna grinned in spite of
herself. “Well, it’s good to see that you have a good, strong mentality over
the whole thing. How’s Courtney?”
“Well, you know my little sis. Happy as
“She’s just as thrilled as I am, Arianna. They’ve
absorbed her right into their family, too. The Romeros are so amazing and
wonderful. They’re a close-knit, strong family. Everybody looks out for each
other, you know?”
“I thank the universe every day that I’ve
come to know them. My God! I lost my family and it’s as if I was given a new
one—not that anyone could ever replace my mom and dad, but having this
love, this void filled by these wonderful people is like…wow, amazing.”
“What’s funny?” Blue asked, hand on hip.
“Toni Romero. I bet you he’s still the same
Blue laughed, too. “Oh, God. The family
wouldn’t be the same without Granddad Romero. I love Toni. He lays it on the
line, says whatever is on his mind. And I mean anything. He tells it like he
“I know. But what that man has done for
those boys, Zack and his brothers, is amazing. Imagine
he didn’t know they existed and then all of a sudden in their teens, he took
them in at the right time when they lost everything. Wow. It gives me goose
bumps every time I hear the story.
Rags to riches.
Living out of their dad’s car, their mother died mysteriously, the authorities
were after them. Then a door opened. And they’ve worked hard and each came into
“I know. They never forget where they come
from. And Toni made sure they each earned his own way in life. God, they’re
good. Alonso is a successful doctor. Do you know he’s opened up some free
health clinics in Haiti?”
“Yeah, I read that somewhere.”
“And Lucas has his Healthy Start Software
program that really took off.”