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Authors: Catherine Mann

Tags: #Contemporary, #Fiction, #Romance, #General, #Adult, #Mistresses, #Man Of The Month, #Princes

The Maverick Prince

BOOK: The Maverick Prince
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“I’m Not Going Away With You.”
“This isn’t going to die down.” He kept his voice even and low, reasonable. The stakes were too important for all of them. “The reporters will swarm you by morning, if not sooner. Your friends will sell photos of the two of us together.”

“Then we’re through, you and I.”

“Do you honestly think anyone’s going to believe the breakup is for real? The timing will seem too convenient.”

“We ended things last weekend.”

Like hell. “Tell that to the papers and see if they believe you. Pleading a breakup isn’t going to buy you any kind of freedom from their interest.”

She studied him through narrowed eyes. “How do I know you’re not just using this as an excuse to get back together?”

Was he? An hour ago, he would have done anything to get into her bed again.
Dear Reader,

Welcome to my world of the Rich, Rugged & Royal Medina family! I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales about princes and princesses earning their happily ever after. In deciding to create my own fairy tale royal family, I was entranced by the possibility that a prince could be living incognito right next door. From that emerged the deposed royal patriarch King Enrique Medina (who in my mind looks just like Sean Connery) and his three sons.

In
The Maverick Prince,
you’ll meet the youngest Medina heir, Antonio, at just the moment his identity is exposed, much to the surprise of his new lover. I hope you enjoy Antonio and Shannon’s passionate journey from Texas to Florida in search of true love. Stay tuned for Duarte Medina’s story in January and Carlos Medina’s book in March.

Happy reading!

Catherine Mann

www.catherinemann.com
CATHERINE MANN
THE MAVERICK PRINCE

Books by Catherine Mann
Silhouette Desire
Baby, I’m Yours
#1721

Under the Millionaire’s Influence
#1787

The Executive’s Surprise Baby
#1837


Rich Man’s Fake Fiancée
#1878


His Expectant Ex
#1895

Propositioned Into a Foreign Affair
#1941


Millionaire in Command
#1969

Bossman’s Baby Scandal
#1988


The Tycoon Takes a Wife
#2013

Winning It All
#2031
“Pregnant with the Playboy’s Baby”

*
The Maverick Prince
#2047

CATHERINE MANN
USA TODAY
bestselling author Catherine Mann is living out her own fairy-tale ending on a sunny Florida beach with her prince-charming husband and their four children. With more than thirty-five books in print in over twenty countries, she has also celebrated wins for both a RITA
®
Award and a Booksellers’ Best Award. Catherine enjoys chatting with readers online—thanks to the wonders of the wireless internet that allows her to network with her laptop by the water! To learn more about her work, visit her website, www.catherinemann.com, or reach her by snail mail at P.O. Box 6065, Navarre, FL 32566.
To my favorite little princesses and princes—Megan, Frances, James and Zach. Thank you for inviting Aunt Cathy to your prince and princess tea parties.
The snack cakes and Sprite were absolutely magical!
Contents
Prologue
GlobalIntruder.com
Exclusive: For Immediate Release
Royalty Revealed!
Do you have a prince living next door? Quite possibly!

Courtesy of a positive identification made by one of the GlobalIntruder.com’s very own photojournalists, we’ve successfully landed the scoop of the year. The deposed Medina monarchy has not, as was rumored, set up shop in a highly secured fortress in Argentina. The three Medina heirs—with their billions—have been living under assumed names and rubbing elbows with everyday Americans for decades.

We hear the sexy baby of the family, Antonio, is already taken in Texas by his waitress girlfriend Shannon Crawford. She’d better watch her back now that word is out about her secret shipping magnate!

Meanwhile, never fear, ladies. There are still two single and studly Medina men left. Our sources reveal that Duarte dwells in his plush resort in Martha’s Vineyard. Carlos—a surgeon, no less—resides in Tacoma. Wonder if he makes house calls?

No word yet on their father, King Enrique Medina, former ruler of San Rinaldo, an island off the coast of Spain. But our best reporters are hot on the trail.

For the latest update on how to nab a prince, check back in with the GlobalIntruder.com. And remember, you heard it here first!

One
Galveston Bay, Texas
“K
ing takes the queen.” Antonio Medina declared his victory and raked in the chips, having bluffed with a simple high-card hand in Texas Hold’Em.
Ignoring an incoming call on his iPhone, he stacked his winnings. He didn’t often have time for poker since his fishing charter company went global, but joining backroom games at his pal Vernon’s Galveston Bay Grille had become a more frequent occurrence of late. Since Shannon. His gaze snapped to the long skinny windows on either side of the door leading out to the main dining area where she worked.

No sign of Shannon’s slim body, winding her way through the brass, crystal and white linen of the five-star restaurant. Disappointment chewed at him in spite of his win.

A cell phone chime cut the air, then a second right afterward. Not his either time, although the noise still forced his focus back to the private table while two of Vernon Wolfe’s cronies pressed the ignore button, cutting the ringing short. Vernon’s poker pals were all about forty years senior to Antonio. But the old shrimp-boat captain turned restaurateur had saved Antonio’s bacon back when he’d been a teen. So if Vernon beckoned, Antonio did his damnedest to show. The fact that Shannon also worked here provided extra oomph to the request.

Vernon creaked back in the leather chair, also disregarding his cell phone currently crooning “Son of a Sailor” from his belt. “Ballsy move holding with just a king, Tony,” he said, his voice perpetually raspy from years of shouting on deck. His face still sported a year-round tan, eyes raccoon ringed from sunglasses. “I thought Glenn had a royal flush with his queen and jack showing.”

“I was taught to bluff by the best.” Antonio—or Tony Castillo as he was known these days—grinned.

A smile was more disarming than a scowl. He always smiled so nobody knew what he was thinking. Not that even his best grin had gained him forgiveness from Shannon after their fight last weekend.

Resisting the urge to frown, Tony stacked his chips on the scarred wooden table Vernon had pried from his boat before docking himself permanently at the restaurant. “Your pal Glenn needs to bluff better.”

Glenn—a coffee addict—chugged his java faster when bluffing. For some reason no one else seemed to notice as the high-priced attorney banged back his third brew laced with Irish whiskey. He then simply shrugged, loosened his silk tie and hooked it on the back of the chair, settling in for the next round.

Vernon swept up the played cards, flipping the king of hearts between his fingers until the cell stopped singing vintage Jimmy Buffett. “Keep winning and they’re not going to let me deal you in anymore.”

Tony went through the motions of laughing along, but he knew he wasn’t going anywhere. This was his world now. He’d built a life of his own and wanted nothing to do with the Medina name. He was Tony Castillo now. His father had honored that. Until recently.

For the past six months, his deposed king of a dad had sent message after message demanding his presence at the secluded island compound off the coast of Florida. Tony had left that gilded prison the second he’d turned eighteen and never looked back. If Enrique was as sick as he claimed, then their problems would have to be sorted out in heaven…or more likely in somewhere hotter even than Texas.

While October meant autumn chills for folks like his two brothers, he preferred the lengthened summers in Galveston Bay. The air conditioner still cranked in the redbrick waterside restaurant in the historic district.

Muffled live music from a flamenco guitarist drifted through the wall along with the drone of dining clientele. Business was booming for Vernon. Tony made sure of that. Vernon had given Antonio a job at eighteen when no one else would trust a kid with sketchy ID. Fourteen years and many millions of dollars later, Tony figured it was only fair some of the proceeds from the shipping business he’d built should buy the aging shrimp-boat captain a retirement plan.

Vernon nudged the deck toward Glenn to cut, then dealt the next hand. Glenn shoved his buzzing BlackBerry beside his spiked coffee and thumbed his cards up for a peek.

Tony reached for his…and stopped…tipping his ear toward the sound from outside the door. A light laugh cut through the clanging dishes and fluttering strum of the Spanish guitar.
Her
laugh. Finally. The simple sound made him ache after a week without her.

His gaze shot straight to the door again, bracketed by two windows showcasing the dining area. Shannon stepped in view of the left lengthy pane, pausing to punch in an order at the servers’ station. She squinted behind her cat-eye glasses, the retros giving her a naughty schoolmarm look that never failed to send his libido surging.

Light from the globed sconces glinted on her pale blond hair. She wore her long locks in a messy updo, as much a part of her work uniform as the knee-length black skirt and form-fitting tuxedo vest. She looked sexy as hell—and exhausted.

Damn it all, he would help her without hesitation. Just last weekend he’d suggested as much when she’d pulled on her clothes after they’d made love at his Bay Shore mansion. She’d shut him down faster than the next heartbeat. In fact, she hadn’t spoken to him or returned his calls since.

Stubborn, sexy woman. It wasn’t like he’d offered to set her up as his mistress, for crying out loud. He was only trying to help her and her three-year-old son. She always vowed she would do anything for Kolby.

Mentioning that part hadn’t gone well for him, either.

Her lips had pursed tight, but her eyes behind those sexy black glasses had told him she wanted to throw his offer back in his face. His ears still rang from the slamming door when she’d walked out. Most women he knew would have jumped at the prospect of money or expensive gifts. Not Shannon. If anything, she seemed put off by his wealth. It had taken him two months to persuade her just to have coffee with him. Then two more months to work his way into bed with her. And after nearly four weeks of mind-bending sex, he was still no closer to understanding her.

Okay, so he’d built a fortune from Galveston Bay being one of the largest importers of seafood. Luck had played a part by landing him here in the first place. He’d simply been looking for a coastal community that reminded him of home.

His real home, off the coast of Spain. Not the island fortress his father had built off the U.S. The one he’d escaped the day he’d turned eighteen and swapped his last name from Medina to Castillo. The new surname had been plucked from one of the many branches twigging off his regal family tree. Tony
Castillo
had vowed never to return, a vow he’d kept.

And he didn’t even want to think about how spooked Shannon would be if she knew the well-kept secret of his royal heritage. Not that the secret was his to share.

Vernon tapped the scarred wooden table in front of him. “Your phone’s buzzing again. We can hold off on this hand while you take the call.”

Tony thumbed the ignore button on his iPhone without looking. He only disregarded the outside world for two people, Shannon and Vernon. “It’s about the Salinas Shrimp deal. They need to sweat for another hour before we settle on the bottom line.”

Glenn rolled his coffee mug between his palms. “So when we don’t hear back from you, we’ll all know you hit the ignore button.”

“Never,” Tony responded absently, tucking the device back inside his suit coat. More and more he looked forward to Shannon’s steady calm at the end of a hectic day.

Vernon’s phone chimed again—Good God, what was up with all the interruptions?—this time rumbling with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.”

The grizzled captain slapped down his cards. “That’s my wife. Gotta take this one.” Bluetooth glowing in his ear, he shot to his feet and tucked into a corner for semiprivacy. “Yeah, sugar?”

Since Vernon had just tied the knot for the first time seven months ago, the guy acted like a twenty-year-old newlywed. Tony walled off flickering thoughts of his own parents’ marriage, not too hard since there weren’t that many to remember. His mother had died when he was five.

Vernon inhaled sharply. Tony looked up. His old mentor’s face paled under a tan so deep it almost seemed tattooed. What the hell?

“Tony.” Vernon’s voice went beyond raspy, like the guy had swallowed ground glass. “I think you’d better check those missed messages.”

“Is something wrong?” he asked, already reaching for his iPhone.

“You’ll have to tell us that,” Vernon answered without once taking his raccoonlike eyes off Tony. “Actually, you can skip the messages and just head straight for the internet.”

“Where?” He tapped through the menu.

“Anywhere.” Vernon sank back into his chair like an anchor thudding to the bottom of the ocean floor. “It’s headlining everywhere. You won’t miss it.”

His iPhone connected to the internet and displayed the top stories—

BOOK: The Maverick Prince
7.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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