Authors: Alicia Roberts
(Taken By The Billionaire)
Copyright 2012 by Alicia Roberts
This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental.
Disclaimer: The material in this book is for mature audiences only and contains graphic sexual content. It is intended only for those aged 18 and above.
Manchala comes as a big surprise to Lisa.
The other guests are not all what she'd expected - and Colin surprises her in ways she loves and hates.
Lisa's desire to be helpful blinds her to some obvious truths, but after she makes
serious judgment error, is it too late to make amends?
This is the final book in the "Bride By Design" series.
It was late afternoon by the time we reached the Grand House, a seven-bedroom villa sitting atop the central hill in Manchala.
When I looked away from the house, the hill sloped downwards and I could see the untouched beaches and angry waves of Manchala. It was a thrill to be here - a place very few men
had ever set foot on.
The Grand House, Don told us, was the first
and only thing he'd
on the island
, a retreat for him and his extended family.
He hoped to
maybe live in the House one day
after he retired
It was sprawling and majestic, and there seemed to be nobody else inside.
When I commented on the quietness, Don said, "Everyone's having a siesta. It's our tradition here, after lunch - and we hope you two'll get some rest after your terrible flight in." He winked at me, and I tried to smile and forget the horrible kite-like plane. "We'll have a barbeque dinner in a few hours
time, and you'll meet the rest of the guests then."
A uniformed servant appeared out of nowhere and led us to our room.
After he left
, I closed the door and leaned back against it. I
felt overwhelmed by it all and
wanted to laugh maniacally, or sink to the floor
. Manchala was
with its pristine beaches, dark green forests and the lush tropical quietness. The Grand House was understated and welcoming and I wondered
at the strange twist of fate that allowed me to have a glimpse at this secret luxury
- a place most people would never even know about, let alone visit
Colin had dragged our luggage out of the way and opened the curtains. When he saw me leaning against the door, he seemed to know how I felt.
He came and leaned beside me. "Strange new world, huh?"
I turned and smiled at him. "It must be just another day at work for you."
He nodded, his smile thin and his eyes hooded. "But it wasn't always like this."
"No, I guess not." I wondered what he'd done before he'd be
a property developer. "Everyone has to start somewhere."
"And now I plan to get somewhere." The steel was back in his voice, and his eyes were flashing. "This resort is going to be my mark."
I sighed. "I can't imagine a resort here, it would just ruin everything."
"Oh it'll be exclusive, of course."
He reached out and touched my shoulder. I felt the sparks against my skin and I drew back quickly. I was going to live up to the promise I'd made myself on the plane - I wouldn't let Colin touch me or kiss me, and there was no way anything would happened between us on Manchala. I planned to get back home with my pride and heart intact, there was no way I'd be a notch on Colin's belt.
He seemed su
rprised at my quick withdrawal,
his jade eyes widened slightly.
"I'm going to take a bath," I said
, ignoring the twinge of guilt I felt when I saw his eyes. "And I'm happy to pretend we're all lovey-dovey around the others, but don't think I'm letting you kiss me again."
I unzipped my luggage and grabbed the first
hen I closed the bathroom door behind
I had to groan under my breath.
This was ridiculous - did all the b
s have such a lovely spa bathtub? They probably did. The room was done in shades of beige and gold, and there was even a delicate loveseat near the tub. I filled it up and switched it on, shedding my clothes and sinking down into the warm bubbles that soothed and relaxed
until I forgot all about my flight in.
I started to wonder wh
the other couples would be like, and what Don's wife was like. Would everyone be rude and stand-offish to each other? Or would they pretend to be nice?
After a while,
I finally got out of the water and got dressed. I'd pulled out a purplish maxi dress - this was something I actually liked a lot, it was dark and stylish, floaty and comfortable without being revealing.
Colin was sitting on the edge of the bed, scrolling through his tablet.
"I need to tell you about the other people here," he said
better get our stories straight. Everyone will want to know how we met and what's going on with our marriage."
I nodded and sat down on the sofa opposite. We looked at each other stiffly, all business, and slightly uncomfortable.
I ignored the way sunlight bounced off his hair, and the fact that a part of me wanted to go and press myself against him and feel his warm lips on mine. It was time to do my job, and to ignore my emotions.
Colin and I discussed what we'd say, how we'd met and how happy we were in our marriage. It felt ironic to be talking about how happily we were married, when we were sitting far away from each other and being careful not to feel the attraction between us.
Once we got our stories straight,
Colin began to reel of
f the list of
other people who were here.
and Celine were
on the island
- they were Colin's closest competitors.
came from one of the oldest and richest families in the
, and I gasped when I heard
his last name
. His father had been one of Sir Donald's closest friends, and Don was predisposed to give the resort job to
John and Keith were here to prove that Sir Donald wasn't being biased in his selection. They were highly unlikely
to get selected, and Colin wasn't concerned about them.
Jason was an Australian property developer, and he and his wife Carol hadn't been able to make it to the island. Jason had faced some kind of crisis with one of his other developments, and Colin didn't think Sir Donald would consider
seriously for the Manchala project.
This week was all about meeting the people Sir Donald would be working with, and while Jason's current crisis was probably serious, his not showing up on the island indicated that he wasn't so keen on the Manchala project.
Finally, Rani and Rahul were here with their six-month old son. After
, they were Colin's biggest threat.
"Rahul's dad is an Indian steel magnate, a guy who's on the list of Forbe's
richest people in the world.
On the other hand,
nowhere in the top
"Oh, how tragic." I couldn't help teasing, "How will you ever live with that shame?"
Colin laughed, and I felt the ice between us melt. "I guess I'll
just have to hope and work hard
I smiled, admiring the way Colin's eyes crinkled when he laughed. He'd changed into Dockers and a polo t-shirt, and had taken out a sweater for himself and a cardigan for me. When he saw me looking at the latter, he said, "It
. Why don't we get going?"
I nodded, and grabbed the cardigan. I hadn't realized it had gotten so late. We'd missed the sunset - I had really wanted to see the ocean turn pink before it got dark. Well, maybe tomorrow.