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Bought by the Billionaire Prince [Secure eReader]
eBook by Carol Marinelli

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Two of his heirs having been ruled out, the king turns to the black sheep of the family ... Luca Fierezza is a royal rebel. He's made Niroli a magnet for the rich and famous--and himself a billionaire. Megan Donovan's stunned when she's jailed after working at Luca's casino. And her unlikely rescuer is her new boss, Luca! She's entirely at his mercy--and his passion! A scandal will end Luca's chance to be king. But he wants little thief Megan at his beck and call, day and night!

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2007

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'IS HE good-looking?'

Meg felt her teeth literally grind together as her travel companion, Jasmine, repeated the question for the hundredth time. Here they were docking in Niroli, which was undoubtedly the most beautiful island Meg had seen on her travels to date, and all Jasmine wanted to talk about was potential men.

Coming from Australia, where everything was comparatively new, Meg was in awe of the past that drenched each place she had visited on her travels through Europe, reeling at the ancient architecture and glorious tales of times gone by and, for Meg, Niroli had it all! To the South of Sicily, the island of Niroli, according to the travel guide Meg had devoured on the boat trip, was steeped in history, its colourful past filled with rivalries and wars dating back centuries and still playing out today. They'd just passed the tiny island of Mont Avellana, which, as recently as two decades ago, had been ruled by Niroli, and now they were coming into Niroli's main port. Meg stared in wonder as they approached—sandy beaches rapidly giving way to a lush hillside, which was like a fabulous tapestry, with thick forests, and edged by vineyards that laced neatly around the sprawling town. But a grand castle set on a rocky promontory was for Meg the main focal point, standing tall and proud, looking out towards the ocean, as if somehow guarding it all.

'That's the palace,' Meg pointed out to Jasmine excitedly, checking with the map to get her bearings, 'and over to the right there's a Roman amphitheatre….'

'There's a casino,' Jasmine said, peering over Meg's shoulder, 'oh, and a luxury spa!'

'We can't afford luxury.' Meg smiled. 'We're backpacking!'

'Then we'll just have to find someone who can!' Jasmine countered, her mind flicking back to the inevitable. 'So what sort of doctor is he?'

'Who?' Meg asked, then let out a pained sigh as Jasmine's momentary interest in her surrounds rapidly waned. 'Alex is a surgeon,' Meg admitted, then wished she hadn't, noting Jasmine's eyes literally light up at the prospect of dating a rich surgeon—well, she could dream on. Alex was the least money-minded of persons and would see through Jasmine in a flash.

If only she had, Meg inwardly sighed. At first when Jasmine had befriended her, Meg had been only too glad of the company, only lately the very qualities that Meg had admired had started to repel. Jasmine's impetuous nature, her carefree attitude and her obsession with men were starting to irritate, and Meg was actually looking forward to cooling off the friendship a touch—ready now to complete her journey alone.

Backpacking through Europe had seemed the most unlikely of adventures for Meg to embark on. Routine was the key in Meg's life—routine was what saw her through. Routine was the only way she could control her life and the emotions that had overwhelmed her as she'd struggled to come to terms with her difficult childhood.

But now here she was, twenty-five years of age and ready to start living; ready to let go of a difficult past and truly embrace a world that had at times been so very cruel. Backpacking through Europe was the final self-imposed step in her recovery. Casual work, casual clothes and casual meals had at first been a huge enigma for Meg, but gradually she was starting to relax—that knot of tension that had been present for as long as she could remember was slowly unravelling and, as she stepped off the boat and took a deep cleansing breath, closed her blue eyes and turned her face up to the warm sun Meg knew there and then that she had been so right to embark on this journey—could hardly wait to tell her brother just how far she'd come.

'Where is he?' Jasmine's hopeful face scanned the crowd for a first glimpse of a suitable good-looking surgeon. 'Does he look like you?'

'Not in the least.' Meg laughed but didn't elaborate. Alex Hunter was as dark as Meg Donovan was blond, his eyes black where Meg's were blue. They looked nothing alike and with good reason—both were adopted, Alex when he was a toddler, Meg when she was twelve years old. But despite their differences, despite not sharing one shred of DNA, they were as close as any blood brother and sister.

'Does he know what boat you're coming on?'

'I told him ages ago.' Meg frowned. 'Well, I emailed him with the details.'

'And he got it?' Jasmine checked.

'Yes, I'm sure he got it,' Meg answered, but a trickle of unease slid down her spine. 'He should be here.'

'Well, it doesn't look like he is,' Jasmine pointed out as the crowd started to disperse. 'Maybe he's stuck at the hospital.'

'Maybe,' Meg answered, but she wasn't convinced. It was most unlike Alex to just not turn up; if he couldn't make it himself then he'd have sent someone. 'Though I haven't checked my emails for ages. Maybe he's been trying to get hold of me.'

'So what do we do now?' Jasmine asked, her eyes scanning the notice boards. 'They said at the youth hostel there were usually loads of signs advertising for seasonal workers, but there doesn't seem to be any—not that I fancy fruit-picking!'

'It sounds fun. And you do need the work,' Meg pointed out. Jasmine wasn't just down to her last Euro, she was dipping into Meg's carefully planned budget and, frankly, Meg was tired of hearing Jasmine say she'd pay her back as soon as she got some work.

'Well, I think fruit-picking sounds awful.' Jasmine pouted, but soon cheered up, cheekily ripping down a notice and then pocketing it. 'This is more me. They're looking for casual staff at the casino and there's discounted accommodation—ooh, look, there's even a courtesy bus.'

Copyright © 2007 by Harlequin Books S.A.

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