Taken by a trillionaire.., p.1
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       Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3, p.1
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         Part #1 of Taken by a Trillionaire series by Ruth Cardello
Taken by a Trillionaire 1-3


  Table of Contents

  Taken By a Trillionaire

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Taken By a Trillionaire ~ Xander

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Taken By a Trillionaire ~ Bryan

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Taken By a Trillionaire ~ Christopher

  Prologue

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Epilogue

  Other Books by Ruth Cardello

  Other Books by J. S. Scott

  Other Books by Melody Anne

  Taken By a Trillionaire

  Three New York Times and

  USA Today Bestselling Authors

  One Wild Project

  Melody Anne

  Ruth Cardello

  J.S. Scott

  Copyright

  © 2015 Melody Anne

  © 2015 Ruth Cardello

  © 2015 J.S. Scott

  All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without the written permission of the author. This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Dedication

  This book is dedicated to Chris and Bryan who inspired and storyboarded with us while having a great night together. We absolutely adore you guys. Enjoy the stories.

  Taken By a Trillionaire ~ Xander

  By

  Ruth Cardello

  Chapter One

  You do speak English, don’t you?”

  I do. Of course, I do. I may drop the occasional R, but no one has mentioned that since I moved back to Boston, Dr. Reanna Fielding thought but continued to stare wordlessly at the most genetically intriguing man she’d ever encountered. His eyes were strikingly blue against his tanned skin. At first glance he appeared Western European ancestry, possibly Germanic. Though some of his features hinted at a Celtic influence. He was tall with a broad chest accentuated by his perfectly tailored suit. His high cheekbones, strong jawline, along with his almost jet-black hair, were a complex and fascinating genomic mystery. His accent was vaguely Italian.

  I’d like to map his DNA, Reanna thought and smiled at the suggestive twist she’d given an otherwise academic desire.

  In non scientific terms — he was gorgeous.

  Reanna stood and scanned the surrounding aisles of the bookstore she’d apparently fallen asleep in. Deep REM was the only logical explanation why a man like him would be talking to a woman like her.

  “Are you looking for Cherise?” Reanna waved one arm toward the front of the store. “She sometimes steps away from the register for a moment to organize the shelves. She’s probably back there now. At the register. Over there.”

  Instead of nodding and turning away as she expected, he stepped closer to her, his eyes not leaving hers. Reanna’s heart began to beat wildly. There was an intensity in the way he was looking at her that was akin to a hunter evaluating his prey.

  Men didn’t look at Reanna that way. They never had. She glanced down quickly and was instantly faced with the reasons why she must have been misreading his expression. She’d worn her white lab coat over her clothing out of habit. Her glasses hung around her neck on the shoelace she’d tied them with since she’d lost their chain. Her blue tennis shoes were as faded as her jeans. Since the pen to her tablet wasn’t in her hand, the likelihood of it sticking out of her thrown together ponytail was high.

  “Reanna Fielding?” he asked, his deep voice sending shivers down her back.

  Reanna swallowed hard. “Yes,” she whispered. He’d spoken with a regal authority that brought his attractiveness up another notch.

  He looked her over slowly and raised one eyebrow. “Interesting. You’re not what I expected.”

  His words stung even though she had no idea what he meant. If the encounter were indeed a dream, it was lacking in charm. “I’m sorry. Who did you say you are?”

  “I didn’t.” He held out a hand for Reanna to shake, and she forgot her earlier irritation. His hand enveloped hers. There was a restrained strength to it that excited and confused her. Part of her wanted to rip her hand away from his and run back to her house. Part of her wanted to pull his face down to hers to see if she would enjoy the touch of his lips as much as she was enjoying the touch of his hand. As if he could read her thoughts, he raised her hand to his mouth, and the bygone gesture sent flames of desire shooting through her. The hint of a smile in his eyes suggested he knew exactly what he was doing to her. “My name is Xander Demande.”

  Reanna pried her hand free then buried both in the voluminous pockets of her lab coat. In her profession she didn’t grasp at possibilities, but life outside the lab was much more unpredictable, and Reanna often floundered while attempting to make sense of it. “If you’re from Biostern, the report isn’t ready. I told Ben I’d have it completed by Monday. He said that was fine.” She looked down at her clothing again. “And before you say anything about how I’m dressed, as a consultant researcher I am not held to a dress code.”

  “I don’t work for Biostern. I came a long way to meet you, Reanna Fielding. Have dinner with me tonight.”

  She wanted to say yes. Yes to dinner. Yes to anything and everything that might entail, but she didn’t. His request didn’t make sense, and when something didn’t follow predicted patterns, it often wasn’t true. “Why?”

  “Why does any man ask a woman to dinner?” He placed a hand on one of the shelves beside her and leaned down until their lips almost touched. She felt the heat of his breath warm her, and her tongue wet her bottom lip in an excited and involuntary response.

  There had been a time, a long ago time, when she had dreamed of something like this happening to her. A gorgeous man would stroll off the street, take one look at her, and decide he had to have her. But that kind of fantasy was best discarded as an adolescent daydream.

  Recent experiences dealing with her male coworkers at Biostern had destroyed her belief that men like that existed. After her photo shoot for the charity calendar had brought her unwanted attention at work, including a bet about her sexual experience, she’d started working from home. When one of the men from her lab had called and said he’d missed her, she’d agreed to meet
him for a drink only to discover his interests had only been in answering the question of her virginity rather than any desire to be with her.

  In the field of mapping genomic ancestry, she was considered a pioneer.

  As a woman, she was a train wreck. She shook her head, trying to dislodge the negative thoughts. It was better not to fixate on what was wrong with her life. Some things couldn’t be changed. They simply were.

  Dreaming only led to more hurt.

  Reality was best faced head-on and with as much emotional detachment as possible.

  For example, if she gained control of her wayward libido, she could verify that past patterns allowed for a very low likelihood that a man like Xander would ask her out to dinner unless he had an ulterior motive. Such motive would be impossible to determine without further inquiry. She lost the battle to analyze the situation as she would any puzzle, and impulsively voiced the first plausible explanation that came to her. “Did Cherise hire you? Do you work for an escort service? Now this makes sense. You’re her idea of a joke.”

  Xander frowned. “I am no one’s joke.”

  The simplest answer was often the correct one. Cherise was known to go out of her way to make her regular customers happy. It wasn’t inconceivable that she would pour money into pulling off something like this. Was the man worried Reanna had figured it out so quickly? She gave his arm a supportive pat. “Don’t worry, I’ll tell her you were wonderful. It was actually sort of sweet of her to go to this extreme so I wouldn’t spend my birthday alone. I told her it was no big deal. I’m used to it. You can tell her you took me out, or if you don’t want to lie, I can pay you whatever she offered and then explain to her it was my decision to do so.” Reanna picked up her purse and started rummaging through it. “If I can find my wallet, I’ll pay you right now. That’s probably the best way to do this. Do you take checks? I may have some with me.”

  When Reanna held up the checkbook and pen triumphantly, she realized he looked distinctly displeased with her. “I’ll tip you, if that’s what you’re worried about. I don’t know what people tip escorts. Is it like a waitress? You tell me. I’m not judging what you do; I’m just not interested in your services. I hope you’re not offended.”

  He cocked his head to one side arrogantly. “What is it about me that makes you think I’m a paid escort?”

  Oh, so he wasn’t upset about the money. She’d hurt his pride. Most likely he was also concerned that being so obvious would cost him other clients. “I don’t feel comfortable critiquing someone else’s work, but since you asked, the accent is amateurish. It’s a blend of French and Italian. To be believable, you should choose one or the other. You’re also a little overdressed for a bookstore. This is a university area. You’d blend better in khakis and a nice button-down shirt.”

  Both of his eyebrows rose. “You consider me inappropriately dressed?” He looked her over again, amusement lightening those dark blue eyes.

  Reanna replaced her checkbook and adjusted her lab coat, sticking her chin out proudly. “There’s no need to get defensive. You asked me.”

  He inclined his head in concession to that point. “I did. You’re an intriguing woman, Reanna. Not at all what I was expecting.”

  “You said that before. It didn’t sound like a compliment that time, either.”

  He ran a hand lightly down the side of her face. Reanna shivered from the pleasure of his caress. He leaned down again and said softly, “Oh, but it was. When I saw you in the swimsuit calendar, I thought you a vain woman and one who would have quite a lot of experience with men. But, instead, you’re shy and more than a little awkward. I’m intrigued.”

  Reanna jerked her face away from him. “I thought you said you didn’t work with Biostern. If this is about that stupid bet again, let me end it now. It’s not anyone’s business, but if it matters that much to you, go back and tell them, yes, I am a virgin. I’m a twenty-five-year-old virgin and proud of it. Are you happy now?”

  Stuffing her purse beneath her arm, Reanna pushed Xander with the intention of walking past him. He grabbed her arm and held her before him. “You’re a virgin?”

  Breathing heavily, with a mixture of anger and excitement she couldn’t deny, Reanna snarled, “If the bet requires proof, you’re out of luck, buddy. However, I’ll put it in damn writing if it means I never have to see or speak to any of you again. Let me go, you asshole.”

  A dark look crossed his expression, almost territorial. “Whoever has made you feel your virtue is less than a diamond among coal is a fool, and I have no patience for men who do not respect women. Whatever they may have said to you in the past, you have my assurance they will never say it again.”

  Reanna was now thoroughly confused and more than a little turned on. “Let go of my arm.”

  “Have dinner with me tonight.”

  “I can’t,” Reanna said and tugged to free herself. She fought because it was the sane thing to do, not because she wanted to end their connection. Did I just make a fool of myself? I’m not dreaming: he’s not an escort, and he’s not here for the bet . . . who the hell did I just proclaim my virginity to? And why does it feel so good to have him looking at me like I’m an entrée on a menu? “I have a project due by Monday. Listen, I’m flattered that you want to have dinner with me. Especially after everything I just said to you. But I can’t.”

  “Are you turning me down?” he growled softly. There was an arrogance that would have been unattractive if it hadn’t also contained a hint of genuine surprise. Maybe a man as attractive as Xander didn’t hear the word “no” often. That alone was enough evidence Reanna had made the right decision. As unrealistic as she knew it was, a part of her still clung to the romantic idea she would someday give her virginity to a man she loved — one who loved her back just as desperately.

  Love, not whatever she felt for the man holding her arm. Even with her limited experience, she recognized lust for what it was. Tempting as it was to continue to stare into the eyes of a man who made every inch of her tingle, she had no time for temporary relationships. When she finally did give her heart and body to a man, it would be all or nothing. “Yes. Sorry, but I am.”

  A smile spread across his face, transforming him from handsome to I-can’t-breathe-in-his-presence beautiful. “Don’t be sorry, Reanna. I didn’t expect to enjoy any part of this trip, but you’ve changed that.”

  Reanna shook her head, trying to correlate what he was saying with how she was feeling. “I don’t understand.”

  He pulled her to him and kissed her. Reanna raised her hands to his chest to push him away, but his gentle caress shook her. She expected him to be rough, but he teased her lips lightly with his own. Although her head told her she was being reckless, her body burned with a need she’d never felt before. She didn’t want the feeling or the kiss to end. She tentatively ran a hand across his muscular chest.

  He broke off the kiss without deepening it and released her. “I will pick you up at your house tomorrow.”

  Reanna swayed, gathering her scattered thoughts. “Tomorrow? I can’t. I wish I could. I’m working.”

  “On your birthday?”

  “It’s just another day.” Reanna had learned early the best way to not be constantly disappointed was to keep her expectations low. If she didn’t celebrate her birthday, it didn’t matter when no one else did either.

  “Be ready by noon,” he said before turning and striding away.

  Reanna watched him leave and raised a hand to her lips. “I said no.” She told herself to call after him and warn him she had paperwork to pick up, which required a drive to a nearby town, and she probably wouldn’t be home at noon. Instead, she sat back down beside her half-eaten lunch, closed her eyes, and let herself relive his kiss.

  Tomorrow I’ll probably discover all of this was a prank or some sort of misunderstanding. But that’s tomorrow. For now I am just going to enjoy the fact that I kissed that man.

  Me.

  Xander slid into the back
of his Bentley and told his driver to take him back to his hotel. He called Simon, a man who had been his family’s advisor since before Xander was born, to inform him of his changed plans. Even though Simon had stayed behind in Rubare Collina, he was involved. “I’ll be staying in Boston at least another night.”

  “As you wish, Your Highness. Were you able to locate Reanna Fielding?”

  “I was. She is quite different than I imagined.”

  “In a good or bad way, Your Highness?”

  “How many women have you sent me to meet, Simon?”

  “Ten so far.”

  “Nine of them were a waste of time. Reanna, on the other hand, has piqued my interest.”

  “I thought she might.”

  “She refused my request to have dinner with her. I doubt she even knows who I am.”

  “Don’t be too insulted. She’s American,” Simon said dryly. “They don’t know the names of many foreign rulers.”

  Simon’s distain for all Western countries outside of his own was not a topic Xander was interested in. “Remind me why you chose Reanna.”

  “Her physical beauty was evident in the calendar photo. Like the others, she has no close family ties. Her social network is limited enough that her disappearance would be possible to explain away. I realize you were looking for someone with more polish to take as your bride, but etiquette and poise can be learned. Your children would benefit from her high IQ.”

  “I wasn’t pleased she’d displayed herself in that calendar.”

  “I understand, but remember why she did it. She raised money for a children’s charity. My informants tell me she was uncomfortable with their choice of attire for the photo, but she put aside how she felt due to the importance of the cause.”

  Xander rubbed his chin absently. “That would be a good quality to have in a queen.”

  “Yes, Your Highness, it certainly would.”

  Xander thought back to his conversation with Reanna and said, “Simon, I have a side project for you. Someone at Biostern has been having fun at Reanna’s expense. I want their names, and I want that information today. I will settle it before returning to Rubare Collina on Sunday.”