One Night With the BillionaireBy: Sarah Ballance
He’s the perfect kind of trouble…
Zoe Davenport is on her way to a perfect, idyllic, private resort, where there’s no ex-fiancé and definitely no public scandal involving said ex-fiancé. But one look at the exceptionally sexy resort owner, and Zoe wonders if she’s escaped scandal just long enough to land herself in even hotter water…
Except that Ryder Nash isn’t exactly a stranger. He and Zoe used to live next door to each other. She was the sweet little temptation who couldn’t stand him—the bad boy with a loud car and a new girl every weekend. What Zoe doesn’t know is that all those years ago, her father paid Ryder off…to keep him away from her.
And if Ryder gives into the fiery attraction that rages between them—even for a moment—he’ll lose everything all over again…
One man’s paradise…was so not her reality.
But it came close.
Zoe Davenport stepped off the gleaming Dassault Falcon and inhaled deeply. The tarmac warmed her feet through her shoes, the sudden heat in the absence of the plane’s air conditioning immediately prickling her skin. A hot tropical sea breeze whisked away the lingering scent of the buttery-soft leather upholstery, a luscious preview to the crystal clear waters glimmering silently beyond a wide strip of blinding white sand. Palm trees curved, their fronds lazing against a brilliant sky. Just off the runway, a sleek white limo waited. It did not bear Latitude 13’s corporate logo, as did the aircraft, but there was no mistaking its purpose.
It was there for her.
She dropped her sunglasses to her nose and shook her head. The postcard-cliché beauty of the newly constructed resort couldn’t be any more distant from the real life she’d left behind. After her so-called fiancé had been caught sexting the interns who worked under him—literally, as it turned out—in his congressional office, she’d landed on the front page alongside him, in no small part due to her high-profile position in her father’s top DC law firm. The scandal had left her more politically driven clients skittish and worried for their own reputations, and between that and the swarm of reporters that followed her everywhere, her ability to perform her job had been torpedoed. Though she’d taken the hit both professionally and socially, she had no inclination to play up her role as the jilted bride-to-be. If anything, she was glad to be rid of the jerk, and she had no desire to pretend otherwise.
Here, at a near-empty and not-yet-open resort and traveling under an assumed name, she wouldn’t have to. An old friend of hers, Moose Callahan, whose work in law enforcement left him with associates in interesting places, had called up after hearing on the news that she’d refused to “stand by her man” at his apology press conference. She’d helped Moose polish his application to the police academy during their senior year of high school, and he’d never forgotten the favor and wanted to repay her in her hour of national humiliation. So he’d promised to draw on his connections to get her an exclusive getaway where the sleaziest of reporters wouldn’t have a chance of finding her.
Her appearance at Latitude 13, two weeks before the resort’s official opening, was as a representative of the resort’s interior designer, there to ensure the decorative pieces were in place. It was an easy cover, and only the resort’s owner would know otherwise. Intriguingly, the man had supposedly attended Fairfax High School with her and Moose, though she couldn’t imagine who she knew who owned a private island. That sort of news tended to get around, but she hadn’t a clue who the proprietor might be. Then again, Fairfax High had been so enormous she hadn’t known all of her classmates when they’d graduated. What Moose had told her was that the owner was a retired bodyguard who’d hit it big in real estate, which only stirred up more questions than answers. Moose had gotten called out to a scene before he’d given her the owner’s name, but he’d promised she’d receive an email with all the particulars. Said email had her travel info and the resort’s name, but not the owner’s.
A uniformed attendant approached with her luggage. Rather than handing it over, as she expected, he offered a friendly smile and gestured toward the limo. “Right this way.”