The Billionaire Takes A Bride

By: Jessica Clare

Chapter One



“Your mother has cancer.”

Sebastian Cabral rubbed his mouth in shock. He didn’t know what to think. Dread and worry shot through him, and he pictured his mother and how devastated she must have been when she found out the terrible news. “Damn it. That’s horrible. Why didn’t she say anything to me?”

“It’s this season’s story line.” His lawyer had the grace to look embarrassed. He nudged a pile of paperwork toward Sebastian and pointed at a paragraph. “It’s detailed here on page sixteen. ‘Mama Precious, aka Elizabeth Cabral, will undergo exploratory treatments for cancer. She will seek out all kinds of remedies, from holistic spas to shamanistic treatments.’ I’m told she will be given an all clear by the time the season finale rolls around. It’s a scare intended to drum up ratings.”

Sebastian sat back in his chair, unable to believe what he was hearing. His jaw dropped. “Wait. You mean to tell me that a cancer story is being fabricated by the network and she’s fine? All so she can go rub crystals on herself with a shaman?”

“That is what I have been told, yes.”

“That’s fucking atrocious.” He couldn’t believe it. Making up cancer? Really? When so many people out there had cancer or a loved one suffering from it? When his own grandmother had died of the disease? It was low. Lower than low.

That was reality TV for you.

Sebastian was ensconced in his lawyer’s office in downtown Manhattan, reviewing contracts and information for the upcoming season of The Cabral Empire. It didn’t matter that he absolutely refused to be on the show. The rest of his family was on it, and therefore Sebastian was pulled into the media frenzy surrounding them.

The fact was, his family had made themselves famous by being ridiculous and over the top on a reality TV show. His father was a Portuguese eighty-year-old billionaire with inherited money, aka “Daddy Money.” His mother was a fiftyish ex-model with a plastic surgery addiction and loopy hobbies, aka “Mama Precious.”

He didn’t call them that. The rest of the world did, but Sebastian still preferred Mother and Father like a normal fucking human.

But his mother had always wanted to be famous. It wasn’t enough to be an ex-model married to a billionaire nearly twice her age. She craved notoriety. By the time Sebastian had hit his midtwenties, his mother had gotten into contact with a TV producer looking for new reality TV shows. Mrs. Cabral had immediately volunteered her family. The first season was all about his mother purchasing a new home for the family in NYC and her shopping trips to spend her husband’s money. It was stupid, nothing-going-on TV that quickly consumed her daily life. Sebastian’s younger siblings hadn’t been spared the TV show, either. Dolph and Cassie went to local colleges instead of going away for school, all so they could stay on the show. Amber was homeschooled by a wacky tutor. Even the maid was a staple on the damn thing.

It was asinine. His family members were a bunch of nobodies who happened to have money and did stupid things to spend it. It shouldn’t have been a success. It should have appeared on the air and quickly disappeared again.

As fate would have it, The Cabral Empire was a massive cable hit.

Suddenly the Cabral family was showing up at ritzy premieres, hawking cheap products, and showing up on the covers of tabloids. It didn’t matter how embarrassing or egregious it was—if it involved notoriety, a Cabral was on it like flies on shit. Sebastian was the only one who didn’t want anything to do with it. He found it ridiculous and more than a little humiliating.

The problem was, the more he resisted the show, the more the show’s producers and fans seemed determined to bring him in. Cameos of him visiting his mother showed up on TV spots. Tabloids speculated about his “mystery” and why he wouldn’t be on the show. His picture and the fact that he was an heir to his father’s billions meant that he got more attention than he wanted. The world wanted more of the sexy, aloof billionaire Cabral heir.

Said heir wanted nothing to do with the world.

So here he was, meeting with an entertainment lawyer to go over what they could and couldn’t show about Sebastian on The Cabral Empire. No promo would be allowed to include Sebastian. No images. No marketing, and certainly no merchandise. Definitely not any story lines that would involve him. It was bad enough that if he showed up to visit family, someone ambushed him with a camera.

He could have said no footage at all. None. Zero. Zip. But the network had insisted, and his mother had wept and cried and told him that the TV executives were threatening to pull the plug if he didn’t have the occasional walk-on. So he’d consented, because even though his parents were approaching full-on crazy, he loved his family.

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