The Billionaire Princess

By: Christina Tetreault

Chapter 1





Outside the window, the runway rapidly approached as the family jet touched down. No matter how many times Sara Sherbrooke traveled by plane it never ceased to amaze her how something so large could take off and land with such ease. As the plane rolled to a stop, she released the death grip she had on the armrests and checked her smartphone for any text messages before tossing it into her Coach bag and then waited for the plane door to open.

“Do you require any assistance, Ms. Sherbrooke?” Michelle, the private flight attendant for the jet, asked.

Sara moved toward the exit. “I'm fine, Michelle. I'll let you and Peter know when I'm ready to leave. When you are both done here go ahead and check into your hotel and enjoy yourselves.”

Without waiting for an answer Sara walked down the stairs and out into the warm Hawaiian sun. As always it was a gorgeous day. It didn't seem like Hawaii ever had any other kind. At least every time she'd been here the weather was perfect and today seemed to be no different.

A few feet away Sara spotted the limo her brother Jake arranged and started toward it, her curiosity running rampant since yesterday when she’d received Jake's call insisting she come to Hawaii immediately with no explanation. She'd told him she had responsibilities and couldn't just up and leave without a good reason. All he said in response was to reschedule her meetings and then promised to have someone waiting for her at the airport.

“Once you’re seated, I'll put your luggage in the trunk; we can leave once Mr. Hall arrives,” the driver said opening the door for Sara.

At the mention of Jake's best friend and former college roommate, Sara's curiosity went into overdrive. Just what was her brother up to anyway?

Climbing into the car, Sara made herself comfortable and waited. The temptation to call Jake lurked in the back of her mind, but knowing her big brother the way she did, it would be pointless. When Jake was ready, he'd tell her what was going on and not a minute sooner.

As Sara sat sipping a bottle of sparkling water, the door opened again. Silently, she watched as Christopher Hall climbed in. If she hadn't seen him countless times on the web, she never would’ve recognized the man who'd climbed in the limo as her brother's Cal Tech roommate. She recalled meeting the tall skinny kid with shaggy light brown hair and glasses when her family moved Jake into his dorm freshman year. On the few occasions she had seen him back then he'd been dressed in jeans, Converse sneakers and t-shirts with hard-rock bands emblazoned on them. The man seated across from her now seemed to be someone else entirely.

Today his light brown hair was cut fashionably short and there was no sign of the glasses he used to wear. And those were not the only changes she noticed. There was no missing the way his broad shoulders filled out his dress shirt.

For a second Sara sat speechless and stared at the man, as her pulse kicked up a few notches. Before he noticed her staring, Sara regrouped and pasted on her best society smile. “Hi Christopher. Did Jake tell you what is going on?”

Christopher shook his head. “No. He just said to get out here, but I have a guess.”

Sara expected him to continue and let her in on his suspicions. Instead he grabbed a soda water for himself. When several minutes passed and he didn't say anything else, she couldn't keep herself from asking her next question, “So, what is your guess?”

Christopher paused with the bottle halfway to his mouth. “My money is on a wedding, but it's just a guess.”

“A wedding? No. Charlie and Jake wouldn't do that. Our parents would be furious.”

“Like I said it's just a guess, but I know Jake and an out-of-the-blue wedding wouldn't surprise me at all.”

Would her brother do that to their parents? Sure a sudden unexpected wedding might be something Jake would talk about, but not something he'd ever go through with. Jake Sherbrooke and Charlotte O'Brien's wedding would be a huge affair much like Dylan and Callie's the year before. Considering the size of the Sherbrooke family and the fact that the American public seemed so fascinated by them, how could it be anything less?

But if not a wedding like Christopher predicted, what other reason could Jake have for asking Christopher and her to Hawaii on such short notice? Other than an impromptu wedding like Christopher suggested nothing else made any sense.

“Have you meet Charlie?” Sara asked in an attempt to start a conversation. Over the years they'd had few conversations so Sara figured she could either ask him about his company or the one thing they had in common, her brother.

Christopher returned his water to the holder near the door and Sara's eyes watched the way the muscles in his upper arm flexed and moved. The sight sent her hand toward the air vent, which she redirected toward her face.

“I meet her last year at Jake's office and we've all gotten together several times since. I like her. She seems perfect for him.”

“I think so too.” Sara reached for more water. “She's definitely the right woman for my brother.” She took a sip from the bottle and then asked him about his company.

About twenty minutes after leaving the airport, the limo arrived at The Sherbrooke Resort and Spa, one of Sherbrooke Enterprises's finest hotels in Maui. Upon entering the resort Christopher and Sara crossed the lobby to the private elevator behind the hotel concierge’s desk and in silence they rode the elevator up to the penthouse apartment, which occupied the entire 21st floor. When the doors opened they walked directly into the living room.

“Good, you two are here. Everyone else is out on the balcony.” Jake crossed the room toward them.

Sara dropped her Coach bag onto a nearby table and embraced her older brother. “Care to tell us what's going on?” Before letting go she dropped a kiss on Jake's cheek.

With a devilish smile Jake moved toward Christopher and slapped him on the back. “Why don't you both come outside and join everyone. Then I'll tell you what's up.”

“Who else is here?” Sara fell into step alongside Jake and Christopher.

“Charlie, of course, Maureen, Callie and Dylan.” He didn't wait for a response before stepping onto the balcony that ran the entire length of the building.

Immediately, Sara thought of Christopher's remark in the car about a wedding. His guess must be right. What other reason could they have for inviting Charlie's mom?

While Jake walked over to his fiancée, Sara took a seat near Dylan and Callie. They sat on an extra-wide padded lounge chair. Dylan's arm rested across Callie's shoulders and their hands were clasped together. Sara fought hard to suppress an eye roll in their direction. Since meeting Callie, her no-nonsense workaholic half-brother had become quite the romantic.

“So are you going to tell us what's up or should we guess?” Christopher asked the very question on her mind.

“Charlie and I are getting married tonight.”

“You'd better be joking or Mom's going to kill you!” Sara looked from Charlie to Jake waiting for one of them to answer her.

“I'm not joking. Dylan and Callie helped us arrange everything. We getting married tonight at five o'clock.”

Even though her brother and his fiancée had been engaged since New Year's Eve they hadn't set a wedding date or to her knowledge even started to make formal plans. She guessed they were in no rush.

“What about Mom and Dad?” Sara glanced around at the other people present. No one but Maureen seemed the least bit surprised by Jake's announcement.

“They don't know. And we want to keep it that way,” Jake answered.

“Have you lost your mind?” Sara came to her feet. “You cannot get married without them here, Jake. Mom will never forgive you.” She knew her brother liked to do things his own way, but she never thought he'd go this far.

In response Jake gave a slight shrug. “It's not about them. Charlie and I don't want a huge affair like Callie and Dylan. That's not us.”

Sara couldn't argue with him on that point. She did find it hard to picture Jake and Charlie having such an elaborate and formal wedding. That didn't mean she couldn't see them having something grander than this. And not to have their parents there felt wrong.

“If Mom knew about this she'd insist on making it a big event and then the media would descend. We don't want that. She'll be angry, but eventually she'll get over it.”

The way she saw it, saying their parents would be upset was the understatement of the century. At the same time though, she couldn't disagree with her brother that Elizabeth Sherbrooke would insist on turning the wedding into a grand event for the whole world to see.

“I still think that you're crazy.” Sara looked over at Callie and Dylan who had remained silent so far. “And why didn't you tell me about this Dylan, if you both knew.” It hurt to think Jake trusted them with the secret but not her.

“Need to know. He needed me to help arrange things. Otherwise he wouldn't have told us either,” Dylan answered. “We didn't say anything because we figured the less that people knew, the less likely someone would slip. And it’s not like it’s been planned for long. We finalized things about three weeks ago.”

Dylan's answer made her feel a little better, but not much. She knew how to keep a secret. Their plans would've been just as safe with her. “When do you plan to tell Mom and Dad? I might make plans to be out of the country when you do.”

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