A Bride for the Billionaire Bad Boy

By: Shadonna Richards

(THE ROMERO BROTHERS, BOOK 2)


PROLOGUE



Six months earlier…



Besides the occasional influenza bug, Maxine rarely caught anything. But on this night, she caught the fragrant bouquet of flowers from her friend and former boss, Lucy! She also caught the attention of Antonio’s sexy-as-hell playboy cousin, Lucas.

“Beautiful!” Lucas grinned as he gave Maxine a salacious glance. Maxine was playing with the flower petals of the arrangement when he approached her at one of the tables on the lawn.

Of course, he was dangling the lace garter that his cousin Antonio stripped from his new bride's thigh using only his teeth. That was quite an x-rated sight to behold!

Did sexiness run in the family? It certainly looked like it. Lucas had a few glasses of wine and seemed quite mellow on this eve.

The music was blazing from the speakers in the dimly lit garden reception. The night was fresh and crisp. And Lucas was, well…fresh!

“Thanks, Lucas!” Maxine flushed. Lucas was not her type. He was a player. Period. She saw the way he flirted with every other girl at the Diamond Ball a couple of months ago. Why, surely, he didn’t think she was some fly-by-night girl, did he?

Lucas?

Lucas caught the garter?

Good grief!

Marriage material, he was not!

“Would you like to dance?” He extended his hand. And his voice, it was oh so deep. It commanded respect and oozed sexiness at the same time. It was as if to challenge her to say no. It was more statement than question.

Oh, God, there was the flirtatious thing going on again.

Hell no! Players are just not my type.

She’d heard too much about Lucas’s reputation with the women. The countless women. He was smooth as warm caramel and could be just as sweet with his mouth.

Maxine felt terrible having thought that. What harm could one dance possibly do? It wasn’t as if he’d asked her to board his private yacht or anything like that. Heck, it was her good friend’s wedding. People dance at weddings. Nothing wrong with that.

“Sure,” Maxine finally agreed. Her mind was telling her one thing but her heart was speaking a whole different language.

It’s just one dance, she told herself. Nothing more has to come of it.

So why did she get the feeling this would not be the last time she would see Lucas?





CHAPTER ONE



This is a nightmare!

Reporters gathered outside Toni Romero’s black chauffeur-driven SUV as his driver pulled up to the gate of his sprawling estate, Romero Mansion in the quiet town of Mayberry Hill. A place that was often dubbed a beautiful scenic paradise with breathtaking views of the hills and stretches of green land just north of the city of Toronto. A few hours drive from Buffalo, New York. A tranquil escape and stark contrast from the hectic bustle of the concrete jungle. And now? The center of unwanted media attention!

Toni was seventy-six, after all. He didn’t need this type of ridiculous scrutiny. Especially resulting from the behavior of one of his own grandsons, Lucas!

Lucas!

Why couldn’t Lucas stay out of trouble and out of the headlines once in a while? Would that be too much to ask?

“Would you like me to turn around and go to the west entrance instead, sir?” the driver asked Toni.

“Oh, no. I’m not going to hide. We’ll use the main entrance. They’re not going to intimidate me that easily.” Toni stiffened his upper lip.

The Romero family’s grand estate covered forty impressive acres of sweeping land with scenic surroundings protected by several gated entrances. You could drive to the location from any direction since it housed several properties, including the main house between four different roads. One of the roads was not even accessible to the public.

But the last thing Toni wanted was to give the impression that he was hiding or cowering from disgrace. The Romero family did not hide ... from anyone. Not a true Romero, anyway. It was his home and he would not be using any back entrances to enter.

“Will they ever go away?” Shelly, his forty-six-year-old wife number five turned to him, her brows furrowed.

“Probably not for now,” Toni sighed deeply. “They’re like vultures, you know.”

“The reporters?”

“Yes. They feed on scandal. Where are they when the Romero men raise millions of dollars to house poor families and feed children from broken homes?”

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