Virgin for a Trillionaire (Taken by a Trillionaire Series) with Excerpt

 

They’re at it again! Ruth Cardello, JS Scott, and Melody Anne come together for another royal novella trilogy. This is the first novella of a three novella set. Check the dates below for release dates on the second and third novella.

Escape with three new princes as only these NYT’s bestselling authors could write them.

 

Virgin for the Trillionaire: Ruth Cardello (April 25, 2017)

Virgin for the Prince: J.S. Scott (June  6, 2017)

Virgin to Conquer: Melody Anne (July 3, 2017)

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The wild ride begins with Virgin for the Trillionaire:

Prince Ballasare Stephan Demande needs a bride before his thirtieth birthday or he’ll lose his crown. Unlike their barbarian twin island, Rubare Virgina’s royal family is above kidnapping and murdering as a means of choosing their queens. Historically, they’ve cultivated their own selection, ensuring the purity and perfection of each. Prince Ballasare wants more, so he comes up with a plan. It’s genius really. He invites three hundred of the most beautiful and intelligent virgins from around the world to his island under the guise of attending a conference. Those who are willing to stay and participate in a series of tests are offered a chance to win one million dollars. He can only imagine the joy that the woman he chooses will feel when she discovers he and his title are the real prize.

Jessica Quincy is at a crossroads career wise. She hadn’t expected anyone to actually read her blog posts about her lonely life. She certainly hadn’t expected Virgin Territory to go viral. But who can stay a virgin forever? And what does a woman do when she’s no longer what she’s made a career out of writing about? She takes a risk, that’s what. Jessica attends a conference that promises to end with one participant winning a million dollars. Any ex-virgin could start over with that kind of money.

She makes him laugh.

He scares, infuriates, and totally turns her on.

Unfortunately, on Rubare Virgina, being chosen by a sexy prince can have deadly consequences if you haven’t updated your blog.

Like the first novella trilogy, Taken by a Trillionaire, these novellas are escapism fantasy. If you are looking for a historically accurate representation of a monarchy or a serious depiction of how royals maintain their bloodlines, neither trilogies are for you. If you love larger than life characters and fun storylines that take you to exotic places with sexy alpha men, then welcome to our imaginary kingdoms. The men are insanely rich, the traditions are potentially deadly, and the sex will leave you craving a night on this dark isle.

Chapter One

 

“Three hundred. I didn’t know that many people would be at this conference. God, I hope they don’t ask us to say anything in front of the group. My armpits are sweaty just thinking about it,” a strawberry blonde said to the platinum blonde seated beside her at the round table.

“Shut up. You sound like an idiot,” the platinum blonde snapped in a low voice she probably didn’t think would carry as well as it did due to a lull in the conversation.

Jessica Quincy politely looked away. The two women had introduced themselves a few moments earlier as if their surname would be recognized. They’d been disappointed. Alia, seemed sweet with a shy smile. The other, Vida, was a coiled snake. The Charmagne sisters. Sisters. It was hard to imagine how they’d come from the same womb.

Their fame, if they had any, hadn’t reached the United States, but Jessica wasn’t about to mention it. She had empathy for anyone attempting to fit in. As the mathematically gifted daughter of a mechanic and an accountant, Jessica had spent most of her life trying not to stand out. She loved her parents, but they’d never quite known what to do with her. Her peers had accused her of thinking she was smarter than them, and her teachers had been intimidated by her ability to do difficult mental calculations with ease. During her younger years, she’d been shuffled from one special program to another, tested, and challenged, and rather than giving her confidence it had shut her down socially. She had a degree from MIT before most of her peers graduated from high school but was socially withdrawn. Several companies and more than one government agency had tried to recruit her, but she hadn’t fit in with the groups they’d introduced her to. Back then, at nineteen, she hadn’t wanted to be to be closed off in a think tank. She hadn’t been ready to join the corporate world. She was lost. She wasn’t proud of the choice, but she’d moved back in with her parents and hidden from the world. Her parents had pushed her to go out, but they really didn’t understand how difficult that was for her. As easy as school had been academically, the opposite could be said for friendships. The more she tried to make friends during high school, the more she failed. She was rarely invited to parties, didn’t comprehend the social norms expected of her, and found solitude the easier option. Over time though, solitude became isolation until she resented her gifts. For Jessica, intelligence created loneliness.

Desperately despondent, she started blogging. She’d used a fake name and began writing about the things that mattered to her: friendship, family, and her sexual journey or distinct lack there of. Her honest search for herself drew a large number of followers. One post in particular, the one she wrote when she reflected on what it was like to turn twenty-one and still be a virgin had gone viral. She wondered if other people were inexperienced and embarrassed by it. Responses had come in from around the world, stories from those who lamented everything from having never been with anyone to those who felt they’d been with too many.

So much guilt and shame. She no longer felt alone in her awkwardness.

Spin-off support groups formed around many of the topics. Virgin Territory started as many groups did, a small online conversation where acceptance was the norm. It soon took on a life of its own, though. Followers jumped from thousands to millions and the blog became a business no one had anticipated.

Helping others find their voice and their confidence became Jessica’s passion and purpose. After several years of anonymity, she finally put a face to her blog via video, and her life changed again. She was asked to speak at event after event. It was always the same; people who had previously suffered in silence came to connect with her. Some were virgins, some weren’t but said they connected with the loneliness of her journey. Like her, they had lived in a constant state of apology and wanted to be accepted—even if it was only by one other person.

Jessica felt for the strawberry blonde woman with the viper of a sister. “I know exactly how you feel, Alia. Public speaking used to terrify me.”

“It did?” Alia asked in a hopeful tone.

“Absolutely. I used to practice speaking into a salt shaker just so I’d know what to do with my hands if I had a microphone. My mother had a dog, Sigfrid, who was my captive but encouraging audience. When I get nervous now I just imagine I’m talking to him.” She took out her phone and brought up a photo of the enormous Saint Bernard. “This is Sigfrid.”

“Oh, he’s beautiful,” Alia cooed.

Her sister rolled her eyes skyward. “If they call for someone to speak from this table, I’ll go. We don’t want to be eliminated on our first day.”

The condescending snake reminded Jessica of the mean girls in school who had taunted her for being different. They had taught Jessica to avoid competitions where she would stand out. I’m not a child anymore, though, and this isn’t a popularity contest. The One Woman Conference on the small island nation of Rubare Virgina was a week-long event where daily challenges and eliminations would culminate in one of the participants going home with a million dollars.

Six months ago, Jessica would have said she didn’t need the money, but her main income came from Virgin Territory and the speaking engagements stemming from it. That had all been good and freeing until she’d made the mistake of sleeping with a man she’d met on her twenty-third birthday. He’d approached her after one of her speaking engagements and lavished attention on her. He’d said all the things she’d dreamed a man would: she was beautiful, brilliant, desirable. At twenty-three, she’d thought she’d waited long enough.

She hadn’t expected the experience to be quick and disappointing. She also hadn’t expected him to explain that he couldn’t see her again because he was married. It had been a devastating slap to her confidence, one too crushing to share with her blog. From that day on, everything she wrote or said felt like a lie even when they were just words of support. People came to her with the expectation that they had something in common with her, and she hated feeling like a fraud. It was another layer of shame, but one she was determined to shed.

How? She was still figuring that part out.

Yes, the blog had brought in a decent income but not enough to survive. She’d needed to close it up and start fresh, but she hadn’t known how to make the leap until the invitation to the conference had come in. She’d decided it was time to pick herself up, dust herself off, and finally benefit from the skills she’d resented when she was younger.

Competition? Bring it on.

And, win or lose, I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad about myself.

The program had said that day one was about networking. After a brief mixer, the women had been asked to choose their own seats. Jessica had been so busy listening to the stories of the women she met, she hadn’t applied any strategy to choosing her tablemates. The reminder to sit had taken her by surprise, and she’d joined the nearest group of women. She was quickly coming to regret that impulsive decision.

“Public speaking is as much about what you say as how you say it,” she said while looking directly into Vida’s eyes. “We also wouldn’t want our table to sound overconfident or crass.”

“Crass?” Vida’s eyes narrowed. “Who would know more about that than an American?”

A Canadian woman raised her hand in protest and said, “That’s not entirely correct. Geographically, I’m also—” then lowered it when Vida glared at her.

What is that woman’s problem? Without missing a beat, Jessica said, “Nationality is a fascinating concept, isn’t it, and so much a part of our identity. It shouldn’t define us, though. We can measure ourselves by all the ways we are different or by the ways we are the same.”

“You should measure yourself,” Vida said in a low tone, “then you might have had the salad instead of the steak.”

“Vida,” Alia cried and turned bright red.

The weight comment cut close to home. Weight had always been an issue for Jessica. Her parents had limited her caloric intake as a child, and she’d maintained that discipline into adulthood, but she would never be a size zero like the Charmagne sisters. Isn’t it time to stop hating myself for how I was born?

Jessica looked around the table. Like some United Nations beauty pageant, the seven other women were a range of skin tones but all stunningly beautiful. Jessica was ten pounds above her normal weight and pasty pale from a long New England winter.

Stop. No more shame. I refuse to let anyone undermine my confidence.

She leaned across the table and, with a bright smile, said, “Ugly comes in all shapes and sizes. Before you say more, you might want to find out how we’re being scored. I hope it’s not peer evaluations.”

One woman raised her napkin to cover a smile. Another nodded at Jessica in approval.

Vida said something in her native language and stood. “I heard we pass or fail as a table tonight. Excuse me. I’m going to move because I doubt any of you will be here tomorrow. Come on, Alia. We can do much better.”

Alia stood, but her head dipped in apology, and she stayed behind as Vida walked away. “Please don’t mark her poorly if you’re given a chance. She’s scared. It’s the stress of everyone relying on her. We came to win, and I don’t want to think about what will happen if we don’t.”

“Alia,” Vida called out.

Alia dipped her head again. “It was nice to meet you all. Good luck tonight.”

The table was once again quiet after she left. She felt bad for Alia, but thankfully, the lights of the conference room dimmed and a speaker came to the podium before she had much time to think about it. He was an older gentleman with gray hair combed into a conservative style and a dark suit that fit him perfectly. His accent was faintly English, but with other regional influences. “Welcome to Rubare Virgina. My name is Theo Fissolo. Consider me your personal concierge for your weeklong stay. Anything I can do to make your stay at the Collosal Hotel more enjoyable, please do not hesitate to contact me. My card is beneath your plate. I hope that you are all comfortable with your accommodations.”

There was a general murmur of agreement.

“Look around the room. You were each chosen because you represent the best and brightest your country has to offer. The next few days will not be easy, and many of you will go home disappointed, but you must not consider losing here as failure. Simply being invited to this conference should make you proud. Rubare Virgina has always understood that women are the heart of any society. While you are here, though, I must caution you that we do not have tourists in our country, and our culture has retained an . . . innocence . . . that we encourage you to respect. We ask that you remain inside the hotel unless asked to participate in one of our approved outings. All distractions we felt might hinder you have been removed. If anyone feels uncomfortable with the conference or the tasks we ask you to perform, simply request to leave. You will be flown back immediately. No questions asked. However, if you stay, I promise you that the monetary prize is inconsequential compared to the opportunity you will find yourself presented with. We wish we could keep you all, but there can only be one winner. So, first, give yourself a round of applause for making it this far and also applaud the lucky one of you, whomever she may be, who will stay in the end . . .” He flashed a white, smooth smile. “Sorry, my English is rusty. I meant to say win in the end.”

Jessica clapped right along with every other woman in the room. She was ready to take the next step with her life, and winning one million dollars would be a great first step.

“Now, I have a special treat for you. As proof that Rubare Virgina believes in advancing the position of women, the guest speaker tonight is a true honor, indeed. So, please rise from your seats to greet His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Ballasare Stephan Demande, eldest son and our future king. Please do not applaud his entrance. Instead, it is customary to bow your head in quiet deference. Some of you will not want to, and that is perfectly understandable. Adopting our customs is entirely left to your discretion.”

Three hundred women rose to their feet, but only about half bowed their heads. Jessica glanced around and noted that Vida and Alia were among those who had followed the instruction. The women at her table had as well. She lowered hers own even though it felt peculiar to her. She was comfortable honoring Rubare Virgina’s customs, as that showed warranted respect. She did wonder about the man himself though. Would he be arrogant like some of her college professors, or someone more approachable who earned respect afforded him?

There was a collective gasp when a tall, wide-shouldered, dark-haired demi-god strode across the stage to the podium. Every fairy-tale prince she’d ever read about paled in comparison to the real deal. He carried himself with an authority that matched his formal attire and title. He was dressed in a dark suit with a few glittering medals on his lapel. His blue eyes were bright against his olive skin, and his smile was easy and confident.

“Welcome,” he said in a voice sounding like an intimate caress. “It is my pleasure to welcome you to our country.”

She melted even while chastising herself for doing so. Wow. It was difficult to concentrate on much past the perfect lines of his jaw, the fullness of his lips, the way he took the time to look several of the women in the eye. So handsome. Jessica didn’t know how they felt, but she was slowly being hypnotized by that deep voice of his.

I wonder what life is like when you’re that good-looking? And royalty? Women must throw themselves at him constantly.

She looked around the room briefly. Judging by the slightly glazed looks, she wasn’t alone in her instant adoration of the prince. Some looked unimpressed, but she doubted they were unaffected. Hell, a woman at the next table was the reigning Miss Universe from Chili, and she looked just as mesmerized by him.

Even a positive attitude requires remaining grounded in reality. No matter how much I may wish that flapping my arms could make me fly, jumping from a building while doing so will end badly. I need to focus on what I can realistically leave here with—the money. That’s the only prize I want.

“Please sit. Rubare Virgina is honored to be your host. The prize you’re competing for has been provided by my family, and I can already tell our choice will be a difficult one to make. Each of you has been given a dossier with the history of our island, but for those who have not yet had time to read it, we are a country that produces cutting-edge technology but remains grounded in our traditions. You may be more familiar with our sister island, Rubare Collina. We are more private, but like them, we believe in helping those beyond our borders. We appreciate that many of you stepped away from businesses to come here and that is why, regardless of how long you stay, we will be awarding smaller prizes to a good number of you. We hope you use them to create a better future for yourselves and remember that you are the planet’s true precious resource.”

Several expressed excitement at the announcement. Jessica wasn’t sure she liked being called a resource, but she exchanged smiles with the women at her table. I’m overthinking this. The additional prizes were a generous and thoughtful gesture. She guessed she wasn’t the only one feeling a little overwhelmed by the volume of competitors. Two hundred ninety-nine people I need to beat to leave with the prize. Why is that so hard for me?

She remembered an instructor at one of her gifted programs lecturing her about her desire for everyone to receive awards. He’d said it was a female flaw that held women back from winning.

Another flaw. Something else to loathe about myself if I let others tell me who I should be. I don’t want to leave everyone else behind. I like to get along and belong. I like making people feel good about themselves. Does everything that makes up me have to be wrong? Or could it simply be who I am? 

The prince continued, “In your initial contract, you agreed to limited communication during the conference, so we hope you made proper arrangements. We request that you now place your cellphone in the box in the middle of the table. Rubare Virgina has remained closed to the influences of social media and the Internet. Your computers, if you brought them, are being removed from your rooms. Everything will be returned to you when you leave our island, but the nondisclosure agreement you signed prohibits you from discussing anything you see or hear during your stay. You may retain your phone, of course, but doing so will end your time with us.”

Some women immediately relinquished their cell phones, a few stood and walked out, while others expressed concern or displeasure. The volume of resistance rose, but it quelled instantly when the prince began to speak again. “There is no debate. The decision is yours to make. I will not force you, nor will I ask you again. You know what to do if you wish to remain a participant in the conference. Trust is a key element in any relationship. If you do not trust us enough to part with your technology temporarily, there is nothing here for you.”

Yeesch, that’s a hard line to draw on day one.

Trust should be earned, not commanded.

Still, I don’t want to leave. I signed on for a week of challenges—perhaps this is the first one. Is it a test to see who really wants to be here? She placed her phone in the box. Well, I do and I intend to win—so take my phone. Let the weeding begin. I’m not afraid.

Once the room settled again, the prince said, “Good. I have one more announcement. Theo said we removed all distractions from the hotel so you could better concentrate on the workshops and challenges, but I insisted on being part of the process. I will be with you, each step of the way, guiding you, assessing your performance. Mine will be the deciding vote in each case.” He smiled as if coaxing them to agree. “Think of me as your coach.” He flashed them a sensual smile that would have charmed the habit off a nun then winked. There wasn’t a complaint voiced. “I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you.”

Jessica bit her bottom lip as desire flooded through her. He hadn’t been looking at her but it felt as if he had. His wink was meant for everyone, but her heart raced and her stomach clenched as she imagined those full lips kissing their way down to do what she still only dreamed of.

I bet he knows what to do with a woman. Imagine if my first time had been with someone like him? Yeowza. I might have blogged about that.

She smiled and he seemed to smile right back. Even if it were imagined, the connection felt intimate. She normally would have blushed and looked away, but safely hidden in the crowd she let herself enjoy the moment.

Forget the prize, how do I offer myself up for royal consumption? The idea of being that brazen widened her smile. As if.

But a little fantasizing never hurt anyone. Wow.

Just wow.

 

“Is everything to your pleasure, Your Highness?”

“As always, Theo,” Prince Ballasare said as he walked out of the conference room with the royal advisor. The image of only one woman remained with him: the dark-eyed brunette with laughter in her eyes and a face that lit up when she smiled. He’d been unable to look away.

Although he’d designed the conference himself, his expectations of quick results were low. As next in line to rule a wealthy country, beautiful women had always been in surplus. He had yet to meet one he wanted to marry, though, and if he didn’t before the age of thirty he would lose his right to the crown. Something that will not happen.

“Your father has the final say, but so far he has been agreeable with the process you’ve laid out.”

“He has no reason to doubt my judgment. I have always honored him as well as my duty to my country.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“In my way.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

Despite the agreeable and respectful responses, Ballasare sensed the man who had been a constant part of his life for as long as he could remember was not pleased. “Something is troubling you.”

They entered a private elevator that led to a suite encompassing the entire top floor of the hotel. “If you are happy, Your Highness, then I am as well.”

“Bullshit,” Ballasare said, and Theo’s eyes widened in surprise. Having studied for two years in the United States, Ballasare enjoyed using some of their terminology even now. Especially for the shock value. They didn’t dance around topics as people in his circle tended to do. Americans could be vulgar and raw, but that was part of what he admired about them. They said what they thought, like children invited to the adult table for the first time. Etiquette was important, yes, but not if it stood in the way of honesty. “One day soon, Theo, I will rule Rubare Virgina. I need you to continue to be frank with me.”

“I have already shared my concerns with you.”

“Regarding the Charmagne sisters?”

Theo lowered his head in agreement. “They should not be here, Your Highness. They do wish to marry you, but are only here as a way of returning the resources of the island to their family.”

“I’m well aware of that, Theo.”

“They are the only ones who seem to know why they’re here, although we don’t know how. We must consider the possibility that someone in the castle is feeding them information.”

“Keep your friends close—”

“And your enemies closer,” Theo said with a sigh.

“What better way to reveal the mole than to let the sisters participate in the conference and test which information finds its way to them?”

“This is a dangerous time for such a game. It might be wiser to give the complication over to those charged with weeding out such problems. It would return confidence in a time of uncertainty. Rubare Collina has disavowed their Arcano, essentially going to war with them. They are shedding old traditions and challenging all who uphold them. There is a fear that we will follow suit.”

“For what purpose? Change does not require war. The Arcano has kept our royal line stable for hundreds of years. Our Collina cousins may share our blood, but they have always been barbaric. My father blames the pirates they mixed with when they first received their island. Violence is woven into their history. The Arcano should not be shocked that their evolution involves it as well.”

“So, you agree with your father in not supporting King Xander’s hunt for their remaining Arcano?”

“Why should we join a dispute that is not ours? We are at peace and Virgina has never been more prosperous. It is as my father said, ‘Rubare Collina made their own bed of problems, they must now wash their own dirty linens.’”

Theo nodded. “Our Arcano council is watching how you handle the Charmagne sisters. If you fail to contain the threat, they will act.”

“It will not come to that. My father agrees.”

“Your father has never challenged the Arcano.”

“As I said, there is no need to. My way falls within our laws,” Ballasare said impatiently.

“Perhaps,” Theo said and adjusted the sleeves of his jacket, a tell that he was uncomfortable with the conversation. “You are more progressive than you think. Your mock conference—three hundred women—there is no precedence for anything like this.”

Ballasare smiled. “I’m choosing a wife. Now is not a time to be conservative with my options.”

“How will you possibly get to know that many women in one week?”

Ballasare raised and lowered a shoulder. “Several are already being escorted to the airport for not relinquishing their phones. After my team reviews the video of the conference room about half of them will also be sent back.”

“Anyone who did not bow their heads?”

“Absolutely.”

“Three hundred women, though, all over the age of twenty and not one of them was raised for the role as your mother was.”

“I adore my mother, but everything makes her nervous: large crowds, hosting dignitaries, making public appearances. She is fragile and frightened when our people most need us to inspire confidence. The world is changing. We need to remain strong. Otherwise, we’ll discover that our allies are just as greedy for Virgina’s resources as our enemies.”

“But can you be certain of their chasteness?”

“If there is any question, I’ll verify it myself,” Ballasare said, and an image of the brunette leaped back to his mind. It would be my pleasure and hers as well.

Theo shook his head, not looking at all amused. “Any consummation before the ceremony would nullify the woman as an option. The law is clear. She must be a virgin on your wedding night.”

“Confirmation of which is by my word.”

“Yes, but you are under great scrutiny, Your Highness. I’m not sure you realize how much of our country’s stability relies on this going smoothly. If done well, the Arcano will be reassured. If not—”

“Theo, you worry over nothing.”

“It is not too late to choose from one of our women. The ones you have invited here were raised outside our culture. What if one refuses the honor you offer her? So far that has only happened on Rubare Collina, and the Arcano put them to death until recently.”

“Have you known any woman to refuse me?”

“No, Your Highness.”

“Then this is another non-issue.”

“What if none of the three hundred suit you?”

“Then we gather another three hundred. And another.”

“Your thirtieth birthday approaches. If you have not chosen by then, the council has the right to choose for you.”

“It is a good thing, then, that I have designed a process that allows me to assess a woman’s honor and suitability in seven days’ time.”

“Yes, Your Highness.”

“My father has expressed a wish to attend the conference, but he is to do so in a low-profile manner. Perhaps as a member of the staff.”

“Your father? Low profile?”

“He is not to interfere.”

Theo looked doubtful, but kept his thoughts on that matter to himself. “If I could be as impertinent as to voice a question merely out of curiosity.”

“Ask it.”

“Is it true that tomorrow you will ask each of the women to scale the side of the hotel?”

“Yes.”

“I understand why you’d want to know if they would follow our customs. It makes sense to limit their communication with outside influences, but is this purely for the amusement of seeing if they can do it?”

As the eldest son, Ballasare was expected to be serious. Even as a child his father had discouraged him from spending any time on anything merely for the pleasure of it. Theo’s question offended him. “Of course not. The task will shake them up and give me a glimpse of their true nature. I will be there under the guise of helping them, but in reality I do not care if they scale the hotel or not. Simply asking them to do so will reveal if any are overly nervous or dangerously reckless. Neither would suit me or our people. It’s a test of character, not of skill. Genius, don’t you think?”

“Genius, Your Highness,” Theo said, but his tone didn’t sound convincing.