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The Billionaire's Passion

The Billionaire's Passion

3.0 1
by Robyn Donald

Billionaire Slade Hawkings is certain that Alli Pierce is a seductress and a gold digger! He travels to the beautiful Pacific island of Valanu to confront her. But their instant sexual attraction gives him another idea...

Innocent Alli has never met anyone like the arrogant Mr. Hawkings. He may be the new owner of Valanu's hotel resort, but he doesn't own


Billionaire Slade Hawkings is certain that Alli Pierce is a seductress and a gold digger! He travels to the beautiful Pacific island of Valanu to confront her. But their instant sexual attraction gives him another idea...

Innocent Alli has never met anyone like the arrogant Mr. Hawkings. He may be the new owner of Valanu's hotel resort, but he doesn't own her...yet! Slade offers Alli a deal: he'll give her information regarding her background in return for a night of unbridled passion.

He doesn't realize that Alli is still a virgin!

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His Virgin Mistress , #1
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Alli Pierce wove another frangipani blossom into the lei. After an appreciative sniff of the perfume from its shameless golden throat, she said, 'I'm completely determined to get to New Zealand, but I won't sell myself for the fare!'

'I know that,' her friend Sisilu said peaceably in the local variation of the language the Polynesians had carried across the immense reaches of the Pacific Ocean. 'Calm down. It was just a comment Fili made.'

'What's the matter with her lately? She's turned into a nasty little witch.'

Sisilu grinned. 'You're so nai¨ve! She's mad with you because she's got a serious crush on Tama, but he's got a serious crush on you. And she still reckons it's unfair that just because you've got a New Zealand passport Barry pays you New Zealand wages and not island ones. After all, you've been living on Valanu since you were a couple of months old.'

Alli anchored a lock of damp red-brown hair away from her hot face with a carved shell comb. 'Actually, I agree with her,' she said honestly. 'It makes me feel guilty, but Barry says it's company policy.'

'He'd know. Have you seen the new owner yet?'

'New owner?' She stared at her friend. 'Sea Winds's new owner? Here?'

Sisilu's dark eyes gleamed with sly amusement. 'Right here in throbbing, downtown Valanu.'

Alli laughed. 'Big deal.' But she sobered immediately. 'No, I haven't seen him-you know Monday's my day off. When did he get here?'

'Last night-arrived out of the blue on a private plane.'

A frown drew Alli's winged brows together. 'I thought Sea Winds was sold to a huge worldwide organisation. The head guy wouldn't come here-too busy being a tycoon. This man is probably just some suit from management. What's he like?'

'Big,' Sisilu told her, with a sensuous intonation that told Alli the new owner was tall, not fat. She sighed with purely feminine appreciation. 'And he's got presence-he's the owner all right. Not that I've seen much of him. He's been shut up with Barry all day, but he did a quick tour of the resort while we were rehearsing this morning.'

Alli's frown deepened. 'If he's the owner,' she said forthrightly, deft hands weaving more flowers into the lei, 'I'll bet that as well as being tall he's middle-aged, paunchy and going bald.'

Sisilu rolled bold dark eyes. 'I should take you up on that-it would be easy money! You couldn't be more wrong. He's got wide shoulders and long, strong legs-not a clumsy bone in his body and a stomach as flat as mine or yours. Flatter, probably.' Sisilu counted off his assets with frank relish. 'Slade Hawkings walks like a chief, looks like a chief, talks like a chief-he's already got the girls buzzing.'

Hawkings? Surprise scuttled on chilly feet down Alli's spine, but it was a common enough name in the English-speaking world.

Don't go imagining bogeymen, she warned herself. 'If he is the owner-or even an executive with power-he won't be interested in us islanders.' And to banish the cold needle of alarm she added briskly, 'So the girls might as well stop buzzing. Apart from the fact that he probably lives in America or England or Switzerland, men like him go for women who are sophisticated and knowledgeable.'

'If he's a day over twenty-eight I'll eat this lei,' Sisilu said cheerfully. Her tone altered when she said with a sideways look, 'As for that crack about middle-aged men-it just shows what a baby you are; the middle-aged ones are the ones to watch. Which is why you should be keeping an eye on Barry.'

'Barry?' Alli stared at her in astonishment. When her companion nodded, she went on with heavy sarcasm, 'You mean Barry Simcox? The hotel manager who was utterly broken-hearted when his wife ran back to Australia with their little boy because she couldn't stand living in this ''godforsaken island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean''? I quote, of course. That Barry-who has never even looked sideways at me?'

'That very same Barry,' Sisilu said with a toss of her head. 'You might not have seen him looking at you, but others have.'

Alli snorted. 'Well, don't say I didn't warn you.' Her friend went on. 'The new owner would be a much better lover. He looks like a film star, only tougher.' After an elaborate sigh she added, 'And you can tell by looking at him that he knows what he's doing when it comes to making love-he's got that aura, you know?'

'Well, no, I don't know.' Sisilu eyed a hibiscus flower with a critical frown before discarding it. It fell with a soft plop onto the floor. 'Oh, yes, you do.' She added slyly, 'Tama has it too.'

Tama was the second son of the island chief, and Sisilu's cousin. Alli flushed. 'I wish he hadn't decided he is in love with me.'

'It's because you're not in love with him,' Sisilu said wisely, choosing another bloom. 'And because you're different-you don't want him when every other girl in Valanu would happily take him for a lover. As well, of course, virgins are special in our culture. Don't worry about him; he'll get over it once you leave.'

Both worked in silence for a few minutes before Sisilu ruthlessly dragged the conversation back to the topic foremost in her mind. 'And the new owner does not live in Switzerland or England or America-he lives in New Zealand.'

'So do about four million other people.'

'As for the sort of women he likes-when he saw you walk across the foyer five minutes ago he looked as though he'd been hit in the face with a dead shark. I know that look too,' Sisilu finished smugly.

In her driest voice Alli said, 'I'm sure you do-but are you certain it wasn't you he was watching? After all, you're the most beautiful girl in Valanu.'

Sisilu said prosaically, 'He didn't even see me.'

'Wait 'til he does.' Busy fingers pausing, Alli watched her friend thread several more hibiscus flowers into a head lei. Dark as blood, rich as passion, they glowed with silken light. 'Anyway, if he's that gorgeous he's probably gay.'

Sisilu's laugh demolished that idea. 'Far from it. When he looked at you he liked what he saw. He might be interested in helping a countrywoman, especially if you gave him an incentive.'

'Not that sort of incentive, thank you very much,' Alli returned with robust forthrightness, threading in several long pointed leaves to give the effect of a ruff. 'If he wants to help me he can keep the resort going.'

It was the only chance she had to save enough for her fare to New Zealand.

Her friend ignored her. 'Making love with him would not be difficult. He has the kind of sexuality that sets off fires. I wish he'd forget he's the boss and look my way.'

Alli closed her eyes against the shimmer of the sun on the lagoon. Beneath the high-pitched shriek of a gull she could hear the slow, deep roar of the Pacific combers smashing onto the coral reef.

The girls she'd grown up with on Valanu had a forthright, honest appreciation of their sexuality. Once married they'd stay faithful, but until then they enjoyed the pleasures of the flesh without shame.

Alli's father had seen to it that she didn't follow suit.

'Why are you so keen to leave Valanu?' Sisilu asked unexpectedly. 'It's your home.'

Alli shrugged, slender golden fingers still for a second before she picked up another flower from the fragrant heap beside her. Her generous mouth hardened. 'I want to know why my mother left us, and what drove my father to hide himself away here.'

'You know why. He went to school with the chief in Auckland. Naturally, when the tribal corporation wanted someone to run the system, they thought of him.'

Golden-brown eyes sombre, Alli nodded. 'But there are too many questions. Dad wouldn't say a word about any family. I don't even know who my grandparents were.'

Her friend made a clucking noise. To be deprived of family in Polynesia meant much the same as being an outcast. 'Your father was a good man,' she said quickly.

Two years previously, after Ian Pierce's death, Alli had gone through his papers and found the one thing she'd longed to know-the name of her mother. That find had encouraged her to save the money she needed to pay an investigator to find Marian Hawkings. Three months previously the dossier had arrived. Now she was saving desperately to meet the woman who'd borne her, only to abandon her.

She said steadily, 'My mother was an Englishwoman who married Dad in England and came to New Zealand with him. After they divorced she married another man, but she's a widow now, still living in Auckland. I don't want to intrude into her life-I just want to know a few things. Then I'll have some sort of closure.' She concentrated on weaving the final flower into the lei.

Her friend's shoulders lifted. 'But you'll come back, won't you? We are your family now.'

Alli smiled mistily, deft fingers flying as they tied off the lei with long strings of tii leaf. 'And I couldn't have a kinder one. It's just that the need to know gnaws at my heart.'

'I understand.' Sisilu grinned. 'Anyway, you'll hate New Zealand. It's big and cold and different-no place for someone who loves Valanu as much as you.'

She looked up as a woman strode towards them. 'Uh-oh, here's trouble,' she said beneath her breath. 'Look at her face!'

Without preamble the trainer of the dance troupe said, 'Alli, you'll be dancing tonight-Fili's sick. And we need to make a good impression because the owner of the hotel is deciding whether to keep Sea Winds open or close it down.'

Both girls stared at her. 'He can't do that,' Alli blurted.

'Of course he can, and from what I'm hearing he'd do it without thinking twice. When it was first built it paid its way, but the war in Sant'Rosa cut off the supply of tourists, and for the past five years it's been losing more and more each year,' the older woman said bluntly.

Alli frowned. 'If things are that bad, why did the new owner buy it?'

'Who knows?' She picked up one of the lei and examined it, then dropped it and turned away. 'Perhaps he was cheated. Although he doesn't look like a man who'd allow that to happen to him. It isn't any of our business, anyway, but make sure you dance well tonight.'

Aware that she was a widow, whose job at the resort paid for the schooling of her three sons, both girls watched her go.

Soberly Alli said, 'If the resort closes it will be a disaster for Valanu.'

Sisilu said with a wry smile, 'So perhaps if the owner likes what he sees when he looks at you it will help all of us if you are nice to him. You might be able to influence him into keeping the hotel open.'

As she dressed for the dancing that night, Alli remembered the hidden worry in her friend's voice. The man who'd caused this fear hadn't eaten in the restaurant, but he'd be there for the floorshow, watching from somewhere in the darkness of the wide terrace. The women getting ready in the staff cloakroom were more silent than usual; already everyone knew that the resort was threatened.

'He's there, so no giggling,' the organiser said sternly as excited yells and applause from the audience indicated that the men's posture dance had reached its climax. She cast an eye over Alli and her face softened. 'You look good-those cream frangipani suit your skin and your red hair.'

That was about the only thing she'd inherited from her mother. Shortly after her father's death Alli had found his wedding certificate, and with it a photo-graph-her father, looking so proud of himself she almost hadn't recognised him, and a laughing woman. Apart from hair colour, Alli didn't look at all like her mother, but the wedding certificate attached to the photograph implied that this woman had borne her.

And then left her. With the marriage certificate and the photograph had been a legal notification of divorce, and a newspaper clipping about her mother's marriage a couple of years later to another man.

The staccato rhythm of the drums settled into a sultry beat, and she and the other dancers took their places in the line. Alli adjusted the uncomfortable bra and began singing an old island love song. The dancers filed out from behind the woven screen that shielded the door from the audience, voices blending in harmony, mobile hands eloquently conveying the story.

Meet the Author

As a child books took Robyn Donald to places far away from her village in Northland, New Zealand. Then, as well as becoming a teacher, marrying and raising two children, she discovered romances and read them voraciously. So much she decided to write one. When her first book was accepted by Harlequin she felt she’d arrived home. Robyn still lives in Northland, using the landscape as a setting for her work. Her life is enriched by friends she’s made among writers and readers.

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