Captured by the Billionaire [Secure]
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by Maureen Child
Description: Revenge is sweeter in paradise. Billionaire Gabriel Vaughn had all but forgotten the past ... until Debbie Harris arrived at his luxury resort. She'd walked away from him once, but now he wasn't letting her leave his island without exacting his own brand of revenge--the ultimate seduction. Debbie realized Gabriel would only release her if she revealed the true reasons she'd left him years ago. But could she resist their heated attraction long enough to learn if Gabriel had a deeper motive for making her the billionaire's captive?
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Desire,
eBookwise Release Date: October 2007
20 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [249 KB]
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"Oh, God, I'm in jail." Debbie Harris curled both hands around the bars of her cage and gave them a frustrated shake. They clanked a little and the sound seemed to echo eerily around her. "I'm a criminal. I'll have a record."
Her forehead thunked against the bars and the fear at the base of her throat squeezed tight, nearly shutting off her air.
Okay, Deb, she told herself firmly, get a grip. This is all a mistake. It'll be straightened out in no time. You're not in the Big House, for heaven's sake.
In fact, the jail cell was more Mayberry than Oz. The whitewashed walls were clean and sparkling, and the cot was covered by a red-and-white quilt. There was a table and chair on one wall and a toilet and sink hidden behind a partition. The cell next to hers was empty and there was a closed door between her and the office where her jailer sat.
She scowled at the closed door because she couldn't do anything else. The man who'd locked her in here had been very polite but completely uninterested in listening to what she had to say. He'd simply closed the door to her cell and left her alone to wonder what in the hell had happened to land her here.
Outside the barred window, the tropical sky was a brilliant blue dotted with huge, fluffy white clouds, and the sun's rays fell in golden stripes across the red-concrete floor. She rested her forehead briefly against the cold bars and closed her eyes, remembering just how she'd ended up a prisoner.
After nearly four weeks on the private island, staying at the fabulous Fantasies resort, Debbie had packed her bags and headed for the tiny airstrip to go home. Back to her life in Long Beach, California. Where, it turns out, she should have stayed.
She'd filed through security along with everyone else leaving Fantasies that morning. The lines were long, even on this tiny island, as suitcases were checked while their owners moved through a metal detector.
Then she'd come to the Customs agent and everything had gone straight downhill. As he checked her passport, Debbie'd watched as his smiling brown eyes had gone flat and cold. He looked at her, checked her name again and frowned.
Interesting that despite knowing she hadn't done a darn thing wrong, she'd instantly felt like a diamond smuggler or something. A wash of guilt and worry had smashed over her and when the agent motioned to a uniformed police officer to pull Debbie out of line, she'd felt the first jolt of real fear.
"What's going on?" She looked at the officer who had a firm grip on her elbow as he took her aside for questioning. "Is there a problem? Can you tell me what it is?"
He didn't speak until he got her away from the crowds. Now everyone thought she was a terrorist or something.
"You are Deborah Harris?" The officer's voice was quiet but no less demanding.
"Yes." She avoided looking at anyone else, but she felt their stares on her. Lifting her chin, she squared her shoulders, looked directly at the man questioning her and tried to project an air of outraged dignity.
Not so easy to do when you were scared to death.
She wanted to shout, I'm innocent, but she had the distinct feeling no one would believe her anyway.
"There seems to be some difficulty with your passport," he was saying.
"What? A difficulty? What difficulty? It was fine when I got here."
"I can only say what I have been told by Customs."
"That's ridiculous." She tried to take it from him, but he whipped it back and out of her reach. Okay, this was fast moving from a little scary to downright terrifying. "Look, I don't know what's going on, but I've done nothing wrong and I've got a plane to catch."
"Not today unfortunately," he said with a shake of his head. "If you would please come with me…"
It wasn't an invitation.
It was an order.
Debbie seriously wished she had left Fantasies a week before, with her friends Janine and Caitlyn. If her best friends were with her, she wouldn't be worried. Janine would make some smart-ass remark and Caitlyn would be charming the Customs guy. Between the three of them, they would have had this all straightened out in a heartbeat.
But her friends were home, each of them no doubt all wrapped up in their wedding plans. God, it had seriously been a heck of a month. They'd come to Fantasies, the three of them together, to splurge on themselves.
Each of the three friends had been engaged and then dumped over the course of the previous year. So they'd decided together to take the money they had been saving for the weddings that hadn't happened and blow it on a treat for themselves. They'd had a wonderful time, until their threesome had slowly been splintered by the arrival of the loves of Janine's and Caitlyn's lives.
Caitlyn had ended up engaged to the very boss she'd come here to get away from and Janine…Debbie sighed wistfully. She'd talked to Janine only the day before and found out that her British lover had followed her home to Long Beach, California, just to propose. Now Janine was preparing to move to London, Caitlyn was planning the wedding her mother had always dreamed of and, apparently, Debbie was going to prison.
Sure. Her friends found love and she was getting a mug shot.
Life was fair.
Copyright © 2007 by Maureen Child.