Home > The Rebel Prince (Royal Billionaires of Mondragón #5)

The Rebel Prince (Royal Billionaires of Mondragón #5)
Author: Jewel Allen

Chapter One

 

 

Mateo

 

The advantage of having grown up a royal and a billionaire is that when you are shown a million dollars in Euro bills in an attaché case, it doesn’t really faze you.

“All yours, if you accept the job.”

I looked at the offering on the table between me and the operative. Frankly, I wasn’t excited anymore over money. Even if it was getting paid for something dangerous and possibly helpful to Mondragón. Five years of being undercover seemed like a lifetime, and it was getting old.

Five years. Another Christmas gone from Mondragón. Another Christmas away from family who couldn’t care less about me.

I didn’t answer right away. Let him squirm a little. Wait for it…

The operative’s eyes shifted to the side then back. “If it’s the amount, I’m sure I can arrange for more—”

“Perhaps.” I tapped on the sleek mahogany side table in the hotel room. “How about giving me a few more details about the job?”

He cleared his throat, his expression relieved, probably over the fact that I was even talking to him. I had sworn I was getting out of this business two jobs ago, but here we were. I glanced out the window into the brisk and cold but sunny November day, at the view of Paris that was growing on me, and listened.

“The job is in Cuba. Megalo is the target. He’s been bilking high-profile clients for the past ten years, but he’s very careful in covering his tracks.”

“I’ve heard of him. Very weasly. Employs a whole cadre of lawyers.”

“Precisely. No one can get close to him.”

“You want me to buddy up with him?”

“Not in your real identity. If you care to protect your neck.”

“I do like to save my neck. Then…how?”

“There’s a Trojan Horse. A decoy, if you will.”

I tore my eyes from the lovely Parisian view. “And who would that be?”

“She’s a journalist. Young and beautiful.”

“A journalist,” I mused. The thought of working with an intelligent woman always intrigued me. “And she is…?”

The man darted his eyes to the right and left as though someone was listening in. “The Paparazzi Princess.”

My mind drew a blank. “Pardon me?”

“Adele Vogel. The twenty-four-year-old daughter of the Bavarian royal family.”

I leaned back and blew out a breath. “Ah. I see.” I stood and walked over to the window to hide my shock. A ripple of excitement ran through my veins.

Seriously? Princess Adele would be the Trojan? I pictured a younger Adele in my mind. She was reserved and brainy—a blonde beauty who knew her worth early on. By the time I fell in love with her, years later, I was too late to the party. She’d been matched with my younger brother Diego. “What does she have to do with this Megalo?”

“She’s interviewing him and needs a security detail. You would be her bodyguard. She can’t know your identity, or it will mess up the plan.”

I touched my full beard. The perfect disguise. “That shouldn’t be a problem.”

I knew a thing or two about guns and self-protection. But bodyguard to a spoiled princess? This was laughable.

“Where is she meeting him?”

“We don’t know yet. He’ll issue the details right before the appointment. All we know is it will be within the next five days, and it will be in Cuba.”

“So close to Christmas! How come?”

“I guess criminals don’t observe the religious holiday.” The operative snorted. “Who knows?”

“Why Cuba?”

“Only country that would shelter him. He has some friends in government.”

“Doesn’t she already have bodyguards?”

“Yes, but it can always be stipulated that he needs a third-party security provider for this meeting. He doesn’t trust her bodyguards. We’ll need to set up a fake office, an address, business cards, the works.”

“All that because why?”

The operative’s face turned serious, his accent clipped. “Otherwise, Mondragón will never get back all the money it was bilked by Megalo.”

“Why not just send him to collections?”

The operative didn’t find my joke funny. Between his hooked nose and lips tightened in a line, he looked like an irate penguin. I squelched the desire to laugh.

“Two million,” I said.

The man flinched, his eyes blinking rapidly for a minute like someone hyperventilating. To his credit, he simply cleared his throat. “Done.”

“By Venmo.”

The man sputtered.

“Just kidding. Relax.” I eyed the case. It reminded me of one of Father’s attaché cases when I was younger, solid as a brick and ugly. “How about putting the second mil in a workout bag? I would just chuck this.”

The operative’s next instructions cascaded over me as I thought of the prospect of seeing Adele again.

The first time I saw her was when I was seventeen and she was twelve. Our parents had invited her family to our seaside place in Mondragón. She was just this little squirt. I saw her again four years later. She was 16; I was 21. I was casually dating someone else then. My loss. She was still too young for me, and she latched on to Diego.

Two years later, at 18, she’d blossomed into her beauty, and I wasn’t seeing anyone. Which made me sort of envious of my brother. This was the woman everyone expected to marry Diego. She was off-limits to me. But that didn’t stop me from showing off.

One summer, we were jumping off cliffs. I was doing all sorts of crazy stunts, but she only rolled her eyes at me. I jumped in perfect form, or so I thought. Coming up to her, I flashed a big smile. She gave me a wilting look, putting me in my place. And then she brightened. Someone else was coming up the path to join us. My brother Diego. They were the same age, and they were tight, apparently.

Annoyed that my brother stole my thunder, I jumped off another time, showing off again. I didn’t see the huge floating branch until I was almost on top of it. I turned so my face wouldn’t get the brunt of the hit, but a piece of wood still hit my back.

It hurt quite a bit—okay, it hurt a lot—but I was tough. I got out of the water and trudged up to join the others. At least I didn’t have to worry about Adele noticing my gaffe, but she looked at me and said, “That looked like it hurt.”

She was talking to me? I think I tried speaking three times before reddening. “You saw that?”

I was sure she would laugh or make fun of me.

Concern filled her eyes. “Your back is bleeding.”

Sure enough, it was. Every time I saw her at the beach, she and I had this secret. That was when I started falling for her, even though everyone talked about “Diego and Adele.”

And then the excursions stopped. Life got too busy for both families.

It would be interesting to work with Adele Vogel. Five days cooped up with her.

Too bad it wouldn’t be with me as my real self.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

Adele

 

The disadvantage of being royal and a billionaire is that no one takes you seriously when you want them to.

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