The Castaway Billionaire - Serenity Woods

Chapter One


“So let me get this straight,” Lucy says. “When you were twenty-one, you dated the guy in the aisle seat in the front row of the plane?”

“Yes.” I’m sitting by the window, and I slide down in my seat so I can’t see him.

“The gorgeous one with the gray suit and the sexy hair?” Lucy asks.

“Yep.” That about sums him up.

“And let me just clarify—the guy’s loaded? Like, super rich?”

“Yep.” Actually, he’s a billionaire, but I’m not about to tell Lucy that. I’m not sure the flight attendants would appreciate a passenger spontaneously combusting.

“And you dumped him?” Lucy’s eyes practically bulge onto her cheeks. “What are you, nuts?”

Against my will, I give a short laugh. I hadn’t meant to tell her, but the gasp of recognition had burst forth from me as he’d passed us to reach his seat, and she’d demanded to know who he was. “You don’t know the whole story,” I reply, but I can see she isn’t listening.

“I’d give my left arm to date someone like him,” she says dreamily. “Honestly, Victoria, sometimes I think you’re a sausage short of a barbie. Why did you break up with him?”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” I open the in-flight magazine and study the article on the fruity red wines from the Marlborough region of the South Island of New Zealand as if it’s the most interesting thing I’ve ever read.

She sighs, but she doesn’t press me, and my gaze drifts out of the window to the stunning view. We’ve only just taken off, and Fiji lies behind us. We have three hours before we land in Auckland, all of which we’ll spend over water. The sun is setting to the west above the vast expanse of the Pacific, turning the sea to molten copper. So much empty ocean, all that dark water, filled with sharks and whales and those fish with the scary teeth and the lights on the end of their noses. I don’t like to think about it.

On the horizon, the sky is heavy with ominous clouds. I blink as lightning flashes. Great. Flying through a storm—just what the doctor ordered.

Unbidden, my gaze slides to the guy sitting at the front of business class. Theo Prince stretches out his long legs as he watches something on his in-flight screen. Of all the people to be on this plane… Still, he was late to board, and I don’t think he saw me as he passed our seats, so hopefully I’ll make it to Auckland without him even realizing I’m on the plane.

Lucy takes her laptop out of her backpack and opens it up. “I’m going to run through your schedule for the next week and make sure I’ve booked everything. Anything you want to add to it?”

“Not at the moment.”

She nods and starts tapping on the keyboard.

She’s only been my business manager at Wanderlust Yoga for three weeks. My partner-in-crime and best friend Beth declared she needed some help running the company, and so she’s now handed over some of the organizational duties so she can concentrate on the big-picture stuff. When Beth hired Lucy to replace her, I’m sure she thought she’d drive me nuts within days. It’s true she’s a chatterbox and says whatever’s on her mind the moment it enters it. I like her, though; her youth and energy have given me a lift while I’m feeling low. But she has yet to work out when I want to talk and when I need peace and quiet, like now.

What I really need is a couple of weeks off to recharge, but that’s not going to happen anytime soon. Glancing at Lucy’s screen, I can see that the next few months are jam-packed with appointments, interviews, and appearances, squashed around the precious hour a day when I actually get to do any yoga.

I’m not going to bemoan my fame. This was what I wanted, and I’ve worked hard to get here. I’ve achieved everything I set out to do, so I can hardly sit here and wish it all away. But as I look out at the darkening sky, I know I’ve lost a little of my infamous serenity lately.

Of course, that’s mostly to do with breaking up with Jack. I defy any woman to remain calm and tranquil with a man like that. At first, his energy and volatility were what attracted me. It’s like my life had been filled with pastel colors, and Jack burst into it in a blaze of