I am so glad to finally share with you the first pages of LUSH MONEY, my debut romance novel. Dedications have been written, typeset is complete, and now begins the marketing that hopefully gets this book noticed by readers. You can help: preorders are a big part of getting my book noticed by reviewers, so if you're planning to buy it, preordering it is hugely appreciated. I hope you enjoy this excerpt. It’s long so I put the beginning here and the rest in the link.
Angelina M. Lopez
A marriage of convenience and three nights a month.
That’s all the sultry, self-made billionaire wants from the impoverished prince.
And at the end of the year, she’ll grant him his divorce…with a settlement large enough to save his beloved kingdom.
As a Latinx woman, Roxanne Medina has conquered small-town bullies, Ivy League snobs and boardrooms full of men. She’s earned the right to mother a princess and feel a little less lonely at the top. The offer she’s made is more than generous, and when the contract’s fulfilled, they’ll both walk away with everything they’ve ever wanted.
Príncipe Mateo Ferdinand Juan Carlos de Esperanza y Santos is one of the top winegrowers in the world, and he’s not marrying and having a baby with a stranger. Even if the millions she’s offering could save his once-legendary wine-producing principality.
But the successful, single-minded beauty uses a weapon prince Mateo hadn’t counted on: his own desire.
January: Night One
Mateo Ferdinand Juan Carlos de Esperanza y Santos—the “Golden Prince,” the only son of King Felipe, and heir to the tiny principality of Monte del Vino Real in northwestern Spain—had dirt under his fingernails, a twig of Tempranillo FOS 02 in his back pocket, and a burning desire to wipe the mud of his muck boots on the white carpet where he waited. But he didn’t. Under the watchful gaze of the executive assistant, who stared with disapproving eyes from his standing desk, Mateo kept his boots tipped back on the well-worn heels and his white-knuckled fists jammed into the pits of his UC Davis t-shirt. Staying completely still and deep breathing while he sat on the white couch was the only way he kept himself from storming away from this lunacy.
What the fuck had his father gotten him into?
A breathy ding sighed from the assistant’s laptop. He granted Mateo the tiniest of smiles. “You may go in now,” he said, hustling to the chrome-and-glass doors and pulling one open with a flourish. The assistant didn’t seem to mind the dirt so much now as his eyes traveled—lingeringly—over Mateo’s dusty jeans and t-shirt.
Mateo felt his niñera give him a mental smack upside the head when he kept his baseball cap on as he entered the office. But he was no more willing to take his cap off now than he’d been willing to change his clothes when the town car showed up at his lab, his ears ringing with his father’s screams about why Mateo couldn’t refuse.
The frosted-glass door closed behind him, enclosing him in a sky-high corner office as regal as any throne room. The floor-to-ceiling windows showed off Coit Tower to the west, the Bay Bridge to the east, and the darkening hills of San Francisco in between. The twinkling lights of the city flicked on like discovered jewels in the gathering night, adornment for this white office with its pale woods, faux fur pillows, and acrylic side tables. This office at the top of the fifty-five-floor Medina Building was opulent, self-assured. Feminine.
He’d walked in the Rose Garden with the U.S. President, shaken the hand of Britain’s queen, and kneeled in the dirt with the finest winemakers in Burgundy, but he stood in the middle of this empty palatial office like a jackass, not knowing where to sit or how to stand or who to yell at to make this situación idiota go away.
A door hidden in the pale wood wall opened. A woman walked out, drying her hands.
Dear God, no.
She nodded at him, her jowls wriggling as she tossed her paper towel back into the bathroom. “Take a seat, Príncipe Mateo. I’ll prepare Roxanne to speak with you.”
Of course. Of course Roxanne Medina, founder and CEO of Medina Now Enterprises, wasn’t a sixty-year-old woman with a thick waist in medical scrubs. But “prepare” Roxanne to…
The nurse leaned across the delicate, Japanese-style desk and opened a laptop perched on the edge. She pushed a button and a woman came into view on the screen. Or at least, the top of a woman’s head came into view. The woman was staring down through black-framed glasses, writing something on a pad of paper. A sunny, tropical day loomed outside the balcony door behind her.
Inwardly laughing at the farce of this situation, Mateo took a seat in a leather chair facing the screen. Apparently, Roxanne Medina couldn't be bothered to meet the man she wanted to marry in person.
Two minutes later, he was no longer laughing. She hadn’t looked at him. She just kept scribbling, giving him nothing to look at but the palm tree swaying behind her and the part in her dark, shiny hair.
He glanced at the nurse. She stared back, blank-eyed. He’d already cleared his throat twice.
Fuck this. “Excuse me,” he began.
“Helen, it sounds like the prince may have a bit of a dry throat.” Roxanne Medina spoke, finally, without raising her eyes from her document. “Could you get him a glass of water?”
“Of course, ma’am.”
As the nurse headed to a decanter, Mateo said, “I don’t need water. I’m trying to find out…”
Roxanne Medina raised one delicate finger to the screen. Without looking up. Continuing to write. Without a word or a sound, Roxanne Medina shushed him, and Mateo—top of his field, head of his lab, a goddamned príncipe—he let her, out of shock and awe that another human being would treat him this way.
He never treated people this way.
He moved to stand, to storm out, when a water glass appeared in front of his face and a hair was tugged from his head.
“Ow!” he yelled as he turned to glare at the granite-faced nurse holding a strand of his light brown hair.
“Fantastic, I see the tests have begun.”
Mateo turned back to the screen and pushed the water glass out of his way so he could see the woman who finally deigned to speak to him.
She was beautiful. Of course she was beautiful. When you have billions of dollars at your disposal, you can look any way you want. Roxanne Medina was sky-blue eyed, high-breasted and lush-lipped, with long and lustrous black hair. On the pixelated screen, he couldn’t tell how much of her was real or fake. He doubted even her stylist could remember what was Botoxed, extended, and implanted.
Still, she was striking. Mateo closed his mouth with a snap.
Her slow, sensual smile let him know she’d seen him do it.
Mateo glowered as Roxanne Medina slipped her delicate black reading glasses up on her head and aimed those searing blue eyes at him. “These tests are just a formality. We’ve tested your father and sister and there were no genetic surprises.”
“Great,” he deadpanned. “Why are you testing me?”
Her sleek eyebrows quirked. “Didn’t your father explain this already?” A tiny gold cross hung in the V of her ivory silk top. “We’re testing for anything that might make the Golden Prince a less-than-ideal specimen to impregnate me.”