A Family for the Billionaire

By: Dani Wade

Inside lay a ring with a teardrop-shaped emerald stone surrounded by decorative gold filigree. They all gasped—Jasmine included. It was an involuntary reflex. The ring was gorgeous. Not only that, it seemed to have something...something special that Jasmine couldn’t quite put her finger on.

“Wait!” Willow said. “I remember Mama wearing that—she said it was an heirloom or something...”

“Indeed,” Auntie confirmed. “It was passed down to her from her mother, who received it from her mother, and so on.”

Jasmine stared at the beautiful jewel, a sudden memory of it on her mother’s hand filling her mind. Her mother had been dressed up. An anniversary dinner, maybe? She and their father hadn’t ever gone to fancy parties and such. About as fancy as it got was her father’s Christmas gathering for the professors at the university where he taught. But she remembered her mother letting her stroke one small finger over the emerald. What had she said?

Then Auntie spoke, “Legend has it—”

Willow squealed. Jasmine groaned. Auntie gave them both an indulgent smile. Willow was the resident myth and legend hunter. She’d truly followed in their father’s footsteps, teaching history at the local community college. She loved tall tales, mysteries and spooky stories. She propped her chin on her palm, avidly awaiting Auntie’s words.

Jasmine just shook her head.

“Legend has it,” Auntie started again, “that this ring was given to the woman who founded your family line by the man she married.”

“Here in Savannah?” Ivy asked.

“Oh, yes. He was a pirate, you see, and she was the beautiful but shy daughter of a prominent family here.”

Jasmine had tried hard to forget that their family had once been wealthy and respected. Long before the scandal that had rocked their safe little world.

Auntie went on. “He didn’t think he had any chance to catch her eye, so he simply admired her from afar. But on his travels, he came into possession of this ring. He was told by the old man he bought it from that the ring would bring the person who owned it true love.”

“Ooh,” Willow said, her grin growing bigger and bigger.

“Sure enough, he was able to win his woman’s hand...and the ring has been passed down to every generation of your family ever since. Each has claimed its power is real.”

Ever the skeptic, Jasmine couldn’t help but add, “And look how that worked for them. Scandals, death. Our family has some of the worst luck ever.”

When Ivy’s hopeful expression fell, it made Jasmine feel like a big bully.

“It’s said to bring its owner true love, not an easy life,” Auntie gently admonished, ever the voice of wisdom. “Besides, if the scandal hadn’t driven your grandparents out of Savannah, then your mother and father might never have met.”

Jasmine didn’t want to disrespect the memory of her parents, but... “A ring did not cause them to find each other—being in the same place at the same time did.”

“Maybe so—”

“Don’t be a realist, Jasmine,” Willow complained. “Embrace the magic.”

Ivy reached over to take the sleeping baby and snuggled her close. Rosie gave a shuddering sigh. “Is it really healthy to teach Rosie that there’s no magic, no romance in the world?”

“She’s only six months old,” Jasmine protested. “Besides, I didn’t say that—” Jasmine created magic every day with her events, or rather, the feeling of magic.

Willow added her two cents’ worth, even though Jasmine considered her biased. “Yeah, Jasmine, haven’t you ever heard of Cinderella? Rapunzel? Beauty? Wendy? Dorothy?”

“You want me to convince Rosie there’s magic in the world by indulging this nonsense and snaring a man?”

“No—the man is just a bonus,” Ivy said with a giggle.

“An uptight CEO?” Jasmine couldn’t believe she was hearing this.

Ivy wasn’t deterred. “The uptight CEO with thick hair, muscular build and a tight a—”

Willow gasped and covered the sleeping baby’s ears. “Ivy!”

Ivy grimaced. “But yes—that is a bonus. You just need to sweeten him up a little.”

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