Most royal weddings probably took place in a palace or respectable religious edifice. Benjamin’s was held at a beachside resort south of Cancun in a little town called Puerto Aventuras. Chosen for its elegant yacht club and palatial mansions, the resort town had been the home of the Sayids and the Cohens since Benjamin’s parents had stumbled upon the location while honeymooning. They didn’t want to leave.
When Prince Marcos had fled the Kingdom of Madain Saleh with Benjamin in his arms and Princess Lyla at his side, together with a few of their close friends, this was where they took refuge. The Cohens moved here as well, and the dynasty began.
When two billionaire families move into town, people take notice. When the twenty-something sons of the billionaires start buying up failing businesses and turning a profit, they become part of the local community government and commerce. Benjamin’s surname preceded him, and he intended to take full advantage of the foundation his father and Uncle Nick had set in place. Until he was needed to serve in the Kingdom.
Because neither Benjamin nor Nisha claimed any religious affiliation, their wedding was an eclectic combination of Indian rituals and Middle Eastern traditions, officiated by a local Mayan tribal leader, and boasted authentic Mexican food served in elaborate fashion classy enough to entertain royalty and dignitaries.
Only a handful of family members and friends had made the journey from India so there was a noticeable dichotomy between the bride’s side and the groom’s. Benjamin made it a point to focus his time and energy getting to know those who had honored them by traveling so far. There would be plenty of time to spend with locals over the next few months and years. The biggest exceptions were his cousins from out of the area.
Not actually Benjamin’s cousins, they were Alexandria’s cousins. Sons and daughters of the Cohens. Honorary cousins. The person Benjamin was most interested in meeting was Uncle Jacob’s son, Emanuel because they were almost the same age. Manny had recently married and brought his young bride. Benjamin was intrigued by the woman for reasons he couldn’t identify. As soon as he and Nisha had made the obligatory rounds with the Indians, Benjamin coaxed his bride to be introduced to the mysterious young lady.
He wasn’t the only one.
The entire Cohen clan seemed drawn to Manny and his bride. She was beautiful, but it was more than that. She was… familiar. She had deep brown eyes and olive-toned skin, wore her thick brown hair flowing down her back with some natural curls falling haphazardly across her shoulders.
When Alexandria noticed Benjamin and Nisha approaching, she stepped forward and took Benjamin’s hand, the one not clinging to his new bride. “Benjamin, you simply must meet my cousin Emanuel and his wife Aloise.”
“Emanuel, it’s an honor to meet you.” Benjamin shook the young man’s hand. “Allow me to introduce my bride, Nisha.”
“The honor is mine, Your Highness. And please, call me Manny.” They shook and Manny led forward his own wife. “And this is my bride, Aloise.”
“What a unique name.” As Benjamin reached forward to shake her hand, he fought the urge to say she had a beautiful name but thought that too forward and could be misconstrued. He glanced back and forth between Manny and Aloise. “Did you grow up in Michigan also?”
“No, Your Highness.” Aloise chuckled nervously. “And you can all stop staring. Now that the bride and groom have joined us, I’ll introduce myself properly. My maiden name is Ashish and my parents are David and Shira.”
There was an audible gasp among the older Cohens and Father Joseph actually took a step away from Manny’s wife, curling his upper lip in disgust.
“Jacob… is this true?” Uncle Nick asked Manny’s father. “You allowed your son to marry David’s daughter?”
“They eloped without my consent.” Jacob visibly gulped then cleared his throat. “David and I have since… reconciled.”
“You’re kidding,” Levi, the oldest Cohen, and patriarch of the family, stated. “I never thought I’d see the day.”
“I was shocked as well,” Jacob said.
Levi’s wife Sarah pushed forward and took Aloise by both hands. “My dear, do you know where my sons and grandchildren are?” The pleading tone in Sarah’s voice encapsulated years of longing to be reacquainted.
Benjamin was still confused. Who were these Ashish family, and why would they know the Cohen’s sons and grandchildren?
“I’m sorry,” Aloise said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know who you’re talking about.”
“She’s talking about my oldest two brothers along with their wives and kids,” Jacob said. “They were business partners and close friends with David and Shira Ashish before becoming estranged from the family.”
“Estranged?” Levi said with disgust in his voice. “Is that how you want to call your brother’s foiled murder plot and destruction of property?”
“Father, that was over twenty years ago,” Jacob said. “David has apologized and I believe he is sincere in his remorse. He and my brother were both inebriated at the time and barely remember the incident.”
“Where are your parents now, dear?” Sarah asked Aloise.
“They travel the world on a sailing yacht but they are currently docked near my husband’s home in Alpena, Michigan. Our families are still adjusting to Manny and I eloping.”
“Do they know where my sons are?” Sarah asked. “I haven’t seen my grandson since he was less than a year old, and I don’t even know if my oldest son had a boy or a girl.”
“He had a girl.” A woman in her early twenties stepped cautiously into their circle with apprehension in her expression. “My name is Shaden.”
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Billionaire Crown Prince
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