Did you miss Chapter One?
Did you miss Chapter Two?
Did you miss Part One of Chapter Three?
Chapter Three Continued…
The same makeup artist from the day before materialized. She
tilted my chin upward and began to apply foundation.
The gal doing my hair gave a garbled command through a
mouthful of bobby pins. I figured it had something to do again with
my posture, so I pressed my shoulders back and tried to study the
woman doing my makeup. Unfortunately, I only got a flash of her face
as she immediately went to work on applying my eye shadow.
Who did she remind me of?
They whipped me into readiness in short order and then I was
ushered over to the men’s house for the announcement.
I entered the mansion and was positioned near the fireplace
mantel. The men were all seated and watching me. Had it not been for
the unsettling feeling that was already descending upon me, it would
have been nerve-wracking to have the nine of them gaping at me. As
it was, I felt myself tense, gearing up for a fight. Like answering a call
during those few short years I’d been on the beat. You know the news
is never going to be good. It may not be fatal, but it’s never good.
The guys who’d been on the date the day before—Ty, Pietro, Scott,
and Edward—were all a bit ashen faced. The others were smiling and
goofing around with each other. They seemed completely unaware of
Hadn’t anyone told them?
Cheryl entered, but instead of addressing us she put on a headset
and made a beeline to the back of the set. She motioned for cameras
to start rolling.
Harris Carlson, our ever-fearless host, entered, clicking on a
champagne glass with a silver spoon to get our attention, apparently
oblivious to the fact that he already had it.
“Gentlemen. Georgia!” He smiled widely, almost blinding me with
his overwhitened teeth. “I understand that Aaron had an unfortunate
accident yesterday and he won’t be returning. So while that is
certainly awful news, the good news is that there will be no elimina‐
tion round.” He smiled again.
I surveyed Edward and Scott. They were looking at the floor. Ty
and Pietro were looking equally straight-faced and grim.
Nathan, a surfer with shaggy, long blond hair and killer blue eyes,
asked, “What happened to Aaron?”
So they didn’t know.
“Aaron is in the hospital,” Harris said.
In the hospital? Was he alive?
My God, how had he survived?
At the very least he was either in a coma or paraplegic or both.
“Did he break a leg or something?” Mitch, a wealthy real estate
Harris toned down the megawattage on his smile. “C’mon, guys,
you know I can’t disclose his medical information.”
Mitch sat up straighter and flashed me his own toothy grin. “Well,
don’t get me wrong. I hope he recovers fast, but that means I’m one
step closer to ending up with this lovely lady.” He wiggled his
eyebrows at me. “And then there were nine.”
“Yeah,” Nathan agreed.
I refrained from grimacing. Good God, one had just quoted an
Agatha Christie murder mystery and the other had exuberantly
agreed. I had to get out of here.
Harris cleared his throat. “We won’t be able to use the footage
from yesterday. So we’re going to refilm the first date. Sort of ‘re-create’ it.”
This time I must have visibly grimaced because the cameraman
normally trained on me panned to the fireplace. After a moment, he
refocused on me.
What the hell did he mean, re-create?
I felt my ire rising and I couldn’t wait for the shoot to be over to
“And I should tell you that we have a new cast member. Sorry,
Mitch. Not one step closer to the lovely Georgia, but sort of like a
do-over.” He upped the wattage on his grin.
Aaron didn’t get a do-over. What the hell was going on?
Harris pivoted in his red Berluti loafers and motioned toward the
door. “Gentlemen, meet your newest competition.”
Two cameras panned toward the door. Another stayed trained on
me and the last on the remaining men in the room. Everyone’s reac‐
tion was sure to be captured and manipulated however Cheryl
thought would get the most mileage.
My mouth went dry and I suddenly felt light-headed.
It couldn’t be true.
Through the doors walked Paul Sanders, my ex-fiancé. He even
had the nerve to wear the tux he hadn’t worn to our wedding.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”I couldn’t stop reading!”
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