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Bella Chatham will lose everything – her veterinary practice, her animal shelter, and even her home – if she can’t find another source of income, fast. So when her best friend signs her up for the hot new reality television show, Can You Beat a Billionaire, Bella accepts the challenge and hopes against hope she can win the ten million dollar prize. If she doesn’t, it’s bye-bye pet clinic and shelter, bye-bye Chance Creek, Montana, and hello to marriage to the billionaire for a year!
Evan Mortimer, billionaire, can’t believe he’s reduced to competing in a television contest to win a wife. Unfortunately, it’s the only foolproof way to secure his position as head of Mortimer Innovations. At least he’ll be able to dump his “spouse” at the end of the year; he’s much too busy to be tied down to a country bumpkin cowgirl.
Bella doesn’t expect her adversary to be handsome – or funny, or compassionate – but Evan’s all three, and he’s proving a tough competitor, too. When they end up sharing a tent – and a sleeping-bag – her body betrays her with a longing so deep it cuts her to the core. Still, this cowgirl must stay strong. If Evan uncovers her secret fears, he’ll use them to win the contest – and then he’ll own her for a year. She’ll be out of luck, out of cash, and stuck being Mrs. Mortimer until he kicks her to the curb. Too bad she can’t decide which is worse – winning the show and losing Evan forever, or losing the show and only being his temporary wife.
Evan can’t believe he’s falling for the one woman who doesn’t want him. This cowgirl’s not impressed by his money, his name, or his inability to sleep in a tent with her for an entire night, but every look and touch she gives him sends his desire through the roof. With a director determined to use his claustrophobia to make him look like a fool, and an adversary so sexy he can hardly see straight, he’ll need all his savvy to come out on top. Too bad he’s going to lose no matter how this show turns out. If he beats Bella, he’ll destroy the first woman he’s ever loved. If he doesn’t beat her, it’s bye-bye Mortimer Innovations.
Will either of them remember in time that it’s not who wins or who loses – it’s how they play the game that really counts?
Now enjoy an excerpt:
“You’re kidding, right? You know those shows are all fake. I bet no one actually wins anything.” She shook her head. Hannah was so gullible., Why didn’t Morgan say anything? Morgan was in her thirties; old enough to know better.
She glanced at Rob, whose smile grew even wider. “Some of them win,” he said.
“Actually, they do,” Morgan said. “I’m sure some scripting goes on and the producers stick people in situations guaranteed to show their rough spots, but the contests are real and several people have walked away with the five million dollars.”
“Remember that guy last year who used the money to refurbish a whole block in his inner city neighborhood?” Hannah chimed in. “I read a follow-up article about him. He turned around the lives of a bunch of people. They have testimonials from the families on the website.”
Bella did vaguely remember that. She never watched the show—she didn’t have time—but Hannah watched it religiously and filled her in on the latest gossip every week. Her receptionist cried with relief each time the poor contestant won and got the money, as had happened once already this season, if memory served her. And if the rich contestant won, she’d stomp around angry for a week.
“Okay, so maybe it’s not all fake. So what? I’m just a country vet who’s going broke. I bet they get thousands of interesting applicants—what makes you think they’d pick me?” Satisfied with the height of the blinds she turned around in time to catch the look Hannah and Morgan exchanged. Hannah began to blush, and since she was blonder than Bella—her hair a corn-silk tassel compared to Bella’s honey locks—the red stain was all too obvious on her pale cheeks. Rob leaned forward, as if eager to see how this next bit played out.
Uh oh. Warning bells went off in Bella’s head. “What did you do?” she demanded.
“Submitted your application,” Hannah said in a small voice. “Three months ago.”
Bella’s mouth dropped open. “Take it back! Make them delete it—I don’t want to be on some stupid reality TV show!”
“It’s too late.” Hannah cringed as if she thought Bella would jump the divider and tackle her. “They already picked you.”
Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a neglected one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini. Visit www.coraseton.com to read about new releases, contests and other cool events!
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