Series: The Bachelors of Arizona
Published by Forever on October 4th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Jane isn't entirely sure that Cinderella got such a raw deal. Sure, she had a rough start, but didn't she eventually land a prince and a happily-ever-after? Meanwhile, Jane is busy waiting on her demanding, entitled sisters, running her cleaning business, and . . . yep, not a prince in sight. Until a party and a broken shoe incident leave Jane wondering if princes---or at least, a certain deliciously hunky billionaire---maybe do exist.
Except Brock Wellington isn't anyone's dream guy. Hell, a prince would never agree to be auctioned off in marriage to the highest bidder. Or act like an arrogant jerk---even if it was just a fa├ºade. Now, as Brock is waiting for the auction chopping block, he figures it's karmic retribution that he's tempted by a sexy, sassy woman he can't have. But while they can't have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy . . .
Are you ready to Meet Brock Wellington?
Order your copy today!
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2dgAJzo┬á
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2casLH2
And it all started with a pair of shoes and some b*tchy sisters. ┬áDid I get you interested? ┬áGood, you should be. ┬áThe story plays up the Cinderella premise┬ábut steams up the windows along the way. ┬áJane has worked hard all of her life, trying to carry on her father’s last wish of putting family first. ┬áWhat Jane forgets (as well as her sisters) is that she’s just as much as part of the family as her sisters and just as deserving of being taken care of as they are. ┬áBut then again, Jane’s ability to take care of others is exactly what Brock Wellington needs – for someone to take care of him because he doesn’t know how to do that for himself. ┬áThese two are like missing pieces of a brand new puzzle; they are perfectly made for each other, but the edges are a bit stiff and need a little push to get into place. ┬áThis little push I shall name *grandfather* (OH, HE IS DELIGHTFUL!!! More about him later).
I really enjoyed seeing the parallels in Brock and Jane. ┬áWhile they come from very different economic backgrounds, they are fundamentally caretakers at their core. ┬áThey both are tethered to the past and don’t know how to let others take care of them. ┬áWhen life (you may also call it a job opportunity or forced vacation) intervenes, that’s when things get really spicy. ┬áSometimes you have to shake things up to elicit some change or gain some clarity.
Initially, I felt as though Brock was a wee bit too stuck up and too inside his head. ┬áI really enjoyed watching how his interactions with his brothers humanized him and how Jane unraveled him. ┬áAs Jane was built up by Brock, she helped him shed his armor. ┬áAnd Jane…I’m glad she wasn’t the doormat I initially thought she would be. He is softer and she is sturdier than what you might think at first blush. ┬áI’d call that a good balance.
My favorite secondary character is the grandfather. ┬áRachel always writes these fun, spirited characters who take you by surprise and pull some giggles out of you. ┬áIn fact, there is a favorite grandmother of mine who makes an appearance. ┬áIf you’re a RVD fan, you *might* know who I am walking about. ┬áFor RVD virgins, you’ll love her when you meet her and then MUST read The Bet Series!! ┬áPlus, I am just betting we’ll hear more from Brock’s twin brothers – they’re a SUPER HOOT!
This book bears the RVD standard flair. ┬áThat means the characters are well-developed, there is always some comic relief, the story in engaging, and the amount of angst is perfect to keep everything flowing. ┬áHer characters are always fresh and fun – you never feel like you’re reading the same story with a different title. While there is cross-over from other books and series at times (devout readers LOVE this), it only lends to the completeness of the stories.
So the story starts with a shoe, but you’ll have to read the book to find out if it ends with one. ┬áHint? ┬áCheck with the prince…I’m pretty sure there might be one up for auction. ┬á*Wink, wink*
Excerpt: ┬áChapter Four
Jane was pressed so tightly against the wall she would have sworn her body was starting to blend into the wallpaper. Most people didnÔÇÖt give her a second glance. Then again, she wouldnÔÇÖt give herself a second glance either.
Women with fake boobs and injected lips mocked her while rich men in three-piece suits completely ignored her.
She self-consciously tugged at hem of the short black dress. In a last ditch effort to modernize the dress, or at least add a bit of spice, sheÔÇÖd grabbed her motherÔÇÖs long pearls, wrapped them around her neck twice and called it good.
But the minute theyÔÇÖd arrived at the party sheÔÇÖd wanted to disappear. Her sisters were already semi-drunk, thanks to the vodka theyÔÇÖd had in the car. Against JaneÔÇÖs protests theyÔÇÖd taken shots while she drove. And then sheÔÇÖd paid for parking only to hear them whine that she had parked too far away.
TheyÔÇÖd been here for twenty minutes and already she wanted to leave, or at least sit down, but most of the available space was taken by couples talking, eatingÔÇªkissing.
She was surrounded by the beautiful and rich.
The only reason her sisters had even been invited was because they were complete and total social climbers, and had managed to gain an invitation from a friend who was an heiress to some french fry company.
A waiter passed by with champagne.
She grabbed a glass and downed the entire thing. It didnÔÇÖt help her nerves, but at least the bubbles semi-calmed her stomach.
Her sweaty feet slid in her too-big red pumps as she pressed harder against the wall to alleviate the ache in her toes.
The music shifted to a loud techno song as the lights went from red to a bright white, and with a gasp she covered her eyes and then blinked a few times to clear her line of vision.
The jumbled sweaty bodies moved aside as the music changed to a slow song. There was just enough of a break for her to see across the room.
ÔÇ£Oh.ÔÇØ It was all she could utter, really the only word she was capable of as her breathing picked up. Without thinking, she grabbed another glass of champagne from a passing waiter, suddenly awkward. What was she supposed to do with her hands?
Thick wavy auburn hair fell in disarray over his forehead. It was lush, shiny, perfect. Were guys born with hair like that? Or was his somehow chemically engineered? His full lips pressed together in a secret smile as the equally handsome man next to him said something, then erupted in laughter.
The first man stiffened, then shook his head. His broad shoulders seemed to grow tight as a drum. A slight tic in his jaw was the only clue that he was irritated or maybe outright angry.
And then his shoulders slumped as he was handed another drink and then another.
Nervous. He must be nervous. But what could a man like that possibly have to be nervous about?
He easily towered over most of the men in attendance. Suddenly his posture changed, then he smiled.
Jane felt her mouth drop open in shock.
He wasÔÇªlike a duke or a lord or a prince from a storybook. Clearly, she read too many romance novels, but his entire presence demanded attention; screamed authority, importance, and sex. Lots and lots of sex.
Yes, his virility was a tangible thing, as if she could reach out and grasp it with her fingertips.
ÔÇ£What are you doing?ÔÇØ Esmeralda yelled in her right ear, interrupting her blatant sexual fantasy about a complete stranger. Great. ThatÔÇÖs what her life had come to. And sadly? It was the most fun sheÔÇÖd had all night.
Jane turned to Esmeralda, prayed for patience, and answered. ÔÇ£Sorry, I was just thinking.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre so boring.ÔÇØ Esmeralda rolled her eyes. ÔÇ£No wonder you got dumped.ÔÇØ
Another fun fact? Esmeralda was mean when she was drunk.
The reminder of the breakup burned like acid.
It had been a year ago, not that it mattered. It still hurt that the last guy sheÔÇÖd dated had told her that although she was cute, she wasnÔÇÖt really doing it for him anymore.
Right. Doing it.
Maybe that was because she hadnÔÇÖt done anything for him or with him, and he found that lacking. But theyÔÇÖd only dated for a few weeks. Did normal girls do that? Put out after a few weeks? Apparently.
She wasnÔÇÖt normal.
But if that was normal, maybe she was better off being strange.
ÔÇ£Jane, are you even listening to me?ÔÇØ Esmeralda whined. ÔÇ£Essence needs you to dance next to her for a bit. IÔÇÖm tired and tipsy. I want to sit. Plus your dress blends in enough that it wonÔÇÖt take attention away from her.ÔÇØ
No way. What? What had she just said?
Jane wrapped her arms around her middle. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm sorry, what?ÔÇØ
Without warning, Esmeralda grabbed JaneÔÇÖs hand and jerked her toward the dance floor, causing Jane to lose her footing and crash directly into EsmeraldaÔÇÖs back. Then, like a domino, she slammed back into Essence.
Jane opened her mouth to shout out an apology, but Esmeralda was already too drunk to listen to reason. With determination in her eyes, she reached for the pearls at JaneÔÇÖs neck but grabbed the fabric of the dress instead.
Her poorly sewn dress ripped instantly, causing the fabric to slink past her strapless bra. A diagonal slit split up her thigh almost all the way to her hip. In an ┬áeffort to cover herself, she took a step and tripped, thanks to her clunky shoes.
And then she fell to the floor.
Her sisters watched in horrorÔÇöbut neither of them offered a hand. They were probably kicking themselves for forcing her to come. Esmeralda leaned over but missed JaneÔÇÖs shoulder by a mile, grabbing her hair and giving it a tug, which only made Jane wince harder.
Both sisters were completely tanked.
And she was less than two minutes away from being trampled by the other sweaty bodies around her.
She glanced up.
And into the eyes of the man sheÔÇÖd just been lusting after.
Oh God, the humiliation was complete.
That one glance told her heÔÇÖd seen it all. She swallowed back the thickness building in her throat. Of course the only time heÔÇÖd notice her would be when sheÔÇÖd ripped her dress and nearly took out a few guests on her way down to the dance floor.
The crowd gathered around her.
And the sexy man disappearedÔÇöprobably off in search of a girl with perfect hair, perfect teeth, perfect clothes.
She really should have stayed home.
Tears filled her eyes as a heel pressed into her right hand. With a jerk she tugged her hand free, struggling to get up to stand on her wobbly feet, when suddenly she was pulled to a standing position and then swept up in strong arms.
JaneÔÇÖs eyes were still so blurry from unshed tears she couldnÔÇÖt make out the manÔÇÖs face as he carried her out of the crowd.
He smelled like heaven.
She fought the insane urge to press her face against his chest and justÔÇªclose her eyes.
Because he felt safe.
Pathetic, when a strangerÔÇÖs arms provided more safety than her own family. And yet he feltÔÇªright.
In a world where things for the past ten years had felt so wrong.
He felt right.
Maybe sheÔÇÖd had too much champagne.
ÔÇ£Are you all right?ÔÇØ he whispered in a deep voice with a hint of a southern drawl. HeÔÇÖd brought her into a private room where the music wasnÔÇÖt quite so deafening.
He set her on one of the black leather couches and shut the door, muffling the music on the other side.
Blinking, Jane glanced up and gawked, like a starry-eyed teenager. He was the same man sheÔÇÖd seen earlier, the one sheÔÇÖd been captivated by. ÔÇ£Yes.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Yes?ÔÇØ He looked confused. His amazing eyebrows drew together, and a small line creased the center of his forehead. Even the line was gorgeous, just as gorgeous as the rest of him.
His thickly muscled body screamed power. Her hands slid down the front of his chest. Even his shirt was smooth. She didnÔÇÖt realize sheÔÇÖd been basically petting him until his muscles tensed beneath her palm. Oh crap.
ÔÇ£I mean, yes, IÔÇÖm fine.ÔÇØ She tried to stand then fell back down; her stupid heel was broken. ÔÇ£Or I was fine, until I got trampled.ÔÇØ
The line in his forehead deepened. ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre not hurt, are you?ÔÇØ
Jane shook her head then pressed her hand to her chest and gasped out, ÔÇ£My pearls!ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Wait here.ÔÇØ He held out his hands. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll get the necklace, IÔÇÖm sure itÔÇÖs where you fell andÔÇöÔÇØ
ÔÇ£No.ÔÇØ Jane slumped, defeated. ÔÇ£They broke off when my sisÔÇöÔÇØ She corrected herself, not wanting to claim the crazies in the other room. ÔÇ£They broke apart when I fell.ÔÇØ
The man sighed loudly and ran his fingers through his perfect hair. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll talk to the club manager and see if anyone turns them in.ÔÇØ
It was on the tip of her tongue to give him all the many reasons why they were irreplaceable, but instead she settled with, ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs really not necessary. ItÔÇÖs not your fault I was a victim of the techno craze.ÔÇØ
His upper lip curled. ÔÇ£I hate techno.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Is there something I can do? Anything? You promise you arenÔÇÖt hurt?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Careful or youÔÇÖre going to have me believe you got me trampled on purpose in order to trap me in a private room,ÔÇØ she joked as a smile tugged at her lips.
ÔÇ£Had I known you were willing, I wouldnÔÇÖt have had to go to such extremes to orchestrate it.ÔÇØ
He appeared stunned by his own answer.
Her breath hitched. Was he flirting with her?
His crystal blue eyes twinkled with amusement.
ÔÇ£SoÔÇªÔÇØ Her voice was hoarse, like an old womanÔÇÖs. Great. ÔÇ£I should probably get back to the party.ÔÇØ Why did she need to go back again? All the reasons seemed to disappear as he maneuvered around the couch and popped a bottle of champagne that had been chilling in a nearby crystal bucket.
ÔÇ£Why donÔÇÖt you and I have a drink first?ÔÇØ He peered around the table. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖll need to send for some shoes. ItÔÇÖs the least I can do.ÔÇØ His gaze heated. ÔÇ£Shoes are appropriate to purchase for a stranger. A dress, IÔÇÖm afraidÔÇªÔÇØ The corners of his mouth tilted into a sultry smile as his eyes slowly raked over the scraps of fabric barely covering her breasts. ÔÇ£Not so much.ÔÇØ
Did people do that these days? Just send for shoes? Who was this guy? ÔÇ£Really, itÔÇÖs not necessary. IÔÇÖll just stick to the shadows so I donÔÇÖt scare anyone with my limp and IÔÇÖll be okay.ÔÇØ She sounded more confident than she felt, and her lower lip trembled a bit. Next time she was going to hold her ground, stay home, read a book, and be plain boring Jane. This wasnÔÇÖt her scene. Not by a long shot.
He leaned in close, so close she could smell his aftershave again. ÔÇ£A woman like you doesnÔÇÖt belong in the shadows.ÔÇØ
Uncomfortable, she tried to make light of the situation again. ÔÇ£Wow, a hero and good with words. I bet youÔÇÖre just a regular handful, arenÔÇÖt you?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Me?ÔÇØ He laughed as if the thought was the funniest thing heÔÇÖd ever heard. ÔÇ£No, that would be my twin brothers. TheyÔÇÖre the handfuls. IÔÇÖmÔÇªÔÇØ He seemed to think about it. ÔÇ£Just Brock.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Well, Just BrockÔÇªÔÇØ Jane held out her hand. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm Just Jane.ÔÇØ
His hand completely engulfed hers as their palms pressed against one another. He was so warm. And big.
Huge hands. That meant something, right?
Crap, she was still shaking his hand, and he was grinning at her as if it was the funniest thing that had ever happened to him. And he was looking at her. At her eyes, not at the fact that she was half-naked on a couch, with a broken shoe.
With a jerk, she pulled her hand back and nervously reached to tuck a stray piece of hair behind her ear.
ÔÇ£So, Brock.ÔÇØ Jane looked down at his shoes. That was safe. Shoes. Nothing sexy about a manÔÇÖs feet, right? Except his were inside shoes that she ventured probably cost more than sheÔÇÖd ever see in a lifetime. ÔÇ£About those shoes.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Shoes.ÔÇØ He repeated the word and then quickly stood. ÔÇ£Right, just wait here.ÔÇØ
He disappeared, giving her the breathing room she absolutely positively needed, only to re-appear a few seconds later.
She frowned; then again, what had she expected? That heÔÇÖd bang some plastic Barbie over the head with his cell phone, steal her shoes, and then toss them to Jane?
Brock studied her. ÔÇ£Your shoes should be here within the next fifteen minutes. I just sent my degenerate brother across the street. Saks is still open. The night is young.ÔÇØ
Shoes from Saks?
SheÔÇÖd never owned anything from Saks. Ever. But she knew the store; didnÔÇÖt every woman? Still, the most expensive thing sheÔÇÖd ever owned had been the pearls.
ÔÇ£ThatÔÇÖs reallyÔÇªÔÇØ She waved her hand in the air and stood. ÔÇ£Not necessaryÔÇªyou can tell him thatÔÇöÔÇØ
Brock reached for her hand and lightly tugged her back. ÔÇ£Sit. It is necessary. And although I typically wait until the third date to buy a woman gifts, I think your nearly getting trampled allows me to break that rule.ÔÇØ
Still tense, Jane nodded and took a shaky look around the small, private room.
ÔÇ£To new shoes?ÔÇØ Brock grabbed his drink and lifted it in the air toward her.
She lifted her glass and clinked it against his then took a small sip. The champagne was pink and sweet, with a tart aftertaste. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs good.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£You sound surprised.ÔÇØ BrockÔÇÖs lips lifted in a smile.
She scrunched up her nose. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm not much of a drinker, and I typically donÔÇÖt like drinks that are the same color as my underwear.ÔÇØ
The minute the words were out of her mouth, she froze, barely managing to suppress the urge to clap a hand over her mouth. She wanted someone to run her over with a car.
With a choke, Brock nearly spit out the sip heÔÇÖd just taken. Face flushed, he stared her down and then whispered, ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre making me regret my decision to send out for boring black shoes.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£I didnÔÇÖtÔÇªI mean, pink is fine.ÔÇØ Stop talking, stop talking. ÔÇ£Not all of my underwear is pink. I have black, too.ÔÇØ
BrockÔÇÖs lips parted with a greedy exhale, and he downed the rest of his drink. ÔÇ£Oh?ÔÇØ
Hell in a handbasket.
Why was she giving him a rundown of her lingerie drawer? As if he were a naughty Santa with a checklist in front of him, putting down little marks on the little boxes that read ÔÇ£red lacy thongÔÇØ? Check. ÔÇ£Black boyshortsÔÇØ? Double check.
ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm more of a boxer brief sort of guy,ÔÇØ he said smoothly, bringing her back to the present.
ÔÇ£Too far?ÔÇØ He chuckled. ÔÇ£I figured if I knew the color of yoursÔÇªI should at least show you mine.ÔÇØ He leaned forward.
Had he said show?
Just how drunk was he? Maybe that was the reason his eyes were zeroing in on her mouth. He blinked, and then seemed to sway a bit.
Was he okay? And why was he still staring at her mouth? Did she have something on her face?
Self-consciously, she pressed her fingertips to her lips only to have him suck in a breath and lift his right hand from his thigh as if wanting to touch the place where her fingers had just been.
ÔÇ£Got the shoes!ÔÇØ a male voice yelled as Jane jerked away from Brock.
What had just happened?
ÔÇ£Holy shit, youÔÇÖre hot.ÔÇØ
She recognized the man from before. He was about an inch shorter than Brock, but had the same perfect auburn hair. ÔÇ£IÔÇÖm Bentley, and since this oneÔÇÖs about to get married, I feel like itÔÇÖs only fair to let you know that out of the two of us, IÔÇÖm the single, available one, whoÔÇÖs alsoÔÇölucky for youÔÇöbeen given a higher rating in the sack.ÔÇØ
He was getting married?
And hitting on her?
Or was she hitting on him? After all, she was the one whoÔÇÖd mentioned underwear. Ugh, she wanted to crawl under the table and die.
Kindle Fire 10