“You’re needed in the living room,” one of the crew members said through the bathroom door. “The host is about to introduce the bachelor.”
“Great,” Brenda Bartolomeo said. “I’ll be right there. Can’t wait.” Brenda’s stomach took a nosedive as the jitters hit. This was the big moment. She was about to go on national television and appear as if she was desperate for a date. How embarrassing. She tucked her brown hair behind one ear and checked her makeup in the mirror one last time before leaving the bathroom.
Her heels clicked on the tile floor as she walked into the living room. Everyone was silent as the host prepared to do his usual spiel. A few heads turned her way and she gave them a sheepish smile.
“Hello ladies. I’m Warren Peabody. Welcome to Los Angeles and ‘Man of Your Dreams.’ I hope you have all had a chance to look around the house and make yourself comfortable. This is where you will be living for the next few weeks, provided, of course, that you continue to receive a box of chocolates from our bachelor.” Peabody flashed his infamous, fluorescent white smile. His shiny blond hair reflected the light of not only the recessed lighting in the ceiling, but the extra lights provided by the camera crew. He stood next to the fireplace in his light gray suit and blue tie, the image of perfection.
“This season, ladies, we have decided to shake things up a bit. The bachelor didn’t want to make the most important decision of his life on his own. So we’ve invited his brother to help him out. His brother, like the bachelor, will be staying in the house with you and will be watching you at all times.”
All of the women groaned. Not only would they have to impress the bachelor, but his brother as well.
“Before I introduce you to the bachelor, I’m going to introduce his brother. Ladies, I would like you to meet Caleb Smith.”
As Caleb walked into the room in his black suit, it was as if everything had gone into slow motion. Brenda couldn’t take her eyes off of him and neither could any of the other ladies. He was the most beautiful man she had ever seen. He was tall, easily over six feet, and broad shouldered with wavy black hair. Light stubble lined his square jaw and a tiny scar marred one of his eyebrows. Below his straight nose, his lips formed a tight smile, showing he was stressed. Boy, could she relate.
“Hello ladies,” he said in his rich baritone voice.
Brenda’s heart skipped a beat at the sound of his voice. She had never heard anything like it before. What was wrong with her? She gave herself a mental slap. If she didn’t get her head in the game, she’d be accepting a box of chocolates and unpacking her bags faster than she could fill a cannoli.
He’s just another guy, she told herself. Another guy she had to convince to send her home. This could be harder than she thought.
She inhaled and held her breath for a second or two before exhaling. She pushed her attraction to him aside and focused on the challenge at hand—getting him to hate her enough to tell his brother to send her home.
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