Is it a truth universally acknowledged, that a girl must compete on reality TV to win a modern-day Mr. Darcy’s heart?
Clothing designer Emma Brady is having serious doubts about how far she’ll go to promote her new activewear line. Sure, being on a reality show would be great for business, but is putting up with Mr. Darcy-wannabe Sebastian Huntington-Ross really worth it?
Sebastian is straight out of an Austen novel. But it’s hard to focus on his chiseled jaw, broad shoulders and wickedly sexy accent when all Emma can see is his pride, arrogance, and smug demeanor.
But Sebastian has a secret reason for being on the show, and when Emma figures out what it is, her heart warms to him—without her permission.
Will Emma hold fast and keep the aristocratic Sebastian at arm’s length? Or will she put her reservations aside when the lines between reality and “reality show” start to blur?
How on this sweet Earth did I get myself into this position?
I’m not talking metaphorically or spiritually or anything like that here, you understand.
Oh, no. I’m being much more literal.
Right now, I’m all alone in the back of the limo, whizzing through the outskirts of Houston on my way to some ranch out in banjo territory. I’ve managed to remove my mic, which was a feat all its own, and now I’m wrangling with my Timothy leggings. With an almighty effort, I pull them up to my thighs, my dress bunched up under my chin. Ever bunched up a sequin dress under your chin? Not comfortable.
As the car turns corners, my task becomes increasingly complex. Just when I scoop my butt up off the seat to pull the leggings up, the car turns, and I go crashing into the door. Luckily it’s firmly shut or I’d be splattered across the road somewhere.
By the time I’m halfway done, I’m hot and sweaty and panting like I’ve gone three rounds in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Or some other boxer from this century. (Fighting’s so not my thing).
My leggings finally in place, I heave a sigh of relief. Time for my Timothy top. I pull my sequined dress over my head, only for it to get snagged on my hair.
I tug at the dress. It pulls at my hair but it holds tight. I tug again. This thing is not budging.
The car begins to slow. I peer out the smoky glass window and see a large house at the end of the long drive. It looks like a ranch in the middle of nowhere.
Panic begins to set in. I need to get this darn dress off and pull on my T-shirt over my strapless bra, and I need to do it now.
As the car slows to a stop, I yank on the dress, hard, only to cry out in pain as my hair refuses to untangle itself from the many sequins.
I hear a car door thud closed and know the driver is about to walk around to open my door.
No! We can’t be here already!
Think, Emma, think!
In just my leggings and strapless bra, my dress acting as some sort of weird hair extension, I’m not only going to be the laughing stock of the nation, but I’m sure the Mr. Darcy wannabe will send me home before he can say “that one was totally cray cray.” Penny’s and my dream will amount to nothing.
With probably less than about three seconds to go before the driver reaches my door, I ditch the near-impossible hair issue and focus on getting my top on. I grab it out of my clutch and loop one leg through, then the next. With a strength that would impress Wonder Woman herself, I yank the top up over my thighs, and begin to loop an arm through one side. So far, so good. All I’ve got to do now is loop the other arm through and …
The next thing I know, the wall I’m leaning up against gives way and I fall backwards out of the privacy of the limo and land with a thud on my butt.
As my butt meets the hard, unforgiving ground, the wind is instantly sucked out of me and the pain sears. Trying to regain my balance, my legs flail in the air like I’m some kind of insect that can’t get itself back up. At least twelve different cuss words erupt from my mouth. Cuss words my mother would blush to hear me say.
Everything goes quiet around me.
Smooth, Emma. Real smooth.
“Well, that was quite an entrance,” a voice says.
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Kate O’Keeffe is a bestselling author of fun, feel-good romantic comedies. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand with her family, two scruffy dogs, and a cat who thinks he’s a scruffy dog too. He’s not: he’s a cat. When she’s not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.
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