NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
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 has no intention of getting hitched for life.
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?
Bella Chatham is in a difficult position, faced with losing everything she’s worked for because of her kind heart. She has a veterinary clinic and no kill animal rescue while the clinic holds it’s own the care and feeding of the rescues isn’t getting the donations needed to sustain it. Her receptionist and assistant Hannah along with Morgan and Rob Matheson have come up with a plan to solve all her problems. Hannah sent an application in Bella’s name to a reality show Beat the Billionaire, the prize, five million dollars. The downside, if she loses she has to marry the billionaire and stay married for a year.
Billionaire Evan Mortimer needs a wife within the month. His father’s will as with all previous generations states that if unmarried at the time of inheriting the business you have six months to marry or lose it to the next in line. His brother Nate is already taunting him with taking over, his plans for the company are the exact opposite of what Evan has in mind. Nate is all about the bottom line and hurting the environment doesn’t matter at all, gas, oil and fracking are at the top of his lists. Evan is all about technologies to improve the environment and make money. He needs a wife and he’ll get one. His first order of business, have his assistant Amanda get him on ‘that show’.
Well they both get on the show and the director Madeline is all about ratings. In spite of those frustrations the show must go on. Evan and Bella have weaknesses that the show can flaunt, and they totally intend to.
However one of my favorite scenes is the first competition which is archery.
Two targets were set up about fifty yards from where she stood. Evan stood in front of one, a recurve bow upraised in his hands. As she watched, he pulled the string back to his ear and let an arrow loose. It flew at the target and hit it with a thwap. His two crew members clapped. Another man she didn’t recognize wrote something on his notepad. “That’s four.”
Four? As in, four arrows in the target? If each arrow equaled a point, Evan had nailed four out of five points in the first challenge. She’d never picked up a bow in her life—there was no way she could beat that.
Evan took another arrow from a quiver at his feet, set it on the string and lifted the arrow again. She watched him carefully, trying to note his stance, the way he set the arrow to the string and how he positioned the bow. Obviously, he’d done this before.
Was Madelyn aware of that? Was this contest rigged against her? She realized she had no way of knowing. Maybe this whole thing was going to be an exercise in humiliation, with the loss of her clinic and animal shelter the final blow.
She had to do something. What had Madelyn said? They weren’t allowed to hurt each other, but trash talk was encouraged?
She waited until Evan pulled the arrow back to his ear and steadied it there. Right when she judged he would let it loose, she yelled, “Bear!”
Evan jerked and the arrow swung off course, missing the target altogether. Everyone in the clearing tensed and scanned the area.
“Sorry,” Bella called and stepped forward. “My mistake—it was just a tree. I’m a little jumpy.”
Evan turned on her. “You did that on purpose.”
She shrugged. “I haven’t spent a lot of time in the woods. My specialty is pets, not grizzlies. Like I said, I’m a little jumpy.”
“You’re going to be a whole lot jumpier before the day’s done. You realize you’ve only spoiled one shot of mine. I’ll be here to spoil all five of yours.” He held her gaze as he came to stand close enough to her she could smell the sweat from his morning’s exertions. It should have disgusted her, but instead it seemed to waken something deep inside. He was clean shaven this morning, still neat and tidy despite the hike, but as handsome as he was now, she had the feeling that the wilder this trip got, the hotter he’d look. Rugged outdoorsy activity suited the guy far better than his suits did. She doubted it had the same effect on her appearance, though.
He handed her the bow and Bella swallowed, all too aware of the way his hands wrapped around the polished wood. Strong hands with blunt fingers. Hands that could caress and squeeze and stroke…
“You’ll lose your head start,” Bella said, suddenly eager to send him on his way. Her hands weren’t shaking out of nervousness about handling a bow for the first time, nor because he obviously intended to taunt her while she shot. The thought of Evan touching her made her feel warm. Delicate. Womanly.
Crud. Of all the men to react to like that. Why couldn’t she fall for one of the businessmen of Chance Creek, or even one of the cowboys working the ranches around town, like Rob’s brother Jake? Or the county sheriff, Cab? She got along great with Cab, but there’d never been a spark between them—not like this.
Cab didn’t have Evan’s hands.
Surely she was losing it. Who cared about hands? It was a man’s heart, his brain, his capacity for love that was really important, if you cared about things like that. She didn’t care about men one way or another.
But her thoughts returned to the way Evan’s hands could make her feel alive. They could tease and torment her until she writhed with desire.
Seriously. She needed to get laid.
Did Evan feel it, too, or was she the only one being shanghaied by hormones? He stepped closer and for a second she thought she saw her own interest echoed in his eyes. He frowned and bent nearer. “I’ll always beat you in a race, Betty Bumpkin. I’ve already beat you at this challenge. I’ve got this contest in the palm of my hand. Pretty soon I’ll have you in the palm of my hand, too. At least for a year.”
Betty Bumpkin? Heat rushed into her cheeks. He called her Betty Bumpkin on national television? What an asshole! And what did that last crack mean—having her in the palm of his hand? She could think of any number of dirty interpretations for that sentence.
Now she saw him as he truly was—a cocky, arrogant, self-absorbed jackass who’d inherited a bunch of money and thought it made him superior to everyone who worked for a living.
“We’ve got a long way to go, so step aside, Moneybuns. Let’s get on with it.” His snort of disgust at the crude nickname made her smile, but her anxiety rose as she approached a white line spray painted on the ground. One of the extra crew members took the bow Evan had handed her and directed her to a rack full of them.
Seton, Cora. The Cowgirl Ropes a Billionaire (Cowboys of Chance Creek, Book 4). One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (685-722). Kindle Edition.
I love the nicknames they chose to taunt each other. Bella does manage to intimidate Evan just a bit throwing him off his game.
During the many challenges ahead of them and long nights in tight quarters, they actually get to know each other. Evan actually figures out that the show is losing money and if Bella wins it would most likely be cancelled. He doesn’t like that it could possibly be stacked in his favor, he wants to win on his own merit. They both discover things about themselves in this process, things that become clearer and easier to handle.
Lots of fun, laughter, tears, sizzling heat, and an ending you won’t forget.
I am starting the next book now, I have a couple of Cora’s series to catch up on.
5 Contented Purrs for Cora!
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USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author 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 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.