Undercover Bachelor - Maria Geraci

1

Somewhere near Los Angeles, in a mansion situated in the hills…

Sam DeLuca sat across from what was undoubtedly the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen in real life. Too bad he was having an insane case of sweat flop.

Hannah White, America’s current sweetheart and the lead on the hit TV show Single Gal, leaned forward, giving Sam, the camera guys, and the rest of the audience a first-rate view of her cleavage.

As last season’s runner up on Single Guy, the male version of the reality TV dating show, Hannah had won over America’s fickle heart when she’d been ruthlessly rejected by the show’s lead in front of a record-breaking audience of over ten million viewers. The rejection was followed by footage of Hannah in a limo crying buckets of tears, mascara running down her cheeks, as she sniffled, “What’s wrong with me?”

Legions of fans immediately answered back on Twitter.

There was nothing wrong with Hannah.

Nothing at all.

In fact, all those tears and heartbreak deserved a reward. So here she was now, three months later on live TV, trying to choose her future husband from a pool of twenty-five eligible bachelors, Sam included.

He’d gotten to know the other twenty-four guys while they’d been holed up in a hotel waiting for filming to begin. According to Sam’s last count, there were seven personal trainers, one washed-out ex-NFL player, two attorneys, a couple of real estate brokers, three social media “influencers” (whatever that was) and an assortment of business entrepreneurs.

Oh, and one duck. Or rather, a guy dressed in a duck suit. Sam couldn’t remember the guy’s name, but as the Duck had put it, the costume was his way “to stand out on night one.” The whole thing was nothing but a circus. When he got back to Dallas, he was going to ground Becks for a month.

He snorted to himself.

Who was he kidding? As if he had any control over his eighteen-year-old sister. Becks was just as headstrong as their grandfather had been.

“Where did you say you were from again?” Hannah asked, leaning toward him.

Don’t stare at the boobs, man. Don’t stare at the boobs.

“Texas.”

One of the production crew adjusted an overhead light, shining it straight into his face. Sweat ran down his back. He’d love to take off his suit jacket, but his blue dress shirt was plastered against his skin. The last thing he wanted was to be known as this season’s sweaty guy.

“And what do you do, um … I’m so sorry! I forgot your name.”

“It’s Sam.” It was the fourth time tonight he’d told her his name since stepping out of the limo. This does not bode well. He needed to up his game if he didn’t want to get eliminated on the first night.

He took a sip of his Maker’s Mark. He’d been careful not to drink too much. In preparation for his appearance on the show, Becks had shown him a couple of taped episodes from previous seasons. There was always one joker who made an ass of himself the first night by getting hammered. He wasn’t about to be known as the guy who ended up naked in the swimming pool, either.

“What do you do for work, Sam?”

The light shining in his face got brighter, causing him to blink furiously. “I supply gas.”

The guy behind the camera snickered.

“You mean you work for a utilities company?” she asked hopefully.

“No. The kind of gas you use in your car.” He put a hand up over his face to shield his eyes. Couldn’t they do something with that damn light? The producers had told him he was supposed to ignore the cameras and act “natural.” He was about to break the show’s first rule and speak directly to the crew when the camera guy readjusted the light on his own, giving Sam some relief.

“So you work in a gas station?”

“Not exactly. What do you do?” he asked, trying to bring the focus back on her.

“You don’t know? Sam,” she chided, “don’t tell me you didn’t watch my season.”

“I only watched a couple of the shows,” he admitted. “You’re a lifestyle coach, right? Sorry, I forgot.” He knew the vital info on her. Hannah White, twenty-eight. Occupation: lifestyle coach. Favorite color: pink. Favorite food: sushi. Pet peeve: people who pretend to be something they’re not.

Another trickle of sweat ran down his back. It was May in southern California. Did these clowns have the heat on?

Hannah smiled sympathetically. “It’s okay to be nervous. I was nervous too when I was in

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