TV producer Nicole Reavis intends to use her millions to sort out a top secret personal hiccup. In the meantime, her show must go on. And Nicole has to entice mega-rich Devon Bradshaw to appear as one of Atlanta's sexiest eligible bachelors. But will he bite?
Devon's biting if it means spending more time with beautiful blue-eyed Nicole. But when he discovers that, underneath it all, they've got more in common than six-figure finances and shocking family revelations, he's determined to find out everything about her.
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Underneath it All by Lori Borrill
"Okay, ladies, the next man up for grabs is Evan Phillips, this handsome real estate broker for Century South." The woman at the microphone motioned to the dark-eyed hunk on stage and added,
"Evan, please tell the women in the crowd what they're bidding on." While the man detailed a romantic evening starting with dinner at Atlanta's infamous Sun Dial restaurant, Nicole Reavis turned to her friend and coworker, Eve Best. "Some days I love my job."
Eve smiled. "As opposed to days when you're stuck in a catfight between girlfriends?"
Nicole winced. As chief segment producer for Eve's cable talk show, Just Between Us, much of her job involved researching topics for upcoming shows. Tonight, it was the annual Children's Charities Bachelor Auction, a glamorous event at a trendy new club where some of the city's most eligible bachelors auction off a night on the town for charity.
Three days ago, the job had her dodging blows between two women who'd claimed to get along beautifully even though they were both dating the same man.
Proof that in the world of daytime television, life was never dull.
"And I noticed you've come here tonight but were conveniently AWOL when I was screaming for security before those women destroyed our conference room." Nicole shook her head.
"Thank heavens we got them together before we put them on the air. How humiliating would that have been?"
"Hey, if I'd been there you know I would have jumped in and helped."
Nicole smiled in agreement, knowing Eve would have come running if she'd been in the studio at the time. Though Nicole was the new girl on the set, she and Eve had hit it off right from the start. She'd hit it off with everyone on the crew, for that matter, and the catfight incident was quickly becoming known as Nicole's official transformation from newbie into battle-scarred veteran.
"Besides, I needed to be here tonight to help make sure Penny doesn't get herself into trouble." Eve scanned the large crowd. "Where is she, by the way?"
Penny was one of Nicole's new research assistants, a young woman just out of college, barely of legal drinking age, and highly naive, almost too much so for a talk show that focused on relationships and sex. But the eighteen to twenty-five demographic was a hot one, and Nicole was willing to overlook Penny's inexperience for the perspective she brought to the show.
"She's getting the list of participants from the organizers. It'll be interesting to interview them after their dates to see how this sort of thing generally turns out for couples."
"We'll start the bidding at two hundred dollars," the woman onstage said.
The announcement caused a swarm of hands to go up. It looked as though the sexy real estate broker would be a hot commodity this evening.
Admittedly, before she came here tonight, Nicole had faced the evening with skepticism, wondering why this group of obviously successful singles would pay such a high price for what equated to a blind date. Surely, they couldn't expect to find their soul mates under circumstances like this.
But once inside the doors, she realized this wasn't about finding soul mates, it was about fun and fantasy, and the organizers of this event had played every angle to that end. Every year, the auction was held at one of Atlanta's swankiest new spots, tonight's at a bar called Oasis. The place was high class all the way, the interiors alone surely costing the owners a small fortune.
Set up like an underwater tide pool, the walls were painted in murals that gave the feeling one was standing on the ocean floor. Art glass chandeliers hung overhead like floating squids and sea urchins, glass seashells adorned the sconces that lined the perimeter. The floor was tiled to look like sand with touches of mother of pearl embedded here and there, and the moment Nicole had stepped inside, she was swept into the surreal atmosphere.