The Bachelor Auction (The Bachelors of Arizona Book 1)(4)

By: Rachel van Dyken

Because what his brothers said was true.

He was getting older.

And he’d yet to find a woman who wanted him for who he truly was.

Then again, did he even know himself anymore?

He’d allowed his protective love for his grandfather decide how he would live his life, his future, his everything.

With a groan, he stole Bentley’s drink straight from his hand and downed the entire thing.

“Cold feet?” Bentley teased.

“Go to hell,” Brock fired back.

Bentley, as if sensing how pissed off Brock really was, quickly grabbed a flute of champagne from a passing waiter and shoved it into Brock’s waiting hand. “Look on the bright side. Grandfather said if you married the girl he picked he’d give you the ranch as a wedding present, so there’s that.”

The ranch.

Their home.

Their safe haven after their parents had died, where their grandfather had pushed aside his own grief to give them the best life possible. Shit, he was screwed.

“Hell.” Bentley let out a low whistle. “I’d even sleep with her for the ranch.”

“Who?” Brock was too busy chugging champagne to notice anything except the constant beat of the techno music and bright red and white lights flashing around them. He really was getting old.

“Her.” Bentley glanced at Brock’s empty glass and handed him another from a passing waiter. “Her lipstick’s purple.”

“How…exciting.” Brock actually flinched when the woman waved his way. “She looks like she should be poking her head out of a limousine screaming, ‘What up, bitches?’”

“Oh God, I’d sell my soul to hear you say that exact same phrase in a high-pitched voice while you rip at your shirt. Please, it’s just what this party needs.”

Brock’s lips twitched into an amused smile as he let out a bark of laughter. “What? And steal her moment?” He nodded at the woman, who had just started convulsing on the dance floor with a friend. “I think I’ll let her have the spotlight.”

Bentley grinned. “Imagine how they dance when they’re drunk.”

“Are you under the impression they’re sober?”

“Either way. Bad choices.”

“Oh, shit!” Brock choked on his third drink. “They just saw Grandfather.”

Brock prayed to God that his grandfather wouldn’t send the girls his way. Time slowed as Grandfather turned, made a face, and dismissed them.

Both Brock and Bentley exhaled loudly.

“Drink,” Bentley encouraged. “Maybe the caterpillars will turn into butterflies. Whiskey encourages these things.”

“I’m only taking this drink.” He gripped it between his hands. How many had he just downed, anyway? Four? Five? “Because I see no other option. And believe me, I’ve done nothing but try to think of a way out of this.”

Bentley crossed his arms. “What about no?”

“No.” Brock shook his head vehemently.

“You have no problem saying it to me or Brant on a daily basis, yet the minute Grandfather turns his furry eyebrows in your direction you turn into this…robot.”

Brock stiffened. “Robot? Hardly.” He’d been called worse. But that was beside the point.

His brothers didn’t get it; they didn’t understand the power behind a simple word, and how it was Brock’s fault that their parents were dead in the first place.

Because the first time he’d said that word had been after an argument with his father.

No, he’d said. No. No. No.

The next day both of his parents were dead.

His hands shook with the memory, as if re-living it all over again.

“All right, then. So you said yes because you want to settle down? With a woman of Grandfather’s choosing?” Bentley chuckled. “The last woman he sent your way had the longest fingernails I’d ever seen.” He shuddered. “I had at least three nightmares, all of them including her nails impaling my…well, let’s just say I woke up in a cold sweat.”

Brock shrugged, and his stomach warmed as the whiskey finally began to take effect. “She wasn’t so bad.”

“Her name was Pearl.”

Brock shifted uncomfortably on his feet while Bentley gave him a pointed stare. “Just march up to him and say ‘thanks for the concern, but I nominate Brant as tribute.’”

Smirking, Brock glanced across the room just in time to see Brant press some random woman against the wall and kiss down her neck. “He seems occupied.”

“When is he not occupied? Though the night is a bit young for him to start his sexual prowl.”


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