TV Bride – an e-book novel from Whiskey Creek Press - contemporary romantic comedy.
What happens when TV’s THE BACHELOR meets The GODFATHER?
Samantha Parker, a photographer with trust issues, and Nick Ryan, a cynical writer, fall in love on a nationally televised wedding reality show --“Here Comes the Bride”-- which culminates in his marriage proposal... to another woman. Will Samantha and Nick be able to overcome old patterns, family problems, the San Francisco Bay Area housing shortage, and the stress of media focus to be together? Of course -- with lots of bumps and bruises along the way.
Late May in Sausalito. Samantha Parker took a deep breath and smiled at the universe. Life didnŐt get much better. Today she was moving into the perfect cottage for a rent she could almost afford. All she had to do was sign on the dotted line, transport the stuff sheŐd loaded into a U-Haul back home in Stockton and accept delivery of her new bed. Practically bouncing on air, she flew into the property managerŐs office one minute early to sign the lease and get the keys from the owner, kindly Mrs. Harrigan. " ŇThis is a testÓ
Samantha’s descent from the clouds didn’t begin until she saw Mrs. Harrigan weeping into a lace-trimmed hanky. Mr. Owens, the property manager, twirled his mustache while a GQ model type Samantha didn’t recognize signed a lot of papers. When Mrs. Harrigan spotted Samantha, she wept harder and honked into her hanky.
“Miss Parker,” she said between sobs, “why are you here? Didn’t my son Edgar call you?”
Samantha frowned. “No one called me. I’m here to sign the lease for the cottage. You know,” she elaborated carefully in case anyone had forgotten, “for the perfect cottage where I can live and set up my photographic studio? The one you’re so happy to rent to me because you wanted to be a photographer before you married Mr. Harrigan?”
Mrs. Harrigan appeared far too overcome to respond. Mr. Owens cleared his throat. “Mr. Ryan here is renting the property,” he said. “We thought you’d been informed not to come.”
Samantha sat down hard in the faux leather chair opposite the desk where Mr. Ryan had evidently just signed his name to the last of the papers. Samantha toyed with the idea of snatching the papers and ripping them to shreds. Instead, she sighed deeply. “I’ve just loaded all my belongings into a U-Haul and driven here. I’m here to sign the lease and get the keys so I can move into the cottage. Today. They’re delivering my new bed there in two hours.” She turned to Mrs. Harrigan, who kept her face averted.
Mr. Owens cleared his throat again. “Mr. Ryan has already signed the lease.” He handed the younger man a set of keys and bared his teeth at Samantha. “The cottage is his.”
Samantha felt as if someone had just punched all the air out of her. “That can’t be. I’m the one who’s supposed to lease the cottage. Everything is set.”
Mr. Owens shrugged. “You didn’t have anything in writing. These things happen. I do have other rental properties to show you.” He thought for a moment. “Well, one or two in your price range. Not in Sausalito.”
Samantha ignored Mr. Owens and directed her words to Mrs. Harrigan, planning to throw herself on Mrs. Harrigan’s mercy. Anything to end this nightmare. “What happened, Mrs. Harrigan? I thought we had a deal. I agreed to pay the rent you advertised. I don’t smoke and I don’t have pets. I promised to take photos of your grandchildren. I trusted you.” Her voice rose in an unintended squeak.
Mrs. Harrigan wrung her hands. “I wanted you,” she moaned, “but my son Edgar overruled me. Mr. Ryan outbid you on the rent. As I’m going to be living with Edgar…”
Samantha glared at Mr. Ryan, who was now grinning up at her. He rose and held out his hand, which she refused to shake. “Nick Ryan.” When she continued glaring at him, he shrugged and sat down. “Hey, all’s fair in love, war, and the Bay Area housing market.”
“I’m so sorry,” Mrs. Harrigan sobbed.
“You do understand, Miss Parker.” Mr. Owen looked as if he were about to call security. He chuckled dryly. “These things happen all the time.”
Samantha glared at him. Rising to her full height of five-eight in her bare feet, she willed herself to look commanding. “Two things I understand,” she intoned, looking at Mrs. Harrigan. “One. It’s not your fault, Mrs. Harrigan. I know you’d never be swayed by demon money.” Then she looked at Nick Ryan, ignoring his eye candy appeal to focus on his evil act. “Two. Mr. Ryan, you’ve gotten your new home by unfair and unscrupulous means. By offering to pay more than the asked for rent, you have struck a blow against tenants who follow the rules.”
Nick Ryan rolled his eyes. “Lady, I need a place to live. I found one, not easy in the Bay Area, and I did what I had to to secure it. This is nothing personal against you.”
“I’m so tired of people doing crummy things and then excusing themselves by saying ‘It’s the lousy housing market, nothing personal.’ Until you came along, the cottage was mine.” She tried to gather her scattered thoughts to find the perfect last word but couldn’t. Instead, she said the first thing that came into her head. “According to ancient tradition, because of your subterfuge, there will be a curse on you as long as you occupy the cottage. Nothing in your life will go right till you restore the balance of justice, and the rightful renter lives there.” With that, she swirled around and majestically swept from the office. Walking tall with great pride, she held her mighty pose—until she got to her U-Haul and collapsed in a heap. With the last dregs of her strength, she pulled out her cell phone, called her best friend Tiffany Swanson and wailed, “Help!”
© 2007 Mardi Ballou
TV Bride review snippets:
“5 ROSES: If you like a good laugh with your contemporary romance, don’t pass up this one... the plot the most imaginative I’ve seen in awhile. I was cheering along with everyone else for [Nick] to choose the bachelorette least interested in winning – at the beginning. Entertaining and heart warming, TV Bride is a tale told well. Just what the reviewer ordered.”
-- Quinn, My Book Cravings
“4.5 STARS: TV Bride is an excellent swipe at the television reality shows we all love to hate and swear we never watch. But it’s also a story about helping friends, following your heart and being prepared to bend your own self imposed rules to find happiness. I love a book that makes you laugh, and for a couple of hours, allows you dissolve into a romance that is realistic and sweet.”
-- Janet, Once Upon a Romance
“4.5 HEARTS: Bravo for Ms. Ballou’s TV BRIDE. ...a cast of characters who were so much fun to read about. ...better then any reality television show could hope to nail in real life. ...a story that kept this reviewer enthralled into the wee hours of the night. ... a mixture of humor, suspense and romance!”
-- Tina, Love Romances & More
“4 ANGELS: Ms. Ballou demonstrates an innate talent for bringing emotion to the forefront with realism and a dose of laughter. You don’t have to be a fan of reality shows to enjoy the romance TV Bride brings to readers.”
-- Amanda S., Fallen Angel Reviews
“... a pleasant diversion about friendship and family and taking charge of one’s life... The obstacles Ms. Ballou presents to the characters seem insurmountable and the reader wonders how she’s going to be able to bring Nick and Samantha together in the end... The supporting cast is fun to watch and the friendships that Samantha makes along the way buoy this story along. I enjoyed watching the characters grow and would recommend this -- a great book to take along to the beach.”
-- Karla Brandenburg, The Road to Romance