Even the snow that is stupidly falling from the sky right now won't get me down.
All because throughout the day today I've been seeing all the fun posts from Timehop or On This Day.
From two years ago.
Two stinking years ago, Choose Us was published.
It basically feels like a lifetime.
Two years ago, I would have been happy with two people (I didn't know) reading the book.
I thought, for sure, I would only sell 50 copies.
Like...for all time.
And I was thrilled at the idea!
I published a freaking book.
A dream of mine, that I really didn't even realize I had wanted, happened.
And something happened.
People started reading it.
Lots of people.
People from all over the world!
I am still amazed by it all.
And I cannot thank you enough for taking a chance on that book.
So what better way to celebrate two years of Choose Us being out in the world than to give you a SNEAK PEEK into the next story in the Xtreme Bachelor world.
Yeah, you've heard me talk about it.
You knew it was coming (eventually).
And you knew (or at least know how) that the main character is the person you loved to hate in Choose Us.
I'm talking about Nicki.
And I'm positive I will make you love her.
Because I do...and I never thought that would happen after Choose Us.
Nicki is a complicated character that you only saw one side to in CU...Riley's side.
And while Riley had every right in the world to hate Nicki, Travis was right in saying there was a different side to Nicki that only he had seen.
Sure, most would say that was the fake Nicki.
But what if I told you it wasn't?
What if I told you, Nicki is just trying to figure her shit out?
She's played a character in her life for so long, she doesn't know how to break from that.
Would you believe me?
Well...you have to.
Because I'm the author here! Haha.
And I'm telling you, Nicki Montgomery is not who she portrays in Choose Us.
With that, I'll leave you with the super sneak peek of Finding Me.
I fought tooth and nail to not wear this dress. It was so not me. But the producers figured it was the “me” the world knew, so they were going to go with it. I’m pretty sure I didn’t sign up for this when I signed the contract. My mind was made up to have a long chat with Jim when this night was over. I would not be wearing what they wanted anymore.
That choice was going to be mine.
This blood red dress not only clashed with my skin tone, but was so tight my lungs couldn’t expand. And so short I was afraid to move for fear of it hiking up and showing my ass. Not to mention that it was barely containing the girls. Like, if I were to move too fast, one of them would pop out.
Guess it’s a good thing I could barely move in this dress. Moving too fast wasn’t even an option.
Their claim was that my dress on the first season was revealing too and I had gotten to pick that one out. So this dress shouldn’t have been too out of my range. But it was. Oh, it was. The dress during the first season wasn’t nearly as tight, was a muted gold color, was longer than this, and kept the girls in tack. I had no fears that night, I had looked hot.
I look like a five dollar hooker right now.
I could not wait for this night to be over with already. To get back to the guest house and change into yoga pants and a tank and gorge myself with those caramel brownies Eileen sent me with.
Unfortunately, the night had yet to begin. I had just arrived to the house and was currently stationed in front of the massive oak doors, waiting for the first of the guys to show up. I was actually disappointed that there were portable heaters situated evenly around the front walkway where I was standing. If they hadn’t thought to bring them, I could have put a cardigan over the dress, and made it a little less…less!
Twenty introductions would be made tonight. Twenty names to pretend to remember and occupations to pretend to care about. I had made up my mind the moment I zipped up the dress that I would nail it down to fifteen guys quickly, so I could be done with this awkward and uncomfortable night. I didn’t even care if they wanted me to stay until a certain time. I was going to be out of here the moment the fifth guy left.
To hell with playing the game their way.
My palms started the get clammy the moment I saw a car crest over the hill. I tried wiping them on my dress, but it was so slick they just slipped right off.
I was going to burn this thing.
I glanced over to the sides of the driveway where a few camera men were getting shots from every angle. My eyes searched for Jim. I knew he was there somewhere, and I wasn’t sure if I sought comfort from his gaze, or if I wanted to shoot him a death glare. I didn’t get a chance to figure it out though, as the car pulled to a stop a few feet before me.
I steadied my trembling hands against my hips. If I had been aware of how off-putting that pose was, I would have rethought it. But I honestly just wanted the shaking to stop and the hands on the hips did the trick.
I watched in awe as the driver opened the back door of the car and out stepped a Greek god.
That was the only way to describe him. He was crazy tall, and the suit he wore did very little to cover the muscles clearly bulging from every part of his body. His face was chiseled perfectly, as if an artist had created him from stone. He blinded me with perfectly straight, electric white teeth.
There was no part of him that wasn’t perfect. Even his even stride up the drive to me was like a dance.
Where the hell did they find this guy?
He stopped in front of me and I breathed in an overabundance of cologne.
Okay, not every part of him was perfect. I attempted to not gag on his overwhelming scent and forced a smile on my face.
“You’re even more beautiful in person,” he spoke with an accent.
Greek god was Australian. That definitely seemed to help sidetrack me from his smell.
“Thank you.” Was all I managed in reply.
“I’m Cooper. From Sydney if you couldn’t tell,” he chuckled while pointing to his mouth. “And let’s see, what else was I supposed to say?” He looked over at the row of cameras and the few producers behind them. Looking directly at the camera was a huge no-no unless you were being interviewed. I could only imagine how much editing it would take to make this introduction run seamlessly on TV.
“Oh right,” he said after someone mouthed something to him. “I used to play hooker on a professional rugby team. Now I am an announcer for the rugby network.” He leaned in to whisper in my ear. “It’s in my blood.”
“Rugby. Sounds…fun.” I moved back a step and resisted the urge to wipe my ear off on my shoulder.
“I can’t wait to get to know your more.” Cooper moved in once again, this time I was pretty sure he was going to attempt to kiss my cheek.
I moved to the side and placed my hands on his chest, giving him a slight push out of my bubble.
“That’s great.” I couldn’t handle it and coughed a little. “Maybe before we meet again, you could shower and not bathe in the aftershave?”
I met his shocked eyes with some of my own. I wasn’t planning on telling him straight up like that. I wasn’t planning on telling him anything at all. I heard whispering from the side and chanced a glance over. Jim finally shown his face and was waving for us to end this conversation so he could move into the house.
“Right. So, it’s great to meet you. I look forward to…uh…learning all about rugby?” I honestly had nothing clever to say. Damn I was going to fail so hard on this show.
Cooper grinned at me with his stupidly perfect mouth. “I can teach you all about it.” He leaned in, just close enough for me to hear, but still respecting my space. “And then some.”
With that creepy sendoff he headed through the oak doors behind me. They shut with a slam just as another car pulled up.
Couldn’t even get a moment to compose myself after that introduction. This was going to be a freaking long ass night.
Okay, I guess it wouldn’t be that bad if all the guys continue to look like him.
I pulled my lip between my teeth to keep my jaw from hanging open as the next guy stepped out of the car. He adjusted the coat of his perfectly tailored suit and started toward me. I took in his tall frame and broad shoulders first. Then I zeroed in on his face as he got closer. He had perfectly kissable full lips and the deepest green eyes I had ever seen. His hair was a chocolate brown, styled in a messy spike.
“Hi Nicki, I’m Brent, surfer, from California.” He pulled me in for a hug before I even realized what was happening.
Guess he’s one for getting straight to the point. Not that I minded. Not one bit.
“Current surfer?” I asked stepping back from the hug, but his hand still lingered on my forearm.
“Well I’ll always be a surfer, until the ocean takes me out. But I’m an instructor.”
“Surfing instructor?” That can’t bring in a ton of money.
Money doesn’t matter, Nicki.
Brent chuckled and rubbed his thumb across my arm, causing goose bumps to appear under his hand. “Actually I teach geometry at the local community college.”
He shocked the hell out of me with that answer. Given his appearance and super sexy demeanor, he didn’t seem like a guy who would be into teaching anything to anyone aside from surfing.
“Math nerd, huh?” I asked pulling my arm free from his grip, since I couldn’t think clearly with the skin to skin contact.
Brent’s lips twitched up into a smirk while he took a step toward me and placed that smirk next to my ear. “We prefer the term math geek,” he whispered, his lips hitting spots on my ear that I didn’t realize could turn me on.
But it did. Oh man did it ever.
A subtle cough from the side drew Brent away from me. He held my gaze for a moment before walking past me and into the house.
I needed to sit down. I needed a cold shower. I needed to just end this show right here and run away with that insanely sexy man who has my insides all twisted up.
“Next car is coming up, need a glass of water, Nicki?” Jim’s voice called from where he was standing on the side. I swear I heard the smile in his voice as he yelled it at me. And damn it, yes, I did need some water. But before I could answer with some snarky remark I’m sure was at the tip of my tongue, the next car pulled up.
As the next guy stepped out of the car, I knew I was going to throw a wrench in Jim’s plans. While this new guy was attractive with his shaggy blonde hair and well-tailored suit that fit his obviously well maintained body perfect, there was just one issue.
He was short.
Like crazy short. I could tell from the short distance that separated us that he was shorter than me. And I was only 5’7’’, so I knew I wasn’t insanely tall. So he must have been really short.
Did it make me shallow for not wanting to date a guy shorter than me?
But I like my guy to be taller than me, so I can rest my head on his chest when he hugs me, or place my chin on his shoulder while dancing.
As he approached me, I finally got to see the extent of our height difference. While I’ve been looking up at the last two guys, with him, I was looking down…a good two inches.
“Hi,” he said as he stopped in front of me. He reached out his hand for mine. “I’m Jay and…”
“I’m just going to stop you right there,” I interrupted him. Jay’s hand paused in the space between us, and I didn’t make the move to acknowledge it. After an awkward moment, he dropped it to his side, and wiped his palm on his dress pants.
I decided against beating around the bush and just told him straight up what I needed to. “Look, this is going to come off horribly rude, but I’m just going to say goodbye to you right now.”
Voices exploded from the side of the drive as each producer tried to shout their—mostly negative—input to me. I shook my head and lifted my hands up in a defensive stance.
“I’m sorry, okay,” I said, looking Jay in the eye. He didn’t look heartbroken, in fact, he looked slightly relieved. “I just can’t do…this.” I waved my hand between the two of us, trying to show off the obvious height difference.
Jay nodded and stepped one foot back, “I get it. And you’re a very intimidating woman already, we don’t need to add on the two inches you have on me.” He gave me a soft smile before giving me a small wave and turning back towards the car.
The producers were still mumbling to each other as Jay got into the car he had just vacated moments ago. The car pulled away and I was stuck standing there for minutes before another one arrived. Apparently the producers had the cars arrivals timed perfectly, and since my conversation with Jay lasted all of ten seconds, I had some time to kill before the next guy arrived.
“I could really use that water,” I spoke over their voices, hoping someone took pity on me. Not only could I not breathe in this dress, but the unseasonably warm September night stifling.
“Here kid.” A water bottle was being held in front of me. I took it and sipped. I looked up into the frustrated eyes of Jim.
I swallowed hard and shrugged. “What?”
Jim released a huff of irritation, grabbed the bottle out of my hands and practically stopped back to the side of the driveway.
I guess they had rules on the elimination process and failed to tell them to me.
Oh well, what’s done is done.
“You can always have him as the next bachelor,” I shouted to the producers as the next car pulled up.
I had met multiple surfers, rugby players, skateboarders, BMX riders, motocross racers, and snowboarders in the last two hours that I had been standing in front of house. Plus Jay, who never got a chance to tell me his sport.
My feet were killing me in these heels.
My dress was permanently fused to my body.
And I was pretty sure my bladder was going to explode, thanks to the two bottles of water I drank.
At least this car that pulled up was the last one. The last of the first meetings. I would have been relieved to be done, but I knew I was far from it. I still had to mingle with these guys and narrow it down to fifteen before I could escape back to my room.
I watched as the driver opened the door for the last guy. I squinted as I tried to get a look at him, hoping maybe I could dismiss him like I had with Jay so I would only have to deal with three eliminations once I got in the house.
But hell, that wasn’t going to happen.
A cowboy stepped out of the car. A downright sexy cowboy. The cowboy boots were the first thing I saw when he exited the car, and I could hear his drawl as he thanked the driver.
He was the only guy who verbal acknowledged and thanked the driver. That gave him a point above the others.
And unlike the other guys I’ve meet, he wasn’t wearing a suit, he was in well-fitting jeans and a button-up blue dress shirt. The sleeves were rolled up to the middle of his very muscular forearms.
I never in a million years thought I would be attracted to a cowboy, but he proved me wrong.
As he got closer I noticed his chiseled jaw with a rough five o’clock shadow and crooked nose. He had short dark brown hair that curled around his ears and the base of his neck. But the most attractive quality was his intense brown eyes focusing in on mine.
He stopped just steps before me, and took me in. Although I had felt super awkward in this dress all night long, with his deep gaze on me, I felt so uncomfortable with what I was wearing. What I wouldn’t give to be standing before him in jeans and a nice top. Be on equal ground. Not look like a sleazy woman. I tried to give him a smile, but I’m pretty sure my face looked like I was in pain.
Probably because I was in pain, because of this stupid dress. I knew any attempt at adjusting the dress would be futile. This dress wasn’t going to move an inch. Which was probably a good thing, so I wouldn’t fall out of it. But I was beginning to wonder how I was supposed to get out of the dress at the end of the night.
Pretty sure someone was going to have to cut it off me.
“Hello there,” Cowboy said, breaking me from my thoughts. “I’m Wade, I’m from this beautiful state of Oklahoma, and I was in the PBR.” He spoke with a deep southern accent. And my knees immediately went weak.
“Like the beer?” I asked. Apparently my brain when a little mushy too at his voice.
He laughed. Full out right, laughed. At me. Does he know what show he’s on? Does he know that I’m the one who makes the choice on whether he stays or goes? But damn it all to hell, if his laugh wasn’t the most amazing thing I’d ever hear. Deep and full and rumbly.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t laugh. You’re from that big city up north, I guess I shouldn’t expect you to know what the PBR is.” He reigned in his laughter and sounded sincere. But I still had a chip on my shoulder from his outburst.
“Well, it is a beer.” I pointed out. Trying to argue that I wasn’t a complete moron.
“You’re right. But I was a professional bull rider. PBR.” He said it slowly for me, so it would sink in.
He rode bulls? Is he freaking crazy?
“Are you crazy?!” Apparently my mouth had no filter with this man.
“I have been asked that before, but I assure you I am very sane.” With that he winked, and my knees once again almost give away, and he starts to walk away from me. But I wasn’t ready to end this conversation yet, even though I’ve just been super awkward.
“Wait!” I practically yelled. He paused next to me, his shoulder brushed against mine.
Too close. He’s too close. I could smell the light woodsy scent of him. It wasn’t overpowering like most of the guys tonight. And I found myself wanting to take another step closer to him.
“Yes?” he asked, breaking me out of my thoughts of his scent.
“Oh, um, what do you do for a living now?” I stuttered.
“I’m a farmer,” he said and gave me a little nod, brushed past me, and entered the doors.
A farmer? He was a farmer? All that sexiness oozing out of every possible crevice of that man, and he was a farmer?
Don’t judge him on his occupation Nicki. Don’t judge him on his occupation.
Those words repeated through my head as Jim walked towards me.
“Hey kid, you did awesome on the first meets. Now it’s time to go mingle and get to know them a little more. And narrow it down to fifteen. Since you already dismissed Jay already, you only have four more to eliminate.” His voice was stern, as if I had done the wrong thing.
“You never told me when to eliminate them. I figured I knew enough of myself to know that I wouldn’t be interested in Jay, so it was nicer to do it now, than to get his hopes up. Right?” I followed Jim as he walked toward the oak doors.
“Yeah, so much nicer. You knew him for all of five seconds.” Jim held the door open for me and I entered the house for the first time.
“I know what I like,” I mumbled as Jim moved into the house behind me.
Standing in the entryway was Tessa, the host of the show. I’m not sure if she was a fan of me on the first season, but right now she was all smiles. Probably because she was getting paid.
“You remember Tessa,” Jim made the re-introduction, and Tessa’s hand stretched out for mine. I shook it and gave her a polite smile, but didn’t answer Jim.
“Tessa is going to take you into the living room where all the men are waiting and explain how things are going to go tonight. Then you can mingle, or single the guys out to get to know them better. Or go with your gut reaction and just eliminate the four as soon as you walk in there,” Jim said with a wink. “Either way, there won’t be an elimination ceremony tonight, so you’ll just be dismissing them throughout the evening. I guess it’s up to you on how long you want to be here.” He gave me a knowing smile and eyed my dress. Or what they called a dress. I was still pretty positive it shouldn’t be called that.
Scrap of fabric seemed more like it.
“Got it.” I gave Jim a smile as he nodded and walked down the hall in the opposite direction.
“Bathroom,” I breathed out to Tessa when Jim left. She chuckled and pointed to a door a few feet down the hall.
When I had emptied my bladder and freshened up as best I could in the powder room, I returned to Tessa, who was still standing near the doors.
“Alright.” I clapped my hands together, ready to get this night over with. “Let’s get this party started.”
If you made it this far, you deserve a cookie.
Go get yourself a cookie.
Finding Me is coming...soon.
I still need to finish it.
But it's almost there.
Let me know what you thought of the story so far.
Are you excited?
Do you think you'll love or hate Nicki?
Tell me, so I can over analyze every comment.
Just kidding, I won't do that.
For real, that's all now!
Thank you again for reading Choose Us.