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A Chance at L.O.V.E.: Bid On Love: Bachelor #4 / Love At Last Series #1 by K.L. Myers (1)

Prologue

Female companionship was never anything I longed for. In fact, it was just the opposite. I’ve been blessed with genetic genes from the gods with looks and a smile that bring women to their knees in front of me. Literally.

I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have a woman when I wanted one. They all knew the rules: Don’t get attached. If you get attached, you’re gone. Casual sex, that's all I’m willing to have. I won’t do the whole commitment thing; and no, it’s not because I come from a broken home or I’m afraid of love. It’s quite the opposite. My parents were high school sweethearts who have been married for over fifty years. See, that’s the problem; they’ve never been with anyone else. They were each other’s first, and they plan on being each other’s last. I just can’t grasp the whole idea of that. I know love exists, and I’m open to the idea of being loved and loving back, but it’s the settling thing that bothers me. How do you know you haven’t settled for something less than spectacular if you haven’t searched around?

Growing up, I felt like my family settled on everything. Dad bought a house without discussing it with Mom. She didn’t like it, but she settled because it was what Dad wanted. Mom wanted a minivan when she was hauling all us kids around; Dad refused to drive one. So, they settled on a sport utility vehicle that had the functionality of a minivan but was stylish enough for a businessman to be seen in. Even my schooling was a settlement. Mom said homeschool; Dad said private school. Where did I end up? Public school. My whole life has been one settlement after another. The only time I can honestly say my parents didn’t settle was the day I was born.

My parents settled on everything except for my name. I guess that was the one time in my parents’ lives that they refused to negotiate, and so I ended up with two middle names. Mom was insistent on naming me after her father, Vincent; he was a well-respected rear admiral in the Navy before he retired and ran for senate. My dad was equally adamant that I should bear his father, Oliver’s, name, since Oliver built the largest shipbuilding company on the east coast from the ground up. Hence, I have two middle names, Oliver and Vincent, after my grandfathers. I officially became Lincoln Oliver Vincent Eastwick on the day I was born. My parents even thought it was humorous that my initials spelled out LOVE. Sometimes I swear they had no idea what that would do to a teenage boy.

Now, getting back to settling down. Like I said earlier, how do I know I’m not missing out on something better if I settle for one person? That’s the point, right? Settling. That’s what you do when you pick one person to spend the rest of your life with. I’m a firm believer in not settling. I want different. Better, actually. The best.

I don’t pick simple items like a basic GMC or Ford. No, it’s not because they aren’t nice cars; it’s because I’m settling for something when I can afford better. That’s why I own a Bugatti. It’s not that I need it, but it’s one of the best, and who doesn’t want the best? Same goes for my clothes; my suits are all tailor-made, one of a kind. Anyone can buy an Armani or even a Brioni if you have the money, but once again, you’re settling. Everything I wear, all the way down to my watch and shoes, is custom. Does this make me an arrogant prick? Some would say yes, but they don’t know me. I’m not arrogant; in fact, I’m the opposite. Deep down I’m compassionate, caring, and loyal, but only my closest friends and family know that. Can I be ruthless? Of course, I can. My securities firm, Eastwick Capital, is well known for being ruthless. I specialize in risk arbitrage and options trading. In other words, I’m a corporate raider. I buy up companies in distress, then tear them apart and either make them better or sell them off piece by piece. I’m the Carl Icahn of the twenty-first century. If the name doesn’t ring a bell with you, let me just say Trans World Airlines, aka TWA. He is the reason they are no longer in business. He single-handedly bought up the failing airline, stripped it apart, and walked away with four hundred and fifty million dollars in his pocket when the dust settled. Alright, still confused? I’m the Richard Gere in the Pretty Woman movie minus the prostitute. So, compassion is the last thing anyone would ever associate with me, which is why I was surprised to hear from Nadine Marx.

Nadine Marx, a local human interest reporter. She is organizing a masked charity event next week. This charity event is to raise money for Healing Heroes, a cause I wholeheartedly support. Nadine did a story recently on Healing Heroes and the veterans who had been provided with service dogs specially trained by them. See, Healing Heroes is a non-profit that trains rescue dogs from shelters to be service assistance dogs for veterans with PTSD. The concept is phenomenal. After all, what a way to give back to those who gave so much for us? That’s one thing my grandfather ingrained into me, to always do whatever is necessary to ensure those who gave us our freedom are always provided for.

My grandfather comes from a long lineage of military officers, so I donate millions of dollars a year to various veteran nonprofits; it’s the least I can to do to thank those who were willing to put their lives in danger so that mine is safe and I can do whatever I want to do. Plus, it makes my granddad proud. When Nadine approached me months ago to partake in the event, it was my compassionate side that got me into the mess I’m in right now. Why is it a mess, you ask? Well, I have no idea about planning a date; I’ve never really had to plan one. Usually, I just smile, wink, and say a few pretty words, and there is always a willing partner to satisfy my needs. Now, all I have to do is provide one night, a date night that any woman would die for, and I have no idea what that will be. The thought of women bidding on me and my date package piques my interest, and truth be told, I’m a bit excited that each bachelor is masked, making it virtually impossible for the bidders to know who we are. I consider it a bit of a competition to see how much money I can raise without anyone knowing who I am. Normally, just the words ‘Lincoln Oliver Vincent Eastwick’ have people dropping money on anything I tell them to. Not this time. The anonymity challenges me to provide something worth bidding on. So, challenge accepted. The money raised will help Healing Heroes, so I’ve been racking my brain to put together something that is off the charts worth every penny one lucky woman will spend, yet I keep falling short. If I can’t come up with something on my own, I’ll have to ask for help. I cringe at the thought of settling for someone else's idea.