He’s got wanderlust and no intention of settling down.
She’s home to stay and has put her bad boy ex in her rearview mirror.
After spending his life abroad, embracing his freedom at every turn as a foreign correspondent, Roman Chandler finds himself the brother nominated to deal with his ailing mother’s matchmaking shenanigans. Thanks to a coin toss, he needs to find someone to marry and fast. It shouldn’t be that hard in sleepy Yorkshire Falls where women fall over themselves to hook a Chandler man.
But Roman only wants the one woman who got away.
Charlotte Bronson is back home to put down roots and get her lingerie business off the ground. She’s not interested in her past or a man that chose to chase breaking news stories to the far corners of the earth over her. No matter how good they used to be or how combustible their chemistry still burns.
It’s up to Roman to convince Charlotte he’s a changed man and here to stay.
In honor of THE BACHELOR’s 20th Anniversary all three books have been updated and will be reissued with gorgeous NEW covers with the same content but modernized for your reading pleasure. The BACHELOR was the first book that Kelly Ripa chose for her Reading with Ripa Bookclub.
THE CHANDLER BROTHERS
The Bachelor – Book 1: ASIN B08HKJDGML
The Playboy – Book 2: ASIN B08HKJPFWJ
The Heartbreaker – Book 3: ASIN B08HKGB427
All books stand alone.
Release date: February 16, 2021
Publisher: CP Publishing
Print pages: 370
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
Listen to a sample
Roman Chandler glared at his oldest brother, or more accurately he glared at the quarter in Chase’s right hand. After getting the phone call about his mother’s heart problem, Roman had grabbed the first flight out of London. He’d flown into JFK Airport, taken a connecting flight to Albany, and then rented a car so he could drive an hour to his hometown of Yorkshire Falls, just outside of Saratoga Springs, New York. He was so tired even his bones ached from sheer exhaustion.
And now he could add stress to his problems. Thanks to his mother’s heart condition, one of the Chandler brothers would have to sacrifice his freedom in order to provide Raina with a grandchild. A coin toss would decide which brother would shoulder the burden, but only Rick and Roman would be involved. Having already done his family duty by giving up college to run the paper and help his mother raise his younger brothers, Chase wouldn’t take part in the toss—despite his argument to the contrary. He’d wanted things equal. Rick and Roman had insisted Chase opt out.
He’d play executioner instead.
“Call it. Heads or tails,” Chase said.
Roman glanced at the unpainted ceiling, toward the upstairs of his childhood home where his mother was resting, as per doctor’s orders. Meanwhile, he and his brothers stood waiting on the dusty, dirt-smeared floor of the garage that was attached to the family house. The same garage where they’d stored their bikes and balls as kids, and where Roman had snuck beers when he thought his older brothers weren’t around. And the same house they’d been raised in and their mother still held on to, thanks to Chase’s hard work and his success with the newspaper.
“Come on, guys, someone call it,” Chase said in the wake of the surrounding silence.
“You don’t have to sound like you’re enjoying this,” Rick muttered.
“You think I’m enjoying this?” Chase twisted the coin between his fingers, frustration tugging at his lips. “That’s bullshit. I sure as hell don’t want to see either of you lose the life you chose just because of some whim.”
Roman was certain his oldest brother felt so strongly because Chase hadn’t chosen his own life path. Instead he’d been thrust into the dual roles of publisher and parent overnight. At eighteen and the oldest sibling when their father died, Chase had felt a duty to take his father’s place as head of the family. And that was the motivating factor for Roman’s participation in the coin toss now. Roman had been the one to leave Yorkshire Falls and follow his dreams, while Chase had stayed behind and given up his.
Both Roman and Rick looked to Chase as their role model. If Chase thought their mother’s dire health and her deep desire for a grandchild warranted a sacrifice, then Roman had to agree. Not only did he owe his brother, he shared the same sense of devotion to family.
“It’s no whim Mom suffered,” Roman said to his siblings. “She said it’s a weak heart that can’t handle stress.”
“Or disappointment,” Rick said. “Mom didn’t use that word, but you know damn well she meant it. We’ve disappointed her.”
Roman nodded in agreement. “So if grandchildren will make her happy, then it’s up to one of us to give her one to coddle while she’s still around to enjoy being a grandmother.”
“Knowing one of us is happily married will take the edge off that stress she’s supposed to avoid,” Chase said. “And a grandchild will give her life direction.”
“Can’t we just get her a puppy?” Rick asked.
Roman understood the sentiment. At thirty-one, his lifestyle precluded settling down. Marriage and family hadn’t been in the future. Until now. It wasn’t that Roman didn’t like women. He did. Hell, he loved women, how they smelled and how their soft skin felt gliding against his aroused body. But he couldn’t imagine giving up his career in favor of looking at the same female face across the breakfast table every day for the rest of his life. He shuddered, amazed that his life choices had come down to this one moment.
He turned to his middle brother. “Rick, you’ve tied the knot once. No need to do it again.” Though Roman had no desire to announce himself the man for the job, he couldn’t let his sibling repeat his past—marrying to help someone else while sacrificing himself in the process.
Rick shook his head. “Wrong, baby brother. I’ll take part in the coin toss. Last time has nothing to do with this. This is about family.”
Roman understood. The Chandlers were all about family. So he was back to where they left off. Would he return to his job as foreign correspondent for the Associated Press, continue to land in political hot spots and get the untold stories out to the rest of the world, or would he settle down in Yorkshire Falls the way he’d never planned? Though sometimes Roman wasn’t sure whose dream he was actually pursuing—his, Chase’s, or a combination of both—Roman lived in fear of replicating his brother’s life, of being closed in with no options.
But despite his churning stomach, he was ready and nodded in Chase’s direction. “Get it over with.”
“Whatever you say.” Chase flipped the coin high into the air.
Roman inclined his head toward Rick, giving him the choice, and Rick called out, “Heads.”
As if in slow motion, the quarter circled and flew in the air. Roman’s carefree life passed before his eyes the same way: the women he’d met and flirted with, the special ones who’d lasted long enough to constitute a relationship but not a life mate, the occasional hot, steamy encounter, less often now that he was older and more discriminating.
The sound of Chase’s palm slapping against his hand stunned Roman back into reality. He met his oldest brother’s solemn gaze.
A life change.
The death of a dream.
The severity of the situation hit Roman in the gut. He squared his shoulders and waited, while Rick sucked in an exaggerated breath.
Chase lifted his hand and glanced down, before meeting first Rick’s, then Roman’s gaze. Then he did the job the way he always did, without backing down. “Looks like you’ll be needing a drink about now, baby brother. You’re the sacrificial lamb in Mom’s quest for grandchildren.”
Rick heaved a heavy sigh that was nothing compared to the ball of lead sitting in Roman’s stomach. Chase walked up beside Roman. “If you want out, now’s the time. No one’s going to hold it against you if you don’t want to do this.”
Roman forced a grin, emulating Chase at eighteen. “You think scoping out women and making babies is a tough assignment? By the time I’m through, you’re going to wish you were me.”
“Make sure she’s a babe,” Rick said helpfully, but no real humor tinged his words or tone. He obviously felt Roman’s pain, though his own relief at not being the chosen one was tangible.
Roman appreciated the attempt to lighten his mood, even if it didn’t work. “More important that she doesn’t expect too much,” he shot back. Any woman he married had to know up front who he was and accept what he wasn’t.
Chase slapped him on the back. “I’m proud of you, kid. This is a once-in-a-lifetime decision. Be certain you can live with her, okay?”
“I don’t plan to live with anyone,” Roman muttered.
“Then what do you plan?” Rick asked.
“A nice long-distance marriage that doesn’t change my life much at all. I want to find someone who’s willing to stay at home and raise the kid, who’ll be happy seeing me whenever I can make it back.”
“You’ve got enough baggage as it is, is that it?” Rick asked.
Roman scowled at him. His attempt at mood-lightening had gone too far. “Actually, we had a damn good life while growing up and I want to make sure anyone I marry can provide the same thing for my kid.”
“So you go on the road, the wife stays home.” Chase shook his head. “You’d better watch your attitude. You don’t want to scare potential candidates off too early in the search.”
“There’s no chance of that happening.” Rick chuckled. “There wasn’t a girl in high school who didn’t lust after the kid, before he left for a life of adventure.”
Despite the situation, Roman laughed. “Only after you graduated. Yours were big shoes to fill.”
“That goes without saying.” Rick folded his arms over his chest and grinned. “But fair’s fair. I had to walk in Chase’s footsteps, and they were huge. Girls loved his strong, silent bit. But once he graduated, they turned their sights on me.” He tapped his chest. “And once I was gone, the field was open for you. And they were all interested.”
Not all. Without warning, the memory of his high school infatuation resurfaced, as it often did. A beautiful girl with jet-black hair and green eyes, Charlotte Bronson had made his teenage hormones run wild. Her stinging rejection lived within him, as sharp now as it had been back then. He considered her the one who’d gotten away, and he’d never forgotten her. Though Roman would like to label it a teenage crush and leave it there, truth dictated he admit his feelings had run deep.
Not that he’d admitted it aloud to his brothers then, nor would he now. A man had to keep some things private.
Last Roman had heard, Charlotte had moved to New York City, the fashion capital of the world. Though he shared a rent-controlled apartment in the same city, he’d never run into her, nor had he looked her up. Roman was rarely in town long enough to do more than sleep one night, change clothes, and head out again to his next destination.
He hadn’t heard any gossip from his mother lately, and curiosity won out now. “Charlotte Bronson back in town?” he asked.
Rick and Chase exchanged surprised glances. “She sure is,” Rick said. “Owns a little business on First.”
“And she’s single,” Chase added with a smile at last.
Roman’s adrenaline kicked in hard and fast. “What kind of business?”
“Why don’t you stop by and see for yourself?” Rick asked.
The notion tempted him. Roman wondered what Charlotte was like now. If she was still as quiet and sincere as she’d been way back when. If her jet-black hair still hung down her back, tempting a man to touch. He was curious to know if her green eyes were still expressive and open, providing a window to her soul for anyone who cared enough to look.
He’d cared and had been shot down for his effort. “Has she changed much?”
“Go have a look.” Chase added his prompting to Rick’s. “You can call it your first chance at scoping out potential candidates.”
As if Charlotte would be interested. She’d walked away with ease after their one date and let him move on, apparently without an ounce of remorse. Roman had never believed her proclamation of disinterest, and he didn’t think it was his ego talking. The sparks had been strong enough to light the entire town, the chemistry so hot an explosion had threatened. But sexual attraction wasn’t the only thing they’d shared.
They’d connected on a deeper level, connected enough for him to share his dreams and hopes for the future, something he’d never done before. Revealing such an intimate part of his soul had left him open for hurt and made her rejection that much more painful, he realized now, thanks to the adult wisdom he’d lacked in his youth.
“Maybe I will look her up.” Roman remained deliberately vague. He didn’t want to give his brothers any more indication of his renewed curiosity in Charlotte Bronson. Especially when he needed a different kind of woman, one who’d agree to his plan.
He let out a groan, recalling why this conversation had begun in the first place. His mother wanted grandchildren. And Roman would do his best to give them to her. But that didn’t mean he could provide a spouse with all the strangling emotions and expectations a typical marriage entailed. He was a man who needed his freedom. He wasn’t a husband for all seasons. His potential wife would have to want kids more than a husband and enjoy being on her own. An independent woman who adored children would do just fine.
Because Roman intended to get married, get his wife pregnant, and get the hell out, while doing his damnedest not to look back.
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