Flaming Hearts (Beyond Reality Book 2)

BOOK: Flaming Hearts (Beyond Reality Book 2)
9.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub









Flaming Hearts


Beyond Reality

Book 2


by Susan Stoker























Becky and her mom used to watch reality shows together all the time. Her mom passed away before she could see Becky on her very own show…except it’s not her own show. She has to share the limelight with another woman. They’re both competing for the love and attention of the same men. Becky had no idea she’d meet a wonderful, protective man while on the show, but unfortunately he wasn’t a contestant.


Dean always knew he’d find the one woman meant for him, but he had no idea she’d be competing on a reality show. Luckily his brother was a cameraman; it was just the key to get to spend time with Becky, as long as the Director didn’t catch wind of their plans. Dean and Becky become close and are counting the days until the reality show is over and they can spend time together openly, when Dean gets called away on a job.


When an incident on the show threatens her safety and Dean isn’t around for her to turn to, Becky isn’t sure their relationship can survive. She has to figure out a way to trust Dean to help her, and Dean will do whatever it takes for Becky to realize she’s his…forever.



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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2015 by Susan Stoker

No part of this work may be used, stored, reproduced or transmitted without written permission from the publisher except for brief quotation for review purposes as permitted by law.

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please purchase your own copy.

Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Cover Design by Chris Mackey, AURA Design Group

Manufactured in the United States

Chapter One




Rebecca was excited. She couldn’t believe it was finally time for her reality show to start! Becky was a reality show junkie. She’d started watching reality shows when she was a little girl and couldn’t believe she was finally going to be on one.

Becky used to watch with her mom when she was sick. It was a great way to get away from the reality of the disease that was taking her mom’s life away one day at a time. Her mom refused to go into hospice care and wanted to die at home. So Becky did as she wished. She had no siblings, and her dad had died a long time ago. It was just her and her mom.

They’d laughed at the contestants, at their scheming and conniving ways, but loved every minute of the shows. They weren’t particular as to what kind of reality shows they’d watch. Love matches, cop shows, extreme survival shows, teenagers getting pregnant…it didn’t matter. What mattered was the time they spent together.

Becky applied to every show she could with her mom’s help. They had a blast printing off the forms and finding the best way to market Becky. Neither figured she’d ever get chosen. After all, millions of people probably applied to be on the shows, but it was fun nevertheless.

They’d also had a long conversation about the kinds of women who were typically chosen to be on reality shows. Actresses, models, former beauty pageant queens…it was really quite nauseating. Very rarely did they see any women on the shows who were considered “normal.”

Becky’s mom died before knowing she’d been chosen to be on a show. It was bittersweet. She admitted to herself that she was excited to be chosen, but was also sad because Becky knew her mom would never see her on TV.

The show she’d been chosen to be on was a bachelorette type of show. She wasn’t too fond of most of the reality shows that were currently running, but Becky figured it might be worth giving it a try. Thank goodness she wasn’t chosen for one of the survivalist-type shows. She shuddered. She knew she’d never make it even one day on one of those, not that she’d ever even apply for one. She hated bugs, hated to be cold, or hot, and wasn’t an outdoorsy type of person, except for the occasional hike. She knew the show she’d be on would be different from what was airing now, but she had no idea how.

All she knew was that she’d get to choose from a posse of men! Now
was exciting. Her love life had suffered over the last few months because of taking care of her mom, but she wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The last reality love-type show she’d watched was one that had been filmed in Australia. The man on that show had been very good looking. Becky had applied for that show, but obviously wasn’t chosen. The producer of that show was also producing the one she’d be on. Becky loved the twists and turns of the Australian production, and hoped some fun things were going to happen in her show as well. Of course, watching people run after pigs and shovel manure was probably a lot more fun to watch than it was to actually do in person. Oh well. She was excited anyway.

Becky wasn’t exactly sure how she’d gotten chosen for this show. She knew she wasn’t a typical bachelorette. She was a bit older than a lot of the women she’d seen on TV. She wasn’t over the hill yet, hell she was only 32, but she also wasn’t in her early twenties either. She wasn’t an actress or a model. She’d never been on television before. She was just…Becky.

She had a normal job. She wasn’t an executive and she didn’t own her own business. She worked for an insurance company as an underwriter. Her job was to accept applications as they came in and look them over to make sure that whatever the person wanted insured was eligible. Houses had to be in good condition, Becky had to check the claim history to make sure it wasn’t excessive and other things related to the application. She also took phone calls from agents and policyholders to discuss the policies and answered any questions they had. The worst was when the policy was cancelled. No one was happy and they usually took it out on her, which wasn’t fun at all. All in all, her job was perfectly normal and actually quite boring. But it paid the bills.

Becky was flattered Eddie and the other producers had chosen
to be the bachelorette on their show. She’d never known any of the other women on the dating shows she’d watched to have a normal job as she had.

Apparently the producers had noticed her application for the Australian show and decided she’d be a perfect bachelorette for their new reality show. Becky knew she was heavier than the women that had been showcased before. However, she’d read that Alex, the bachelor in Australia, in the end had chosen a woman—she couldn’t remember her name—that wasn’t model thin either. Maybe there was hope for her yet! Becky knew she wasn’t obese by any stretch, but she also wasn’t bikini material either. She’d rather go hiking than clubbing, but on the other hand she’d rather hang out watching TV than go shopping. And she’d rather do just about anything other than put on a fancy dress and makeup! But Becky had put her best face forward in the application and through subsequent interviews, and apparently she’d passed the psychological tests. Now she was on her way to Arizona to participate on the show.

She had no idea what would come out of the experience. Would she fall in love and get married? Would she become famous? Would she hate the entire experience and become a bitter old woman? There was no telling what would happen. That was part of the excitement.

She’d been given the five star treatment throughout her travel to Arizona. They flew her first class and she’d been driven to the huge mansion she’d be staying at by a limousine, complete with a stern faced driver. She met the host of the show and he seemed nice enough. She was a bit giddy because the host was the same as the Australian show, Robert. It was like meeting a movie star!

She’d be at the house for two months while they filmed. Eight weeks didn’t seem long enough to be able to meet a man and fall in love, but she knew being on these shows really accelerated the dating process because it was so intense. She wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone from her “real world,” of course, unless there was an emergency, and she wasn’t allowed to watch television at all. There wasn’t really anyone who she’d miss. Oh, she had friends, but they were mostly work acquaintances. She had some people from the animal shelter she volunteered at that she might miss, but again, they were more work acquaintances than true friends.

Becky knew she’d miss her mom, though. They’d both talked about what would happen if she was ever chosen to be on a show and she’d miss being able to talk and gossip with her mom when she got home in eight weeks. The thought of actually sitting down and watching the show when it aired without her mom was also very hard to imagine.

Becky was able to take a leave of absence from the insurance company and luckily she had a good boss who’d let her come back after the show was over. She didn’t have leave time saved up to cover the entire eight weeks, but Human Resources was allowing her to take leave-without-pay to cover the rest of the time that she didn’t have the time for. It was very generous of them actually.

Her coworkers had thrown a huge party for her on her last day of work. They’d all teased her about becoming rich and famous and forgetting all about them. Becky had laughed. It wasn’t as if being an underwriter was anyone’s dream job. She knew they’d all leave in a heartbeat if they could. But she was touched that everyone wished her well, especially considering they’d have to take up her slack on the job since she wouldn’t be there.

Overall, she was ready. She couldn’t wait to meet the men on the show. She figured if she fell in love great, but if not, at least it’d be an experience to remember!


* * *


Jonathan stood with the other camera operators listening to instructions given to them by Eddie, the producer of the reality show. Jonathan had sort of fallen into the whole camera operator gig and was finding that it really wasn’t his thing, but he’d agreed to work on two last jobs, this one and one last show in Alaska. He was thrilled this show was filming in Arizona because he’d been working in Los Angeles for the past four years and he missed his brother and the rest of his close-knit family. They were a bit crazy, but he wouldn’t change anything about them.

When he was done with his camera operator contract, his brother, Dean, said he could come home and work with him. Jonathan was thrilled. Dean had worked his butt off and finally had a job he loved. He was a security expert and got called to consult all over the country on both big and small cases. He’d visit a business or home and recommend what security was needed based on the client’s needs. He’d consulted for huge corporations down to small seven hundred square foot homes.

Jonathan was also not surprised when he’d heard Dean would take cases pro-bono for women who were trying to protect themselves from stalkers or violent ex’s. Jonathan couldn’t wait to make a difference in someone’s life as he knew Dean was. Filming people trying to become famous, if only for their five minutes of fame, wasn’t how he wanted to be remembered. He couldn’t wait to work with his brother professionally.

Jonathan was in his mid-thirties and wasn’t ashamed about wanting to be closer to home. His family had always been close. He missed Dean. Jonathan smiled when he thought about his older brother. Neither of them had ever been married. Jonathan had come close once, but it didn’t work out. Dean was a strong man. Someone who knew what he wanted and didn’t put up with any crap from anyone, male or female. Jonathan knew most people thought Dean was way too intense. He was an alpha male to the nth degree. Jonathan loved that about his brother. When he was little, Dean not only protected Jonathan from bullies who thought he should be into sports rather than art and photography, but Dean also protected everyone else too.

There was one day Jonathan remembered when their mom had gotten a call from the local police chief and demanded they bring Dean into the station. The whole family went down to the station with Dean and heard the police chief lambast him for beating up the local high school football hero.

Their dad requested Dean explain what was going on. Jonathan would never forget his brother standing in the small interrogation room, defiant even at fifteen years old, and calmly explaining how he’d walked around the corner of the high school and seen the boy hitting his girlfriend. He’d stepped in and beat the crap out of the boy in retaliation. He’d seen someone in need and stepped in and did what was necessary. He hadn’t cared who the boy was. It didn’t matter he was a football hero and one of the most popular guys at the school…and older than him to boot. He did what was right. Period.

Jonathan knew Dean would do anything for him too. Family meant a lot to them. He’d missed that. He missed the feeling of belonging. While he still belonged to his family, it was hard to connect with them when he was in Los Angeles and they were all back in Arizona.

Jonathan turned his attention back to Eddie as he spelled out the duties of the camera operators for the shoot. They’d rotate jobs throughout the day and throughout the show. Eddie felt it wasn’t good for one camera operator to get too close to any of the contestants, and vice versa. When Jonathan tried to bring up the fact that sometimes if the contestants were more comfortable with the camera operator they seemed to open up more and be more themselves, Eddie didn’t want to listen.

Jonathan knew this was going be a tough shoot. Eddie seemed to have an agenda and he was acting pretty sneaky. He knew Eddie had been in charge of the reality show that had just ended in Australia and apparently made a ton of money for the network. He couldn’t remember all the details, but thought he remembered reading something about a ton of twists and turns throughout the show. Why anyone would want to be on a reality show was beyond his comprehension. Jonathan mentally shrugged and told himself it was a job and it was money, and he really didn’t care what went on with the spoiled contestants…as long as he was paid, he didn’t care.


* * *


Becky took a deep breath and tried to calm herself. She’d just come from a meeting with the producer and couldn’t believe what she’d gotten herself into. She was so excited to have been chosen for the show and to meet some great guys, but she understood now
she’d been chosen. Apparently she was going to have to compete for the attentions of the men on the show…she was going to have to compete with a woman that looked like a walking, talking Barbie doll. Marissa was beautiful. She was polished, skinny, and had a set of boobs that even Becky had a hard time looking away from.

Becky knew she didn’t have a chance of getting any of the men on the show to look at her. She also knew the whole experience was going to be a let-down, but now she didn’t have a choice. She’d signed the contract, she was here and she had to go on with it. She sat in a chair in her room, hands folded in her lap, and watched as a tear landed on the back of her hand. She’d never felt so alone in her life.




BOOK: Flaming Hearts (Beyond Reality Book 2)
9.14Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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