I don’t know if the warning is a reminder that I’m one of three females living in this development. Already notated. “What do you need to warn me about?” I ask Theo.

“The guys down there are a little competitive. They can be a little ignorant too. I just wanted to put it out there before they all bombard you at once.”

I’m trying to take a deeper look at the meaning behind Theo’s statement, but it seems kind of rude to say what he did about these guys I’ve never met before. I wonder if they don’t get along too well. That would explain it, I guess.

Theo has his arm up, waving at the group of guys in their board shorts. They’re all covered in sweat.
Tanned bodies, all too rock hard to be true. It’s like someone just sprayed them down with a water bottle full of oil. A smile lights up each of their faces. They look alike. Are they related?

No, their faces look different.

“Hi, Ashley, I’m Collin. It’s so nice to finally meet you.” Collin steps forward away from the others, reaching his hand out to shake mine. Except when I reach my hand out to him, he pulls me in for a sweaty hug. I’m quietly cringing. He’s covered in sweat and smells like burning sun tan lotion.

“Uh, hi, Collin.”

“So, a little bit about me: I’m a software engineprenour for four internet startups. I’m kind of like a realtor of software products, you know?” he says, chuckling at himself.

“A what? You create software?”

“Yeah, but it’s not as exciting as you’re making it out to be,” he says, ending the explanation with a wink. “Anyway, I’m so glad you’re here and it’s so nice to meet you. I can’t wait to hack into your brain and learn more about you.” Oh, wow, okay.

Collin takes my hand and kisses my knuckles. I find myself looking around to observe the other reactions around me, but the others are looking elsewhere as if they don’t want to hear this conversation.

“It’s nice to meet you too, Collin.”

“I’ll see you tonight for dinner?” Collin asks as if his question is an afterthought to our discussion.

“What? Dinner?” My mind is spinning. This feels like some kind of setup or a joke. I’m waiting for Bradley to jump out of nowhere and tell me he’s behind this, which he must be in some way because this is not normal.

“Do you mind if I interrupt for a moment?”
Another guy steps in, taking my hand from Collin’s.

“Ashley, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I can’t believe we’re here in person now after hearing so much about you. I’m Tristan Brown, thirty-two, a little shy, but ready to settle down with you.” Settle down with me? Is he on crack? We met less than thirty seconds ago.

“Oh,” I interrupt, worried for what else he’s going to say. “Where did you hear about me?”

Tristan looks around at the other guys, his eyebrows furrow with a look of confusion.
“What do you mean?” he asks.

“I mean, do you all know who I am?” I speak up so the rest can hear me.

“Of course, we do. Why do you think we’re here?”

“Is this a joke or something?” Heat is rushing through me, adding to the strength of the three o’clock sun-glares.

“No. Obviously, you knew you were going to be here. You agreed to move in,” Tristan says, questioning me more than stating the facts.

“I knew I was moving into my brother’s villa.”

The six guys plus Theo share a quick laugh.

“You know what. I’m going to be right back, okay?”

“Well, wait,” another one of the guys calls over as I’m taking steps away from the volleyball net. “I’m Chad,” he says, waving with a still hand in the air.

— The Bachelor Beach, Shari J. Ryan

Available for PREORDER

I’m Ashley Spencer, a college graduate without a job offer. I was days away from becoming homeless. Moving into my parents’ one-bedroom condo in a retirement community was not an option.  

In comes my brother, the “hero” with a free ticket to paradise. It almost sounded like a vacation. I didn’t ask questions when that should have been the first thing I did.

If I had, I would have known I was about to step foot into a failing social experiment.

The picture was perfect from the outside—a cluster of beach villas that housed the hottest eligible wealthy bachelors.

Did I mention I’m the first woman to move into their little corner of paradise?
Sounds amazing, right? Who wouldn’t want these men, all foaming at the mouth as you walk by. 

They’re lonely, successful, and seem to be looking for a love connection … with me. 

The doorbell keeps ringing. 
The knocks are incessant..
One of them even brought me a rose.

This is anything but a vacation.

With so many choices and awkward moments, which bachelor is a girl to choose?