Finding Mr. Right Now
by Meg Benjamin
Monica McKellar, associate producer of Finding Mr. Right, is desperate. One of the show’s bachelors has bailed one week before shooting starts. She not only needs a replacement ASAP, he has to get the temperamental bachelorette’s stamp of approval.
Fortunately there’s a hot guy right under her nose who’s a perfect fit. Unfortunately, he pushes all her hot buttons. Until the show’s over, her hands—and every other part of her body—are tied.
When Paul DeWitt signed on to write for the reality show, “Bachelor #10” wasn’t supposed to be in his job description. He fully expects to be cut early on, which will free him to focus on the real object of his attraction. Monica.
Instead, he’s a finalist, and they’re all packed in an SUV climbing the Continental Divide, headed for Salt Box, Colorado. Where stampeding horses, vindictive tabloid editors, and one capricious bachelorette’s waffling over suitors may conspire to end Paul and Monica’s romance before it even starts.
What was one boyfriend, more or less?
Of course that one boyfriend was Paul, who’d turned out to matter a lot more than she’d ever thought he would. She knew his leaving would hurt eventually, once the adrenaline and beer wore off. But maybe she could put it off for the rest of the evening.
Or maybe not.
She saw him the minute he walked in, although she wasn’t sure anybody else did. He looked like a man who hadn’t gotten much sleep over the past few days. His eyes were red-rimmed, his hair mussed, his clothes wrinkled. Either he’d passed into that zone beyond tired, or he was half shit-faced.
He paused just inside the door for a jaw-cracking yawn, which pretty much settled the matter. Then he saw her.
Monica had always assumed the whole room-stood-still business was just a movie cliché—it had certainly never happened to her before. But it happened now. The noise in the room disappeared and there were only the two of them, staring at one another.
It took her a moment to realize the noise in the room really had disappeared because everybody was watching them to see what would happen next.
What actually happened was that he strolled across the room, leaned on the bar beside her, and said, “Hey, Monica.”
Well, damn. As romantic greetings went, that wasn’t much. But at least the silent room thing had been really cool.
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Finding Mr. Right Now is a contemporary romantic story by Meg Benjamin that is the start of the ‘Salt Box Trilogy’ series and centers on associate producer Monica McKellar who is frantically trying to ensure that her bachelorette finds true love by the end of filming. Writer Paul Dewitt doesn’t expect to provide more than scripts for the show and being conscripted as a last minute replacement bachelor is more than he planned for, especially when he’s more attracted to Monica than to the star of the show. The picturesque Colorado town of Salt Box and its quirky inhabitants provides a great backdrop for this complicated romance between two people who have to decide whether to pursue their careers or their hearts.
This entertaining story is a fun look at the machinations behind a popular reality show trend, even as it makes one think about motivation and the dangers of accepting things at face value. Everyone has a different agenda in this story, and the contrast between the picture being presented for the benefit of television viewers and the drama playing out in real life is a somewhat sobering comment on the artificiality of shows of this type.
Some of the secondary characters have unexpected depths and the author does a nice job of creating tension on several levels even as the relationship between the main characters intensifies. I enjoyed the heat and romance in the story but I would have liked a little more depth and backbone to the main characters and I wasn’t crazy about the deception that they all felt compelled to perpetrate, although I understood the drive for self-preservation that was the basis for their decisions. I think that there is a potential for intriguing follow-up adventures in the town of Salt Box and I feel that this is a fun light read which will be enjoyed by fans of reality shows and contemporary romances.
A copy of this story was provided to me for review.