Great news! Who Wants to Marry a Billionaire Gamer? Love Letters Series Book Two is now available on Amazon!
Brock waited, fidgeting, the oppressive lighting causing sweat to bead on his forehead. The professional television cameras captured his every expression, every movement, every evidence of his nervousness. Although he’d watched the television show, Love Letters, and been one of Michelle’s love interests, he was unprepared for the responsibility of acting as the leading man.
He wasn’t sure he believed a person could find love on a reality show even though he’d watched Michelle and Ashton fall in love right in front of him. He wasn’t jealous of Ashton. There had never really been a connection between Brock and Michelle. They’d had fun together on their many dates, but the greatest take-away from Michelle’s season had been Brock’s friendship with Ashton. They’d connected on night one and supported one another as Ashton made one mistake after another trying to win Michelle’s hand. It worked. They were now engaged to be married.
Brock allowed a smile to play across his face and he resigned to the idea that maybe he would find love as well.
A make-up artist hovered over him, dabbing at the sweat on his brow and upper lip. He wondered how uncomfortable this must be for her, but she handled her job with complete professionalism, almost as if she were playing with a full-sized mannequin.
He might as well have been a mannequin for how little he was able to move. They had instructed him to wait right here in a side room in the stately Los Angeles mansion used by every season of Love Letters. The show’s host, Rachel Gibbons would arrive any minute. After a quick interview he would be led outside to the patio where he would welcome twenty women hand-picked to suit him perfectly.
A snort escaped as he remembered that first night meeting Michelle. Here she was a sweet, innocent Mormon girl surrounded by twenty guys drinking alcohol and wagering which of them would get her into the hot tub first. What were the producers thinking? Had they not researched her religion at all before choosing the guys? What were the chances he’d be paired with anyone close to his dream girl, if that existed?
Brock led a quiet life for a famous billionaire. Well, famous in his realm anyway. As a gamer and streamer on the Twitch platform, he had millions of followers. He didn’t even have to announce himself on social media when he logged in to broadcast live. The viewers just showed up. He interacted with them in real time as they watched him play video games, interacting with their profile names anyway. None of them knew his real name just like he didn’t know theirs. They all knew him as Brockast, his tongue-in-cheek nickname combining his first name with reference to his playing games while broadcasting live through the streaming platform.
They also didn’t know he was the inventor of the video game, Dystopia, which had become an overnight success immediately upon launch, thrusting him from a small-town computer programmer in rural Michigan to a billionaire in little under two years. He had gone on to create three other games and started a small company to handle the business aspects of his life. He wanted to focus on gaming, competing, designing, and streaming.
Thankfully Michelle’s season had yet to air, or his ladies would have seen the episode where they’d attended Twitchcon and he’d been welcomed as a celebrity and the reigning Fortnite champion. It wouldn’t take much research for the girls to figure out the prize money had been 1.5 million dollars. Once they realized he had multiple championships across several platforms, they would draw a basic knowledge of his wealth and status. He wanted the girls to like him for who he was on the inside and not because he was rich and famous.
The men behind the cameras shifted and the boom mic lowered as Rachel Gibbons entered the room and sat on the chair to Brock’s left. She reached over and shook his hand in a professional way that led him to believe they were already recording. He was doubtful. There would likely be some sort of countdown and a person calling out, “We’re rolling.” Still, Brock acted as if all the cameras were recording all the time just in case.
“How are you doing, Brock?” Rachel asked. He knew she wasn’t just making small talk. She was evaluating his reaction and gauging his nervousness.
“I’m good,” Brock lied, then cleared his throat and started again. “I’m nervous.”
“As would be expected,” she said, leaning forward and patting his knee. “Do you have all the lines rehearsed?”
“I think so.” He took a deep breath, knowing the lines were the same each season: I’m excited to be here, ready to find love, and then Rachel would explain the nuances of the show. Since being chosen to play this part, Brock had gone back and binge-watched every season as far back as he could, noting the similarities, facial expressions, reactions, types of dates, anything he thought might help him. Now all he had to do was act. He gulped.
“We’re going to start recording in just a moment and then you’ll be introduced to the ladies. Sound good?”
“Sure,” Brock stammered. She didn’t really wait for his response anyway, just turned and gave some last-minute instructions to the stage manager, crew members, and producers. It was show time. He looked around one more time. There were cameras everywhere, seen and hidden. He wouldn’t be surprised if there was a camera in his lapel pin. This was to be his reality for the next several weeks as he whittled down twenty women to find one who could theoretically become his wife.
As predicted, Brock felt a shift in the room and Rachel Gibbons turned toward him again, all business this time. Cameramen, producers, and stagehands tucked themselves discreetly out of view and someone called out, “Action!”
Rachel rambled through the cliché motions of welcoming Brock to the show and telling him how excited they were to have him as their leading man. She assured him that they’d handpicked twenty eligible ladies just for him. He almost rolled his eyes remembering how many times he’d heard these identical words while binge watching past episodes. The memory gave him an excuse to smile, which probably would be misconstrued as excitement to meet these twenty perfect women. Yeah, right.
“You confided in me a few moments ago that you’re nervous,” Rachel said, leaning forward conspiratorially. Traitor. “What are you most excited about?”
“I’m ready to find love,” I recited the script as if it were on a sheet of paper in my lap. “I’m excited to start this journey.”
“We recently completed Michelle’s season and you were not her chosen bachelor. How does it feel to now be playing the part of leading man?”
“I think I now understand how she must have felt that first night while waiting to meet us,” Brock said. “Watching her and Ashton fall in love gives me hope that this process can work for me too.”
“You and Ashton have become good friends since meeting on Michelle’s season, is that correct?”
“Yeah, we still talk pretty much every day and I’m going to be the best man in their wedding next month.”
“That’s really sweet. What an inspiring love story theirs was.”
“I agree.” Brock nodded.
“Here’s how the show works,” Rachel said, as if Brock didn’t already know. He kept reminding himself this was for the audience, not for his benefit. “Each week the ladies will write love letters to you explaining why you should keep them on the show. You will then write love letters back to the ladies you feel a connection with.”
“I can do that.”
“We’ve found that you’ll be able to tell right away which ladies are saying what they think you want to hear rather than actually having a connection with you.”
“Sounds good,” he said.
“Are you ready to meet the ladies and start your own love story?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” Brock said, leaning forward in his chair.
No turning back now…