Bode Bond adjusted his tie one more time, then cursed his mother when he got out of his truck.
Her crazy harebrained idea to auction off the singles in this generation and try to pair people up. Worse yet, his brother Drew managed to sneak out of it by saying he was dating someone. He couldn’t get any information on her other than it was a tenant that gave Drew cookies during a house visit. He supposed it didn’t matter other than his brother outsmarted him and Bode got stuck with Coy going up for auction for a date.
He walked in the door, his mother noticing him right away. “Smile now,” Helena Bond said. “You look like you’re going to be up on the stand for murder.”
“I might be if I get stuck with some bimbo. Or maybe that will serve you right for doing this to your own flesh and blood.”
His mother smiled at him, adjusted his tie that he thought he’d fixed, but obviously not, then curled her finger for him to lean down. He did because, as much as she annoyed him, he did love her.
She kissed his cheek. “You’d never end up with a bimbo permanently though you attract them like stink on fish. But maybe you’ll get an exciting night out of it and loosen your tight ass up.” His jaw dropped. She’d never talked to him like that before. She patted his cheek, then said, “Go relax and have a good night. It’s for charity.”
He stopped himself from storming off like he wanted to, found his table with his brother Coy already there with Hunter and Hailey Bond and Hunter’s fiancée, Kayla. “What are you smiling about?” he asked Coy.
“Just watching Mom get the best of you like she always does.”
“Jerk,” he said to his baby brother. “How come you don’t have a dress on tonight?”
“Talk about being a jerk,” Coy said, laughing. It was a running joke for a lot of reasons, but mainly because Drew and he managed to convince Coy to put a cousin’s dress on at a party when he was younger. “But you aren’t going to rile me up tonight. You want someone to take your frustration out on and it’s not going to be me. And here comes Drew with his date too. Damn. Don’t embarrass him.”
His other younger brother stopped in front of the table with a stunning blonde on his arm. “Boys, this is Amanda Moore. Amanda, my brothers Bode and Coy. You already know Hunter, Kayla, and Hailey.”
“She’s the cookie lady!” Bode said. “Dude, you’re an ass. You made me think she was a cougar.” There was laughter around the table over this. Now he knew what Hunter, Hailey, and Kayla were grinning about because they obviously knew who Drew’s date was.
“Cookie lady?” Amanda asked, shaking her head with a grin and taking a seat next to Kayla.
“You sent Drew home with cookies after that first meeting. I asked if you were a granny. Then when he said you were dating I asked if you were a cougar. He never corrected us.” His brother would pay for that too.
“As you can see, I’m not either. I’m the same age as Drew,” she said.
“And she should be called the cookie lady,” Hunter said. “She supplies Kayla and junior with sweets each week. She doesn’t send enough because Kayla isn’t good at sharing. And, Drew, I know you haven’t formally met my fiancée.”
Drew held his hand out and shook Kayla’s. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Kayla.”
“You too,” Kayla said. “I’m having a hard time keeping everyone’s names straight. So I will apologize upfront if I call you the wrong name. Though since you’re dating my best friend I don’t think that will be a problem.”
“No, she’ll just confuse Bode and me,” Coy said.
“Not likely,” Bode said. “We are nothing alike.” His baby brother never got his hands dirty a day in his life. He was as comfortable as could be in his suit. He probably wore one daily as a dentist rather than scrubs.
“Ignore my brothers,” Drew said. “They are still ticked I got out of this and they are stuck.”
“I’m stuck too,” Hailey said. “But it is what it is. I’m going to prove to you guys I can bring in more money.”
“Not if I don’t like who is bidding on you,” Hunter said.
“Whatever,” Hailey said. “Becoming a dad is making you think you can control things with me. It doesn’t work that way, Hunter.”
“Guess I’ll have to see who you end up with tonight then,” Hunter said.
Dinner had been served and they were just waiting for the dreaded auction. Amanda and Kayla excused themselves and while they were gone, over walked one of Drew’s exes. Or more like someone he dated once. Now Bode could get some entertainment for the night watching this.
“Drew, I haven’t heard from you in months. Your mother thought we’d be perfect together, but after that one date you never called me again.”
Yep, that was his mother. Always trying to set her boys up. It never worked out. He knew firsthand and if she tried it one more time he might disown her. He wouldn’t tell her that, but he’d want to.
“Excuse me,” Amanda said. “I believe you’re in my seat.”
The woman stood up. He hadn’t even caught her name. “I’m sorry. And you are?”
“I’m Drew’s girlfriend, Amanda.”
The brunette squared her shoulders and stuck her bottom lip out. “I didn’t know that Drew was dating anyone. His mother never said a word when I saw her last month.” Bode started to grin and looked at Drew to see what the next move would be. This entertainment was worth what he was going to have to do on stage.
Amanda didn’t bother to say anything, just took her seat, proving Drew’s date had a lot of class. Bummer on the drama he was hoping to witness. “Thank you,” Drew said. “I didn’t want to be mean, but I knew she could put on a show. She wouldn’t with you saying something.”
“I was afraid you were going to end up in the gentleman’s lap behind you if you moved back anymore.”
He and Coy started to laugh. “Drew always was the nice guy between us. That’s why he tries to get out of being set up so much so he doesn’t have to deal with that crap anymore,” Bode said.
“You’re the grouchy one in the family,” Hunter said to him.
“Just call me Oscar and I’ll go find my garbage can right now,” he said. Gladly, and anything to get out of this room.
He didn’t get that lucky though because the auction started and he was first.
He grudgingly got on stage and stood there like a fool while his name was stated and what the opening bid would be. There were enough eyes on him that he started to sweat but resisted pulling the collar of his shirt away from his neck.
It wasn’t even a second before numbered cards were going up. All women. None that he wanted anything to do with. Nope, he shouldn’t be judging, but he was. He’d seen all those types in his life. They heard his name, they looked him over and they saw dollar signs and a way to try to reform him.
Fuck that. He was who he was and damn happy to be that way.
When a man’s hand went up on a bid he flushed, but thankfully the older gentleman was quick to say he needed something fixed in the house. Once he said that the man’s wife grabbed the card out of her husband’s hand and kept upping it until she won, saying, “I’d like whatever he wanted fixed to be completed. It will never get done any other way.”
There was a lot of laughter after that statement, and in the end, Bode figured he got the better end of the deal.
When Bode came back to the table he was actually relieved. “That wasn’t so bad,” he said.
“You didn’t think so when that redhead in the corner was bidding pretty heavily on you,” Coy said. “You started to sweat. I could see it from here.”
“Yeah. I’m glad that didn’t work out. Just wait your turn,” Bode said, then shut his trap until the bidding was done.
When the auction was finished, he found the woman that’d won him for the night. He was still hoping it was what she said and wasn’t something kinky he was getting sucked into. And of course that was just making him lose his mind considering there shouldn’t be anything dirty about the auction. His mother would smack him over that thought.
No, she wouldn’t. She made the stupid comment about him getting some excitement when he walked in and he was positive it was to wind him up. Damn her. She knew what buttons to push to get him nervous. He didn’t think she was that sneaky.
He reached the couple and stuck his hand out. “Hi, I’m Bode Bond. Though you’re aware of that.”
“I am,” the older woman said. “I’m Ella Cartwright and this is my husband, Dr. John Cartwright. We have a house on the island and some things need to be done and updated. I can’t get him to call anyone to come work on it so I bid on you to check it out.”
“So you don’t need any work done immediately?” he asked.
“Well, we’ve got a few leaks here and there, but I wouldn’t do that to you. It’s more that I’d like you to come and look things over and let us know what our options are, maybe some costs. What a contractor would do. I also know you are extremely busy so I’ll consider this faster than calling to get an appointment.”
He laughed. “That works.”
“I need the leak in the bathroom fixed,” John said. “Seriously. I can’t get a plumber out here and if I have to listen to my wife complain about the dripping one more night…”
Ella slapped her husband’s arm playfully. “That is what he was bidding on you for. We do have a leak and it is driving me insane. But while you’re there, if you could humor me on some other work?”
“I’d love to,” he said. Not only did he get out of a date with someone he had no interest in, it looked like he could be getting some business out of it too. He couldn’t wait to tell his mother how this all backfired on her.