Love reality shows? How about a book that ties Survivor with The Newlywed Game and adds the challenge of handcuffed contestants? That’s the idea behind my very first Avalon Books release, The Bonds of Matri-money, now re-released by Montlake Romance.

Check out the blurb: Renata Moon and Connell MacAllister lost more than a frivolous lawsuit in a Manhattan courtroom. Paying the settlement will probably force them to close their non-profit business. That is, until they learn about a new survivalist game show set in exotic Bali. Grand prize: one million dollars. The catch? The show is for newlyweds.

Nothing that a quickie marriage–in name only–can’t fix. But Renata and Connell didn’t anticipate they’d be linked by handcuffs the entire time they’re competing! Soon, spending days and nights with only a few inches of chain between them begins to stir feelings they never knew existed. 

Before the competition ends, Renata and Connell will be forced to decide which means more to them: love or money.

Here’s a sample: A young dark-haired assistant handed Renata two small pieces of yellow cloth. “You’ll need these for this morning’s challenge, ma’am. You’re to change your clothing, and be at the lagoon in fifteen minutes. Understand?”

     “Yes, of course,” she murmured.
     With a nod, the assistant turned away from the tent.
     “What is it?” Connell asked her.
     She stared at the two scraps in her hand, then at the retreating back of the assistant, then back at her hand again. “I think it’s a bikini. They want me to wear a bikini now?”
     “It’s for a million dollars,” he reminded her quickly.
     She shook her head in dismay. “Am I that transparent?”
     “You are to me. But then again, I’d do anything short of murder to see you in that getup. Something tells me you’re gonna look fantastic.”
He gave her a wolfish smile, indicative of their teammate Roger’s antics, and she laughed despite her discomfort. His attitude always lightened her mood when problems cropped up in this game. She wondered if he handled concerns in the real world with the same aplomb and skewed bit of humor he used here. His was a refreshing change from her old worry wart behavior. But she refused to pursue that avenue at the moment.
“So? You gonna put it on, or are we giving up already?”
She twirled a finger at him. “Turn around. Just because you gained my quick cooperation in wearing this dental floss doesn’t mean you get a sneak preview.”
“Hot dog! She’s gonna put it on.”
He clapped his hands as he spun around. The minute his back faced her, she stripped off her shorts and panties. As she knelt to pull them off her ankles, he instinctively followed her movements without turning around. She then slid into the tiny string bikini bottoms and tugged them up, Connell’s movements mirroring her own.
She never feared he might peek at her while she was vulnerable and exposed. He was too much of a gentleman for that, and she knew it. Strange how constant proximity had given them a newfound respect for one another. Thinking of how far they’d come in such a short time filled her with pride, and she smiled before turning her attention to the bikini top.
She managed to untie the halter, but tying the bra with only one hand proved too much for her to handle. “Um, Connell?”
     “I know,” he said, still facing the canvas walls around them. “You turn around, and I’ll tie you up.”
She giggled. “Sorry. It just sounds so ridiculous.”
“Never mind,” he growled. “Turn around.”
She did so. When his hands grasped at the strings of the bra, she released her hold and lifted her hand to scoop her hair off her neck. The strings tightened around her nape first, then the middle of her back. His fingertips brushed against her flesh like feathers, light and ticklish, and she shuddered.
“Don’t tell me you’re cold.”
“God, no! In this heat? Why on earth would you think that?”
His warm breath danced across her bare shoulder, converging with her own flush of embarrassment. Instant and overpowering fire flooded her from head to toe. The humid weather must have caused her reaction. If she stayed here a year, she’d never become accustomed to the tropical heat. It crushed her inch by inch, leaving her gasping for every breath she took.
“All done,” he announced. “Are you okay? I thought I felt you shiver.”
Dropping her hair down, she took a step away from him, as far as the handcuffs would allow.  “Well, you didn’t.” She couldn’t look at him when she told the lie. 

The Bonds of Matri-money is available at Amazon.

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