THE BILLIONAIRE BACHELOR, contemporary romance novel by Shawna Delacorte, from The Wild Rose Press Available May 30, 2022, from Amazon and other online vendors.

When billionaire construction mogul Scott Blake is asked to participate in a charity bachelor auction, he wants no part in the games of the idle rich or social-climbing gold diggers that come with them. He's traveled that road before. However, the beautiful socialite seeking his help won't take no for an answer. Showing up at his office with a fiery determination and a heartfelt plea, she convinces him it's his duty to help with the plight of abused children, and he just might have her all wrong.

Due to dark secrets from her childhood, Katherine Fairchild is dedicated to the charity she founded to help abused children. As she introduces Scott to her world, he meets a homeless teenage boy who is fiercely loyal to Katherine and a darling little three-year-old girl, the most recent child in need of her help. He seems to fit right in, but can she trust him with her past... or with her heart?

Can the socialite win over the jaded billionaire?


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G-Excerpt #1

"Mr. Blake, that Miss Fairchild is in the outer office. She's phoned three times this morning, and now she's here in person. I told her you couldn't see her without an appointment, but she said she'd wait -- no matter how long it took."

Scott Blake reluctantly tore his gaze away from the panoramic view of San Francisco Bay out his office window. He swiveled around in his leather chair until he faced his secretary, Amelia Lambert. The expression on the prim, older woman's face showed her unhappiness with him... again.

"She's a very persistent woman, Mr. Blake. I truly believe she means to remain seated there until you've spoken with her. She has one of those electronic devices and seems to be reading a book. She's obviously prepared to spend the day, if necessary."

A withering sigh of resignation escaped his lips as he picked up a letter from the corner of his desk. The letterhead belonged to the Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse, a worthwhile charity well respected for its efficient operation and good work. The letter was signed by Katherine Fairchild, the director of the fund-raising committee as well as chairman of the board.

"Very well, Amelia." He loosened his tie, then his nimble fingers unfastened the top button of his shirt. He had never been able to get comfortable with the restrictive dress code of the boardroom and that morning had been the annual Blake Construction board of director's meeting. It had been five years since his father's untimely death from a massive coronary with the reins of the company passing to him. And, at the age of thirty-four, Scott still disliked suits and ties.

He had worked summers on his father's construction crews while attending the University of California at Berkeley where he graduated with a degree in environmental sciences and had planned a career in that field. As a child, he had wanted to be a forest ranger. Upon graduation, his father had talked him into remaining in the family business, allowing him to ramrod crews working outdoors in the fresh air rather than being confined to an office even though he carried the title of vice president.

"Why couldn't she just ask for a donation?" He had followed his father's long tradition of supporting various charitable organizations. "I'd be happy to write her a check. But this..." He waved the letter in the air, then swiveled his chair around until the breathtaking view of San Francisco Bay capped by the hills of Marin County once again came across his line of sight. "Let's get it over with. Send the officious Miss Fairchild in, but if she's still here after ten minutes, buzz me. And Amelia--" He turned his head toward her, flashed a mischievous grin, and winked. "Let her cool her heels out there for another fifteen minutes before you send her in."

In spite of his own wealthy status, he had never thought of himself -- of his family -- as part of that socially elite group. Women like Katherine Fairchild irritated him. He had personal experience with them -- pampered, phony, shallow, self-centered, and vain. And now this. He stared at the letter referring to a bachelor auction to raise money for the charity. She actually wanted him to stand up on stage wearing a tuxedo and posing in front of an audience and the media. Then the members of the pampered rich bid money to buy an evening with him as if bidding on confiscated items at a police auction or making a purchase at an estate sale. It seemed more akin to a cruel game played by the frivolous socially elite than a legitimate charity fund-raiser. He did not like it, not one bit.


G-Excerpt #2

Katherine's car came to a halt at the curb in front of an older building in a poor neighborhood in Oakland. Though worn, it appeared to be the only building on the block to have escaped the ugly defacement of graffiti. Scott parked behind her and cut his engine. Several tough looking young men leaned against the surrounding buildings eyeing him and his car.

He cautiously slid out from behind the wheel and walked to the driver's side of her car. He leaned against the door, his gaze nervously flitting from one staunchly placed person to another. "Are you sure this is where you wanted to go?"

"This is exactly where I wanted to go." She stepped out of her car, seemingly without a care in the world. Her gaze darted from one doorway and alley entrance to another taking in everyone who occupied the block. "This is Scott Blake. He's a friend of mine." Her voice rang out loud and clear as she placed her hand on his shoulder.

Scott followed her line of sight to the alley entrance. A teenaged boy sauntered toward them, his left thumb hooked in his pocket as he expertly manipulated the switchblade in his right hand. He slowly appraised Scott while keeping his distance. All the while, Katherine's hand remained on Scott's shoulder.

"Scott, this is Billy Sanchez."

"Billy." Scott gave a nod toward the young man acknowledging the introduction.

After a long and uncomfortable pause, Billy smiled and addressed his comments to Scott. "How ya doin', man? Any friend of Kat's is okay here."

Scott shot a questioning look at her as Katherine quickly whispered, "Not now."

He followed Katherine into the building. The inside appeared neat and clean despite the old, sparse furnishings. The atmosphere presented a warm and open feel. An attractive African American woman in her late twenties sat behind the desk in the front room.

She looked up from her work. "Kat, this is a surprise. I didn't expect you until tomorrow morning." A look of relief crossed her face. "I'm sure glad to see you."

"Is something wrong?" Her gaze swept the room, seeking anything that looked out of place.

"It's Jenny..."

"Jenny? What's happened? Is she okay?" Katherine's eyes widened, a look of trepidation quickly covered her face and filled her voice.

"She's here and she's fine. It's just that she's been asking for you all day. She keeps wandering around from room to room looking for you." The woman smiled. "You know how attached she is to you, from the moment Billy brought her through the door."

Katherine's face softened as she turned toward Scott, then back to the woman. "This is Scott Blake. Scott" -- she gestured toward the woman -- "this is Cheryl Johnston. Cheryl runs our Oakland center."

Scott held out his hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Cheryl."

She returned his handshake from behind her desk as she smiled warmly. "Same here." She indicated the stacks of paperwork in front of her. "If you'll pardon me, I'm up to my, uh, posterior in an ever-growing backlog. I'd better get back to work before the boss catches me goofing off." She shot a quick grin toward Katherine.

"Hopefully, we'll have you some help soon. We allocated the funds at today's board meeting. Now, it's just a matter of finding the right person. This isn't exactly a prime location. Lots of people are uneasy about coming into this neighborhood."

A small voice floated through the room. "Kat! Kat!" Little feet padded across the floor as an angelic, golden-haired tyke of about three ran to her.

Katherine Fairchild kicked off her high heels, dropped to her knees, and held open her arms to welcome the little girl. "Jenny, my little darling." She drew the child quickly into her embrace and held her tightly as she rocked her back and forth. Then she placed a loving kiss on the child's cheek. "Have you been a good girl today?"

"Yes, Kat."

Katherine lifted the squirming little girl in her arms as she rose to her feet. She swung around so they were both facing Scott. "Jenny, this is Scott. He's a friend of mine. Can you say hello to him?"

He smiled at the little girl. "Hello, Jenny."

Wariness crept into the child's eyes. She pulled as far away from him as she could while wrapping her arms tightly around Katherine's neck. She turned her head away, burying her face in Katherine's shoulder.

Surprise and confusion hit Scott. "What did I do wrong?"

Katherine continued to hold Jenny, rocking the child gently in her comforting embrace. "It's okay, Jenny. Scott is my friend. He won't hurt you." The little girl's head remained buried, her face hidden from sight. "Won't you please say hello to Scott? I'm sure he'd like to see your pretty smile."

Jenny's blonde curls bounced as she shook her head, keeping her face buried.

Katherine's voice continued to drift softly across the child's presence. "Please, Jenny, would you say hello to Scott? For me?"

The little girl slowly raised her head and tentatively glanced at him. Again, he offered the child a warm smile and reached his hand out toward her.

Tears welled in Jenny's eyes, and she started to cry. Scott quickly withdrew his hand and stepped back. Katherine held the little girl tightly as Jenny buried her face against Katherine's suit jacket, her tears soaking the fabric.


G-Excerpt #3

Katherine Fairchild turned into the long drive leading to the stunning Victorian mansion in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco. It had been a couple of weeks since she had visited her grandfather.

"Grandpa, how are you feeling?" Katherine knelt next to his wheelchair, giving him a big hug and kiss on the cheek. "You're looking good."

Her grandfather, RJ Fairchild, leveled a stern look at his granddaughter. "Katherine, how many times do I need to tell you that grandpa is not a proper term? The word you are looking for is grandfather."

She refused to be put off by his scolding and gruff attitude. From the time she was a little girl, she had been able to wrap the formidable RJ Fairchild around her finger. She gave him a knowing smile and another kiss on the cheek. "I don't know, Grandpa. I guess you'll just have to keep telling me until I get it right."

His gnarled old hand patted her hand as he gave her a loving look. "Don't you dare let anyone else hear you call me that. How can I maintain a position of respect and authority when my own granddaughter--"

"Stop being an old fuddy-duddy. You can pull that stuff on other people but not on me. You know you like it when I call you Grandpa." She stood up and pushed his wheelchair into the garden room at the back of the house, his favorite place in the large mansion. "I met a very interesting man today, Grandpa."

The old man's attention immediately perked up. "Did you? Tell me about this young man. What does he do, and where did you meet him? I want to know all about his background. We can't have another situation like that--"

"Please, Grandpa." Her sharp words cut him off before he could finish his sentence. She knew exactly what he was going to say -- another situation like her impetuous and ill-fated marriage to Jerry during her sophomore year of college. A situation that had cost the family five hundred thousand dollars, left her with deep emotional scars, and definite opinions about marriage. It had been yet another childhood legacy left to her by her mother, a burning desire to have someone love her. It had taken a long time for the wounds to heal, for her to rebuild her self-esteem and get on with her life. "All I said was I had met an interesting man. I didn't say anything about a potential husband."

"Katherine..." He reached out and took her hand in his. "'re almost thirty years old. Don't you think it's time you married and started a family?"

She wrinkled a frown across her brow. A faraway, haunted sensation darted quickly through her consciousness. Even now, an occasional memory from the past tried to reestablish itself. "I'm not looking for another husband. I've already had one, remember?" She offered him her best smile. "Now, can we drop the subject of husbands and marriage?"

He patted her hand and smiled. "All right. Now, tell me about this interesting man you met."


G-Excerpt #4

The front door swung open with a loud crash, the noise grabbing everyone's attention. Billy charged into the room. "We got trouble!" His voice clearly conveyed the urgency of the situation. "Jenny's ol' lady and that bastard what beat her up are on their way here. You got maybe a minute to hide the kid."

Katherine took immediate charge of the situation. She grabbed Jenny from a startled Scott and handed her to Cheryl. "Take her upstairs and keep her quiet." Her gaze shot to Billy. "Put that knife away and get out of here."

Billy snapped the knife shut and jammed it back into his pocket. "I ain't leavin'. I can take him out--" anger and hostility flashed in his eyes "without the knife." Billy only stood about five-feet nine-inches, but Scott had no doubt about his ability to handle himself in any kind of a fight.

"We've got a court order. Jenny's mother can't take her without going into court and proving she's fit to have custody, and that will never happen. Now--"

"All right, give us the kid so we can get out of here." The surly male voice belonged to a man of about twenty, wearing dirty clothes, sporting green hair, and numerous tattoos that seemed to repeat a skull and crossbones theme. He swaggered over to Katherine, a small blonde in her late teens following behind him, obviously Jenny's mother.

Katherine held her ground as she glared at the intruder. "I have a court order remanding Jenny to the custody of the center. You can't take her. Now, get out, or I'll call the police."

"Lady, I don't give a damn about your piece of paper. Wanda"—he jerked his thumb toward the blonde woman--" wants her kid back."

"Don't make me laugh." Katherine's tone clearly conveyed the disgust she felt. "The only thing she wants back is the additional welfare money."

Scott quickly sized up Wanda's boyfriend. He stood about the same height as Billy with a slight build. Any man who had to beat up little girls in order to make himself feel big would not take on a bigger man of six-feet one-inch and almost two hundred pounds. He saw Billy slip his hand inside the pocket containing the switchblade. He quickly stepped between Billy and the intruder, then casually put his arm around the man's shoulders. "There seems to be a little confusion here. Perhaps I can help straighten it out." Offering his friendliest smile, he steered the intruder away from Katherine, moving him toward the other side of the room.

"We don't need to call the police." Scott's voice dropped to a near whisper, too low for Katherine to hear but not so for Billy who had moved in close to the action. Scott's smile remained in place, and his hand stayed on the man's shoulder as he continued to talk. "We can settle this very simply. I'm an easygoing guy. I'm not into violence. However, that intense young man leaning against the wall" --he indicated Billy who carefully followed every word--" is fully capable of performing open-heart surgery on you and is ready to do just that."

A quick look of uncertainty flashed through the man's eyes as his gaze shot to Billy, then back to Scott towering over him.

"We don't want to get involved in anything that messy, do we? At least, I know I'd rather not." Scott dug his fingers into the young man's shoulder until he flinched from the pain. "And we need to consider the ladies. We wouldn't want to upset them with a lot of blood and violence. We won't even get into a discussion of who would be responsible for cleaning up what would be left of you. I can't speak for anyone else, but I don't care to dirty my hands."

Scott dropped his hand from the man's shoulder and stretched his height to the fullest as he looked down at the unwelcome intruder. "Now, why don't you and your girlfriend take a hike before this whole mess gets totally out of control? There are things you can do to make up for the welfare money that's been cut off. You could get a job--" Scott slowly scrutinized the man's appearance. "Of course, I can't imagine for the life of me who would want to hire you." The smile quickly disappeared from Scott's face as his tone turned menacing. "Do we have an understanding?"

The intruder nodded in agreement, his body language telling of his discomfort with the situation. He was alone, backed into a corner by one man who towered over him and another obviously street tough and carrying a knife.

"I didn't hear you. Do we have an understanding?"

"Uh... yeah," the intruder said, conveying a full dose of anxiety.

Scott flashed his smile again as he replaced his hand on the man's shoulder, administering one last painful squeeze. He now spoke at normal volume, loud enough for everyone to once again be able to hear him. "I'm sorry, pal, I didn't catch your name."

"Tom." The word was uttered without enthusiasm. "Well, Tom. Too bad you and Wanda have to run along before we had a chance to get better acquainted, but it was nice of you to stop by."

Tom grabbed Wanda's arm and yanked her along behind him as he hurried out the door, turning to give one last furtive glance in Scott's direction.

Scott turned a very serious look toward Billy. "He's going to be back."

Billy nodded as he gave Scott a new look of respect and admiration. "Yeah, man. You're right."


G-Excerpt #5

An unusually warm autumn day presented itself. San Francisco Bay sparkled in the sunlight as the sleek sailboat moved gracefully through the water and passed under Golden Gate Bridge on its way out to the open sea. Katherine Fairchild remained an enigma to Scott. More than her good looks and sensual throaty voice—her intelligence, poise, delicious sense of humor, and an enticing independence that aroused his senses. All of it in defiance of his preconceived notions.

"Tell me about yourself. I don't know much beyond what I see in the papers and on social media. But just from what I've observed at the Oakland center, I know you're not the person portrayed in the headlines."

He found himself attracted to her directness, her dedication to what she believed in, and her passion for what she deemed to be the right thing to do. He also noted the way she worked hard to hide a shyness at odds with the persona she projected.

"I'm... I'm not sure what you mean." A slight frown wrinkled across her forehead followed by a moment of wariness that clouded her features. "What is it you want to know?"

"Anything you're willing to tell me. How about we start with why you've dedicated yourself to this particular charity apparently to the exclusion of all the others."

A slight laugh escaped her throat, but it sounded more forced than natural.

"I'm involved in several charities and a regular donator to many different causes." She raised her hand to shade her eyes from the bright sun even though she wore sunglasses. "What a beautiful day, Scott. A perfect day for sailing. You handle this boat with a great deal of expertise. Have you been sailing for a long time? Perhaps on a college sailing team?"

No doubt in his mind, she had just purposely changed the subject. Had he introduced a problematic topic? But why would she be averse to talking about her charitable work? Her efforts on behalf of The Coalition for the Prevention of Child Abuse were widely known. She was becoming more and more of a multi-layered mystery. He chose to answer her question rather than pursue his curiosity.