The Billionaire and the Matchmake(8)

By: Lacy Andersen

But then again, even the threat of a date with Ted Bundy paled in comparison to the glory of that little apartment. It was extremely difficult to find an affordable dig in Silicon Valley. She’d pretty much resigned herself to the fact that she was going to have to rent a place with three roommates and one tiny bathroom on her budget. But no longer. That apartment was hers.

“Fine.” She clutched the paper in her fist. “I’ll do it. Four completely innocent dates. Nothing more. And definitely no kissing or hanky-panky. You understand me?”

Lydia cheered and threw her cup of pens into the air like confetti.

“But know this,” Emily added through gritted teeth. “When I’m maid of honor at your wedding, I’m not wearing any of those ugly dresses you like to circle in bridal magazines. I’m going to look fabulous. I deserve it, after this.”

Rolling her eyes, Lydia turned back to her computer. “Whatever you want, boss. It’ll be worth it when your perfect match escorts you to my elegant wedding. You’ll see.”

“Yeah, yeah.” Emily marched to her office, waving the paper over her head. “Don’t hold your breath. I’d hate for your fiancé to blame me for your untimely death.”

Chapter Four

Michael walked through the doors of Lorenzo’s Italian restaurant, determined to get this date over with. He already had copies of the intro application. That alone would help Smithy tailor his program immensely. Now all that was left was to go on a couple of dates and assess how effective Sevenson Selective’s process was and get out.

No drama. No mess.

“Meeting someone?”

The older slim blonde waitress behind the receptionist podium eyed him up and down, taking in his black dress pants, blue shirt, and black tie. He hadn’t known what to wear on a blind date, so he went with something less authoritative than his usual power suits.

“Yes.” He scanned the crowded dining room, the hearty scent of garlic and baking bread making him want to inhale deeply. “A date. I’m afraid I don’t know her name or what she looks like.”

“Ah, yes.” She stood up straight, her eyes sparkling. “This way, young man.”

He followed her through the tables and into a dark corner where a small table, just big enough for two, stood lit with a tea candle in a glass votive. A vase with a single rose lay next to it. He paused when he saw that his date had already arrived.

Sitting at the table was Emily Sevenson in a pair of pale blue jeans and a tight black turtleneck. She’d pulled her curly hair back from her delicate cheekbones and into a low bun. It was a far cry from the sweaty, frustrated woman he’d met just a couple days ago.

“Your date is here, my dear.” The waitress pointed to the opposite chair. “Have a seat, young man.”

Emily tore her gaze from the menu in front of her to look up at him. Her eyes opened wide as shock coursed over her face. A pink blush formed in her cheeks and Michael had a hard time not laughing at the comical sight. Clearly, she hadn’t been expecting him, either.

“Mr. Knight.” She slammed the menu on the table. “I...I didn’t know...”

“Do you often date your clients, Ms. Sevenson?”

He took the seat opposite her and tried not to grin as she stuttered her reply.

“Absolutely not. I haven’t been on a date in over a year.” Her blush turned beet red and she waved her hands in front of her face. “Not that I don’t date. I mean, I date. Well, I used to. It’s just that lately I haven’t found the time.” She huffed and crossed her arms. “This is all Lydia’s fault. She set me up.”

“Yes, your secretary.” The waitress dropped off two glasses of ice water and he smiled at her before raising the glass to his lips for a sip. “She’s an interesting character.”

“She’s my best friend, but that isn’t going to stop me from killing her,” she muttered as she picked up her own glass.

Michael threw his head back and laughed. It felt good after a long, tedious day at the office.

Emily blushed again and tugged uncomfortably at her turtleneck. It was a strange thing to see a woman wearing a turtleneck in the late August heat. Michael had the sneaking suspicion it had been for her date’s benefit. A subtle sign that she had been forced into coming here and would reject any physical intimacy with a hard no.

He couldn’t help but be intrigued. This was not the kind of date he’d expected. There was no denying that Emily Sevenson was a beautiful and intelligent woman. Add to that the chance to really get to know the insides of Sevenson Selective’s matchmaking process, and this was quite the opportunity. He wouldn’t squander it.