USA Today Bestselling Author
When it comes to love,
all bets are off…
Failure has never been an option for self-made billionaire Blaise Mortenson. So when his friends suggest a wager to see who will be the last bachelor among them, he takes the bet. He has no doubt he’ll win—especially after he hires Hadley Lowell to find perfect matches for his friends. Now all Blaise has to do is ignore his growing attraction to the gorgeous, demanding matchmaker.
Hadley runs her business like a clandestine military op, precisely controlling every feasible outcome. But falling for a client? That was a possibility she never saw coming. Blaise’s drive, determination, and the softer side he tries to hide from the world appeals to her on a gut-deep level—but while her matchmaking success rate is unbeatable, finding love for herself has been nearly impossible. There’s no way her happily ever after could come in the form of a tech billionaire who isn’t even looking for love…is there?
What should have been a simple business transaction quickly turns into something way more complicated, and Blaise starts to wonder if he’s in danger of losing more than just the bet when all is said and done…
As Blaise, Wes and Dash prepare for the garter toss at their friend Mason’s wedding, Blaise decides that in order to be the last single one of their group and win the bet he needs to take some drastic measures.
With the help of Henry Davenport, who is sort of responsible for matches within his group, Blaise sets out to find matches for Wes and Dash.
Hadley Lowell has some strict conditions to her matchmaking business and she doesn’t ever make exceptions. That’s something Blaise isn’t used to, nobody ever says no to him. However Hadley does so repeatedly.
Blaise decides to push things along and travels a day earlier than Hadley had the time for him. He’s determined to have this interview and be back to business as usual the next morning.
Boy was he in for a surprise.
This is a favorite scene.
A woman stepped into the doorway. She was four inches shorter than him with auburn shoulder-length hair, ivory skin, and pink cheeks. Early to mid-thirties. And gorgeous.
She wasn’t one of those women who are so thin their heads look out of proportion, the kind who only ate salad and an occasional slice of avocado toast. That type didn’t appeal to him. This one did. She had curves— nice ones.
Blaise wanted to memorize every detail.
Her blue eyes reminded him of the sky on a summer day, when flowers bloomed, the sun shone, and the dark, lonely nights didn’t last as long as they did in winter.
He stared transfixed, connected to this stranger by an invisible force. Awareness thrummed through him. Staring was rude, but he couldn’t look away from her.
Noises sounded. Muted footsteps. A door. A phone.
All Blaise could focus on was her.
Maybe this trip hadn’t been such a bad idea. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been so… intrigued.
She blinked. “Can I help you?”
Her voice was deeper than expected, a tad husky. Sexy. He wanted to hear her say more and laugh. He couldn’t wait to hear her laugh.
She cleared her throat. “You’re Blaise Mortenson.”
The woman didn’t sound surprised. If anything, she appeared resigned.
Did that mean…?
Of course, it did. “You’re Hadley Lowell.”
She nodded once.
His insides deflated. A strange reaction. One he would ignore.
Hadley eyed him curiously. “I thought you were too busy to come to San Francisco.”
“Yes, but you’re the best matchmaker, so here I am.”
“I told you my next appointment is tomorrow at nine.”
“That was before I changed my plans.” And asked Trevor to cancel calls and reschedule meetings. Blaise needed to be back in the office before the markets opened tomorrow. “Let’s talk now.”
She locked the door to the office before facing him again. “That won’t work.”
“I’m here. I came to you. As you require.” Something he normally wouldn’t have done. For anyone. Then again, he usually wouldn’t notice the cute freckles sprinkled across the bridge of her nose. “Can’t you be a little flexible?”
Hadley’s jaw tensed. “You’re not the only one with obligations.”
“I’ll make it worth your while.”
Her face scrunched. “Does throwing money at a problem always work for you?”
“Not this time.” She adjusted the strap of her computer bag. “I have to go.”
“Wait.” Blaise hadn’t blocked Hadley’s way, but he didn’t want her to leave yet. The last commercial flight to Portland departed at eleven tonight. He wanted to be on it, because this visit wasn’t worth the carbon footprint of a private jet ride. “Are you free this afternoon or this evening? I can meet you no matter what time you have available.”
She frowned. “Blaise, I have two children to pick up from school in less than forty-five minutes. After that, we have a busy afternoon planned.”
Disappointment shot through him. A glance at her left hand showed a bare ring finger. That meant she was divorced or widowed. For some odd reason, the realization brought relief. “How old are your kids?”
“They’re my niece and nephew.” Hadley’s knuckles turned white around her keys. “Both are young enough I can’t keep them waiting. So if you’ll excuse me—”
“I’ll go with you.”
Her brows furrowed. “What did you say?”
Her question took him aback because he’d said the first thing that had come to his mind. “I’ll come with you.”
“Why would you want to do that?”
He wasn’t ready to say goodbye. No, that wasn’t the reason. He was here to discuss her matchmaking service so he could win the bet. “I’m sure you’ll have a block of free time so we can talk.”
She half laughed. “You don’t have children.”
The thought of loud, sticky small humans made him squirm. “No.”
“Have you spent much time around children?”
Donating money to charities that helped kids was fine, but real-life interactions? He shuddered. “No.”
Hadley rubbed her mouth. “It’ll be easier if you wait until tomorrow morning.”
“I can’t wait. This is important to me.”
A door opened down the hall.
She glanced that way before looking at him. “What if we don’t have time to talk?”
Now she was making excuses, trying to get out of meeting with him, but he wouldn’t let her off that easily.
Wes was the image of smooth and eloquent no matter the situation. Adam and Kieran weren’t as charming, but they held their own. Dash could be the poster child for introverted, socially clueless tech guys. Mason was a step above him. Blaise, however, fell in the middle of his friends.
He hated meaningless chit-chat, but he’d learned the ability to mingle and make small talk would help him get ahead. It wasn’t something that came naturally, but that hadn’t stopped him. He’d observed and practiced. He had a feeling those lessons would come in handy with Hadley.
Blaise would keep his voice light. “I wouldn’t blame you.”
“I hope not, since it wouldn’t be my fault.”
Okay, maybe his tone hadn’t been as playful as he’d hoped, but hiding his irritation was harder than he thought it would be. She was the problem. Not him. If she was more flexible with her process, this trip to San Francisco wouldn’t have been necessary.
“Can I come along?” he asked in his this-will-be-fun voice he used when an overnight shift debugging code faced his team. He would try one more thing. “Please.”
She blew out a breath. “Let’s go.”
Blaise fought the urge to pump his fist. Instead, he fell in step next to her as she headed to the lobby at a quick pace.
“Do you have a car?” he asked.
She held up her keys. “I do.”
Guess he wouldn’t need the SUV, except… “Lex can follow us.”
“Who is Lex?”
“One of my bodyguards.”
“The more the merrier.” Her tone was more ominous than humorous. “But if you think we’ll have a meeting in bits and pieces while I drive, ride with Lex.”
Blaise held up his hands, palms out. “I can wait until we have a block of
“You might be waiting awhile.” She eyed him warily. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
No worries. He’d shown up unexpectedly and asked her to make an exception for their meeting. But that was what he did— tackled issues head-on.
No one got the better of him.
Especially a matchmaker, one who thought she was in control on her home turf.
Melissa McClone. The Wife Finder (Kindle Locations 568-620). Cardinal Press, LLC.
What ensues is an interesting romp with Hadley and her niece and nephew. I laughed so much as Blaise is thwarted at every turn.
When Hadley finally agrees to try to match up Wes and Dash, she ends up in a situation that is both comedic and romantic.
This is a complicated, fun and thoroughly enjoyable read with just the right amount of sizzle.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!
USA Today bestselling author, Melissa McClone has published over forty novels with Harlequin and Tule Publishing Group.
With a degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Melissa worked for a major airline where she traveled the globe and met her husband. But analyzing jet engine performance couldn’t compete with her love of writing happily ever afters.
Her first full-time writing endeavor was her first sale when she was pregnant with her first child! When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her driving her minivan to/from her children’s swim practices and other activities.
Melissa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, three children, two spoiled Norwegian Elkhounds, and cats who think they rule the house. They do!