The Date: An Online Dating Romance – A Keeper Series Book 5 by Melissa McClone

The Date: An Online Dating Romance
A Keeper Series Book 5
By
USA Today Bestselling Author
Melissa McClone

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One tech entrepreneur,
one blonde bombshell,
and two rival dating sites…

When Dani Bennett lands a new marketing job, she can’t wait to prove herself. But her excitement fizzles when her new boss insists she create an online dating profile to spy on the competition. Quitting isn’t an option; she needs the money. Now, she must meet the charming guy who’s been messaging her. Dani, however, has played this game before. She knows exactly what he’s after—what they’re all after. It’s a good thing she has a foolproof plan to keep her date from being interested in her.

Bryce Delaney works hard to keep scammers from infiltrating his dating website. He’ll do anything to keep his clients and his company safe, like asking a potential corporate spy to meet him for coffee. When the woman turns out to be more hobo than hottie, he’s intrigued. She has no idea he founded the dating website, and he plans to keep it that way until he can uncover her agenda.

As one date leads to another, sparks fly. Dani knows a relationship built on lies will never work, but she’s not the only one with a secret. Will the truth bring her and Bryce closer or send them back online to find someone else to love?

Note:
This is a revised, expanded version of a book previously published as ‘Dream Date with the Millionaire’.

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Dani used to love her profession, but her current job wasn’t at all what she wanted. She took this job in desperation, she had her mother’s medical insurance and sister’s tuition to help with.

Her boss James, had her sign up on a competitor’s dating site but so far she hadn’t gone on a date. She did however make a couple of friends. Tired of all the subterfuge she confesses to her friends she’s a spy on the sight. This sets off red flags and Bryce, the CEO of BlindDateBrides, immediately takes action. He sends a message to her under his seldom used profile ‘Big Brother’ with an interesting question.

Dani never had any intention of going out with any of the guys who messaged her, but with this one she actually replied instead of brushing him off. She happened to get another response when she checked the site at work and her boss heard her laughter.

Now he’s upping the ante, go out with some of them or get fired.

With coffee arranged with Big Brother, and a dinner date with someone named GymGuy she resigns herself to some first dates.

Now coffee with Big Brother, aka Bryce, turned out to be fun and she found herself wanting to see more of him. First she had to deal with GymGuy.

This is a favorite scene.

Once upon a time, she had a fabulous job, a sporty new car, and a one-bedroom apartment with a peek of the San Francisco Bay out her living room window, and a reserved parking spot.

Now she was dating strangers to get information her boss wanted.

She reached past her wineglass to her water and drank.

Dani hated to be going out with anyone like this. Relationships needed to be founded on honesty if they were to last. That was the healthy way to meet someone and fall for them. Unlike building a foundation on lies and half-truths. If she fell for any man from the website, she would have to come clean at some point, and people would get hurt.

“So”— Gregg raised his wineglass—“ you’re a lot better looking than your photograph.”

“I hoped guys might read my profile instead of judging me by a picture.”

“That’s what I did.” His gaze dropped from her face to her chest. “Smart move, for sure.”

Bummer. Dani’s clothes— a skirt, blouse, and sweater— fit loosely to hide her curves, but he’d glimpsed enough to capture his attention. She should have worn the baggy sweats instead.

Gregg stared as if he had see-through clothing vision. “Though you’d probably get more takers if you mentioned you had such nice melons in your profile.”

Dani choked. Coughed. Wiped her mouth with her napkin.

O-kay. So much for him being polite.

But she’d learned how to deal with men like him. Learned all too well.

With her napkin back on her lap, she straightened. “Stick to the macadamia nuts. You can’t handle the melons.”

His mouth gaped. He closed it.

“I sure would like to if you’ll give me a chance.” Gregg leaned over the table toward her, and she noticed how his eyes were beady like a sewer rat. “My place is walking distance from here. Why don’t we skip dinner, head over there, and go straight to dessert?”

She bit back a sigh.

So typical.

And to think she’d been plagued by guilt for using him to get information when he wanted to use her for sex. At least Bryce had been a gentleman at the café.

Gregg raised an eyebrow and puckered his lips slightly. “You know you want to go to my apartment with me.”

Jerk. She bypassed the water and sipped from her wineglass. No sense wasting an expensive bottle.

Or the opportunity. Although lowering herself to his level left a bitter taste in her mouth.

Consider it market research, she told herself. Or morbid curiosity. “Do you do this a lot?”

“Depends on your definition of a lot, but I can squeeze you in with my busy schedule.” He sipped his wine. “We will be so good together.”

She should have gone out with Bryce instead of this wannabe, who gave players a bad name. “In bed, you mean?”

“Where else?” Gregg took another drink. “Women say they’re looking for a long-term commitment on their profiles, but secretly they want an adventure. All they need is the right man to lead the way.”

“You’ve figured this out on your own?”

“All by myself.” His smug smile returned. “Are you ready for an adventure, Dani?”

Gregg reached across the table, past the flickering votive candle, past the bud vase containing a Gerbera daisy, past her hand, to stroke the juncture of her chest with his fingertip.

Disgust sent her flying back. She nearly fell. As she jerked to her feet, her chair crashed to the floor.

The restaurant was dead quiet. Customers stared. The waitstaff, too.

She didn’t care. “What are you doing?”

“I’m giving you what you want.”

“What I want?” Dani’s blood pressure soared. His words took her back to high school, where the boys elbowed each other and propositioned her when she passed by them. She’d ignored their taunts even though it hurt because she wanted to be part of the popular crowd. She was older, wiser now. No need to fit in with people she never liked. “What I want is for you to crawl back into the hole you slithered out of.”

“You’re a feisty one, aren’t you?” He raised his eyebrows up and down as if performing a bizarre mating call. “Women who play hard to get are usually good in bed.”

“You’ll never know.” She picked up her glass of water and tossed the contents on his lap. “That should cool you off.”

Gregg jumped up, grabbed a napkin, and patted himself. “Why, you little—”

“Is there a problem?”

The male voice came from behind. She turned.

Bryce.

Surprise and a flash of joy skittered through Dani. Her mouth went dry. She’d been thinking about him tonight. Now he was here, looking gorgeous in a brown suit and concerned about her.

She gloried in the moment, a wide grin on her face.

And then she remembered.

She wasn’t alone. Her cheeks burned.

Dani glanced at a red-faced Gregg, frantically drying the front of his pants and muttering to himself.

“Are you okay?” Bryce asked.

The tenderness of his voice eased some of her humiliation. She stared up at him. So handsome. So strong.

He had a looking-for-a-fight gleam in his eyes. His desire to protect pleased her.
Melissa McClone. The Date: An Online Dating Romance (Kindle Locations 855-929). Cardinal Press, LLC.

In spite of the fact that he is investigating Dani’s comment on his site, Bryce couldn’t help being attracted to this funny, intelligent woman. He just has to figure out why she’s on the site.

Plenty of romance, intrigue and some sizzle as this tale unfolds. Truly a delightful read.

5 Contented Purrs for Melissa!


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Melissa McClone

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!

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