Home > Matched with the Billionaire

Matched with the Billionaire
Author: Audra Cole

Chapter One

“Valentine’s is such bullshit.”

“Good morning to you too, Sunshine,” I replied, not even bothering to look up from my computer screen to witness my co-worker—and apparent Valentine’s Day defector—Sophia Getty shuffle into my office. My fingers flew over the keyboard, unfettered by my friend’s ranting.

“I mean, it’s bad enough that we have to have this love shit forced down our throats ten billion times a day, but this … this is on another level and I don’t think I can take it anymore!”

Okay, this sounds like a serious problem. Ya know, like the kind a bottle of red wine and a Gilmore Girls marathon can’t fix. I looked up over the rim of my eggplant-colored frames. “You do realize you work for a matchmaking company, right Soph? Valentine’s Day is like our Super Bowl.”

“I know.” Sophia pushed her raven curls out of her face. “But normally, I stay in my cubicle, I do my thing, and then I go home. I smile and nod, and do my best to stay out of the office gossip or engage in mindless conversations about which Magic Mike star has better abs.”

Joe Manganiello, obviously. Why was that even a debate?

“It’s stupid, but at least everyone is happy. Then February comes along and bam! It’s like suddenly everyone starts PMSing at once and bitching about their life choices and how they don’t have anyone to bring them chocolate and flowers.” Sophia shook her head, sending her wild, thick curls flying again. “It’s exhausting.”

I gave her my best sympathetic frown. “It’s only another week and then all the hoopla will calm down, and you’ll be able to go back to grinning and bearing the normal love and fairy tale talk. Okay?”

Sophia made a non-committal noise and toyed with the delicate silver ring she always wore on her right hand.

“Hey, I know what will make you feel better,” I said, leaning forward to retrieve my pink and white coffee mug that bore the company logo. “Georgia, Vee, and I are all going out for drinks tonight. No men. No bullshit. Just a good old fashioned girls’ night. Whataya say?”

Sophia looked at me like I’d asked if she wanted to strip naked and sing show tunes in front of the Hollywood sign.

“All right.” I sighed, taking her expression as her official answer. “Maybe next time.”

I gulped down half the lukewarm coffee left in my mug and then dove back into my inbox. Sophia was right about one thing: Valentine’s Day did tend to bring out the insecurities in a lot of people. Women and men. No one was immune. My inbox was brimming with proof, dozens of emails from worried clients, wanting to make sure they’d find a date in time for the big day. As a modern-day matchmaker, it was my job to ensure that no helpless single was left in the cold when February fourteenth rolled around!

No small feat, I assure you.

“Hey, ladies…” Veronica Piper, my token bubbly blonde friend and co-worker poked her head into the room, a glint of mischief illuminating her aquamarine eyes. “You know what day it is?”

I held up a finger. “Vee, I love ya, but if you start singing that damn Friday song one more time…”

Veronica laughed as she charged into the room and flopped onto the long, chaise lounge chair that occupied the corner of my office. “All right, Candy Cane, don’t have a meltdown.”

“Candy Cane?” I wrinkled my nose.

She shrugged. “Trying something new.”

“Lovely… Here’s my question though, is Candy Cane more of a stripper name or one of Santa’s elves?”

Veronica pondered the question for a moment and then smiled. “Who says you can’t be both?”

I laughed. Sophia scoffed.

“I’ll see you later, Candace,” Sophia said, pushing up from her chair. She gave Veronica a puzzled glance and then hurried from the room.

“What’s her problem?”

I sighed. “She’s got the V-day blues.”

Veronica nodded. “Well, maybe if she wore something other than those librarian skirts and orthopedic shoes, she’d have a shot at having some fun instead of staying home with her cat.”

I frowned. “Hey, I have a cat.”

“You know what I mean.” Veronica laughed. “All I’m saying is that she uses the office gym sometimes. I’ve seen her in the locker room and she’s got a body under all those baggy clothes. A little makeup, a haircut, and a shopping spree and she’d be beating them away with a stick.”

“Do me a favor, Vee,” I replied, still typing. “Never say that to her. Okay?” I glanced up and Veronica shrugged. Satisfied, I went back to work.

Veronica pulled out her phone and started scrolling away. Between my keyboard and her tapping sounds, we fell into a quiet rhythm. Not that it lasted long. Matched Consulting Headquarters was always hopping with activity, even on Fridays, when most corporate drones tended to look more like extras from The Walking Dead. Not at Matched. No, we were caffeine-fueled conquerors!

I was halfway through my inbox when Georgia Walsh, fellow matchmaker, pushed into the room with a hot pink lipstick marred coffee cup in one hand and an iPad in the other. “Okay, ladies, I just ordered two hundred premium vibrators, sets of fuzzy pink handcuffs, and edible body paint kits. I’m pretty sure I’m going to land on some kind of government watch list, but my daily kink quota has officially been filled and it’s not even nine o’clock in the morning.”

I glanced up from my computer monitor. “I wasn’t aware we had a kink quota. That’s good to know.”

Veronica giggled as she flicked through her phone, probably scouring some celeb gossip site. “What I want to know is what quantifies a vibrator as being premium. Is it nine inches long, studded with diamonds, and comes in a solid gold box?”

“Don’t forget the extra girth.” Georgia flashed a wicked grin. “I also decided to go with the fire-engine red model. Seemed appropriate for the occasion.”

I shook my head, marveling at my statuesque friend. “You are one classy broad, Georgia Walsh.”

“Why, thank you.”

“Go big or go home,” Veronica added, still scanning through whatever was pulled up on her phone.

“I just hope you added some bottles of lube to that order…” I deadpanned.

Georgia’s smile fell. “Shit! I knew I was forgetting something.”

“What would we do without two-day shipping?”

“I honestly have no fucking idea.” She scoffed and started tapping away at the tablet she’d carried in with her.

“Although, if we do our jobs right, none of the ladies in attendance will need the vibrators,” I pointed out, pushing my reading glasses back up the bridge of my nose.

Georgia laughed. “Are you kidding me? Half these bastards are gonna be shot-gunning beers all night and pass out before they even get to second base. We’re going to be getting thank you cards for the next six months from these women for sending them home with a Sparklestick 500.”

I cringed. “Please tell me it’s not actually called the Sparklestick 500.”

Georgia flapped a hand, still staring down at her tablet. “Something like that.”

“What’s their slogan?” Veronica asked in between peals of laughter. “Bedazzled for her pleasure?”

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