Bought For LoveBy: Fiona Davenport
“How can I help you, Mr. Deveraux?” Julia Connors asked with a pleasant smile. She leaned back in her chair and stared at me appraisingly.
It was only fair, since I was studying her as well. The owner of Luxe Connections was a beautiful, tall, dark-skinned woman with long braids twisted up in an elegant design behind her head. Her sculpted face was highlighted with minimal makeup that accentuated her piercing brown eyes. Having gotten her information from my friend, Sullivan, I knew she was around my mother’s age, but she didn’t look a day over forty-five.
She wore a blue power suit with insanely high heels and had an air of experience and intelligence that was hard to ignore. It was clear she wasn’t a woman to be messed with, but at the same time, she exuded a soft femininity which made it easy to see how she was so successful as a matchmaker for billionaires.
A zing of nerves shot through me, but I easily snuffed it out. I’d made up my mind and was confident with my decision. I wouldn’t allow any doubt to creep in.
“Miles, please,” I corrected her congenially. “After the match you found for Sullivan, I’m very much hoping you can do the same for me.”
She nodded and smiled encouragingly, so I went on. “I had a pretty bad breakup a couple of months ago, and it was the last straw for me. I’m sick and tired of the dating meat market. I want a wife and family, to settle down. I hear you’re the one who can make that happen for someone like me.”
“Certainly. Why don’t you tell me a little about what you’re looking for?”
What was I looking for? That was a fairly simple answer. The complete opposite of my ex… However, I didn’t think that would be enough for her to go on. “Someone real. Intelligent and strong, but someone who knows how to relax and have fun as well.” I cleared my throat and shifted nervously in my seat before adding, “She needs to be open-minded.”
Julia nodded and took notes. “In the bedroom?”
“Well…yes, I suppose that, too. But I meant I need someone who can look beyond what’s in front of her and see the whole picture. See the good in…people.”
She looked up at me then, her face expressionless, and watched me. It was a little unnerving. “I assume you’re referring to your—shall we say, ‘misguided’ past?”
I nodded. “I’d rather she didn’t know too much about me before the wedding. I’d like the chance for us to get to know each other organically.”
She looked back at her computer and typed a few more notes.
“I realize that it’s no secret to these women what kind of wealth they are attaining,” I continued, “but I’m hoping you’ll be able to see through the bullshit and find someone who cares about more than just what I can give her financially.”
The corners of her lips tilted up. “Miles, are you looking for love?”
I cursed my red hair and fair skin as I felt my cheeks heat. My reputation was well-known in the world of cybercrimes and cybersecurity. I was a fucking badass. No one messed with me because I was extremely logical and supposedly lacked empathy. Yet, here I was, about to disclose one of my deepest secrets to someone who was practically a stranger.
I was running late for a consultation with a new client, but my meeting with Julia had gone over. We’d spent quite a bit of time hashing out the terms of the contract I wanted.
I was starving and, since her Columbus Circle office was way uptown from my next appointment on Wall Street, I only had about thirty minutes to grab some lunch. I stalked around the corner and spied The Purple Kitchen across the street. A shitty New York diner. Perfect.
The inside screamed seventies TV sitcom with its purple vinyl booths, Formica tables, and even a long counter with barstools that ended with a rotating glass display of pies. These places may look like crap, but usually, the food was awesome.
“One for lunch, sir?” the host asked. He was a robust, balding, middle-aged man in black pants, a sweater vest, and orthopedic shoes.
“Yes. I’m in an incredible hurry, though.”
He nodded and grabbed a menu, leading me to a booth that overlooked the bustling city street through a large picture window.