Matched to a Billionaire(2)

By: Kat Cantrell

“Since you’ve scared off yet another female with your dogged determination to work yourself into an early grave, be my guest.” Mrs. Gordon waved her approval for Leo to deliver the proposal. “I filled up your car with gas this morning. It wouldn’t kill you to glance at the gauge once in a while.”

“Thanks. You’re too good to me. By the way,” Leo threw in as Mrs. Gordon pulled her handbag from a desk drawer, “I was thinking of having a gathering at my house to wine and dine Tommy Garrett. If I ask very nicely, would you plan it?”

“It’s not my job to be your stand-in wife.” Mrs. Gordon firmed her mouth, which meant she had a lot more to say but didn’t know how to do so tactfully. In the eight years she’d been keeping him sane, he’d seen that look a lot.

With a half laugh, Leo said, “Of course not. That’s not part of your job description.”

Except it had the ring of uncomfortable truth. When his hair grew too long, Mrs. Gordon scheduled a haircut. His mother’s birthday—Mrs. Gordon picked out the gift. The wine-and-dine request had been a bit of a blurred line, but based on the set of Mrs. Gordon’s mouth, he’d pretty well turned the line into a trapezoid.

Mrs. Gordon shut down her computer for the night. “Well, it should be part of someone’s job description.”

“What, like a party planner?” Maybe he should hire a professional in some capacity, which wouldn’t cover all his social obligations. But it was better than nothing.

“Like a girlfriend. Or someone who might actually still be around in six weeks. Hire a wife,” she said with a nod. “You need a good woman to take care of you outside of the office. Ask her to glance at your gas gauge. She can schmooze Garrett and make sure your life is running smoothly. Keep you warm at night.”

Her eyebrows waggled but Leo barely noticed.

Hire a wife.

Could you even do such a thing? It seemed too perfect a solution.

He had no time—or the desire—to sift through women until he found one he liked but who also wouldn’t expect him to be available. Reynolds Capital Management did not manage itself. His employees and partners depended on him.

A wife couldn’t leave him with no notice. It was the ultimate security.

Leo would have a permanent companion to help fill that occasional hollow feeling, one with no hidden agenda involving his assets and connections. They’d both know from the get-go what to expect—stability. There’d be no hard feelings when she realized he hadn’t been kidding about giving 100 percent to his company, leaving nothing left over for her.

All or nothing. Commitment was Leo’s kryptonite. Once he latched on to something, he gave it everything and then some. Early on, he’d realized that trait was inherited and tried not to make the same mistakes as his father.

Then he’d met Carmen, who taught him the true depths of his weaknesses, and how easily one obsession could become the center of his existence. He practiced putting everything but the goal aside until it was second nature.

Love or success. His personality didn’t allow for both and after clawing his way out of the ghetto, he refused to gamble his future.

If he had an understanding wife, work and his personal life would remain completely separate. And best of all, Leo would never have to engage in small talk with a new woman or experience that sharp pang of guilt over canceling on one ever again.

Leo tugged on his suit jacket and hand delivered the proposal to Garrett’s people in their tiny downtown office. It wouldn’t be tiny for long. Investors far and wide were clamoring to get in on the ground floor with Garrett’s technology. Once the company went public, its worth would shoot to legendary status.

Leo had to land the deal with Tommy Garrett, and the wine-and-dine thing would be a fantastic opportunity to solidify his chances. A wife could handle the logistics, leaving Leo to engage in uninterrupted dialogue with Garrett about what Reynolds Capital could do for him that no one else could. His offer to Garrett didn’t expire for several weeks. He had plenty of time to get a wife in place.

When Leo returned to his darkened office, he sat at his laptop. Within fifteen minutes, Google provided a potential answer to the question of how to hire a wife. He’d had to wade through all the cleaning services and concierge services, then a few distasteful escort services, to find the definitive solution.

A matchmaking service.

Yes. Of course. It was not what he’d had in mind when he started the quest. Actually, he hadn’t been sure what he’d intended to find. But this was an intriguing answer. Leo had always thought he’d get married one day, when he could afford to transfer his energy to a relationship. Yet here he was on the downside of thirty-five and Reynolds Capital Management still took all of his focus. All of his time.

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