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Authors: Nicola Marsh

Crazy Love

BOOK: Crazy Love
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CRAZY LOVE

 

By

 

Nicola Marsh

 

 

 

Kindle Edition

Copyright © Nicola Marsh 2012

 

Published by Nicola Marsh 2012

 

All the characters in this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They’re not distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author and all the incidents in the book are pure invention.

 

All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in any form. The text or any part of the publication may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the publisher.

 

 

Discover other titles by USA TODAY bestselling author Nicola Marsh at

http://www.nicolamarsh.com

 

 

Recent titles by Nicola Marsh:

 

Not the Marrying Kind

Busted in Bollywood

Marrying the Enemy

Wedding Date with Mr. Wrong

Falling for Flynn

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

Cupid’s Dating Tips for the Enlightened Male

Acknowledge you don’t look like George Clooney (and get over it.)

 

 

“I’m in love.”

Sierra Kent ignored her loquacious BFF Belle and focused on her PC, her French manicured nails flying over the keyboard as she entered Love Byte’s latest batch of dating applicants. “Sure you are, hon. It’s where we live and it’s—”

“What makes the world go round. Yeah, yeah, heard it all before.”

Belle Adamson, her best friend since grade school, wandered behind the desk to peer over her shoulder. “Save the BS for your clients because I’m not buying it. Besides, I only said that to get your attention.”

Sierra paused, surprised by Belle’s bitter tone.

“What’s up?”

Belle ignored the question, her green eyes widening as she stared at the computer screen.

“Who’s
that
?”

“The agency’s latest applicant.” Sierra glanced at the photo she’d downloaded and wolf-whistled. “Pretty damn hot, huh?”

Belle fanned her face. “Any chance of matching me with him?”

“What happened to being in love?”

“I meant our town, obviously.” Belle grinned, her gaze riveted to the screen. “Now start matchmaking.”

Sierra laughed and erased the image of applicant 8049 with a tap on the delete key. “This is a dating agency, not a matchmaking service.”

Belle arched a perfectly shaped eyebrow. “The difference is?”

“Fill out the forms like everyone else, let me input your info into trusty Cupid and his megabytes will statistically find you a suitable date.” She snapped her fingers. “And hand over the hundred dollar fee like everyone else.”

“What do I get for the matchmaking service?”

“A bottle of tequila, a push-up bra and free entry into Venus for a night?”

Belle screwed up her nose and perched on the edge of the desk. “I’m sick of the cowboys and out-of-towners in that joint. Besides,” she patted the sides of her DD breasts and smirked like a woman well aware of her assets, “I get by on what the good Lord gave me. Though the tequila sounds like a plan.”

“Mexican? My place at seven?”

“We talking food or a tall, dark, handsome stranger from south of the border?”

“That applicant was blond. Nice to know you’re not fussy.”

Belle slid off the desk, tugged her pastel pink beautician’s uniform over her lush curves and picked up her handbag.

“With my luck lately I’d settle for a Martian.”

“I hear it’s not the size of the antenna that’s important, it’s the way the Martian wiggles it.”

Belle performed an imaginary drum roll complete with cymbal crash. “An oldie but a goodie. Later, babe.”

As Belle strolled out of the office working her hips, Sierra wondered why her gorgeous friend hadn’t found love yet. Curvy, stacked blondes were always the rage yet Belle hadn’t been serious about a guy since…ever.

Sierra put it down to the intimidation factor. Guys took one look at Belle’s hot bod and movie star blonde bombshell attitude and bolted for the nearest cold shower and porno flick, not necessarily in that order.

And despite her interest in Love Byte, Belle had never let Sierra input her data into the computer. “
I’m not a desperado. Yet
.” Was her usual spiel but now she’d turned thirty, who knew?

Besides, it was difficult coping with single-dom when surrounded by Love. Ask the town’s twelve thousand inhabitants who happily touted the emotion to anyone willing to listen.

And people did. Crowds flocked to the only place in the good ol’ US of A that promised the often unattainable for those lucky enough to visit.

Personally, Sierra preferred LA for its hip vibe. Instead, she was stuck an hour south of the City of Angels, surrounded by kitschy reminders of an emotion she touted for a living but didn’t believe in.

Dolores Kent did, which is why Sierra had been here since the age of ten, when her dad ran off and her mom settled in the hope of finding the fabled love the town promised. It never eventuated and Dolores now resided in Nepal trying to find nirvana on a higher plain.

Despite Sierra’s initial loathing, the place had grown on her. Thanks to a stint on Letterman a few years back Love had blossomed with lonely hearts flocking in droves, eager to test the theory the town lived up to its name.

With Sierra’s input, it did. She loved computers and loved people, and her passion for matchmaking had created Love Byte, one of California’s largest Internet dating sites.

People thought it romantic to be matched in Love. She found it corny yet lucrative and she’d proudly watched her business grow from working out of her back room with a single computer and a few local applicants to an office, a plethora of virtual assistants and enough work to keep her in the designer gear she coveted.

It hadn’t hurt when Hollywood’s resident bad-boy Porter Davey, researching a part in his latest blockbuster romantic comedy about dating in the twenty-first century, had stumbled across her website. He’d plugged his name in as a joke, filled out an application and been totally blown away when matched with Jaime Sutton, the darling of the Australian tennis world.

Jaime, whose coach was a born and bred Lovernian, had entered her data into Love Byte’s computer as part of a promotion to coincide with her first sponsorship deal with a Silicon Valley mega corporation, and Sierra hadn’t removed it.

Neither Porter nor Jaime had minded her gaff and when the two met at her office where she’d called an emergency meeting to apologize for the mistake, they’d taken one look at each other and fallen head over heels.

She’d milked every drop of PR from the Davey-Sutton match and as a result had enough business to last into the next decade.

Sipping at her cappuccino, Sierra opened her sixtieth email for the afternoon, her attention momentarily snagged by yet another gorgeous guy with come-get-me eyes and a dimpled smile. Her job was tough but somebody had to do it and she tilted her head to one side, wondering if the picture had been Photo-shopped.

As she leaned forward for a closer look, the outer bell rang and she winced as the first few bars of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” pealed out. The tacky factor always made her cringe but the customers loved it. And what the paying patrons loved she provided. She’d wasted enough years rebelling against the town and all it stood for before finally realizing if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em.

“I’ll be with you in a sec,” she called out, hitting ‘save’ before leaving her PC, having learned diligence the hard way via a computer crash in the early days that left her manic for a week.

Though it hadn’t been all bad. The computer geek from LA had turned out to be anything but and they’d created a few wham-bam crashes of the horizontal kind while he’d been in town. Something she didn’t usually do but hey, she’d always been a sucker for a kindred spirit and Mr. Motherboard had been a loner, one with nice pecs and dimples to boot. They’d flirted, they’d danced, they’d fooled around a bit.

The memory brought a smile to her face, which widened further as she caught a glimpse of her visitor.

Pity Belle hadn’t stuck around because the guy inspecting the photos of married couples on her wall was the clichéd tall, dark and handsome in a big way.

“Can I help you?”

He turned, his piercing gaze making her skin prickle like she’d consumed an ocean’s worth of shrimp, guaranteed to bring her out in hives.

His eyes were dark as coal, Superman eyes, able to penetrate concrete and women’s outer layers of clothing with a single stare.

“I hope so. Nobody else in this town seems to know the meaning of the word.”

Uh-oh. Not easy to place, these ones. They got a ten in the looks and body department but most women wanted a pleasant conversationalist too, not a grizzly with a temperament to match.

“I’m looking for the matchmaking woman. Is she around?”

O-kay
. Make that grizzly with a sore tooth.

Mustering her best placating smile, she held out her hand. “I’m Sierra Kent, owner of Love Byte.”

He ignored her outstretched hand, his gaze flicking from head to foot as if assessing her credentials. “Figures.”

Her hand dropped and she amended her summation to grizzly with a sore tooth and a bad case of PMS. Surely her
credentials
weren’t that bad?

Only one way to handle an old grizzly: bait him further. Besides, she was all out of honey.

“You aren’t here to fill out an application?”

The frown tattooed between his brows deepened. “I’m not here for a job, if that’s what you mean.”

Maybe old grizzly was plain dumb as well?

“This is a dating agency, Mr.? That’s right, I didn’t quite catch your name. Must’ve missed it along with the introductory hand shake.”

His lips twitched with amusement. Nah…that would mean the guy actually had a sense of humor and from his dour expression, she doubted it.

“Marc Fairley.”

Fairley? Surely he couldn’t be related to the sweet lady her Uncle Hank was courting?

“I hear you’ve brainwashed my mother into believing the bull you spout here.”

Great. Not only was Mr. High and Mighty related, he was Olivia Fairley’s son?

Interfering relatives she could do without, especially ones that threatened her uncle’s happiness. Hank was the one guy who had never let her down and if she could repay him in any way she’d do it.

He’d asked her to help organize the wedding, the first time he’d ever asked her for anything and she would do everything in her power to make it happen.

As for grizzly, he’d have to get used to the fact his mother and Hank were tying the knot and butt out.

She gritted her teeth and forced a polite smile. “Mr. Fairley, I—”

“Call me Marc.”

She hated interruptions, adding rude and condescending to his growing list of faults, and continued as if he hadn’t spoken.

“I’m not sure what you’ve heard but I run a respectable business here. Your mother approached me in search of companionship and I’ve provided that for her.”

“Save the spiel. I’m not one of your gullible singles.”

“Your wife must be so proud,” she muttered, resisting the urge to pick up the nearest object, which happened to be one of the elephants she collected, and fling it at him Frisbee-style. Nothing like a good tusk in the eye to prove a point.

He stiffened and thrust his hands into his pockets. “I’m not married. Not that it’s any of your business.”

“That’s where you’re wrong.”

She sauntered to the front desk, throwing in an extra hip wiggle for the fun of it, picked up a folder and held it out to him.

“Making people happy is my business and if my services lead people to marriage? Bonus.”

He didn’t take the folder so the placed it in front of him and tapped it. “I can see where your problem lies. You’re single and not enjoying it so check out my brochures, fill out the forms, and I can rectify that little problem for you in a second.”

She snapped her fingers, struggling to keep a straight face as his lips compressed, his dark gaze hard and uncompromising. She hadn’t had this much fun in ages and baiting Marc Fairley could easily become a new pastime.

“Promise not to think you’re
gullible
.”

His face reddened, his neck muscles tensed and his eyes narrowed to angry slits. However, just when their discussion promised to get interesting, he surprised her.

“Fine. I’ll look over your information and get back to you.”

He grabbed the folder and stalked out the door, leaving her slightly disappointed. She’d expected more of a fight but grizzly had sheathed his claws and retreated.

Men like him, stimulating, challenging, with enough arrogance to keep her interested, didn’t drop by every day and she’d hoped to get a few more barbs in before he left.

BOOK: Crazy Love
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ads

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