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Matched to a Billionaire

By:Kat Cantrell

Matched to a Billionaire
Kat Cantrell

       One


Leo Reynolds wished he could marry his admin. It would make life so much simpler.

Unfortunately, she was already married and nearly twice his age. Plus,   women didn't stick around once they figured out he worked a hundred   hours a week on a consistent basis. Loneliness was the price of   catapulting Reynolds Capital Management into the big leagues of the   venture capital game.

"You're a life saver, Mrs. Gordon." Leo shot her a grateful smile and leaned back in his chair.

His laptop was refusing to speak to the printer and a critical document   had gotten caught in the middle of the dispute. The signed hard copy  now  in his hand was due to Garrett Engineering on the other side of  Dallas  in less than an hour.

"I'd hardly call printing a proposal saving your life." Mrs. Gordon   glanced at her watch in a deliberate gesture designed to point out the   time. "It's late and it's Friday. Take Jenna to that new restaurant in   Victory Park and let me handle the proposal. Relax for once. It'll be   good for you."

Leo grimaced as a ping of remorse bloomed and faded. "Jenna and I split up. She's already seeing someone else."

Hopefully, the new relationship would make her happy. She deserved a man   who could shower her with attention and affection. He regretted not   being able to give her what she wanted, but it would be patently unfair   to let Jenna keep hoping he'd ever become a man capable of focusing on a   relationship. As a result, he'd lost a comfortable companion.

"Of course she is. It's not like she ever saw you." Mrs. Gordon crossed   her arms and looked down her nose at Leo with a tsk. "Now who are you   going to take to the museum dedication?"

Leo groaned. He'd conveniently forgotten about that, but it wasn't as if   he could skip the dedication. The new children's museum in the Dallas   Arts District bore his name, after all, since he'd donated the money to   build it. "You're free next Saturday, aren't you?"

Mrs. Gordon cackled as though Leo had been joking. "One of these days,   I'm going to say yes when you ask me out and really mess with you. If   Jenna's not in the picture, find another woman. They seem to be pretty   thick on the ground."

Yeah, he tripped over women on a regular basis who would like to go out   with him. Or at least they thought they did, right up until they   realized they wouldn't be satisfied with what little time and attention   he could give. It never took very long to reach that point.

A vague hollow feeling invaded his gut, one he'd experienced more and   more lately. He'd written it off as an increased urgency to hit that   elusive, unachieved mark of success. But now that it had happened during   a discussion about his personal life, he wasn't so convinced.

"I hate dating." And small talk. That getting-to-know-you period took   time and energy he didn't care to expend. Reynolds Capital Management   came first. Always.

"That's because you don't do it often enough."

Here they went, off on her favorite subject. She never got tired of   scolding him about the lack of a permanent female in his life.

"Have you been talking to my mother again?"

"We went to lunch Tuesday, as a matter of fact. She says hi." Mrs.   Gordon raised her eyebrows and planted guilt simultaneously, as Leo was   sure she intended. He got it. He should call his mother. And date   eligible women.

Problem was, he not only hated dating, he also hated constantly standing   up dates and disappointing women who deserved better. But he liked   companionship and, well, he was a guy-sex was nice, too. Why couldn't   the perfect woman fall in his lap so he could focus on work?

"It is late," Leo said in what was no doubt a transparent attempt to   change the subject. "Why don't you go home and I'll take the proposal to   Garrett?"

He had until five o'clock to get it to Garrett Engineering, formally expressing his interest in doing business with them.

What Steve Jobs was to cell phones, Tommy Garrett was to internal   combustion engines. Or would be, as soon as funding was in place.   Garrett had invented a revolutionary modification to increase the gas   mileage of a standard car engine and Leo intended to be Garrett's   venture capital firm of choice. The partnership would net a sizable,   long-term profit for both men, and Leo could do what he did best-pull   strings behind the scenes.

If Leo won the deal.

No, not if. When.

Leo would never rest until his company hit that sweet spot of security,   where longevity was a given, not a question mark. His first million   hadn't done it. Neither had the first eight figures, because his profits   went straight back into leveraged investments that wouldn't pay off   until some point in the future. So he didn't rest.                       
       
           



       

"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.

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