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The Mating Game: Big Bad Wolf(2)

By´╝ÜGeorgette St. Clair

Her aunt hesitated, looking a little unsure for the first time. “Well…yes, those interests do sound unusually feminine, but I didn’t just look at his pictures – I’ve called his office and his cell phone and talked to him on the phone at length, and I can assure you, the guy I talked to on the phone was all man. Heterosexual man, at that. I do have a feel for these things. That’s why I started this agency.”

Daisy nodded. “Your track record is good,” she conceded. Her aunt’s own marriage may have gone down in flames, but when it came to other people, she was the queen of match-making. Some said it was because Wynona’s great-grandmother on her mother’s side had been a witch. She had a touch of magic when it came to helping people find their life mate, whether human or shifter.

She was responsible for eight happy marriages and six long-term relationships that seemed to be headed to the altar, among her friends, former co-workers at the bank, and even casual acquaintances. She could sniff out a good match from a thousand paces.

That was why, after years of being nagged and prodded by her friends, Wynona had opened The Mating Game a week earlier, with money from a small inheritance and years of savings.

“And you’re fairly confident that he’s not some kind of Bluebeard with a bunch of dead wives stashed away somewhere? I mean, I have my pepper spray, but still…”

Wynona looked at her niece in horror. “Good God, woman. I do criminal background checks, and I talked to five references including his mother. You will be meeting him in a public place. Also, he’s actually pretty well known in some circles. And please don’t bring up Bluebeard on your date with him – I suspect that would be something of a mood killer.”

“Well known for what?” Daisy demanded skeptically.

“Local wolf made good. He was an Olympic boxer. Now he’s the president of his own sportswear company. In fact, there may be some press involved.”

Daisy swiveled around to stare at her aunt. “You fixed me up on a date with Ryker Harrison?”

Wynona looked pleased. “So you’ve heard of him!”

Sexy former Olympic boxer, who’d retired a few years ago at age thirty to form his own sportswear company? Seen on dates with one socialite after another clinging to his arm? Nicknamed “the Big Bad Wolf”? His image flashed through her mind – broad-shouldered, burly, with a sexy scar slashing through one eyebrow. He had thick, silky dark hair, a sexy scruff of five o’clock shadow, and a cupid’s bow curve to his upper lip.

“Who hasn’t? But seriously, Winnie, why would a man like that need a dating service? Rich, famous, gorgeous…women fling themselves at him. Literally. I was watching some awards ceremony and he was on a date with some model, and another woman ran up and leaped into his arms.”

That hadn’t ended well. The two women had rolled around on the sidewalk, screaming and pulling each other’s extensions out. Daisy’s mouth twitched into a smile at the memory.

Wynona looked at her with exasperation. “Do you not think you’re good enough for him, Daisy? That’s your mother’s voice in your head. Banish it. With an exorcist, if necessary.”

“Well, kind of…” Daisy glanced down at herself and her generously sized figure. “I mean, that’s part of it, I guess. It’s also the fact that this guy dates a different woman every week, and he doesn’t seem like someone who’s looking for a real relationship. When it comes to the man-whore thing, I’ve been there, done that, gave back the ring. ”

“Fair point,” Wynonna said. “I discussed that with him. A few years ago, a friend of his died in the boxing ring. That was when he finally retired from the sport, at his mother’s request. And he admits that after that, he went off the rails. But he hasn’t dated anyone at all in months. And the reason he wants to use a mating agency is because he’s looking to actually settle down. With someone like you. A down-to-earth woman who loves cubs, and who isn’t into the whole nightclub party celebrity thing. I told him that you weren’t into sports, and he said that was a plus, because he’s had it with groupies who only want him for his fame.”

“Can you imagine me on a date with Ryker? My mother would have a stroke.” Daisy could hardly suppress a smile at the thought of her mother’s reaction. Daisy’s family was proud of its affiliation with the First Shifters of Georgia, and her mother considered consorting with commoners to be the eighth deadly sin.

“Actually, Ryker apparently called your pack to see if this date would be all right with them, and your parents said it would be acceptable.”