Copyright © Nicola Marsh 2021
Published by Nicola Marsh 2021
All the characters, names, places and incidents 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 and are used fictitiously. They’re not distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author and all the incidents in the book are pure invention. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
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.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the word marks mentioned in this work of fiction.
First Published by Harlequin Enterprises in 2004 as The Tycoon’s Dating Deal.
World English Rights Copyright © 2021 Nicola Marsh
Hardworking interior designer Kara Roberts will do anything to help save her surrogate mother’s dating agency…including agree to pose as her first crush’s fake girlfriend!
The guy she kissed and ditched at eighteen is now a successful, sexy lawyer. But Matt Byrne’s playboy reputation is threatening his quest for partnership and he needs an image overhaul. Matt proposes a lucrative deal to his idea of the perfect woman: be his public girlfriend for secret benefits.
Kara and Matt’s deal is strictly business but the old spark between them takes little to rekindle. Will the laws of attraction scuttle their deal and ruin them in the process?
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About the Author
Over the last 17 years, I’ve had 70 books published.
I write across various genres, including romance, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers, young adult paranormal and new adult.
Why is this book special?
It’s the first book I had published.
It will always hold a place in my heart, so while my writing and my stories may have evolved, we never forget our first love…
“You want me to do what?”
Kara Roberts stared at her best friend in disbelief. As much as she loved Sally, this time she’d gone too far.
“Please, Kara. Pretty please. You know my butt’s on the line, not to mention my business,” Sally cajoled, a hint of fear in her eyes. “I need you to sign up to the agency.”
Kara had never seen Sally so desperate. The agency must be in more trouble than the older woman had let on. With the advent of dating apps, Sally still preferred old school, face-to-face speed dating, and her clients seemed to appreciate it. But business had been quiet lately, despite Sally putting on a brave face.
Flopping into a nearby chair, Kara folded her arms and leaned back. “Okay, I’ll do it. Though just this once. You owe me big time, Sal. Real big.”
“Thanks, sweetie. You’re one in a million.”
Tears glittered in Sally’s eyes and Kara’s heart swelled with love for the amazing woman who had taken her in following her parents’ deaths. She’d been twelve years old when the two most important people in her life had died in a car accident. Sally, her mum’s best friend, stepped in and offered her a home. Not just a home. She’d supported, encouraged and loved her unequivocally so this one favour would be small repayment.
“Okay, now that my butt’s on the line instead of yours, what do I do?”
Sally shuffled through the mountain of paperwork on her desk. “Here. Fill these out for a start. This has to be legit so complete every form and sign on the dotted line.”
Kara took the stack of forms and leafed through them, seeing but not quite believing what she was reading. “You’ve got to be kidding. Eye colour of desired partner? Most romantic dinner? Most erotic place to be kissed? Where do you get this stuff?”
Sally crossed her arms, puffed out her cheeks and slowly exhaled. “I need that info to process your data in the computer. You know that. You’ve laughed about it for years, not to mention seen how it works. Why the cold feet now?”
“I’ve laughed about it when these ridiculous questions applied to other people. Now that I’m under the microscope, it’s not so funny. Besides, can’t I skip this part and get the dating over and done with?”
Sally shook her head. “If I’m to win the award for Sydney’s Dating Agency of The Year, I need you to complete everything. Your application will be processed with the rest of the applicants. You know I’m desperate, honey. When Maggie pulled out this morning, I was floundering. All you need to do is attend the speed dating dinner tonight.”
“Easy for you to say. What if someone I know sees me? They’ll think I’m some kind of desperado.”
Hurt flickered in Sally’s eyes. Matchmaker meant the world to Sally. Kara’s own business was precious so why should Sally’s be any different?
“Like the rest of my clients, you mean?”
“Sorry Sal. I’m not used to this. I prefer to get my dates the usual way.”
“Which way is that? You haven’t had a date in over a year.”
The truth hurt. Kara had steered clear of men over the last twelve months, tired of their game playing. Most of her dates were only after one thing and she was sick of the whole scene.
“That’s a bit harsh. I’ve had plenty of dates in the last few years.” She ignored the empty feeling that arose whenever the subject of men entered a conversation. Only one man had ever made her feel special and he was gone. Long gone.
“Sure you have, sweetie, which is why you