Wrong Brother, Right Match

By: Jennifer Shirk

For my intelligent, funny, beautiful teenaged daughter, who actually admitted on Instagram that I was cool. I’m forever saving that post!





Chapter One


Kennedy Pepperdine’s life could not be more perfect.

Well, technically it could be, she supposed. That half-baked rival matchmaking firm that opened up six months ago could go belly-up, and then her life really would be set. But for right now, her business, Match Made Easy, was holding its own, she’d just delivered a successful presentation on her new matchmaking software, and—best of all—she was in love.

Perfect.

Thoughts drifting to her perfect boyfriend, Kennedy pulled out her cell phone as she made her way through the Chairman’s Lounge of the Bellagio hotel. Since arriving in Vegas for the Creative Technology Developer Conference four days ago, she and Justin had only had time to exchange voicemail messages. Justin worked at the Briarwood Investments firm in Boston, and he had been adamant about it being the worst possible time to leave and that his workload simply would not allow it.

Although disappointed, she couldn’t fault him for wanting to get ahead in his firm. She felt the same way about her own business. They were both workaholics, they both wanted 2.5 kids and a dog, and they shared the same Game of Thrones TV-watching obsession—which was why they were so perfect for each other.

Her matchmaking software was obviously a success.

She’d tested it on herself early in its initial phase, which was how she met Justin in the first place. It was just the break she needed for her company. The numbers proved Match Made Easy was taking a hit from the competition, so she’d needed to come up with something fast before her business was in real danger. However, now she needed to get back to her hotel room. Her feet throbbed, and her mouth was dry from speaking. All she wanted to do was share her day with Justin and take a long, hot bath. But as soon as she tapped his name on her cell phone, it rang once and went right to voicemail. Again.

She gritted her teeth. At this rate, she considered herself going steady with that stupid automated message.

“Hi, sweetie, it’s me—Kennedy. Again.” She winced at herself for adding the “again” part. She never wanted to be one of those petulant girlfriend types. “Um, I just finished my presentation and everything went great. Just wanted you to know my flight leaves early tomorrow morning. Can’t wait to see you.” And finally speak to you. “Hope everything is good. Miss you.” She clicked her phone off and tossed it in her purse.

Not a big deal, she reminded herself for the sixth time this weekend. Lots of executive couples went days—weeks, even—without speaking to each other. A part of today’s urban culture. It had absolutely nothing to do with him not missing her. Except…

Well…

Wouldn’t he have tried to call her in the middle of the night? Wouldn’t he have needed to hear her voice at least once during her trip? Maybe even when he first woke up in the morning before he got out of bed and started his day?

No. No way. She refused to let any more doubt cloud her opinion of him or their relationship. He was handsome and driven and everything she was looking for in a man. So what if he couldn’t find the time to call her?

She picked up her pace to the elevator and counted herself lucky—dang lucky—for even finding such a focused, hardworking boyfriend. The man was a complete prince and always there for her when she truly needed him.

She glanced around the spacious entryway. The elevators were off to the left. She hated elevators—actually, she hated small spaces in general. Much like airplanes, they were a necessary evil in life, so she dashed in that direction. She was already contemplating her exact room service order when she saw the up elevator doors open, but then they almost immediately began to close again.

Oh, no! “Hold the elevator, please!” She pressed her briefcase to her chest as her heels pounded the marble flooring as fast as her tippy toes would allow.

Just when she thought she’d missed her chance and would be stuck waiting, a large hand shot out, keeping the doors from closing. Thank goodness. The elevators were beyond slow because of the huge conference crowd. Huffing and puffing—she really should visit her cousin’s gym more—she stumbled into the elevator with dizzying relief.

She caught her breath and finally looked up into the eyes of her saving grace, only to have her lungs deflate all over again. Oh, dear heaven above. She actually melted a little, grateful the wall of the elevator kept her somewhat upright. Elevator Guy was ridiculously gorgeous. So gorgeous that despite the jeans, sensible blue collared shirt, and blazer ensemble he was sporting, she still had to wonder if he was a headliner at the Chippendales show next door. He had sandy brown hair that was in need of a good trim and just a teensy bit of facial hair that was somewhere between a five o’clock shadow and a short beard. All that combined with the intensely serious expression on his face made him seem just a little bit dangerous. But dangerous in a good way.

A very good way.

That is, if she were into handsome, dangerous men and wasn’t already in a fantastic relationship with a handsome man of her own.