The Matchmaker Bride (The Bride Series) (5 page)

 

“I thought…” she tried to continue but the lump in her throat kept getting huge and unbearable.

 

“I didn’t say that I wasn’t interested in being matched up at Stone’s.”

 

“Yes, but…I thought….I mean you said yes and…well.”

 

“Can’t a guy change his mind?” he said looking directly into her eyes. “I want to see more of you, Ms. Wilson.”

 

A thousand butterflies tingled inside her belly.
His voice.
That voice
was  so
….mesmerizing.
Soothing.
Irresistible.

 

“I thought we were on first name basis…” she said faintly trying to buy time. She hoped he could not hear her heart thumping loud in her chest.

 

“Sophie. You’re as precious as your name sounds. I’ll pick you up tomorrow night at seven. I want to take you somewhere classy.”

 

“Are you asking me out on a date?”

 

“You could say that…or you could call it research!” He cocked his brow with a grin on his face.

 

Sophie still felt flustered. “But we’re…I mean you and I can’t be a match.”

 

“Says who?”

 

Sophie should be thrilled to have this man ask her on a date. But he was strictly off limits. Still, she was terrified of the consequences. She just could not do this. Not to her client.
Especially not to the agency.
She had to get out of this situation like yesterday. No, she had to get her heart
and
her butt out of this situation now or she would be the agency’s roast of the day.

 

 

 

6

 

“You did what?” Sophie’s good friend Trina said as her jaw fell open.

 

The next day the two ladies had met at Starbucks to catch up on old times and to discuss what mess Sophie had gotten herself into—this time. Trina was one of her closest
long time
friends she could speak with. Trina had a reputation of never repeating secrets and often gave good advice.

 

“The sad part is I think I’m falling for him,” Sophie bit down hard on her lip. She sighed and picked up her steaming double
double
coffee hoping a sip would calm her nerves down or sharpen her senses.

 

“So you agreed to go out with him tonight?”

 

“Well, not exactly. What was I supposed to do?”

 

“Girl, I see your point.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Too bad he belongs to your client.”

 

“But does he? That’s the question.”

 

“Ooh, girl, sounds like you’re doing a bit of what is that term they use in psychology?
Justification.
Some defence mechanism.”

 

“I’m not justifying anything, Trina. I mean he did say that he didn’t want anything to do with the client.”

 

 “Well, all I can say then is you need to follow your heart. You only live once. Why lose him?”

 

“Because I may end up losing the most important contract for my boss not to mentioned being blacklisted.
I mean they are really counting on me making this match for them.” Sophie sighed heavily as she placed her coffee back on the table and slouched back in her seat.

 

“The client will be coming into town to meet him soon. She seems anxious for this match to go through and well, so does Mrs. Stone. How am I going to handle this horrible…mix up without hurting anyone? I mean rules are rules! The agency said not to get involved.”

 

“Yeah, but what if the client wants to get involved with you instead?” Her friend raised a brow which left Sophie thinking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

It was Wednesday evening and Carlos smiled to himself as he looked into the mirror shaving. He should have been getting ready for his date but he was getting ready for bed. Sophie of course, couldn’t make their date tonight but that was okay. He got caught up with his latest business deal and he also had to go the mansion to check on his sister’s progress with the live-in nanny and therapist he’d hired for her.

 

His mind ran back on Sophie from yesterday. He’d never met anyone like her before. Not only was she beautiful on the outside but she had a heart of gold. Most women would throw themselves at his feet in a heartbeat. Many have tried to trap him with fake pregnancies. He’s sure she must know a little about his background, yet it didn’t seem to
phase
her. What mattered to her was doing her job. For once, he think he understood what love at first sight meant and he detested it, falling in love would only complicate matters. He tried to reject images of her in his bed and those shapely legs of hers wrapped around his waist. For a woman to take his mind off his problems and the custody battle, that was magical and he didn’t know if it was a good thing or a disaster waiting to happen, to be involved with her on any level.  She actually had a calming effect on him for some strange reason. How odd. No other human being

 

had
that on him. There was something about her vibes.
Her aura.
Her voice.
He knew that falling in love could make him vulnerable but he really had to see her again and see if he could really find his own mate not just temporary. He would love to see where this could possibly lead. And if she agreed to be his wife for a while
all the
better. He’d enjoyed her company and would like to continue seeing her. He never did feel anything for Lady Sandy when he finally got around to seeing her picture and her in depth profile—even though it would only be for a contract. She seemed like an opportunist who would do anything for money and would be glad if he never had to use her services for anything. Not even for pretense. Oh, Sophie was special alright. She may have matchmaking on her mind for the agency but he’s got something else on his mind. A proposition she won’t refuse.
Because when Carlos’s mind is set on something.
He goes for it and he never fails.

 

 

 

8

 

Early on Saturday morning, Sophie headed out the door to Macy’s House, her volunteer job, the one place she felt secure, where what she did really mattered. The last few days after working on her report she’d managed to speak to Carlos on the phone but avoided seeing him again in person. She’d met him briefly on Thursday at his request and they ended up having lunch again at a five-star restaurant outside his office where he wanted to discuss business. She could not believe how charming he was and how much they clicked. They had a lot in common. For instance, they both cared about the future of children with special needs and what society was doing to help them. He didn’t even mind that she liked to line up her salt and pepper and condiments on the table by her plate. He found it charming. She seemed so comfortable around him. She could not stop thinking about him all week. He made her feel safe.
Respected.
Appreciated.
Still, it was now Saturday and she had the weekend to finish up the report on him to hand into the agency on Monday. But now was her time with the kids.

 

The children at the centre really appreciated her presence and she loved being around them. Macy’s House was a place where children of

 

special
needs could receive fun activities while giving respite to their primary caregivers.

 

Sophie felt good to be out of her business attire and high heels and just in her natural element. She wore a soft stretchable hip hugging jeans and a close fitting white t-shirt which had the display Autism Awareness. Her long silky locks pinned up into a pony tail.

 

“Sophie,” a little girl with autism called out and hugged her. It wasn’t long ago that this little girl had come to the agency. She previously had a history of not speaking but with intense behavioral intervention she apparently became more verbal. She had Asperger’s syndrome.

 

The little girl had come in last week for the first time and had taken a liking to Sophie and the feeling was mutual. She loved working with all the kids but there was something special about the little girl. She’d heard that the father had passed away recently and the
  mother
was in drug rehab. She felt sorry for her but could relate to having a parent go through substance abuse. It wasn’t easy. Still, according to the girl’s background history, she’d come a long way since being diagnosed at age two.
A miracle.
The earlier autism spectrum disorder was caught, with the right kind of therapy it can be treated as the brain develops. Sophie heard that the little girl had no social skills prior and now, from the assistance of an unknown wealthy relative she’d been given the best treatment with a one-on-one practically live-in therapist. The therapist usually took the child to centres and camp on behalf of the family. She wished she could have adopted the girl herself. She could relate very much to the little girl. Though she’d herself had been diagnosed later in life, she’d managed to find ways to pay for her therapy to help her with her social skills and her habits. It’s almost unnoticeable. But more education needs to be out there. Sophie was living an ordinary life by most standards. Of course, she had high functioning Asperger’s condition. She mostly felt awkward in a lot of social situations, mostly with adults though.  

 

“Hi,
Bria
!
How are you today?”

 

“Fine,” the little girl replied after pausing for a moment.

 

Sophie pulled out a chart, unaware that another parent was watching her. “Well, let’s look at our schedule today,
Bria
. Hmm…” Sophie pulled out pictures on a Velcro sheet of paper and watched as the girl’s eyes glowed. The pictures were of
  various
activities and cartoons.

 

“Okay, so first, we’ll sing the hello song. Then, we’ll play with the arts and craft, then we’ll play games, then we’ll eat lunch, then we’ll say goodbye.”

 

Sophie’s smile was infectious and seemed to reach the little girl’s heart as she smiled and clapped and flapped
  her
  hands in excitement.

 

The little girl pulled out the first picture of the song and pinned it on the board.

 

“Wow, you seem really good with the children,” a parent nearby had commented. She was new to the centre. There were a dozen kids with caregivers or teachers in the play room the size of a gym while other parents chose to watch behind the one-way glass in the next room to see how their child interacted and worked in the program.

 

“Oh, thank you,” Sophie said, blushing. “Children with autism respond quite well to a well-scheduled day. It’s fun to incorporate activities they enjoy as well as routine ones. I can make a board for
  you
later for your child.”

 

“Oh, my thank you.
Are you going to be joining us later at the Annual Pool Party and Barbecue?”

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