by Leisa Rayven
Toby Jenner may be tall, handsome, and own the world’s greatest collection of cardigans, but his track record with women is woeful. Even though he’s the tech genius behind the most successful matchmaking app of all time, it seems as though Doctor Love is able to predict everyone’s perfect partner except his own.
All that changes when a beautiful, intelligent, quirky-as-hell woman crashes into his life. Plagued by her own relationship woes, Joanna’s done with dating guys who aren’t right and pins her hopes on the Happy Ever After app turning her love life around.
Within hours of meeting her, Toby realizes he’s finally found the soul-deep connection he’s always craved. Even better, she seems to feel the same way.
There’s just one problem–according to his own state-of-the-art compatibility algorithm, they don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of working out.
Being a man of logic, Toby knows he should forget about her and move on. He knows he shouldn’t move into her plush Manhattan apartment so he can monitor the glitchy A. I. that runs/ruins her life. He knows he should be fine with her dating men whose compatibility scores aren’t in the single digits. And he should absolutely ignore how just being near her sets his entire world on fire.
Yes, Toby is very aware that falling for his perfectly imperfect match will lead to devastating heartbreak. But he also knows that if there’s even a one-percent chance of them making it, he’ll move heaven and earth to beat the odds.
A sizzling new standalone from the internationally bestselling author of Bad Romeo.
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I down more of my drink. For an eighteen-dollarish glass of whiskey, it’s not bad.
When I glance at Eden, I see her eyes have glazed over. I follow her gaze across the room to where her boyfriend is talking to one of the test couples. As if he feels her staring, Max turns, and the expression he gets makes me shake my head. Pretty sure I’ve never looked at a girl like that, but I’d like to.
I wonder what it must be like to be that much in love. The way they’re looking at each other … the chemistry is so thick, you can almost see it shimmering in the air. It’s like there’s no one else in this entire place but them. Whenever I witness the passion between Eden and Max, I wonder if that sort of depth of emotion is reserved for a lucky few. Will everyone get to feel something that powerful during their lifetimes? Or is it some kind of cosmic lottery that most of us never get to win?
“Out of interest,” I say. “Did you and Max fill out your compatibility questionnaires?”
Eden drags herself away from her man and leans one elbow on the bar. “Of course. Max wanted to make sure your algorithm was working.”
“So, what did you score?”
She gives me a smug smile. “Ninety-two.”
I almost choke on my own saliva. “Are you fucking kidding me?”
She looks confused. “No. Why?”
I stand up straighter. “Just haven’t seen a score that high before. New record.” Up until now, the highest was eighty-six, and that was one of my research couples who’d been together for thirty years. “Guess it must feel good to know you chose right.”
She smiles wistfully into her wine. “I don’t need a score to tell me Max is my soul mate. When you know, you know.”
I roll my neck again to try and relieve the tension in my shoulders. “So I hear.”
She touches my forearm, and I can feel the sympathy she’s exuding. “Toby, you’re a six-foot-five, totally ripped, scruffily handsome genius. I have zero doubt you’ll meet your perfect match someday soon.”
I shrug her off. “Doesn’t bother me.” I’m such a liar. I want a soul mate just as much as the next person. I just doubt it’s something I’m ever going to have.
Eden frowns for a second, before turning to me with an excited expression. “Well smack my ass and call me stupid, why didn’t I think of it before? I have a single friend who’d be great for you.”
Oh, Jesus, here we go. “Yeah, I don’t think so.”
“Just hear me out. She’s gorgeous, intelligent, quirky as hell––”
“Eden, I’m the professional matchmaker here. How about we leave potential dates to the expert instead of just hooking me up with some random woman you know.”
“She’s not random. She’s Asha’s best friend.”
I cringe. “Are you talking about that Joanna chick you mentioned ages ago? The one who first told you about Mister Romance? Didn’t you say she was a compulsive liar?”
“That was before I got to know her. She’s actually remarkably cool.”
“I’m sure. Still not interested. Plus, I’ve already made it clear that until this app is out in the big, bad world, I have zero time to scratch myself, let alone date.”
She nods like she understands, but knowing Eden, this subject is not being dropped any time soon. “Okay. Sure. I hear you. But just know that one day, you’ll meet someone amazing and forget all about how busy you are. When your soul mate shows up, you can try to deny them, or ignore them, but it won’t work. They’ll bully their way into your life whether you want them to or not. Take it from someone who knows.”
I down the dregs of my whiskey and put the empty glass on the bar. I love Eden like a sister, and I’m grateful that she looks out for me, but I’m really not in the mood for this conversation tonight. She’s working on the assumption that there’s someone out there for everyone, and the more I study the numbers, the more certain I am that most of us are destined to stagger from one bad relationship to the next, until we die, miserable and alone.
“Well, thanks for the drink,” I say as I pat her shoulder. “But I really need to get back to work.” Without waiting for permission, I sit back down in front of my laptop and open it.
She rubs my back. “Okay, then, Doctor Love. Go matchmake your little heart out. I have to head home to finish up a story, but I’ll see you at work on Monday, okay?”
“Yep, see you then.”
As she heads across the room to kiss Max goodbye, I watch them for a few seconds before taking a deep breath and diving back into the dizzying labyrinth of code on the screen in front of me.
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Author, actor, and professional snuggler, Leisa is the creator of the critically acclaimed Starcrossed series, published through Macmillan New York: BAD ROMEO, BROKEN JULIET, and WICKED HEART. The finale in the Starcrossed series was the holiday-themed anthology, BAD ROMEO CHRISTMAS.
Her latest endeavor is the Masters of Love series, which has everyone swooning over some spectacular book boyfriends who will do anything for their soul mates. The first two books, (MISTER ROMANCE and PROFESSOR FEELGOOD,) are now available, and DOCTOR LOVE is scheduled to be published in early 2019.
Leisa’s books have gained hordes of passionate fans all over the world, and can be found on e-readers and bookshelves in fifteen foreign countries, and she’s also been featured on various international bestseller lists.
Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two enormous teenage sons, four cats, and a kangaroo named Howard. (Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.)
When Leisa isn’t writing books, she’s probably eating cheese. Or guacamole. Or cheese covered in guacamole.
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