Matched to Her Rival

By: Kat Cantrell
One

In the media business—and in life—presentation trumped everything else, and Dax Wakefield never underestimated the value of putting on a good show.

Careful attention to every detail was the reason his far-flung media empire had succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. So why was KDLS, the former jewel of his crown, turning in such dismal ratings?

Dax stopped at the receptionist’s desk in the lobby of the news station he’d come to fix. “Hey, Rebecca. How’s Brian’s math grade this semester?”

The receptionist’s smile widened as she fluffed her hair and threw her shoulders back to make sure he noticed her impressive figure.

He noticed. A man who enjoyed the female form as much as Dax always noticed.

“Good morning, Mr. Wakefield,” Rebecca chirped. “He made a C on his last report card. Such an improvement. It’s been like six months since I mentioned his grades. How on earth did you remember?”

Because Dax made it a point to keep at least one personal detail about all his employees front and center when speaking to them. The mark of success wasn’t simply who had the most money, but who had the best-run business, and no one could do it all by themselves. If people liked working for you, they stuck around, and turned themselves inside out to perform.

Usually. Dax had a few questions for Robert Smith, the station manager, about the latest ratings. Someone was tripping up somewhere.

Dax tapped his temple and grinned. “My mama encourages me to use this bad boy for good instead of evil. Is Robert around?”

The receptionist nodded and buzzed the lock on the security door. “They’re taping a segment. I’m sure he’s hovering near the set.”

“Say hi to Brian for me,” Dax called as he sailed through the frosted glass door and into the greatest show on earth—the morning news.

Cameramen and gaffers mixed it up, harried producers with electronic tablets stepped over thick cables on their way to the sound booth, and in the middle of it all sat KDLS’s star anchor, Monica McCreary. She was conversing on camera with a petite dark-haired woman who had great legs, despite being on the shorter side. She’d done a lot with what she had and he appreciated the effort.

Dax paused at the edge of the organized chaos and crossed his arms, locking gazes with the station manager. With a nod, Robert scurried across the ocean of people and equipment to join him.

“Saw the ratings, huh?” Robert murmured.

That was a quality Dax fully appreciated in his employees—the ability to read his mind.

Low ratings irritated him because there was no excuse. Sensationalism was key, and if nothing newsworthy happened, it was their job to create something worth watching, and ensure that something had Wakefield Media stamped on it.

“Yep.” Dax left it at that, for now. He had all day and the crew was in the middle of taping. “What’s this segment?”

“Dallas business owners. We feature one a week. Local interest stuff.”

Great Legs owned her own business? Interesting. Smart women equaled a huge turn-on.

“What’s she do? Cupcakes?”

Even from this distance, the woman exuded energy—a perky little cheerleader type who never met a curlicue or excess of decoration she didn’t like. He could see her dolloping frosting on a cupcake and charging an exorbitant price for it.

Dax could go for a cupcake. Literally and figuratively. Maybe even at the same time.

“Nah. She runs a dating service.” Robert nodded at the pair of women under the spotlight. “EA International. Caters to exclusive clients.”

The back of Dax’s neck heated instantly and all thoughts of cupcakes went out the window.

“I’m familiar with the company.”

Through narrowed eyes, Dax zeroed in on the Dallas business owner who had cost him his oldest friend. Someone who called herself a matchmaker should be withered and stooped, with gray hair. It was such an antiquated notion. And it should be against the law.

The anchor laughed at something the matchmaker said and leaned forward. “So you’re Dallas’s answer to a fairy godmother?”

“I like to think of myself as one. Who doesn’t need a bit of magic in their lives?” Her sleek dark hair swung freely as she talked with her hands, expression animated.

“You recently matched the Delamerian prince with his fiancée, right?” Monica winked. “Women everywhere are cursing that, I’m sure.”

“I can’t take credit.” The matchmaker smiled and it transformed her entire demeanor. “Prince Alain—Finn—and Juliet had a previous relationship. I just helped them realize it wasn’t over.”

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