It Happened One Wedding Page 2

It would be a shame to let a woman like that end her Friday night on such a sour note.

 • • •

WELL, THAT HAD been unfortunate.

Sidney Sinclair texted her best friend, Trish, who’d helped create her dating profile last Saturday night over a bottle of pinot noir. At the time, the idea of online dating had struck her as fun and exciting—and maybe it would still prove to be that—but thus far, she was batting 0 and 1.


Within seconds, Trish texted back. ISN’T TALKING A GOOD THING ON A FIRST DATE?

Of course, Trish was trying to put a positive spin on things. As the happily-married-with-child best friend of a single, thirty-three-year-old woman, it was part of the job description.



No kidding. William, aka Bachelor Number One, had seemed to have a lot of potential. As a trader, he was in the investment business. Right there, they’d had some common ground, something they—meaning her included—could talk about. And he’d said he liked to travel, go to the movies, and enjoyed trying new restaurants in the city. All of which fell solidly in the “plus” column.

What he hadn’t mentioned in his profile was that he liked to talk about these things in mind-numbing detail.

Not that Sidney couldn’t appreciate that people sometimes got nervous on first dates and might possibly talk a lot to compensate for that. But William hadn’t seemed nervous so much as full of himself—and that definitely merited a big old pass in her book.

One of the things Sidney had decided, now that she was back in Chicago after eight years in New York, was that she needed to have a plan when it came to dating. It had been six months since she’d broken her engagement with her now ex-fiancé—plenty of time to mourn the loss of that relationship.

Moving back to Chicago, her hometown, was her chance to get a fresh start. And to make the most of the opportunity, Sidney had decided to draw on the skills she’d cultivated in her professional life. As a director at one of the most successful private equity firms in the country, she had great instincts when it came to determining whether a company was a good or bad investment. Those instincts, in fact, were the reason her new firm had approached her three months ago, at the Manhattan-based investment bank where she’d previously worked, and asked her to manage a four-billion-dollar fund they’d nearly finished raising.

Now she simply needed to apply those same instincts to her personal life. One had to be somewhat businesslike in order to survive the thirtysomething dating scene; to be successful, she needed to be open to new prospects, but also decisive and quick to move on when a candidate looked to be a less-than-stellar investment.

Maybe some would say her approach to dating was too pragmatic, perhaps even somewhat aloof. Maybe some people would say that she should follow her heart instead of her head when it came to falling in love.

She used to be one of those people.

“At least the coffee’s good here.”

The rich masculine voice had a hint of rough grit to it. Sidney looked up from her cell phone and—


It was him. The hot guy she’d noticed when she’d first walked into the coffee shop. He was tall and somehow managed to look ruggedly sexy, despite the rather conservative dark gray suit and blue tie he wore. Maybe it was the short cut of his thick, brown hair. Or his keen hazel eyes. Or his strong, chiseled jaw with that just-perfect amount of five-o’clock shadow.

Too bad she had no clue what he was talking about.

“The coffee?” she asked. “As opposed to . . . ?”

“The conversation,” he said. “Your date looked like it could’ve gone better.”

“You noticed that, did you?” She wasn’t sure how she felt about the fact that a perfect stranger had been paying such close attention to her date.

“Yes. But only because I’m trained to notice things.” He flashed her a smile. “It’s not like I’m some creepy perv or something.”

“Probably that’s exactly what a creepy perv would say.”

“True.” There was a teasing gleam in his eyes. “I could show you my badge, if that’ll make you feel better.”

Sidney looked him over more closely. Presumably, this reference to a “badge” meant he was in some kind of law enforcement. She could see that—he had the bold air of someone accustomed to being in a position of authority. “Why do I get the feeling I’m not the first strange woman you’ve offered to show your badge to?”

“Trust me, in my line of work, a lot of strange women have seen my badge. Strange men, too.” With that, he grabbed the chair on the opposite end of the table and sat down.

Um. . . hello? Sidney gestured to the chair he’d just helped himself to. “What are you doing?”

He looked at her as if this was obvious. “Starting a conversation.”

“But I don’t even know you.”

“That’s why I’m starting a conversation. Let’s begin with the basics. Like your name.”

Ah, right. Sidney knew exactly what was happening here. This guy had seen her on her failed date, had obviously deduced that she was single, and now thought she was easy pickings.

“I’m not giving you my name,” she said.

“All right, then. ‘Ms. Doe,’ it is,” he said, undeterred. “Why don’t you tell me a little about yourself, Ms. Doe?”

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