The Date Maker is a scam!
Morgan Jones uses this "dating service" to prey on unsuspecting victims, whose only crime is trying to find love.
"The Date Maker," as she likes to be called, even admits to cheating one customer from winning a massive giveaway while promoting her service. What else is she hiding?
Harmony looked at her screen in shock. One of her friends from Florida Southern College had sent the article to her, thinking she would find it interesting. And she did.
She'd worked with Morgan at the local coffee shop for the last year. And while the two girls had never hung out together outside of work, and couldn't be considered best friends or anything, Harmony still liked her. In Harmony’s experience, Morgan had always been meticulous in her work, kind to customers, and the very opposite of what this article claimed.
Harmony did a quick search online and saw the article was circulating among a bunch of students at FSC and the other colleges in town. Most people had harsh words to say about Morgan and her Date Maker service. They called it a joke. They called her names.
The entire thing made Harmony feel icky.
When she looked at Morgan's different social media accounts, Harmony noticed her friend was suspiciously quiet. She wasn’t even trying to defend herself. Did that mean the accusations were true?
It was possible Morgan hadn't seen it yet, Harmony reassured herself. She didn't need to jump to the same conclusions as everyone else. It was doubtful any of these people actually knew Morgan, or used the Date Maker service.
Knock! Knock! Knock!
An urgent pounding at the door pulled Harmony from the train wreck—also known as the Date Maker scandal—splashed across her laptop screen, and she hopped up to open the door of her dorm. On the other side was Morgan. Her hair was pulled back, she was breathing heavily, and she wore a smile Harmony knew was fake.
Harmony smiled and stepped aside to let Morgan into her room, casually sneaking over to her desk to close her laptop. Morgan didn't need to see the horrible things that were being said about her, or know that Harmony was reading them.
She wasn’t sure what this unexpected visit was about, and didn’t want to set the wrong tone. That could stay a secret for now, and thankfully they wouldn’t have to worry about a roommate interrupting them either. Harmony was an RA, resident assistant, and one of the perks of the job was having a room to herself. She loved the solitude that came with single-occupancy, but the lack of square footage in the smaller room felt entirely too claustrophobic when combined with the lingering guilt of spying on Morgan.
"What's up?" she asked, painfully aware of the laptop only a couple of feet away.
"I've found your match!" Morgan announced cheerfully, and reached into the large bag she always carried. She pulled out an oversized envelope with Harmony's name written on the front.
Harmony tried to smile, she truly did, but the muscles in her cheeks wouldn’t cooperate. She wished she'd never signed up for the Date Maker. The only reason she'd done it in the first place was that Morgan and Harmony worked together, and she was trying to be a good friend.
Actually, that wasn’t entirely true. There were two extremely good-looking guys on the client list. They’d come into the coffee shop while Morgan conducted her interviews. Tall, dark, handsome—the guys were perfect. And Harmony didn't have the best luck when it came to guys—always choosing the jerks for some reason. She gave her friend’s Date Maker service a shot, and was now regretting that decision.
"That's great," she said eventually, realizing she hadn’t responded to Morgan’s news.
Morgan must have heard the flatness of Harmony’s voice because her smile faltered. “It really is. The guy I've matched you with is perfect."
"That's great," Harmony repeated.
Morgan played with the paper in her hands, bending a small corner of the envelope. "I thought you'd be more excited than this."
"How did you choose my match?" Harmony hated her words as soon as they left her mouth.
Morgan bit her lip, looking down at the envelope she still held in her hands. "You read the article, didn't you?"
Harmony hesitated, and then nodded.
"I'm going to murder Declan," Morgan growled and started pacing in the small space, making Harmony wish yet again that her rom was bigger.
The name sounded familiar, but Harmony couldn't put her finger on why. Morgan never dated, so Harmony doubted he was an ex-boyfriend trying to get back at her. And Morgan got along with everyone she met. She had that kind of personality.
"Who is he?” Harmony asked. “And why would he write an article about you? Does he have a vendetta against you or something?"
Morgan stopped her pacing. "He's that guy from the coffee shop. The one who you thought was into me."
"The hot one?"
Another growling sound came from Morgan. "The arrogant one. He thinks I'm some kind of villain and has decided to tell everyone I play favorites."
"Is it true?" Harmony looked at the envelope with her name on it. If Morgan played favorites, where did that put her? Would she get a good match because they were friends, or would she get the throwaway guy who wasn’t a good fit for anyone for the same reason?
"Is what true?"
Harmony closed her eyes and sighed. "That you play favorites. Did someone win the gift card, and you choose a new winner because you didn't like him?"
Morgan slowly nodded her head. "It was Declan. He was the winner."
The plot thickened.
"How did he even find out?"
Morgan sat down in the chair beside Harmony's desk. "I told him," she said quietly.
Morgan lifted her hands. "I told Declan I gave it to someone else because I thought he was a jerk. And then he decided I was the worst kind of person, even though I bought another gift card and brought it to him as a peace offering. I don't know what I'm going to do."
Harmony didn't know what to say. It was like a soap opera. She'd never been the maternal type and wasn't sure how to comfort her. Although, she was pretty sure a robotic pat on Morgan’s head wasn’t the appropriate response.
Morgan looked up at Harmony, tucking back a strand of blond hair that had fallen into her face. "I made some bad choices, but it would mean a lot to me if you could just pretend you didn't read that article and act like you were looking forward to seeing the match I brought you."
Harmony rubbed her hands over her arms. Morgan was a great co-worker, and seemed to get along with everyone, except for Declan apparently. But she also seemed completely in over her head with the Date Maker. Harmony didn’t know what to think. "I don't know."
"Give him a chance, please? And if it's horrible, we'll go from there. Okay?"
Ugh. She hated when Morgan used her sweet voice and gave her the puppy-dog eyes. Who could deny her? After a couple of beats, Harmony stuck her hand out. "Fine."
She expected to feel paper in her hand—even a handshake—but Morgan jumped up quickly and hugged Harmony tightly. "Thank you so much. I promise you won't regret it." She stepped back. "I have a giant pile of dates to deliver, so I'm gonna run. Can't wait to hear what you think of your match."
Almost as quickly as she had embraced Harmony, Morgan was racing out the door of the room and down the hall to her next victim—er, “client”. She'd left the envelope on Harmony's desk.
Harmony sat in the chair that Morgan had occupied minutes earlier and opened the envelope carefully. Inside was a picture of her match and a detailed outline of a date she would be having with him.
Her date’s name was Pax. He had blond hair, blue eyes, and a jawline that made her suddenly realize she had a thing for jawlines. There was a hint of stubble on his cheeks that she couldn't wait to run her fingers across. He was one of the best looking guys she'd ever seen. If he looked nearly as good in person as he did in the photograph, Harmony would be one happy girl.
She looked at the piece of paper outlining their date together. It was dinner at a hip restaurant downtown, and then one of those classes where everyone painted the same thing. Harmony had never been to one, but had seen the artwork that came out of places like that—flowers in mason jars, beach scenes at sunset, lots of birds.
It wasn't her ideal activity, but sneaking another peek at Pax, she decided that Morgan knew what she was doing when she put them together. It was probably less about the actual date, and more about the type of feelings it would evoke.
The two of them would be feeling creative, and Harmony knew that could raise your endorphins. Endorphins made you happy. Anyone who'd ever seen Legally Blonde knew that.
Harmony opened the screen of her computer again, rereading the article Declan posted. She remembered him coming into work and flirting with Morgan. The poor girl had been oblivious to his advances, which was so typically Morgan.
And while Harmony would never admit it, he was one of the two reasons she’d signed up.
Was it possible he was jealous of other people's matches? Because no matter how Harmony looked at it, one gift card wasn't enough to write such hateful things, even if it was for $100.
It didn’t matter. Harmony didn't have time to think about the article, or Declan, or even Morgan. She had a date the following evening with Mr. Jawline and only had twenty-four hours to find the perfect thing to wear!