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Emmaline could tell he wasn’t as certain as he tried to sound.

“If Jayna had decided to drown him, she’d have already done it and been here raiding the dessert table,” Gabrielle said.

Emmaline forced out a laugh. Gabrielle was kidding, right?

She cast another nervous glance towards the theater, and to her great relief Sid and Jayna walked into the grotto with their arms around each other.

“It looks like she’s forgiven him,” Kalani said.

Emmaline gave him a big smile and then excused herself. Hopefully Jayna could forgive her as well.

When they noticed Emmaline approaching, Sid and Jayna gave each other a look that Emmaline couldn’t read. Her pulse quickened, and she approached the couple warily. “Is it safe to assume you’ve worked everything out and all is forgiven?”

Jayna smiled at her. “All is forgiven.” Then she released Sid and wrapped Emmaline in a tight embrace. “I have some concerns with the way you went about things. But your heart was in the right place, so thank you.”

Emmaline released Jayna, made a serious face, and raised her arm to the square. “I hereby swear that I will never again meddle in anyone’s relationship using an aggregator, Rosalind’s or otherwise. From now on, I’ll focus exclusively on my job as your assistant and leave the matchmaking to the professionals.”

Sid and Jayna shared a concerned look, which was not the reaction Emmaline had expected. She lowered her arm. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m not sure it’s in my best interest to rehire you as my assistant.”

Emmaline’s stomach dropped. She needed Sid. She needed his connections and his vision. She needed the power of Hayes Corp.

Then Jayna elbowed Sid in the ribs. “Knock it off and just tell her.”

“Okay, okay.” Sid rubbed his side, and his eyes sparkled. “We’ve been discussing everything that’s happened in the past week. Like Jayna said, we have some strong concerns about the way you set us up. But we agree that Rosalind’s aggregator was right. It matched us, and it’s a good match.”

“Neither of us was looking for a match,” Jayna added. “Finding matches for people who don’t even know they are looking is both a huge danger and an enormous opportunity.”

Emmaline was confused. “What are you saying?”

Sid’s face broke into a grin. “I have a proposition for you. I believe that, with some rigorous best practices and strict ethics considerations in place, we might be able to use Rosalind’s aggregator to provide a valuable service.”

Jayna nodded her agreement. “We think you are the best, most qualified person to implement those policies.”

Emmaline felt shocked. “Me? After I made such a mess of everything with that aggregator?”

“Yes. Especially you, since you have already learned how dangerous this type of matchmaking can be. I intend to negotiate an exclusive license to use this aggregator. I want you to implement rules, ethics, and boundaries to keep it from blowing up in our faces, and then work with the team to develop a viable business plan. Will you do it?”

Emmaline frowned. Playing matchmaker had been fun, and over the past few days, her mind had been flooded with things she should have done differently in getting Sid together with Jayna. And the thought of helping people find their soulmates fascinated her.

But this project didn’t fit her master plan. No matter how intriguing the prospect of helping others, it would never be anything more than a distraction she couldn’t afford.


Emmaline’s heart raced as the pieces fell into place. Rather than a distraction, this opportunity could be just what she needed to move things to the next level.

“I’ll do it, but under two conditions. First, I want a seat on the board of Encephatron Biomedical.”

Sid’s eyes widened. “Did not see that coming. Is there any particular reason?”

“Yes,” she said, but didn’t elaborate.

She had encouraged him to purchase Encephatron Biomedical and helped influence the organization’s research decisions. As a board member, she would have much more power in setting the direction of the company. But she wasn’t ready to share this motive just yet.

“Personal reasons,” she said and gave him a tight-lipped smile, hoping that would be enough.

After a long moment, he finally nodded. “What’s the second condition?”

Emmaline grinned. “I’d like to set up shop here in San Diego.”

This drew her a side-eyed glance as Sid considered her. But at last, he said, “It’s a deal.”

Emmaline smiled and couldn’t help but steal a glance at Kalani and Gabrielle. They would be the perfect test case. If she could successfully bring them together, her strategy should work for anyone.