The Greek Billionair's Marriage Matchmaker

By: Holly Rayner


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Zoey Forde sat sullenly in her seat in the badly-lit subway car, squeezed horribly by the rather rotund gentleman sitting beside her. A large crowd of people had shoved their way on board at the last stop, and were jostling for space like blocks in a badly-played game of Tetris. The armrest was beginning to bite into her leg, but she didn’t complain—she knew she was lucky to be sitting at all. She tried to enjoy it while it lasted; she was sure she wouldn’t be so lucky when she had to change trains.

Twenty minutes had passed since the dark-haired beauty had left her Brooklyn apartment. She had not been in a particularly sunny mood then, but now, tucked in among a forest of bodies, she was perfectly miserable.

There has to be an easier way! she thought to herself, before she remembered the alternative to the underground sardine can was the New York traffic. The subway might have been bad, but that was a fate worse than death.

Zoey swore quietly, but not quietly enough.

“Hey, lady! Watch your language! There’s kids around here!”

She sighed deeply, while several people laughed. It wasn’t even nine in the morning, but a ten-year-old was already telling her off.

She ignored the kid who’d reprimanded her, as well as the guy standing to her right, who kept tossing creepy glances in her direction. Zoey kept an eye on him. She carried pepper spray in her purse, and she was not afraid to use it.

“And there’re twenty more minutes of this, at least,” she murmured, frowning at the wrinkles the close quarters were putting in her cream business suit.

Desperately seeking a distraction, Zoey fished her smartphone out of her purse, and went straight to her favorite news site.

The first article she saw was about some Hollywood mogul who was producing a show his girlfriend had come up with. Zoey shook her head at that, but tried not to dismiss the girl’s talents just because she was sleeping with her producer. The next story she came to was about a senator in Washington, DC who was resigning because of a sex scandal. That seemed to happen so often that Zoey wondered how the entire Congress wasn’t female by now. Finally, her eyes alighted on a story that instantly caught her attention.

“Former actress Emma Knightly, 25, famous for her show-stealing performances in the Marble House trilogy, today announced she is divorcing 55-year-old millionaire fast fashion designer Eddie Brooks Jr. The couple were married on April 7, 2015, just a year and two days ago. Sources close to Ms. Knightly tell us the marriage broke down almost immediately.”

Zoey didn’t bother to finish the article, looking instead for an e-book to read, hopelessness welling in her veins. She clearly remembered the day the Knightly woman had stepped foot in her mother’s agency—no one that had been there would ever forget it. She had glided in, wearing the long white satin dress of the 1940s songstress she had made famous in her Marble House movies. Her bleach-blonde hair was cut short, and she wore what looked like a diamond tiara. She moved her thin white limbs in imitation of a queen, and pointing regally at the secretary, demanded to be announced.

“This is supposedly the city’s premier matchmaking service,” she had started in arrogant tones, “but I doubt you’ll be able to find someone worthy of a date with me. I very nearly earned an Academy Award, after all…”

Emma had continued her boasting until Zoey’s mother, Melinda Forde, swept into the elegant reception area. Feeling something very much like disgust, Zoey saw her mother’s ersatz smile and heard her rolling, sycophantic, voice.

“Welcome to Melinda Forde Singles, my dear. Please allow me to say that your performance in Marble House moved myself and my daughter to tears. ‘Jenifer Swan’s brief and tragic music career is portrayed to perfection by Ms. Knightly’,” she said, quoting a review she had read in the Times. “I just hope our agency can perform as well for you as you have for your adoring public. A client like you deserves only our finest, most experienced matchmaker.” So saying, Melinda had taken the former actress back to Zoey’s stylish, well-appointed rear office.

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