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“We play by my rules now.”
Who does Kit Walker think he is? The trust-fund heir waltzes in and wants to boss me around, but if I catch him misbehaving, his father will yank his inheritance. Stalemate, right? Not when our chemistry is irresistible! Ironically, we run the top dating app. Could this be my “perfect match”…or the perfect scandal?
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My motto as a woman has always been simple: own every room you enter. This morning, when I walk into the offices of Cupid’s Arrow, coffee in one hand and portfolio in the other, the click of my scarlet heels on the linoleum floor is sure to turn more than a few sleepy heads. My employees look up from their desks with nervous smiles. They know that on days like this I’m raring to go, and heads will roll if I don’t get exactly what I want.
“Gather around the conference table, everyone. The morning brief begins in two minutes,” I call out.
Ben, the head of the tech department who only attends important meetings of my design team, is the first to lurch toward me. He’s got a coffee half extended, and he looks suddenly sheepish when he realizes I’ve already bought my own. His cheeks are flushed, clashing with his straw-colored hair.
“I didn’t know if you’d have time to grab a coffee…but now you have two.”
I smile at him as I put my things down on the conference table to accept his gift.
“Your favorite.” He shoots me a smile.
I take a sip and smile back. “Well, a person can never get too much coffee. Thank you.”
I take a long gulp from my foam cup, relishing the hot liquid. I can practically feel the caffeine entering my system and I’m so grateful. This will definitely be a long day, and I need all the boost I can get.
Today, I need things to go perfectly.
With everyone slowly filtering into their seats around the conference table, I take my position at the head and turn on the wall screen. The whole group looks up at me with wide eyes. Watch and learn, I think to myself, this is how the professionals get things done, people.
“All right, now that everyone’s here, let’s begin,” I start. “As you all know, we’ve been focusing on revamping the brand. Can anybody tell me what I’m looking for in the new design?”
No one replies.
God. Sometimes I feel like I’m some sort of babysitter.
“Talk to me, Ellie, seeing as no one else will.” I glance at my best friend since middle school, Ellie Mason. She followed me to Cupid’s Arrow when I landed my dream job and needed to fill some vacancies on my team, and I’ve never regretted having both a best friend and a talented designer on board.
“The app’s color scheme is fundamental to grasping the audience we want,” she begins, her speech polished and thought out. “Cupid’s Arrow is first and foremost a dating app for young people. It’s possible they could be put off by the dark colors used on the home page and the messenger. What we need is a burst of color to attract the eye.”
“Yes, Ellie. Thank God somebody’s listening to me,” I say, causing my other team members to laugh. “So, with that in mind, what has everyone come up with? Let me see.”
My entire team scrabbles in their briefcases for the folders that should’ve been on the table five minutes ago.
“Seriously, guys?” I laugh in disbelief, then shoot them all a look that says they should know better.
Tim, the youngest member of my team, finally pulls out a design consisting of color blocking in primary colors. I bite the inside of my cheek as I review the idea.
“Tim, this is good…except the primary colors only appeal to children. This is a dating app. We don’t really want seven-year-olds to start dating yet, do we?”
Tim laughs and looks a little embarrassed, and I smile kindly and give him a brief nod, trying to hide my exasperation. I glance at the rest of my team, hoping we’ve got something better, already feeling my nerves start to rattle. Alastair wants the color scheme decided on today, and to be honest, so do I. I take a quick look at everybody’s work, pulling out the best ideas.
Not a lot is fabulous, unfortunately. Ellie has given me something good, though. She smiles as she passes me her portfolio with a look that tells me she prays we’ll use hers. I don’t smile back because I try never to play favorites—at least, not in the office.
After everyone has presented their ideas, I lay my own out for the others to inspect.
“It needs to be more like this,” I tell them, clicking on the wall screen remote. I show them the hues of red and gray I’ve picked out. “Gender neutral. Striking. Denoting passion. Bold with lasting impact. It’s timeless, something that everyone can be drawn to.”
The team gazes with interest at the plans on the screen. It pains me to keep from telling them this is how they should’ve been doing it all along. Ellie can see the frustration on my face and she smirks, leaning back in her chair to enjoy my moment of annoyance.