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Rules of Engagement
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Love is a battlefield for a quirky matchmaker and the cocky football star who hires her to find him a wife.
As the owner of Perfect Pairings matchmaking service, Maddie McRae earns her living helping others fall in love. And one thing the sweet Southern belle knows for sure is that the foundation of wedded bliss is built on similarities: opposites might attract, but they don’t stay together.
Enter Mason Spark.
Rude, arrogant, and notoriously allergic to monogamy, the hottest quarterback in the NFL is Maddie’s polar opposite. He’s also her new client. Her gorgeous, infuriating new client who’s paying her an outrageous sum of money to find him a wife. With his multi-million dollar contract on the line due to his behavior on and off the field, bad boy Mason is willing to pretend to settle down.
But when he starts to fall for the adorkable matchmaker who can’t stand him, the playboy finds himself in the game of his life to keep something he never thought he’d lose—his heart.
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Have you ever noticed how versatile the word “fuck” is?
I know, random question, but stick with me. I have a point.
As a noun, verb, or adjective, “fuck” really can’t be beat. I use it constantly in all its forms.
For example, right now I’m staring at the naked blonde snoring softly in my bed and I’m thinking This is fucked. Why the fuck did I take her home from the bar last night? I am a fucking moron. FUCK.
That last one’s probably my favorite.
Just the word all by itself.
Like that, it can mean “wow.” Or “life sucks.” Or “how did I get mustard on my shirt?” Or even “we’re all gonna die!”
Or, in this particular case “why do I keep making the same mistake over and over again?”
My therapist has a theory, but I don’t wanna talk about it.
“Mason! Maaasooonnn! Where are you? We’re late as fuck!”
That Brooklyn-accented voice shouting at me from downstairs reminds me there’s another great use of the word—as a unit of measure.
“As fuck.” A “fuckload.” A “fuckton,” which is heavier than a load but different than a “fuckwad,” which when used as a noun is a unit of measure, but is better used as an adjective to refer to a person you can’t stand.
Like Tom Brady for instance. Yeah, the famous QB of the Patriots.
Don’t even get me started on Mr. Perfect.
Sometimes my mind gets the best of me and fixates on how many shitloads are in a fuckton, but these are the kind of things my therapist sighs quietly at when I mention and looks down at her hands like she’s lost all hope of being useful to society, so I’ve never gotten a solid answer to that.
Where was I?
Oh yeah. The blonde.
“Mason! MASON! JesusChristonacrutch, let’s go!”
The guy about to have a stroke downstairs is Dick, my agent. You’d think he’d show me some respect, considering the amount of money I make him, but nah. He treats me like family.
I mean, not close family. Not like I’m his son or whatever, but maybe like…a stepson?
Yeah, like a stepson.
Like, he kinda likes me? Because he has to? If I’m behaving? If my mom’s in the room and he’s pretending to be all kissy-kissy-we’re-just-one-big-happy-blended-family until she leaves and he can let his toupee down and collapse onto the couch and yell at me to get him a beer?
Like…well, like everyone else treats me, I guess. With kid gloves.
Like, “Holy cow, who brought the Yeti to the party? Hahaha, is the Sasquatch house trained? Joking! Of course we’re joking, hahaha!” Stage whisper: “No, seriously—is it house trained? Because we just had the carpet cleaned and it looks like it could really use a potty mat.”
Spoiler alert: I’m not known for my social graces.
“I’m coming!” I holler, making the naked blonde on my bed jerk and snort.
But she doesn’t wake up. She just burrows down into my fucking (adjective) sheets and does fuck all (noun), so I leave her to sleep off the fuckload (unit of measure) of booze we drank last night before we came back here and fucked (verb, past tense ) like rabbits.
Can you see why I’m always so crabby?
Being me is exhausting.
“This is a bullshit idea.”
“You got a better one?”
“Yeah. Let’s stop at that bar on the corner. Get some drinks.”
Exasperated sigh. “Mace, it’s ten o’clock in the morning.”
“Exactly. I need a Bloody Mary.” I stare gloomily out the passenger window at the Irish pub we’re passing on our way to the meeting with the matchmaker.
The fucking matchmaker. For the love of all that’s holy.
Dick is driving my car. It’s a brand new Mercedes-Benz Maybach. I hate it with the burning heat of a thousand suns. It’s too cushy. Safe.
Makes me feel old.
I shoulda bought that vintage Shelby Cobra Super Snake with the 800-horsepower engine I wanted, but Dick screamed about how I’d kill myself in it, blah, blah, so here we are.
That I hate the car isn’t why Dick’s driving me. He drives me around a lot, because my license is suspended. Two dozen tickets in ten months and the DMV gets pissy.
Also, it’s his way of keeping an eye on me. If I get into any more trouble, my ass is grass and I can kiss all my sweet endorsement deals goodbye.
And I do not want to kiss them goodbye. Other people might measure happiness by how many friends they have (spoiler: I don’t have any) or how close they are with their family (spoiler: don’t have any of those, either) or whatever other sappy shit makes them feel good, but for me there’s only one measure of success, and that’s money.
Which (how many spoilers are we on now?) I’ve got a lot of.
A shitload, you could say.
Or a fuckton.
Either way, you’d be right.
Yeah, I know what you’re thinking: I’m a shallow asshole. Better shallow than poor.