You can't program love…or can you?
Kayleigh Renshaw has come up with the idea for a brilliant "compatibility app," a new kind of matchmaking software. All she needs is a programmer to help her bring the idea to market…and she knows exactly who she wants. But Niall Walsh—a code whiz and her former best friend—has been avoiding her since he returned from Afghanistan. In spite of their history, and some sparks that go beyond friendship, he's proving reluctant…. Is it her, or is something darker holding him back?
“And you’re certain your app will do this,” he said, his face serious. “Help people find true love?”
Her hand stilled on Chairman Meow’s white belly, earning her a prickly swat. She gave an emphatic nod. “Of course. Don’t you agree?”
Niall frowned a bit. “No. I see it as a fun conversation starter, more or less.”
She scowled. “So you’re saying our product is some kind of joke? That users won’t take it seriously? What’s on your list? The one you made at camp. You believed in it then.”
The question seemed to catch Niall unprepared. He sat still and awkward for a moment, his eyes scanning the room as if searching for a way out. Finally, he shook his head.
“I was a kid.”
“But you’ll make one now, of course.” She added it to her to-do list so that she wouldn’t forget to look for it.
“No.” Niall waved Chairman Meow’s tail as the cat batted at it. “I compromised about the windows and the cat. But I’m not making a list.”
Disappointment filled her. How closed off could he be? Sheesh. She was right to be firm with herself about not falling for him. They were great as friends, but couldn’t be less compatible romantically—with or without a list, it was obvious.
After a long moment, Niall drew a deep, slow breath. “We’re better off using traits from your list or ones we get from market samples.”
Her eyes narrowed. “And why is that?”
He tilted his face, one corner of his mouth lifting in a wry half smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “I don’t exactly fall into your target audience.” His stiff shoulders shrugged. “I’m not looking to meet someone.”
“Oh.” A heavy weight settled in her chest. Although her heart still broke when she thought of Brett, she knew that someday she’d be ready for romance. Something in Niall’s tone, however, sounded bleak and definite, as if he didn’t think he’d ever love anyone. Or worse, that anyone would ever love him.
In a breathless second, she almost asked him why he’d never consider love. She felt the question rising in her chest, drew in air then, hesitated. What could she say that wouldn’t sound too personal? Take things to an intimate level that might endanger their fragile partnership?
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