That Carrington Magic - By Karen Rigley


This first book in the CupidKey series evolved into reality due to the support and enthusiasm of Ann, Bonnie, and Becky, plus Debby Gilbert, my wonderful editor with remarkable editorial instincts. That Carrington Magic is just the beginning as the magic Cupid charm travels on to take aim at unsuspecting hearts across the USA. Next stop—Texas.

Chapter 1

“Matchmaking? So I’m a guinea pig to check out your Internet dating questionnaire?” Jami Rhodes rolled her eyes, then stared back at the form on her laptop screen. “Who helped you think of these questions? It reads like a reality dating show.”

“Really?” Sierra’s gamine face lit with a proud grin, obviously accepting the remark as a compliment. “Ty and I thought of most of them ourselves.”

“Uh huh.” Jami shook her head. “Maybe a few Cosmo compatibility quizzes thrown in for reference?”

“Caught me.” Sierra glowed. “Magazines did inspire some, but we researched psychological profiles, other dating sites, and a library of material.”

Jami’s watched her friend’s enthusiasm and decided just to take the test. Easier than arguing. How could it hurt? But she wouldn’t go down easy.

“Hmm, let’s see.” Suppressing a grin, Jami tossed back her mane of hair, then read aloud. “For an ideal date, do you prefer: dinner and a show, a Broadway play, a picnic, or a tractor pull?”

“Tractor pull?” Sierra squealed, trying to see the questionnaire. “Must be a computer glitch.”

Jami sputtered into laughter.

“Oh, you!” Sierra punched Jamie’s arm. “You made up the tractor pull.” She pointed a slender finger to scold with mock seriousness. “Stop teasing. Pretend that I’m trying to find your Mr. Right and finish it. Now.”

“Pretend’s the key word, Sierra. Remember, this is for your eyes only.”

“Sure. Just a test run.”

Jami belatedly recalled that evasive tone when a week later Sierra announced a date match. “Date match? No way.” The aroma of baking chocolate chip cookies wafted through her kitchen as she stomped to the refrigerator, jerking it open.

“He’s the perfect guy for you,” Sierra coaxed, not a touch of shame in her voice.

“No computer date,” Jami grumbled, raking both hands from her throbbing temples up through her copper-red hair. She knew her nervous habit messed up her long wavy tresses and left funny peaks protruding like horns of hair, but she didn’t care. “You promised it wasn’t for real.”

“Come on, don’t be mad. It’ll be fun. Maybe you’ll even meet Mr. Right,” Sierra coaxed, sitting at the kitchen table reaching toward the plate of warm cookies in front of her.

“I can find my own Mr. Right.”

“Oh, sure. Like your ex-husband Doug? You don’t exactly have a great track record.”

Thoughts swirling, Jami turned her back on her friend while she poured two frosty glasses of lemonade. If possible, she’d eradicate her ex from her life and erase their whole disastrous marriage. Except for their son. She wouldn’t trade Toby for anything. She carried the lemonades over to the table and handed one glass to Sierra. “I was young and naïve.”

“You were twenty-one.”

“Twenty-one is young when you’re as naïve as I was,” Jami defended, hurt by the emotional hit.

“Sorry.” Looking abashed, Sierra toyed with her glass as she changed tactics. “Please, Jami, the future of CupidKey depends on this publicity campaign. That computer crash and website disaster about ruined us.”

“I know.” Jami stared down at the ice in her own glass, still fuming about by the below-the-belt remark, so unlike Sierra.

“Ty and I sank everything we have into our new business. He even convinced his brothers to invest. We need you.”

“Me? Why?”

“Without your help, we’re in trouble.” Sierra’s voice wavered.

“Doubt that.” Jami made the mistake of glancing up at her friend.

With tears glistening in her eyes, Sierra met her gaze, her lower lip trembling. “You know we tried to save money by not buying a brand new computer set-up and by building our own website. Instead, our ‘economy’ nearly cost us our business.”

“It was a disaster.” Jami rarely saw her normally sunny friend so downbeat, yet she couldn’t understand why Sierra needed her.

“Anyway,” Sierra continued, her shoulders drooping. “Now we finally have new computer equipment with a workable website up and functional, but the disaster cost us our original customers.”

“Rough way to start a business, but how does hooking me up help?”

“We’re desperate.” Sierra shook a finger at her. “It’s you or nobody.”


“For real. Cooperate for my sake?”

“A date is the last thing I need right now. I don’t have the time or energy to deal with dating. I have all I can handle between work and Toby. Don’t ask