This is the story of Jonathan Smitt, the ‘adopted’ brother to the Masters Men trio. Their fathers were partners and Smitty, from Last Chance for Love, helped their mom after the brothers’ father was killed.
Readers will remember that Jonathan Smitt was married when he came back to Braedon in Last Chance for Love, and had three kids. Unfortunately, a lot has happened in two years. Now he has five kids, his wife has run off, he’s unemployed, and at his wits end when Ace Masters calls. Could it be the answer to Jonathan’s prayers?
The Her in Her Master Match is Nikki Bradford. Nikki is a friend of Gina Masters. They met when Gina’s aunt put her in boarding school back east after the death of Gina’s parents. Nikki’s parents put her in boarding school rather than be bothered with raising her themselves. When she was old enough, her father tried to marry her off to a business associate. Nikki had other plans, which got her kicked out of the family. If that had meant her father would leave her alone, it would have been okay. Unfortunately, he keeps causing trouble for her clients. Nikki is visiting Gina in Colorado when Jonathan Smitt and his family arrive.
Ace, helpful as always, suggests Nikki extend her vacation and help Jonathan with the kids. He’s taken the matchmaking gene seriously since marrying Gina. Now Ace wants everyone to be as happy as they are.
Her Master Match will be out the end of February. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek at the next Masters man.
Thank you for stopping by.
Her Master Match
Jonathan closed the door to the nursery and walked downstairs to the kitchen. After starting another pot of coffee, he’d already had two; he dropped into a chair at the table. The caffeine wasn’t helping anymore. He leaned forward, rubbing his face in his hands. Today depression had dogged his every step, but there wasn’t time to worry about the emotional mess of his life. He had five kids to take care of and a house to pack. Looking over the room it was amazing one of the kids hadn’t been hurt in the maze of boxes and furniture. Their house resembled an obstacle course.
He turned his head at the concerned tone of his oldest son’s voice. Looking at the carbon copy of himself trying to look strong broke Jonathan’s heart, but he smiled and pushed himself up from the chair.
“Hey, what’s up?”
Andy leaned against the kitchen counter, his gaze following Jonathan as he walked over to the coffee maker.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
Jonathan turned to face him after pouring his coffee and stalled by taking a sip. I wish to hell I knew, was on the tip of his tongue. That wasn’t what a twelve-year-old needed to hear. Lying to his son didn’t feel right either. They’d been through hell together. Andy deserved better. Motioning for his son to join him at the table, Jonathan sat back down, too.
“I’m not sure yet. Most of this stuff will have to go in storage until I can find a place to rent.” That would be a trick. Finding a place big enough for five kids, but he couldn’t let Andy see his worry. His son was already tense enough if his stiff posture was an indication. Damn you, Mary!
“Don’t worry, buddy. I’ll work something out,” he said with a smile despite his internal anger with his ex-wife. “It’s late. I don’t want you falling into one of the boxes tomorrow because you’re too tired. Go get some rest and we’ll talk again in the morning.”
Andy stood, nodding. “Okay.”
Hearing the sadness in Andy’s voice, Jonathan stood and pulled him into a hug before he left the room.
“I appreciate how you’ve stepped up since,” he swallowed the lump in his throat thinking about how Mary had abandoned them. “Since your mom left. I know it hasn’t been easy. I haven’t been much help.”
Jonathan almost lost it when Andy hugged him tighter.
“You’ve been great, dad.”
With a final squeeze, Jonathan released him. “Thanks. That means a lot. I’ll be up shortly. I just want to finish a few more things down here.”
When he heard the door to Andy’s room close, Jonathan blew out a long loud breath. In the past eight months, his life had gone from uncomfortable to insane. He’d found out his pregnant wife was having an affair with one of the owners of his company. A month later, she delivered twins and left them at the hospital to run off with her lover. Jonathan had filed for divorce the next day. Unfortunately, in California he had to wait six months for it to be final. The only bright spot in the entire debacle was that she had waived her parental rights so he hadn’t had to deal with a custody battle.
The day after the divorce was final Mary and Ainsley disappeared. Two weeks later, it was obvious why.
Grabbing one of the empty boxes from the floor, he set it on a chair to pack as his mind continued its rehash of events.
Jonathan had been going back and forth with a customer regarding payments for a week. When he and one of the bookkeepers started researching the issue, they found the problem. Someone had embezzled company funds. It wasn’t from just the one account, either. Granted, Jonathan believed it was Mary’s lover, but they hadn’t been able to come up with definitive proof to verify his suspicion. The managing partner had been shocked, and devastated, but unable to cover the loss. The company soon went under leaving hundreds of people unemployed. Jonathan became a single parent with five kids and no income.
Jonathan was out of options. Having a family, no spouse, no income, and about to close on the sale of the house, they had to move.
He was startled when his cell phone rang as he reached for his coffee. Only bad news came this late at night, he thought staring at it. Can I handle more bad news? Followed by, does it matter?
In the middle of the third ring, he picked it up, turning it over to see who was calling. Ace Masters? Shit!
“What’s wrong with dad?”
“Oh, crap. Sorry, Jon” Ace said. “Nothing’s wrong with your father. Smitty’s fine, Camille’s fine. Everyone is fine. I didn’t think about the time. I’m working on a closing argument for tomorrow then Dos called.”
“Jeez, Ace, you nearly gave me a heart attack.”
“Yeah, sorry. I’m so used to my brothers’ crazy schedules that I forgot you have a regular job. I didn’t think before calling at this hour. However, now that I have, it begs the question, why are you up at this hour?”
Not ready to share his failures with his friend, he didn’t correct him about his job status and brushed the other off. “Too long a story for over the phone. What are you calling about if not dad?”
Jonathan grinned as he fell into the chair. “I think you misdialed then because I’m definitely not a lawyer.”
Ace’s laughter through the phone eased a little more of the stress from Jonathan’s shoulders. Ace and his brothers were like family. He wished he could lean on them right now, but this wasn’t their problem.
“Not legal work, the security company I started a while ago and my brothers and I have been working part-time. You know Dos moved to Florida and opened a branch for us down there, right?”
“Yeah, dad mentioned something about it. Blaze is down there, too.”
“Yes she is, so it’s just as well Dos is there to keep an eye on that one,” Ace said.
Jonathan laughed. He knew how seriously the Masters brothers took their big brother duties. They had considered him their little brother since their father’s were partners on the police force. When he was in high school, they had kept a close eye on him, but had stopped when he went away to college. However, they still hadn’t stopped trying to orchestrate their sisters’ lives.
“Yeah, I know, I’m overprotective. Sue me,” Ace said laughing. “Anyway, with two offices, we could use some help on the marketing and management of the company.”
“You could leave the DA’s office,” Jonathan suggested. He knew Ace had considered it after his wife Gina’s abduction a few years ago.
“Yeah, but can you see me in management? Really? The only reason I’ve been able to handle the management side of the business is that it’s my brothers I’m dealing with and they take my less than tactful attitude with a grain of salt. If we start hiring outsiders, I doubt they’d like my bossy management style. As to marketing, I’m sure you remember my amazing lack of artistic ability.”
Jonathan’s mind called up some reminders of Ace’s artwork. They weren’t pretty. There was also the fact Ace didn’t always think before he opened his mouth unless he was in court. Family understood and called him on it. Employees might not deal with it as well.
“Okay, but what does this have to do with me?”
“I know you’re busy with work and the family, but is there anyway you could maybe take a few days of vacation in Colorado to give me some pointers on interviewing and who to hire? Soon would be good. I’m definitely out of my comfort zone here and Tres is no better.
“Our original customers were people we knew, so a sales pitch wasn’t necessary. Hell, I started the business because several people asked Tres and me for help. The rest just kind of happened. Now, we have more business than we can handle. I know it’s a lot to ask, but you know how anal I am about doing things right. If I can’t have you, I at least want someone you consider qualified.”