From the Inside Flap
Blake crossed his arms in front of his chest. "I'm not asking you to marry my sister. I want you to be on my trial team. Think of it as market research."
"Reviewing a dating app is not market research. I don't have time to visit my own family let alone have a girlfriend."
"That's my point. You're the best person to trial Crazy Love. If the coding works on you, it will work on anyone."
Daniel didn't know whether to be flattered or insulted. "Just because my business develops apps, it doesn't mean I want to spend my time testing yours."
Blake pushed his cup of coffee out of the way and leaned forward. "What are you more worried about? That it will work or it won't?"
He looked around the busy café. Bozeman wasn't the place most people would expect to see two billionaires having coffee. After half a dozen phone calls, Blake had given up using the telephone to convince him to be on his trial team.
Daniel thought he'd given up entirely until a helicopter had landed in his front yard at eight-thirty this morning. "I don't want a girlfriend. Whether it works or not isn't relevant."
"You could be missing out on meeting the love of your life."
"The love of my life wouldn't go online looking for me."
Blake grinned. "You work with programming applications every day. Don't you think it's a little shortsighted to discount a woman because she uses technology to find her perfect match?"
"It's not the same thing."
"Yes, it is. Your company creates apps that make it easy for people to integrate technology into their lives. What's so different about what you're doing and the Crazy Love app?"
Daniel snorted. "My apps save people's lives. Rating the quality of someone's drinking water isn't the same as a dating game."
Blake's smile dimmed. "It's not a dating game. We're talking about one of the most basic human needs. Everyone wants to love and be loved. My app makes it easier to find someone who will make you happy."
"I'm happy already."
"Working eighteen hours a day might have been exciting when we were in our twenties, but it's not when you're nearly thirty-five. You've bought a home in the middle of nowhere, you don't date, you don't even have a cat to come home to. If you're not worried about yourself, you should be."
"Emerald Lake isn't the middle of nowhere. It's forty minutes from downtown Bozeman and we're connected to the rest of the world by an international airport. It's a great place to live."
"I read the publicity on my way here," Blake said dryly. "If you thought it was hard finding a girlfriend in New York, it will be worse here."
"So what's your excuse?"
"Not having a girlfriend. If New York is the dating capital of the world, why are you sitting here with me talking about your app? You should put yourself on the trial."
"I developed the program. It would be a conflict of interest if I were one of the participants."
Daniel sat back in his chair. "It looks to me as though the pot's calling the kettle black. Unless you're hiding a superwoman in New York, you haven't been on a date in months, either. And last time I checked there were no furry paw prints on your Porsche."
Blake's eyes turned a frosty shade of gray. "I'm thinking about getting a dog."
"In New York?"
"There's no law that says I can't."
"You should move out here."
Blake laughed. "Not likely. I'll leave cowboyland to you."
The conversation around them dipped to a whisper.
Daniel looked at the tables either side of them. "I'd keep your voice down if I were you. Those cowboys' wives and girlfriends have us surrounded. I don't like your chances of getting out of here alive if you make fun of their men."
Blake's gaze shot to the table closest to them. "Sorry. I didn't mean to offend you."
The woman sitting at the table scowled. "My gran used to say that the measure of a man is in the words he uses. If you'll excuse me, I have work that needs doing."
Her soft Irish accent took the sting out of her words, but not the meaning.
Daniel watched the tall brunette leave the café. "I think you're right," he said half-seriously. "Bozeman might not be the best place for you."
"No kidding," Blake muttered. The café door closed and he turned back to Daniel. "If you won't help me because I'm your friend, I'll have to play hardball. Sam told me you're working on an app that keeps track of how much aid is going to Third World countries."
Daniel frowned. "Sam talks too much." Sam was a good friend,business mentor, and closer to him than his father, but some things were confidential. "What else did he tell you?"
"That it identifies whether aid is reaching the people who need it. He also said the United Nations don't want to trial the app. I can help."
Blake leaned forward. "The Red Cross team leader in the Sudan owes me a favor. One word from me and they'll trial the app across all of their field operations. Within four months you'll have the data you need to present a case to the United Nations."
Daniel's eyes narrowed. "I've been working with the Red Cross for the last three months. They're not interested."
Blake's mouth turned up at the corners. "You know what they say. It's not what you know, but who you know. If you networked with the right people you might have found your own way out of the mess you're in."
"It's not a mess."
"That's not what I heard."
Daniel forced himself not to react to Blake's words. He'd sunk a lot of money into taking the app from complex coding theory to an application that could be used in the field.
"Why do I feel like I'm being blackmailed."
"Because you are." Blake looked around the café. "This might be quaint, but it's not exactly a thriving metropolis. You're hiding here and it's not healthy."
Daniel picked up his fork and ate a piece of rhubarb crumble pie. While he ate, he gazed at his best friend. "There's no rush hour traffic and I'm not surrounded by thick smog. Who wouldn't want to live here?"
"Everyone I know except you."
"That's because they don't know what they're missing. Something else is going on. The last time you needed my help was when we were in college. What's wrong?"
Blake looked down at his coffee and frowned. "My reputation is on the line. The Crazy Love app is different from anything I've done before. You know how apps work. You know the structure and the algorithms behind the human interface. You're the best person for the job."
Daniel nodded. He didn't want anything to do with Blake's app, but he did want to get his own product in front of the United Nations. "I'll make you a deal. I'll go on your trial and meet the woman I'm matched with. But I'm not promising to go out with her more than once. If the app has a flaw, I'll work on it from here."
Blake sighed. "What if it takes more than one date to work out if she's perfect for you?"
"Four dates and I'll call my friend in Sudan this afternoon."
Daniel narrowed his eyes. "Three dates and I'll fill out the application form now."
Blake dropped a business card on the table between them. "Here's the link. While you're signing your life away, I'll call Sudan. It's great doing business with you."
Daniel wasn't sure he could say the same.