The Relationship Coach

Read the Excerpt

Relationship coaches are no more than glorified witch doctors making money off people’s emotions.

Reed Hunter stepped into the back of the glitzy, hotel ballroom in Austin, Texas, to catch the last few moments of relationship coach Lacey Morgan’s Twelve Steps of Dating Seminar.

Reed received a lot of satisfaction from protecting underdogs who are unable to defend themselves from the many scammers in life. Like a crime fighter, he focused his camera on swindlers and cheats, revealing how they stole hard-earned cash from innocents. Con artists like Lacey Morgan.

A beautiful, professionally attired, longhaired blonde, wearing a short skirt that exposed boundless legs, owned the stage. Despite the fact she was going down, two things impressed him. Her Miss America smile and her mystifying ability to screw with people’s relationships-first his boss’s and now his.

She strode to the edge of the stage. “Today, we’ve learned to recognize your expectations in a mate. You’ve learned you need to find someone who matches your lifestyle. Someone who challenges and makes you think about life differently. Someone who likes to do the same things you do, but encourages you to try new experiences.”

Reed coughed to stifle the sound of laughter rumbling deep within his chest. People bought into this psychobabble crap?

Lacey Morgan, dating guru, had convinced his girlfriend, Blair, to end their convenient sexual relationship. Since he wasn’t promising her a ring, a honeymoon or his last name, she’d decided to move on. And she had. Packed up, moved out, and left with a so-long-sucker text message.

“I know many of you were dragged here by a friend, coworker, or the significant other in your life. However you got here, I hope you learned something today that will help make your relationships stronger.”

Waving to the crowd, she strode from the stage. The audience stood and cheered, paying homage as if she were a rock star, not a therapist.

Blair’s leaving had brought Ms. Morgan to his attention. And he enjoyed nothing more than exposing shysters like Ms. Morgan who earned their often opulent lifestyles by feeding off people’s emotions. After he exposed Ms. Morgan’s devious ways, Blair would probably return and thank him.

Shaking his head at the number of gullible people who believed her spiel, Reed stepped into the hallway, leaned against the wall, and stared as the audience streamed out of the door. Most of the women stopped to purchase a book or CD or DVD. He watched her assistants take their money with a mobile card reader. If the cunning cheater had a cash register, the cha-chings would have echoed through the hall.

Yes, she was stealing from the lonely and vulnerable.

Ten minutes later, her assistants began packing up the merchandise while he stood waiting, waiting, waiting.

A door opened.

There she was, Lacey Morgan. Charlatan. Chiseler. Cheat. Her gorgeous face and knock-me-to-my-knees body sent the air in his lungs packing for a short vacation, leaving him gasping like a man in need of a ventilator.

Per her online bio, she was in her late twenties and only had two letters behind her name-not psychologist, psychotherapist or counselor, just a B.A. And he was living proof any dumb schmuck, that goofed off for four years, could still get a Bachelor’s degree.

Reed moved away from the wall and stepped in front of Miss-I-Know-Everything. “Excuse me.”

She turned and he switched on his best trust-me-I-want-to-help-you smile.

One of her assistants, a short brunette, stepped in front of him. “Can I help you?”

“I have a question for Ms. Morgan.” He completely ignored her employee and averted his eyes from the swell of Lacey’s breasts that were no longer hidden by her suit jacket.

Lacey laid her hand on her employee’s shoulder and locked stunning blue eyes on Reed.

Any other time, those lovely blue eyes would have had him in full pursuit of the hot Ms. Morgan.

“Yes?”

He held out his hand and used a deep timbre that always scored him a woman’s number. “Reed Hunter. I’d like to discuss your business over dinner.”

“Sorry, I’m not available.” Her response was quick, cold, concise, and held no consideration.

This could be a tough sell.

“I’m producing a film. A documentary on relationship coaches, and I’d like your business to be the main focus.”

Few people could resist being on camera. Few people realized the power of film. Few people knew Reed Hunter’s skills to expose imposters with a camera.

“Why would you want to include me?” she asked, her voice direct, her gaze cautious, like she might be immune to his charm.

“I want you,” he said, upping the charisma. “You’re the best relationship coach in the country.”