DATING SCAMMERS



How did you meet your boy/girlfriend? Spouse?

My mother met my dad at a roller rink. My in-laws met at work. I met my husband on a blind date. A good friend met his spouse at church. My daughter met her husband in high school. My son met his wife online.

Different times, different methods. I read that approximately one in four relationships start online. On television, we see advertising for matchmaking sites like eHarmony, Match.com, and many more. You can find sites for members of a certain religion, age, ethnicity, hobbies, etc.

Whatever the method of meeting Mr. or Ms. Right, caution is always advised. How did my mother know that the young serviceman she met was a nice guy? Who vouches for a prospective date? Is the person you met on a cruise who he says he is? Scammers are everywhere.

Most of us know better than to send money to strangers. But what if the guy (or woman) you’ve grown to really like online lives across the country and wants to meet you? But . . . S/He doesn’t have money for airfare. Would you send it? Or does that raise a red flag? Would caution keep you from finding your soulmate?

In The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé, meeting a man on a cruise brings a well-to-do executive to private investigator Alex O’Hara. The exec has reason to be cautious—once burned, twice shy. After a friend sang Alex’s praises, Nora Finley hires her to investigate the man. Like most women, she’s more comfortable dealing with a woman than a male PI. Although convinced that he is her Mr. Right, she needs to be sure before he pops the question. She’s certain he is the man for her and that she’ll finally get her happy-ever-after. She just needs Alex’s stamp of approval.

Since online dating is becoming so popular, Alex decides to take her agency in that direction. No more hiding in the bushes to catch workman’s comp scammers or unfaithful spouses. It’s like doing background checks for prospective employers. Easy peasy. With word-of-mouth being the best advertising, Alex’s friend plus this new client would promote the agency for her. Alex should be flying high. Except . . . She has no receptionist, her telephones and internet are acting wonky, and her new lover disappeared three months ago. What else could go wrong?

Here’s an excerpt from The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé:

I picked up the pen before looking at Nora Finley. Even though I was in the middle of a major case, I never turned down a prospective client. At least, not right away. I’d hear her out and then decide.
“What can I do for you?”
Her expression completely changed. The high-powered exec disappeared. In its place, caution and . . . vulnerability. “Ellen VanderVeen said I could trust you.”
I smiled. Ellen and I had been friends since college. That girl had more fashion sense in her baby finger than I did in my entire body.
“Yes, I know Ellen.”
“She said you helped her investigate her fiancé.”
I nodded.
She hesitated and appeared to rethink what she was doing in a private investigator’s office. Quickly, she came to a conclusion. “I’d like you to do the same.”
“You want me to vet your fiancé?”
“He’s not my fiancé. Yet.”
She didn’t explain any further, so I asked, “Why? Do you suspect something?”
“No. Oh, goodness, no.” She pursed her lips before continuing. “My father left me a prosperous financial firm plus a sizeable inheritance. I am not saying that to brag but to explain my concerns. In my younger days, I was, uhm, taken advantage of. I need to be sure this man truly loves me—me, not my money.”
Although nobody would ever mistake me for an heiress, I understood her caution.
“I am almost forty years old,” she said. “I want to have children before I’m too old.”
Again, I understood. I’d recently passed a landmark birthday. The big Three-Oh. Rather than worry about kids, though, I devoted myself to my business. After a rocky start, I was on a pretty even keel. Plenty of work. Not enough time. But I did have plenty of time before settling down with kids. And a husband, of course. I’m kind of old-fashioned like that. I’d thought Nick might— Don’t go there.
“Ma’am, if you’d called for an appointment, I could have saved you a trip. I do not have time to devote to your case.”
A crestfallen Nora Finley stared at me, her mouth slightly open. I guess nobody ever turned her down. While hers might be interesting, I didn’t have a good feeling about this case. A client might want the lowdown on a prospective mate—as I’d discovered before—but they often resented the bearer of bad news. Of course, the client could be grateful if the news was good, like my friend Ellen.
“I will double your usual retainer.”
“It isn’t a matter of money—” Although money never hurt. “—I’m in the middle of a large case that is taking up all of my time.”
“How soon will you finish?” No longer disappointed, she looked calculating.
God save me from rich people who think everyone should drop what they’re doing to attend to them.
“Three weeks, minimum.”
“Good. I will be out of the country for the next four weeks. You may finish your present case then check into Clyde Wilson.”
Well, shit. I mean, shoot. I was trying to break my bad habit of swearing. I had misgivings about this woman. Demanding, she was going to be difficult to work with. She exuded the power that came from old money. Power that expected everyone to drop everything and do her bidding.
But then I’d had difficult clients before and managed them. I could probably wrap up the fraud investigation in a couple of weeks. I’d given myself a cushion when I’d told her three.
Were my misgivings about her enough to turn down double my retainer?
I drew the pad closer to me. “Tell me about this man. Clyde Wilson?”
That better not be a smug look on her face.

The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé (An Alex O’Hara Novel) is available at:



Author Info:

Diane Burton combines her love of mystery, adventure, science fiction and romance into writing romantic fiction. Besides the science fiction romance Switched and Outer Rim series, she is the author of One Red Shoe, a romantic suspense, and the Alex O’Hara PI mysteries. She is also a contributor to the anthology How I Met My Husband. Diane and her husband live in Michigan. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For more info and excerpts from her books, visit Diane’s website: http://www.dianeburton.com

Connect with Diane Burton online:

Sign up for Diane’s new release alert: http://eepurl.com/bdHtYf

Thanks so much, Marilyn, for having me on your site today.


Comments

Diane Burton said…
Thanks for having me on your blog, Marilyn.
Maris said…
Diane, darn you. I now have to buy your book. (Yes, that excerpt hooked me.)
Nightingale said…
I get scammers all the time on FaceBook. Loved the excerpt!!!
Rue Allyn said…
Great Post Diane. The book is intriguing.
Diane Burton said…
Sorry, Maris. :)

Thanks, Linda. I do, too. Those guys are weird

Thanks, Rue.
To be honest, I would hate to be a young woman trying to find a decent guy today, but then that's what the heroines in my stories are doing. Looking forward to reading this series; I love mysteries!
Diane Burton said…
Thanks, Lucy. I agree about the dating scene today. It can be scary.
Patricia Kiyono said…
It's so difficult to know a person's true intentions, isn't it? I worry about my kids and grandkids more than I worry about myself. Loved this book - it was my first read of 2016!
Diane Burton said…
I'm so glad you enjoyed my book, Patty. I'd worry about my grandkids, too, except the oldest is 8. I can wait a few years for her to start dating. :)
Margo Hoornstra said…
Add me to the I am now hooked list. Love this PI you've created, Diane.
Patricia Lynne said…
I met my hubby online, and the only time he gave me money was after we met and to help me pay my credit card bill for the hotel room I stayed in. I don't think it even occurred to me to ask him for money to travel to visit him. If I wanted to, I had to save up, so yes, that would be a red flag in my book.
Although I've read this excerpt before, I still always get a kick out of that last line. I agree, your PI is irresistible! Just love the whole old school detective feel I get from this! Thanks for sharing!
Connie Bretes said…
I met my husband through a christian singles magazine, back before they had on line dating sites. I remember telling a friend if I didn't show up for work the next day after I was to meet him, to call and check on me or call t police. The reason why was because he lived in Jackson, MI. Home of the Jackson state prison..... great excerpt, Diane. Look forward to reading it.
Marissa Garner said…
Love your PI and your excerpt!
Susan Coryell said…
What a super set-up for romantic conflict. I love the idea of investigating potential romance partners and heaven only knows electronic media rules the day! Best wishes here.
Diane Burton said…
Margo, thanks so much. Glad you like Alex.

Patricia, you lucked out on the dating scene--just like my son. :)

Thanks, MJ. I've tried to make Alex old school in today's setting. Glad you liked the excerpt.

Connie, what a risk you took. Hubs worked in Jackson and I worried about him driving to & from work b/c of the prison. Your risk paid off.

Thanks, Marissa.

Thanks, Susan. Times sure have changed since I was dating.
Leah St. James said…
Great questions, Diane, and very real for people hoping to meet that special someone today. I LOVE this book, by the way. :-)
Diane Burton said…
I am so glad you liked Fabulous Fiance, Leah. Thanks so much for telling me.
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