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MATCH ME IF YOU CAN
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The door burst open behind her, and the receptionist flew
in, feathers ruffled like an offended parakeet. “I’m sorry,
Heath. She got past me.”
The Python turned slowly in his chair, and Annabelle felt as
if she’d been punched in the stomach.
He was square-jawed and tough, everything about him proclaiming a brash, self-made man—a roughneck who’d flunked charm school the first couple of times around but finally gotten it right on the third pass. His hair was thick and crisp, its rich color a cross between a leather portfolio and a bottle of Bud. He had a straight, confident nose and bold
dark eyebrows, one of which was bisected near the end
with a thin pale scar. The firm set of his well-molded mouth
proclaimed a low tolerance for fools, a passion for hard
work that bordered on obsession, and possibly—although
this might be her imagination—a determination to own a
small chalet near St. Tropez before he was fifty. If it weren’t
for a vague irregularity to his features, he would have been
unbearably gorgeous. Instead, he was merely drop-dead
good-looking. What did a man like this need with a
As he spoke into the phone, he turned his eyes on her.
They were the exact green of a hundred-dollar bill singed at
the edges with displeasure. “This is what you pay me for,
Jamal.” He took in Annabelle’s disheveled appearance and
shot the receptionist a hard look. “I’ll talk to Ray this
afternoon. Take care of that hammy. And tell Audette I’m
sending her another case of Krug grande cuvee.”
“Your eleven o’clock appointment,” the receptionist said as
he hung up. “I told her she was too late to see you.”
He shoved aside a copy of Pro Football Weekly. His
hands were broad, his fingernails clean and neatly clipped.
Still, it wasn’t hard to imagine them ringed with motor oil.
She took in a navy print necktie that probably cost more
than her entire outfit and the perfect fit of his pale blue
dress shirt, which could only have been custom-made to
accommodate the width of his shoulders before tapering
toward his waist.
“Apparently, she doesn’t listen well.” His shirt molded to an
impressive chest as he shifted in his chair, making
Annabelle uncomfortably aware of a junior high science
lesson she vaguely remembered about pythons.
They swallowed their prey whole. Head first.
“Do you want me to call security?” the receptionist asked.
He turned his predator’s eyes on her, leaving Annabelle at
the receiving end of another of those knockout punches.
Despite the effort he’d taken to polish all those rough
edges, the bar brawler still showed. “I think I can handle
A jolt of sexual awareness shot through her—so
inappropriate, so unwelcome, so totally out of place that
she bumped into one of the side chairs. She was never at
her best around excessively confident men, and the
absolute necessity of impressing this particular specimen
made her silently curse her clumsiness right along with her
rumpled suit and Medusa hair.
Molly had told her to be aggressive. He’s fought his way to
the top, one client at a time. Brutal aggression is the only
emotion Heath Champion understands. But Annabelle
wasn’t a naturally aggressive person. Everyone from bank
clerks to taxi drivers took advantage of her. Just last week
she’d lost a confrontation with the nine-year-old she’d
caught egging Sherman. Even her own family—especially
her own family—walked all over her.
And she was sick of it. Sick of being condescended to,
sick of too many people getting the best of her, sick of
feeling like a failure. If she backed down now, where would
it end? She met those money green eyes and knew the
time had come to tap deep into her Granger gene pool and
“There was a dead body under my car.” It was almost true.
Mouse had been dead weight.
Unfortunately, the Python didn’t look impressed, but then
he’d probably been responsible for so many dead bodies
that he’d grown bored with the whole concept of corpses.
She took a deep breath. “All that red tape. It made me late.
Otherwise, I would have been punctual. More than punctual.
I’m very responsible. And professional.” Just like that, she
ran out of air. “Do you mind if I sit down?”
“Thank you.” She sank into the nearest chair.
“You don’t listen well, do you?”
He gazed at her for a long moment before dismissing his
receptionist. “Hold my calls for five minutes, Sylvia, unless
it’s Phoebe Calebow.” The woman left, and he gave a
resigned sigh. “I assume you’re Molly’s friend.” Even his
teeth were intimidating: strong, square, and very white.
He tapped his fingers on the desk. “I don’t mean to be rude,
but you’ll have to make this fast.”
Who did he think he was kidding? He thrived on being
rude. She imagined him in college dangling some poor
computer geek out a dorm window or laughing in the face
of a weeping, possibly pregnant, girlfriend. She sat
straighter in the chair, trying to project confidence. “I’m
Annabelle Granger from Perfect for You.”
“The matchmaker.” His fingers tapped away.
“I think of myself as a marriage facilitator.”
Why is this quote fantastic?
This is the first time Annabelle and Heath meet and it was electrifying, maybe not for them at this moment, but definitely for me, as the reader. You can already almost lock-on to their character quirks and that short interaction has their chemistry ratings going off the charts.
MATCH ME IF YOU CAN is one of my favorite books of all time and one of my top SEP reads. If you haven’t tried her books yet, please do. I’ll be posting my review of this one later this week so if you’re interest, please check that one out too.
You met star quarterback Kevin Tucker in This Heart of Mine. Now get ready to meet his shark of an agent, Heath Champion, and Annabelle Granger, the girl least likely to succeed.
Annabelle’s endured dead-end jobs, a broken engagement . . . even her hair’s a mess! But that’s going to change now that she’s taken over her late grandmother’s matchmaking business. All Annabelle has to do is land the Windy City’s hottest bachelor as her client, and she’ll be the most sought-after matchmaker in town.
Why does the wealthy, driven, and gorgeous sports agent Heath Champion need a matchmaker, especially a red-haired screw-up like Annabelle Granger? True, she’s entertaining, and she does have a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs an extraordinary matchmaker, right?
Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome, and a very big question: When the determined matchmaker promised she’d do anything to keep her star client happy . . . did she mean anything? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town.
Don’t forget to hop around and check out everyone’s picks for the week!