Spotlight & Giveaway: The Matchmaker’s Happy Ending by Shirley Jump

Posted May 9th, 2013 by in Blog, Spotlight, _Harlequin Romances / 46 comments

Today it is my pleasure to host NY Times & USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump!

Shirley welcome to HJ! Shirley has a special post for us today…

THE MATCHMAKER’S HAPPY ENDING

matchmakers-happy-endingThis book came about when my editor asked me about doing a mother-daughter focused book. I came up with Marnie, a matchmaker by trade, who fixes her mother up—only to have mother turn the tables on her and try to fix her up with her arch enemy, Jack Knight. Marnie’s a matchmaker who has given up on happy endings, and Jack’s a workaholic who has no room in his life for anything other than making up for the mistakes of the past. But when these two connect over some daisies and an outdoor concert, Marnie begins to wonder if maybe happily-ever-after is possible.

Excerpt:

Jack turned onto Marnie’s street. A flicker of disappointment ran through her as the ride came to an end. “It’s the fourth one on the right,” she said. “With the flowers out front.”

Invite him in? Or call it a night?

        He slowed the car, then stopped at her building’s entrance. “Nice looking place. I love these brick buildings from the early 1900s. It’s always nice to see the architecture get preserved when the building gets repurposed. Not every owner appreciates history like that.”

         “Me too. Coming home is like stepping into history.” She smiled, then put out her hand. Impersonal, business-like. “Well, thank you for the ride.”

        That zing ran through her again when his large hand enfolded hers. For a second, she had the crazy thought of yanking on his hand, pulling him across the car, and kissing him. His broad chest against hers, his lips dancing around her mouth, his hands—

        Holy cow. She needed to sleep more or get extra potassium or something.

“It was the least I could do after you stayed,” Jack was saying. He released her hand. Darn. “Especially after you had a long day yourself.”

Focus on the words he’s speaking, not the fantasy. She jerked her gaze away from his mouth. “It was no trouble.”

He grinned. “You said that already.”

“Oh, well, I’m just really…tired.”

“Yeah, me too. I had a long day, made longer by someone who dropped the ball on some important paperwork. I got everything back on track, but…what a day.” He ran a hand through his hair, displacing the dark locks. “Anyway, I’m sorry again about losing my temper back there.”

 “I would have done the same thing if my trunk looked like an origami project,” she said.

        He glanced in the rearview mirror and shrugged off the damaged rear. “It gives my insurance agent something to do.”

        She laughed. “True. Anyway, thanks again. Have a good night.”

        “You too.” He reached for her before she got out of the car, a light, quick touch on her arm. But still enough to send heat searing along her skin. “Would you like to go get a cup of coffee or a drink? We could sit around and complain about our jobs, our meddling parents, bad cab drivers and whatever else we can think of?”

A part of her wanted to say yes, but the realistic part piped up, reminding her of the time and her To Do list, and her no-men-for-the-foreseeable-future resolve. Besides, there was something about that zing, something that told her if she caved, she’d be lost, swept in a tsunami. The mere thought terrified her. “I can’t. It’s late. And I have an early day tomorrow.”

“On Saturday?”

She raised one shoulder, let it drop. “My job is a 24/7 kind of thing.”

He chuckled. “Mine too. And even though every year I vow to work less and play more…”

“You don’t.”

He nodded.

“Me too.” Because work was easier than confronting the reasons why she worked too much. Because work was easier than taking a chance on love. Work she could control, depend upon. Love, not so much. But she didn’t say any of that. She released the door handle, and shifted to face him.

Despite the fear, she didn’t want to leave. Right now, with Jack looking at her like that, his eyes lit by the street light above and his strong jaw cast in a dark shadow, her resistance was at an all-time low. Desire pulsed in her veins. She wished she had dragged him across the car and kissed him silly when she’d had the chance. So she delayed leaving a bit longer.

“What do you do for work that keeps you busy late into the day and also on weekends?” She put a finger to her lip and gave him a flirty smile. “Let me guess. Lawyer?”

“Hell, no.” He glanced down. “Oh, I get it. Pinstripe suit, power tie. Screams waiting to sue to you?”

        “Well, if the Brooks Brothers fits…”

His smile widened, ending with a dimple. Oh, God. Dimples. She’d always been a sucker for them.

“I’m…an investor,” Jack said. “Of sorts.”

“Of sorts?”

“I buy and sell businesses. I find ones that need a cash infusion, and if I think they’re viable, I invest. If I think they’re not, I buy them and either sell them again or break up the pieces and sell it off.”

A shiver ran down her back. The leather seemed to chafe now, not comfort. “You’re…a corporate raider?”

        “I’m a little nicer than that. And I tend to work with small to medium-sized businesses, not giant Goliaths.”

The connection fused in her mind. His job. His name.

Jack Knight. Owner of Knight Enterprises. A “business investor”—a euphemism for his true identity. Jack Knight was a vulture. Feeding off the carcasses of desperate business owners.

It had to have been the exhaustion of the day that had kept her from putting the pieces together until now. How could she have misread all the clues?

And to think she’d wanted to kiss him five minutes ago. She bristled. “The size doesn’t matter to the company that gets sold off, or taken over, or destroyed in the process of that kind of ‘help’.”

“I must have given you the wrong impression. There’s more to it—”

“No, there really isn’t. You destroy people’s companies, and their lives.” The words sprang to life in her throat, fueled by exhaustion, shock, and surprised even Marnie with their vehemence. She never did this, never showed outrage, never yelled. Jack Knight had brought out this other side of her, with a roar. “Do you even think about what happens to those people after you swoop in and tear their company to shreds? They spent their lives building those companies, and in an instant, you take it all away. And for what? A bottom line? A few more dollars in your pocket? Another Mercedes for the collection?” She let out a gust, then grabbed the door handle. It stuck, then yielded, and fresh night air washed over her. She’d gotten distracted, by a dimple and a zing. Idiot. “Goodnight.”

“Wait. What did—”

She shut the door, cutting off his words. She’d confronted him, told him off, and told herself it felt good to finally say what she should say, exactly when she was supposed to say it. Jack idled in the space for a moment, then finally, the Mercedes drove away, swallowed by the night.

        Disappointment hit her first. If only she’d kissed him. If only she’d let herself get talked into that cup of coffee.

If only he’d been someone other than Jack Knight.

Then righteous indignation rose in her chest. He was the one at fault, not her. He was the one who had ruined her father’s company, not her. If she’d told him what she really wanted to say to him, if she’d really let the confrontation loose, she’d have resorted to some very unladylike behavior, and she refused to give him that satisfaction. Jack Knight didn’t deserve it, not after what he had done to her father.

So she had said goodnight, got out of Cinderella’s carriage, and went back to the real world, where princes didn’t come along very often, and there were no mice to do the work for her.

 

Giveaway: One lucky winner will win a copy of  THE MATCHMAKER’S HAPPY ENDING, out as a two-in-one this month with BOARDROOM BRIDE AND GROOM.

To enter giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: Have you ever been set up on a blind date, by a well-meaning matchmaker? How’d it turn out?

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46 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: The Matchmaker’s Happy Ending by Shirley Jump”

  1. belindaegreen

    You asked: Have you ever been set up on a blind date, by a well-meaning matchmaker? How’d it turn out?

    I let my friend talk me in to going out with our usual group where this person was invited to join us. That’s the only way they could get me to go. Needless to say we didn’t really click and i turned down a actual date date. Blind dates are always hit or miss. I say buyer beware…. 🙂

    Thanks for the opportunity to share.

    Belinda G
    belgre AT comcast DOT net

    • shirleyjump

      Belinda, I had a terrible blind date when I was young, that my sister set me up on. The guy had a loud hee-haw laugh and we went and saw Police Academy 4. Yeah. It was awful. And embarrassing! He was just obnoxious to the extreme,

  2. Sharlene Wegner

    When I was in high school, I was visiting my cousin & we went on a double date. I was set up with her boyfriend’s cousin. He was very cute & a good kisser!

  3. Kai W.

    My parents have hooked me with a matchmaker. Most of the men that I was introduced to didn’t have a visa, green card, or even a U.S. citizen. I am a very suspicious person by nature. I have this sixth sense when I’m being used. That sixth sense was screaming that they were using me to stay in the U.S.

    I was looking a guy that would love me and spend the rest of my life with but not for this.

  4. Leanna Hiner

    I hsve nrver been on a blind date. My mom has wanted to set them up but she doesn’t know what I like.

  5. KYLA WHITLEY

    The last blind date I was on, was back in high school. My friend had my best interest in mind, but we definitely did not have the same taste in boys. I should of known better.

  6. shirleyjump

    Wow, lots of you haven’t been on blind dates! I’ve been on a few when I was young. I didn’t marry any of them, so I wouldn’t call them a success, LOL. But I’m kind of adventurous, and figure it’s only one night so why not take a chance? 🙂

  7. Princess Palo

    I don’t know if I could categorize this as a blind date… since, we really don’t went out. We are text mates and my friend is kinda like the matchmaker. She gave my number to his friend, that guy. The guy said, he wants us to meet. I said, I am in a certain computer shop with my friend(the acting matchmaker). He didn’t reply and I didn’t effort to ask him why because I was busy social networking. Then moments later, a guy sat on my side. I didn’t look at him since he is not familiar to me. In the computer shop, almost all of my classmates are there since they are playing online games in group. I am still busy w/ friendster—the famous social networking in my country that time. And the guy was busy playing with NBA games. Then I started looking at “my textmate” profile in friendster. I even shouted in my friend, ( I shout because she is kinda far away from me) that the guy is not good-looking and who looks ugly. Then later on, I look again in the guy and I saw his friendster in “Home” in my textmates friendster account. Which that means, he had access on that friendster because he is the owner!!! God, I almost pray that the land will open and eat me.

  8. Carolyn Walker Rhodes

    Yes, and we went out a couple of times and it just wasn’t meant to be. Well meaning friends of mine were the matchmakers! Congrats on your new book Shirley! Happy Friday!

  9. Tawnya Bentley

    Yes, by a really good friend of mine. The guy would not stop looking at me all through dinner, and then we went to the movies, thank God it was a double date with this friend and her husband, because the guy developed wandering hands. And then as I was getting out of the car when he dropped me off I turned to say goodnight and ended up with his tongue literally down my throat. Yes violence was involved on my side.

  10. Christine Merritt

    I was set up on a blind date… but it turned out he was a guy that I already met. We both worked in high rises downtown. One busy morning crossing the street the guy in front of me was jostled, his coffee spilled; he accidentally hit me in the stomach with his brief case. We got thru the cross walk, he apologized; I gave him napkins for the spilled coffee and we chatted then said good-bye. A month later a friend talked me into a blind date; I knew who he was immediately. It gave us something to talk about at the awkward beginning of the date. We dated for about 6 weeks, then I was promoted and transferred to a new place. I wasn’t ready for anything serious and ended it; I never looked back.

    Hhhhmmm, now I am using my imagination and wondering… it could make for a fun story.

  11. Allison W

    I have been set up on a blind date… we went on a second date but didn’t go past that. I could only talk about the weather so much…

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