Title: Mix and Match (Heaven’s Matchmaker book 1)
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Smalltown romance, later in life romance, friends to lovers romance, second chance at love romance
Divorced and lonely, nurse Jasmine Green retains the services of Heaven, NH’s very own successful matchmaker, Olivia Joyner. The bar scene and dating apps give Jasmine hives and Liv’s reputation is stellar. If anyone can help guide her through the quagmire that dating has become, Olivia can.
Architect Donovan Boyd is ready to settle down. He wants the kind of marriage his parents have: long-lasting, filled with love, children, and joy. But even after a year of living and working in Heaven he’s still considered an outsider by many. Finding the type of woman he’s looking for is hard in the tightknit community. Retaining Olivia Joyner to help him find his forever love is one of the smartest things he’s done, especially after she sets him up with Jasmine Green.
But the red-haired, green-eyed beauty wants a different kind of marriage from the one Donovan considers ideal.
Can these two strong-willed people learn to compromise so they can both find their happily ever after? Or will their relationship forever be relegated to the friend zone?
Jasmine scanned the bar where Olivia told her her date would be waiting. There were three men scattered down along the rail. Two she recognized from high school and one guy whose face she couldn’t see because his back was to her. When he turned she realized immediately this was not the man she was due to have drinks with.
First, there was no way this guy was 36 years old. Her mother would have called him Gramps.
Clue number two was the wedding band on the hand holding his beer. It was so tight, the skin surrounding it swollen, his knuckle hair squeezed around it, indicating it had been there for decades.
Nope. This wasn’t her guy. A cursory glance around the place showed most of the tables were taken with couples.
Her date had yet to arrive.
“Hey, Jazz,” the bartender and owner, Kick Loomis said from his perch drying beer glasses behind the bar.
“You squattin’ or sittin’, sweetheart?”
She’d been in the place enough times in her life to know he meant was she going to sit at the bar or take a table.
Jasmine was self-conscious enough she didn’t want to be seated on a bar stool, sitting alone while waiting for her date, especially when one of the guys she’d gone to school with tossed her an inquiring eye and a raised eyebrow. She didn’t want to get into a how-you-doing-what-you-been-up-to-since-high school chat. If her memory served, and it always did, the guy had been one of the football heroes of Heaven High back in the day. Those glory days were long gone and she had no desire to listen to him dredge them up.
She spotted an empty table in the corner and nodded toward it.
“I’ll send Raylynn over with a menu.”
She nodded and as she was about to head for it felt a tap on her arm.
“Excuse me. Jasmine?”
She turned at the sound of her name, spoken in a deep, soft voice blessed with a charming accent and found herself face to face with the gorgeous guy she’d spotted in her mom’s office. The one Sharmaine had been sucked on to like a tick.
Good Lord, he was even better looking up close and personal than he’d been, seated, and ten feet away from her. Stunning blue eyes, the color of freshly laid Robin’s eggs topped a face with high cut cheeks and a jaw forged from granite. Midnight hair curled around his ears and caressed the nape of his neck. Layered waves fell across his head in a chaos of perfection.
She’d been right about his height. Most men she could stare straight in the eyes due to her own long legs. But she had to tilt her head back a bit to look into this man’s striking ones.
“You are Jasmine, aye?”
Even his voice was gorgeous, the song of Ireland singing through it.
She nodded, her own voice deciding now would be a good time to leave on vacation. And when his smile took a slow stroll from one corner of his full, thick lips to the other, showing perfect, straight white teeth, the tips of her fingertips began to tingle like she’d fallen asleep on them and spent the night with them cuddled beneath the weight of her body.
He-of-the-handsome-face stuck out his hand and declared, “Good. Olivia said to meet you here. Donovan Boyd, but everyone calls me Van. Lovely to meet you.”
Jasmine knew she should shake his hand. It was the polite thing to do, wasn’t it? For some reason, her brain wasn’t sending any signals down her arm to lift it up to his outstretched one.
Donovan, or Van, kept his hand out, his smile in place, and ticked his head to the left a hair. A clap of booming laughter rang out from somewhere behind her and finally propelled the gears in her brain to start turning again.
After a headshake where she actually heard her brains rattle, she extended her hand and slipped it into his.
Warmth, like she’d just stepped into a bubbling hot tub, spread along her fingers, shot across her palm, then jumped all the way up to her neck. A feeling of familiarity bolted through her. With a shock, she recognized it for what it was – desire. Pure and simple. Something she hadn’t felt in almost forever.
She swallowed, said, “It’s nice to meet you,” then shook her head again as she slid her hand back.
“Would you like to sit at the bar or would ya prefer a table?” he asked.
At the bar she’d have to sit next to him, shoulder to shoulder. That seemed a bit too intimate right now, especially when the nerves she’d thought to quell had started bounding through her again. Better to be across from him, keep them at a bit of a physical distance.
Van thrust his chin toward the empty table she’d been aiming for, extended his hand and said, “Shall we?”
He got points for good manners, that was for sure.
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Amazon & KU exclusive: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09P48WPZC
What makes your featured book a must-read?
I love a friends-to-lovers romance and Jasmine and Donovan are the perfect best friends. While each of them want more from the other, they are each afraid to tell their feelings because they don’t want to do anything to jeopardize that special friendship. Figuring out who was going to “give in” first was so much fun for me, and I think will be for the reader, too.
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Peggy Jaeger writes contemporary romances and rom coms about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.
Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all aspects of life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness, and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.
As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
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Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0