Title: The Matchmaker and The Marine
Author: Lucinda Race
Genre: Seasoned Romance – Women’s Fiction
She vowed never to date again. He swore he’d hide his handicap forever. Can undeniable chemistry overcome both their fears?
Widowed matchmaker Melinda Phillips wants everyone to experience the kind of love she lost. Though she’s committed to a lonely life, her skill at pairing perfect couples has her business thriving and her work in demand. But when she trips at a client’s wedding into the arms of a handsome Marine, she can’t help but feel that the falling has only just begun.
Adam Bell’s amputated leg is a crippling reminder of his war-torn past. So after his girlfriend rejected his new body and kicked him to the curb, he pledged to protect his heart as fiercely as he defended his country. But after a chivalrous rescue during a friend’s nuptials, he wonders if he’s given up on love too soon.
Hired to find Adam the woman of his dreams, Melinda is surprised to discover the ideal candidate is herself. But as their relationship blossoms, the tortured former serviceman believes his hidden disfigurement will cost him everything again.
Can two broken souls let go of their traumatic pasts to give happiness a second chance?
The Matchmaker and The Marine is an inspiring standalone romance novel. If you like rich backstories, learning to heal, and giving into dreamy temptation, then you’ll adore Lucinda Race’s sweet story.
Melinda flipped her planner shut after drawing a heart next to the two names on the page on the notepaper. Another success. The strains of the “Wedding March” played by a string quartet filled the small flower-filled chapel. Guests rose from their seats to watch the petite bride glide down the aisle toward her handsome groom.
Across the aisle in a pew, a tall, well-built man with blonde hair cropped military style and molten brown eyes locked on hers. He gave Melinda a half nod before his gaze followed the bride. The pastor’s deep voice filled the room as he asked everyone to take their seats. He then turned to the couple to perform the ceremony.
After the newly married couple kissed, Melinda followed other guests in the receiving line to the bride and groom. She beamed. “Stacey and Will, it was a beautiful ceremony.”
Stacey was radiant. Will’s arm was curled around his new wife, holding her close to his side.
“Melinda, this day wouldn’t have been possible without you.” Stacey lovingly gazed at Will. “Thank you for introducing us.”
Melinda kissed her cheek. “It was my pleasure.”
Will lifted Stacey’s hand to his lips, grazing her ring finger. “I will tell all my single friends if they’re looking for love to give you a call.” His eyes twinkled. “You certainly have a knack for matchmaking.”
“You two made my job easy.” She looked over her shoulder. “You have more guests to greet, but I’ll see you during the reception.”
She strolled down the brick walkway to her car, content to see the love between Stacey and Will. Just as it was meant to be.
After making the short drive to the country club, Melinda parked in the crowded lot. As she crossed the parking area to the reception hall she daydreamed of how nice it would be to take off her pumps and walk barefoot. She reached for the brass knob on the carved wood door. Before she could turn the knob, it burst open. She took a step back. Her heel caught a crack in the stone step. She began to fall backward when strong hands caught her and held on tight.
A deep voice next to her ear said, “It’s okay, I’ve got you.”
Melinda looked up into warm brown eyes. It was the man from the chapel.
“Um, thank you.” She smoothed her hand over her simple navy-blue dress and then pushed a curl behind her ear. “I’m not sure what happened.”
“It looks like your heel got caught.”
She gave him a small smile. “It’s a good thing you were there to catch me.”
With a slight stiff bow, he said, “Adam Bell, at your service, ma’am.”
His face held little emotion, almost formal, she thought. People strolled past them into the building, but Melinda couldn’t help but notice he carried himself with a distinct military bearing. Unsure if he was being old-fashioned or teasing her, she said, “We should go inside.”
He crooked his arm and said, “I’d be happy to escort you safely through the door.”
With a small laugh Melinda placed her hand on his arm. In a soft southern drawl, she said, “Thank you, kind sir.”
“So, tell me, are you a friend of Stacey or Will?” he asked.
“I guess you could say both.” She looked at him. “I’m Melinda Phillips.”
His eyes grew wide. “You’re the matchmaker?”
“I am.” As they stepped through the doorway, she withdrew her hand. They made their way to the table with the seating chart. Melinda found her card and saw she was at table six. Adam picked up his card.
“I’m at table eight.” He glanced at her card. “It’s too bad we’re not seated at the same one. I don’t know a lot of people. I haven’t lived here long.”
She looked around the room. “I’ve lived here for a few years and everyone is really nice.”
“Good to know,” Adam said with a smile. “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Thank you, and then I can introduce you to the gang.” Melinda strolled toward the bar. Adam looked around and trailed after her. She understood his reticence. It was hard to get acquainted with a new group of people, especially when they seemed to be really tight knit. She still remembered what it had felt like when she moved to Chester. She fell in love with the small shore town and she had found the people in Connecticut weren’t that much different from Pennsylvania where she lived previously. Heck, they were a lot like her friends back in Beaufort, South Carolina where she had spent most of her summers as a kid.
“Melinda!” One of the bridesmaids rushed over to hug her. “Wasn’t it a beautiful wedding?”
With her glass of wine temporarily on hold, Melinda said, “Molly.” She gave her a squeeze. “You look beautiful.”
Molly stepped back and gave Adam the once over. She kissed him on the cheek. “Don’t you look handsome today in your dark suit? And just look at that lavender tie, spiffy.”
Adam grinned at her. “If I didn’t try to match the wedding colors a little bit, Stacey would have my head.”
Melinda watched as Adam and Molly shared a laugh. It seemed Adam already knew a few people.
What’s the first binge-worthy book you read and why was it a must-read?
The first binge-worthy book wasn’t a romance, it was Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. I got swept away in the storyline and just had to know – who done it… and I used to read with a flashlight under the covers!
What makes your featured book a binge-worthy read?
The characters of Melinda and Adam have faced obstacles and heartache but they’re strong. When the friendship between them deepens it is with most flaws exposed but above all the theme of this book is forgiveness of self and others and of course, love.
This book isn’t a deep, gut-wrenching, dive into the sorrows of the past but more Melinda and Adam are striving to move forward and have a full and satisfying life.
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Runs August 1 – 31.
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Award-winning author Lucinda Race writes about family, love and happily ever afters. A lifelong fan of romance books she is surrounded by books she wants to read. It all started as a young girl when she spent countless hours reading novels and dreaming of, one day, becoming a writer. As life twists and turns, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion, romantic fiction. After developing the story line for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. With fingers flying over computer keys, she does her best to bleed on the page. Lucinda lives, with her husband Rick, and their two little dogs, Jasper and Griffin, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she’s not writing romance novels Lucinda still reads everything she can get her hands on. Please visit her website lucindarace.com and sign up for her newsletter and don't forget to follow her on social media.
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