This week the last of the Matchmakers, Inc. series, Calling All the Shots is on the shelves. I love this book. Willow was the inspiration for the entire series a woman who deals with life by making it into a television show so she doesn’t have to let anyone see how deeply it affects her. And Jack Crown the golden boy who no matter how many hits he takes never seems to get knocked down.
Thank you to everyone who has been reading the series and writing to me about it. Here is a little peek at chapter one where Jack has finally talked Willow into a real date. Hope you enjoy it!
Most days Willow Stead loved her job. She felt very lucky to be pretty much her own boss. But not today.
The problem had actually started months ago, when the network bigwigs had pulled some strings and gotten the second most popular television host in America to work on her show. Great, right?
Not if that man was Jack Crown.
Sure he was good-looking and charming. But beneath that toothy grin and effervescent personality beat the heart of a rogue. While his type of bad boy could be redeemed on TV or on the pages of a romance novel, in real life he couldn’t. Which was something Willow knew firsthand, having had her heart broken by this very man at the tender age of sixteen.
“Drinks, Willow, that’s all I’m suggesting,” Jack was saying with that sexy smile of his.
There was no doubting why he’d been named one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive for the past four years. But she was resistant to his appeal. Yeah, right. If only the callousness she remembered—he’d stood her up on prom night, for Pete’s sake—was enough to keep her from falling for him.
She’d done her best to keep her distance from him over the past six months as they’d worked together on Sexy & Single, the New York-based reality TV matchmaking show she was producing. But she couldn’t deny she wanted to accept his invitation for drinks.
“Um…you haven’t said no yet, so I guess you need me to talk you into it,” he said, his voice dropping to an intimate whisper. “Is that what you want?”
“What I want is for you to stop acting like I’m one of your rotating harem,” she said, trying for disdain.
“I’m not like all the other women that fall at your feet.”
“Ah, you’ve wounded me,” he said, clutching at where his heart should be.
“Doubtful,” she said. “But since we do need to discuss the show, I’ll accept.”
“Geez, Willow, don’t sound so eager,” he said. “There was a time when you used to enjoy being with me.”
She wrinkled her nose at him. She didn’t like being reminded of her past infatuation. God, could she have been more obvious back then? If she could write a letter to her sixteen-year-old self, she’d start it with STOP MOONING OVER JACK CROWN! and be done with it.
“I’m not that girl anymore,” she said.
“I don’t believe that,” he said. “I still see shades of her in how you act with everyone but me. Why is that? Clearly I’ve done something to rub you the wrong way.”
“Just because I’m not buying your public image doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “Gail has told me enough about PR for me to know that you can’t be America’s Sweetheart in real life.”
Gail Little was one of Willow’s best friends and had been the reason Willow had pitched the idea of this show to her bosses at the network. Gail’s personal matchmaking experience had been captured on the first episodes of Sexy & Single—her dates with New Zealand billionaire playboy Russell Holloway had really brought in the viewers. The quiet, sophisticated Gail taming the wild Russell had been ratings gold.
“Forget image. You know me,” he said. “What do you believe?”
He didn’t want to know, and there was no way she was opening that can of worms. “I don’t know you. Not really. You spend more time flying cross-country to host your other shows than here on the set with me. But that doesn’t matter. So what about those drinks?”
He rolled his eyes. “I’ll buy you dinner and drinks if you stop evading the question and tell me what’s going on. We’ve been working together for six months and I keep getting the cold shoulder from you. I must be remembering our high school years differently because I thought we’d been friends.”
“You must be,” she said. “Can we eat out without your legions of fans finding us?”
“No,” he said. “But I have an apartment that’s a short walk from here. What do you say? Want to come back to my place?”
She started to shake her head but then stopped. She did want to have dinner with him. A part of her was hoping he’d be interested in her so she could date and dump him the way he’d dumped her the night of prom. She knew it was petty and she didn’t like that about herself but she’d never been a turn-the-other-cheek person. Never.
She’d waited for the perfect moment to get her revenge. And it looked like it had arrived a mere fourteen years later… Who said that patience wasn’t rewarded?
“Okay, I’ll do it,” Willow said. Maybe she could include a little anecdote about how Jack got his comeuppance in that letter to her sixteen-year-old self.
“Good. How long until you’re done here?” he asked.
“About twenty minutes. I have to talk to the camera crew. They had a problem on the shoot last night. Why don’t you leave me the address and I’ll meet you there,” she said.
“You’re not going to back out, are you?”
“That’s not my plan. I said I’d be there.”
“Good. I thought I remembered you as a girl of your word,” he said. There was a natural confidence about him that was so attractive—too bad that she hated it. She wanted to see some cracks in the facade of America’s Sweetheart. She wanted to see that life threw him curveballs once in a while.
“Women don’t like to be referred to as girls,” she said.
“My bad,” he said with a wink.
“You’re about to have an epic fail if you do it again.”
He laughed as he turned to walk away. She couldn’t help staring at his fine backside until he disappeared through the door.
I hope you enjoyed this little teaser. To order the book go to: