An Early Secret Saturday – A Perfect Match

I've got a Secret!

We're off to set sail on the 1001 Dark Nights Cruise. Before we go, I’ll be revealing a few secrets about, A Perfect Match!

I originally wrote this book for a couple of reasons. First, some friends challenged me to see if I could write both a sweeter and a shorter book. Second, I’d always wanted to write a book set in my hometown. At the time, I was working with an editor at Silhouette (before it was acquired by Harlequin) who loved the concept about this bubbly professional matchmaker and a skeptical sports reporter. I wrote the book, sent it…and the editor called me a week later to tell me she was leaving her job AND the line I’d written it for was shutting down.

Thoughts about the character Mitch: I used to watch a show on ESPN every Sunday that starred a bunch of sports reporters who swapped opinions about teams, players, and sports themselves. I modeled Mitch after a melding of several of these reporters and got a fun little kick out of it!

Thoughts about the character Juliette: Juliette was the polar opposite to cynical, ambitious Mitch. She was designed to drive him crazy, keep him on his toes, and make him think. I like to think Juliette is the sort of girl next door everyone can relate to.

Surprising Fact about A Perfect Match that readers may not know: This book sat on my hard drive for years because I didn’t know what to do with it. Finally, I gave it an edit, I definitely added sex, and dubbed it a retro release because it’s totally a book reminiscent of a time before the explosion of online dating. Then I released it to the world with a great cover. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Juliette pushed her barely touched plate aside and excused herself to escape to the rest room.

As she passed a row of tables outlining the dance floor, a familiar voice called out, “Juliette.”

Mitch MacKinnon.

She recognized the voice right away by the shiver in her spine. Slowly, she turned. He deserved a Hunk of the Year award for the way he shaped a tuxedo jacket and his drop-dead dimpled smile.

Juliette inhaled, hoping oxygen would revive her suddenly malfunctioning brain. “Hi.”

“Hi, yourself.” He rose, eyeing the bared shoulders above her rosy gown intently. “Wow. This morning, I didn’t think you could look much better. What an idiot I was.”

Juliette actually felt heat crawl up her face. “Thank you.”

“Hey, since you look so good, and I’m all dressed up in this penguin suit, how about a dance?”

“Aren’t you with someone?”

“Yeah, but she’s gone to the bathroom.”

He was asking her to dance when his date had only slipped out for a moment? Though he wasn’t making a play for her exactly, asking her to dance when he was here on a date seemed like a really asshole thing to do. “Don’t you think she’ll mind?”

“Nah,” he assured, grinning. “My mother has accepted the fact I have other women in my life since puberty.”

“You’re here with your mother?”

He nodded, his smile faltering. “She moved out here when Dad died. Part of the deal was that I’d escort her to these fancy wing-ding parties.”

So he wasn’t a jerk—at least not totally. “That’s…considerate of you.”

He shrugged. “So how ’bout it?”

Juliette hesitated. Looking at Mitch was unnerving enough, but touching him and letting him touch her when she was wearing a backless dress… None of that seemed wise.

“I really should get back—”

“Oh, come on. Three minutes,” he cajoled, stepping closer. God, he smells fabulous. “I’ll ask you a few questions. It’ll be the second part of our interview.”

She met his dark stare with a quiver. “You’re difficult to turn down.”

“Thanks for not trying too hard.”

Juliette felt his fingertips at her elbow a moment later. His exhalations caressed the tingling skin of her neck. When they reached the perimeter of the dance floor, Mitch turned her into his arms.

His expression devoured her.

Juliette swallowed, unable to tear her gaze away. He slid his hand up the length of her arm and around to her bare back. Tingles danced all over her skin, through her body. Oh, wow! Reaching for her other hand with his, he swayed to the music.

Having Mitch’s strong arms around her felt like an embrace. She responded to it, heard her own breathing roughen in answer to his touch. His scent, teasing, musky, tickled her nose. Every pore opened to bask in his male aura. Every nerve strained toward him.

Deep within, her matchmaking intuition sparked, a gut feeling signaling that Mitch could be special to her.

Impossible. He wasn’t even sure love existed and was more interested in seeing the world than raising a family.

Then why did she feel this…deep curiosity to know Mitch, experience his every facet? Why did she want nothing more than to cast their differences aside and know the taste of his kiss?

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Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past nine years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

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