Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips *****

Ah, it's so much fun to revisit the Chicago Stars, and Match Me If You Can is a really fun one. One thing I like about it is how their relationship developed slowly, over time, and they felt an attraction but also developed a solid, comfortable friendship before embarking on the love journey. Even after the first semi-drunken (ok I think there was alcohol involved) boinking, they stepped back and kept the friendship/business relationship separate for a while. It wasn't love at first sight - it wasn't even lust at first sight although there was chemistry and attraction from the first.

Heath Champion is a sports agent - think Jerry Maguire, except already rich and successful. He came from trailer park roots, and he keeps the sign from the trailer park in his office as a reminder. He goes about everything in a practical, success-finding way, and when he realizes it is time to settle down and get married, he decides he needs professional help. So he hires Portia Powers of Power Matches to find him the perfect wife. She needs to be a woman who can keep a home for a successful mover and shaker, a woman comfortable with football player clients - and his list of other attributes also make it next to impossible to fill the bill!

Turns out his client Kevin's wife Molly has a good friend who is also in the match-making business. Annabelle gets a meeting with him through Molly, and he agrees to give her 10 minues. Too bad for disorganized and off-the-wall Annabelle that she's a few minutes late! She manages to bully in past the secretary and basically challenges Heath to give her a try.

Quickly he learns that while her business is new, her instincts are good and he uses her to vet all the matches - both hers and Portia's. To do this, she goes on every meet, and restricts the women to 20 minutes. She leads the conversation - she does everything but cut Heath's meat during dinner, as a matter of fact. She seems to be the only woman that knows what he wants!

Portia gets caught spying on Heath and Annabelle by Heath's scary driver/assistant, Bodie (don't know how this is spelled since it's an audio), who vows silence if Portia will go out with him. Portia buys Bodie's story of his upbringing - she doesn't realize he's giving her Heath's backstory, and that his blood is a lot bluer. She's a ball-buster supreme, and Bodie is her dirty little secret, she thinks, not realizing he's playing her the entire time. As it turns out, they are perfect foils for the other.

Heath is astonished by Annabelle's contacts - she's in a book club with all the "right" woman, wives of Chicago Stars players and front-office as well as Phoebe, the team's owner, and he invites himself along on a couple of events to see if he can mend fences with Phoebe. Annabelle develops a friendship with Dean Robillard as well - he's the 2nd string quarterback to Kevin (of This Heart Of Mine), and hero of the next book (Natural Born Charmer). Dean's also in the market for a new agent, but won't consider Heath because of his bad relationship with Phoebe. It seems Annabelle knows all the right people!

Months go by while Annabelle and Portia try to find just the right woman for Heath, neither one of them clueing into the truth: Annabelle is obviously the one. Heath finds himself at her house frequently, where she also entertains Dean and other NFL players as friends and guests. He's comfortable with her, she knows all the right people... She is practically flaunting all the attributes Heath needs in a wife right in his face (without either realizing it)!!

There are some great funny moments in the book - her sex toys catalog being snatched as reading material, the women's video Crystal shows to the book club, the cell-phone snatching kid. Yep, I'll probably listen to the whole series again, several times!! 5 stars.

No comments: