Billionaire’s Matchmaker, an Anthology
by Shirley Jump, Susan Meier, Jackie Braun and Barbara Wallace
Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?
Driving Mr. Wrong Home by Shirley Jump: When a handsome man from Gabby’s past agrees to a cross-country road trip, her master plan to re-launch her art career quickly morphs into an unexpected, romantic reunion.
The Sheriff’s Secret by Susan Meier: Marney’s 9-1-1 emergency help arrives in the form of a rugged, blue-eyed cop. Now she has the perfect bodyguard to keep her safe during those dark, steamy nights…
Love Unleashed by Jackie Braun: The last thing Mia wants is a relationship…yet the headstrong florist can’t keep her hands off her sexy-as-sin ex-boyfriend. Will she open her heart before he leaves town for good?
Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace: Jenny is a woman on a mission – she’ll even resort to dognapping to make her point! But can she teach a reclusive, emotionally-wounded tycoon that love heals all thing?
EXCERPT: “Driving Mr. Wrong Home” in THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER by Shirley Jump
Damn, he looked good, with the dark hair she remembered, now a little longer and with a wave that swung across his forehead. She had the strangest urge to brush that hair back, to let her hands tangle in the locks, to draw him closer to her, to—
Instead, she talked, keeping her mouth busy with something other than T.J. “What’s with you and this adventure thing? You used to be the one I had to convince.”
He mouth quirked. “Do I detect a little surprise? At not being in control?”
“I can turn the tables on you so fast, your head will spin.”
He leaned back on the bench, crossed his arms over his chest, and smiled. “Oh yeah? I’d like to see you try.”
The challenge roared inside her, awakening the old Gabby. It spurred her to stand up slowly while T.J. watched the movement. Even in jeans, boots, and a thick winter coat, she knew how to shift her hips to draw his attention. His smile grew wider as she closed the distance between them, propped a hand on either side of him, then leaned in close, a breath away. She waited until his brows arched in surprise and his smile faltered, like in the old days, when he stuttered, unnerved by her in a miniskirt or a racy suggestion. Oh, she’d show him who was in control and maybe he’d stop trying to prove otherwise.
She brought her lips to his and whispered against his mouth. “The tables are turned, Mr. Shepherd. What are you going to do about it?”
“Turn them back in my favor.” He cupped her head and drew her closer.
EXCERPT: “The Sheriff’s Secret” in THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER by Susan Meier
During the next six weeks Marney created some of the most spectacular jewelry she’d ever designed. Though she normally worked day and night when she was in creation mode, with Dell coming over for supper every evening, she found it easy to quit when he arrived. Some days he brought food. Some days she made food. Other days they ordered pizza or Chinese food and had it delivered.
She could have given Charlie back to Gabby, but T.J. was still organizing his Chandler’s Cove office. Boneparte had been overseas since January and didn’t show any signs of coming home so Gabby was grateful that Marney could keep sweet Charlie for a few more weeks. With Dell sleeping at her house until midnight every night that he didn’t work, she felt totally protected. But, frankly, Charlie was the only one Marney could talk to about Dell.
“Remember how I wondered what sleeping with Dell would make me?”
“I’ve finally figured it out.”
He tilted his head.
“It makes me happy.”
Charlie barked twice.
She turned off her computer, grabbed her purse and tapped her thighs twice. Charlie raced over and she lifted him into her arms. “You’ve been so sweet over the past six weeks that I’m not making you walk ever again.” She kissed the fur between his ears. “I’m carrying you everywhere.”
At her house, she threw together a simple supper of salad, French fries and thick steaks to be grilled once Dell arrived. At exactly six o’clock, he opened her kitchen door and stepped inside.
He didn’t hesitate. He yanked her to him and kissed her so greedily, her heart about stopped.
Breathless, she pulled away. “Okay. I was going to put the steaks on as soon as you got here but I’m thinking you might be hungry for something else.”
He nuzzled her neck. “I just might be.”
“How about sex first and steak second?
He kissed her again, then scooped her up and took her to the bedroom.
EXCERPT FROM Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace:
“Would you like my driver to take you home so you wouldn’t have to travel alone?”
She told herself it was relief, not disappointment, falling heavy in her stomach. “I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble.”
“You’re not putting me to any trouble, and my driver does what he’s told. Besides, it’s the least I can do. It was nice to be able…to have the company.”
“I enjoyed it, too.” She wondered what he was originally going to say before changing his words. “Plus you got a dog out of the bargain.”
“So I did.” Again, she caught the flash of a smile in the dark.
“Thank you for bringing Charlie back.”
“Thank you for not pressing charges.”
“I wouldn’t have anyway. You made some valid points this afternoon. I’ll see to it Charlie gets more attention.”
“He’d like that,” she replied with a smile.
A thick silence settled between them. Jenny wished she could see Nick’s face. She swore she could feel his gaze searching hers. His eyes zeroing in on her lips. Why else would her mouth run dry?
“You really should install some outside lighting,” she said, swallowing hard. “I can barely see my hand in front of my face.”
She didn’t need to see to feel his body come closer. The air around her hummed with his presence. “That so? I can see just fine.” His voice was rough, intimate.
“That’s because you like the dark,” she told him.
“Who says I like it?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact you’re out here without a flashlight or the fact you insisted on meeting in a dark room this afternoon.’ She tipped her face upward. “Why did you act all mysterious today? Were you trying to frighten me?”
She figured he might dodge the question; she didn’t count on his hand reaching out to caress her jaw. “You have such pale skin,” he murmured. “I bet in the moonlight, it would glow silver.”
“I—I—I wouldn’t know.” Jenny suddenly couldn’t think. The seductive growl in Nick’s voice should frighten her. She was alone in the woods with a man whose wealth and power allowed him to take and do whatever he wanted. The realization should not send a thrill shooting through her body. But it did, and that scared her. His feathery touch left her trembling. Had her wanting more. Dear God, if he were to close the gap between them, she would…
She gasped as his arm reached out and yanked her close. Her flashlight and leash tumbled to the ground. Knocked off balance, she had little choice but to grip the front of his jacket with her free hand, fingers twisting in the worsted wool. She felt his erection against her hip. Instead of setting off warning bells, the knowledge he was aroused fueled her own arousal. The hunger unfolded from a place deep in her soul, as though the lessons from five years ago never happened. She was once again wanton, needy.
“So long,” she heard him whisper. He might as well have been reading her mind. When his lips brushed hers, she sighed and allowed him access. His tongue swept into her mouth without warning. Jenny moaned. He tasted of mint and coffee. She clutched his jacket tighter, pulling close, her hips seeking friction. In the back of her mind, she knew this was a mistake, but the voice of reason couldn’t be heard above the rush of blood in her ears. Unable to stop herself, she mewled and clung to him as his hands slid down her back, cupped her bottom.
From far off, she heard a dog barking. Lulu. Charlie. Their baying reached where common sense couldn’t and she came back to earth. What was she thinking? She broke free of Nick’s grasp.
Unable to form words, she turned her attention to fumbling for Lulu’s leash. If it was any consolation, Nick appeared to be as dazed as she was. The minute she pushed away, he’d stepped to the edge of the path. He stood there now, silently watching her while Charlie weaved around his legs. Jenny could hear his ragged breath mixing with hers.
What had she been thinking? For years she’d managed to behave herself, to keep the needy, desperate side of her personality in check, and now here she was, practically climbing up a stranger in the woods. She couldn’t get off the property fast enough. Finally, she located the end of Lulu’s leash. Forget getting a ride from his driver. Calling him would take too long.
Grabbing the leash as well as her flashlight, she stood up. Her legs were still shaking, and she had to hold her arm out to steady herself. This caused the light’s arc to swing wide. The beam shone straight at Nick.
For the first time, Jenny saw the face of the man she’d so wantonly kissed.
Reviewers love The Billionaire’s Matchmaker, an Entangled Indulgence anthology by Shirley Jump, Jackie Braun, Susan Meier, and Barbara Wallace. While the authors have been blanketing the web with interviews and excerpts, one participant has been notably silent. For the first time, The Billionaire’s Matchmaker himself sits down to answer questions. Welcome St. Clair Charles Osgood Bonaparte, Jack Russell Terrier.
Charlie: Call me Charlie, please.
Patricia: Charlie it is. It’s a pleasure to meet you.
Charlie: You wouldn’t have any doggie treats lying around, would you?
Patricia: Sorry, I didn’t have time to go to the pet store.
Charlie: Cyrus, Mr. B’s, butler “forgets” all the time too. Between you and me, I think he’s holding a grudge over the foyer carpet. That’s not my fault though. Seriously, what’s the point of having a carpet with fringe if you’re not going to let the dog pull on it? I so like hanging out downtown in Chandler’s Cove better. The people there are much nicer. Especially the ladies at Gabby Wilson’s art studio. They, by the way, provide cookies. And they don’t get too upset when my energy gets me into trouble. I don’t know if you know this about Jack Russell Terriers, but we have a lot of energy. We don’t like to sit still. Chasing things is way more fun.
Patricia: That leads me to my first question. In the Billionaire’s Matchmaker, you helped four friends find true love. Why?
Charlie: What can I say? I’m a romantic. Plus, these women opened their homes to me when Mr. B needed a dog sitter. Helping them find their soul mates was the least I could do.
Patricia: What was your biggest challenge?
Charlie: The ladies themselves! Jeez, I never met four more stubborn women. You wouldn’t believe the lengths I had to go before they admitted they were in love. Take Mia for example – did you know I had to actually eat a bra to help her? If I hadn’t, she and Dr. Roth would still be apart.
Patricia: Sounds like you had a lot of adventures.
Charlie: It was a busy nine months, that’s for sure. I went on a road trip with Gabby , helped the sheriff by playing guard dog for Marney, then there was the bra thing…oh, the adventures I had.
Patricia: Rumor has it, you fell in love yourself.
Charlie: You mean Lulu? Woof! Woof! She and are true soul mates. In fact, she helped me play matchmaker for Jenny and Mr. B. Thank goodness she did too. He was another challenge. In fact, I think the men might have been as stubborn as the ladies. What is it about people not recognizing true love?
Patricia: Fortunately, in the end everyone got a happy ending.
Charlie: Thanks to me. Humans are so easy to manipulate.
Patricia: I’ll take that as a compliment. So, do you have any future matchmaking plans?
Charlie: Not at the moment, but if someone in Chandler Cove needs my help, I might work my magic again. Never say never, right?
Patricia: Right. Thanks for stopping by, Charlie. Any last words?
Charlie: Two things. First, I hope readers check out the anthology – it’s a terrific read, if I do say so myself.
Patricia: And the second?
Charlie: Don’t forget the Doggie Treats!
Excerpt from Love Unleashed by Jackie Braun in The Billionaire’s Matchmaker anthology
Marney leaned down and patted Charlie’s head. “Bye, boy. Don’t let her do anything I wouldn’t do.” He let out a soft yip, almost as if he understood.
Mia, however, wasn’t sure she did. “What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Nothing. Be good.” Marney pointed a finger at the dog. “Charlie’s going to be on his best behavior for me. Aren’t you?” Mia said.
Was it her imagination or did the little dog wink?
“You just keep telling yourself that. Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but I have to run.” Marney was halfway out the open front door when she called over her shoulder, “Oh, by the way, Charlie has a checkup with the vet at five-thirty today. Don’t be late.”
The door closed on Mia’s shocked expression. By the time she made it to the porch, Marney was already in her car driving away. Tires actually squealed. Mia scowled. The only veterinarian
in Chandler’s Cove was Gideon Roth, hence Marney’s speedy getaway.
Gideon was a prime specimen of a man with a muscular build, thick sandy hair, rich brown eyes that could undress a woman with a glance, and a mouth that could turn her most wanton fantasies into reality. Mia knew all of this firsthand.
Gideon Roth was her ex-boyfriend.
She’d broken up with him six months earlier. Marney and Gabby, as well as Jenny Travolini—the other woman who formed their close quartet of friends—had been surprised. And no wonder. Gideon was a prize. Not only gorgeous and gainfully employed, but smart, funny, and abundantly decent.
Mia’s reason for dumping him? He’d said, “I love you.”
Three little words that most women longed to hear. Not Mia. Especially when Gid had gotten down on one knee on Christmas Day and backed them up with a diamond engagement ring large enough to have its own ZIP code.
Panic had bubbled up, burning her like lava. God help her, for one foolish moment, hope had as well—a geyser’s worth of it had shot up and then rained down on the old, painful memories. But
nothing could wash away the past, which was why Mia had come to her senses.
Why did Gid have to go and ruin a really good thing with a declaration of love and a proposal of marriage?
Mia trusted neither.
AUTHOR Bios and Links:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shirley Jump spends her days writing romance and women’s fiction to feed her shoe addiction and avoid cleaning the toilets. She cleverly finds writing time by feeding her kids junk food, allowing them to dress in the clothes they find on the floor and encouraging the dogs to double as vacuum cleaners. Look for her Sweet and Savory Romance series, including the USA Today bestselling book, THE BRIDE WORE CHOCOLATE, on Amazon and Nook, and the debut of her Sweetheart Club series for Berkley, starting with THE SWEETHEART BARGAIN in September 2013. Visit her website at www.shirleyjump.com or read recipes and life adventures at www.shirleyjump.blogspot.com.
BOOK TITLE: “Driving Mr. Wrong Home” in THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER, Indulgence
Jackie Braun is the author of more than 30 contemporary romance novels. She is a three-time RITA Award finalist, a four-time National Readers’ Choice Award finalist and was nominated for Series Storyteller of the Year by RT Book Club in 2008. She lives in Michigan with her husband, their two sons and a former shelter dog named Pip.
Anthology name and my title: The Billionaire’s Matchmaker/Love Unleashed.
Blogging 2 Tuesdays each month on The Chocolate Box: www.chocolateboxwriters.com
In 2013 Susan Meier lived one of her career-long dreams. Her book, THE TYCOON’S SECRET DAUGHER was a finalist for RWA’s highest honor, the Rita! The same year NANNY FOR THE MILLIONAIRE’S TWINS was a Book Buyer’s Best Award finalist and National Reader’s Choice finalist.
Susan is the author of over 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette, Entangled Indulgence and one of Guideposts’ Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS.
One of eleven kids, Susan never lacks for entertainment or amusement from her over thirty nieces and nephews. Her family’s Wednesday Morning Breakfasts are the highlight of her summer. And with lots of her nieces and nephews now in their twenties, wedding season is in full swing!
Susan lives in west central Pennsylvania with her husband, son and two crazy cats.
THE SHERIFF’S SECRET in the THE BILLIONAIRE’S MATCHMAKER anthology for Entangled Indulgence
Connect with Susan at
Barbara Wallace has been a life-long romantic and daydreamer so it’s not surprising she decided to become a writer at age eight. However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed her a romance novel that she knew where her stories belonged. Her first Harlequin Romance debuted in November 2010.
Barbara loves writing sweet, smart, ‘it-could-happen-to-you’ style romances. She lives in Massachusetts with her other loves – her husband, their teenage son, and three very spoiled pets (as if there could be any other kind). She also loves hearing from readers.
You can find her at her website (www.barbarawallace.com), on Twitter (@BarbaraTWallace) and on Facebook.
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