MATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Book # 06-142
Match Me If You Can is another entry in Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Chicago Stars series, and SEP is on top of her game with this release. Annabelle Granger is the disappointment of her family. Living in a shabby old house that once belonged to her grandmother, Annabelle is intent on succeeding at her matchmaking business, Perfect For You (formerly Marriages by Myrna), much to the dismay of her highly successful brothers and parents.
Heath Champion is a wealthy sports agent whose self-imposed timetable indicates the need to find the perfect wife and settle down. Although he's already signed to Annabelle's rival, Power Matches, helmed by the icily perfect Portia Powers, Annabelle's ineptitude appeals to him, so Heath agrees to give her one chance to find him a hot date, on the condition that Annabelle accompany him on this date and end it promptly after twenty minutes. Annabelle pulls a fast one and soon has Heath signed up for her matchmaking service, to Portia's fury.
Portia stalks Annabelle and is discovered by Heath's bodyguard, Bodie, a bald, tattooed muscleman who is Portia's complete opposite. Blackmailed into a date with him, Portia is deeply shaken at how quickly he threatens her narrow focus. Meanwhile, Heath discovers that Annabelle has an in with Phoebe Calebow, owner of the Chicago Stars and dedicated adversary to any player Heath represents.
Match Me If You Can is as tightly choreographed as the most complicated squaredance, with plotlines twisting, overlapping, changing direction, and reversing completely, all without missing a beat. Phillips has a knack for creating characters who are likeable and surprising. Portia's unexpected vulnerability is a treat, as readers will find themselves switching from loathing her to rooting for her. Bodie is a very modern alternate lead, with his formidable appearance and his sudden glints of charm. But the book truly belongs to Heath and Annabelle, and a terrific team they make. When Heath attends a very special party with Annabelle and the Stars' ladies, his utter mystification at pint-sized feminine wiles is amusing and endearing. Annabelle's family are not what they seem, but it takes seeing them through Heath's eyes for readers to get a more accurate vision.
As is often the case with Ms. Phillips' work, Match Me If You Can goes right to the edge of over-the-top humor without taking it too far. The epilogue may be a bit too tidy for some readers, but is eminently satisfying for those who like the ultimate happily-ever-after. Match Me If You Can is a fun, fast free-for-all of friendship, foreplay, and fulfillment.