Tracy Madison

A Match Made by Cupid


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      Bachelor on the loose. But not for long!

      Melanie Prentiss doesn’t believe in happy endings. So when her latest assignment pairs her with tall, dark, off-the-charts-gorgeous bachelor Jace Foster, she figures it’s Cupid’s idea of a joke. Collaborate on an article about love with Portland’s resident playboy? A man she finds more irresistible than anyone has a right to be?

      Jace is a changed man. But thanks to his popular Bachelor column, the world still thinks he’s happily single. Truth is, he’s been bitten by the love bug. He only has eyes for Melanie. And with Valentine’s Day around the corner, now’s the time to put his newfound settling-down skills to the test and prove to Melanie that they’re made for each other!

      Counting off on his fingers, Jace said, “Sex appeal. Charisma. Charm. Sexy smile. Oh, and cocky. I count that as five compliments. Though, I suppose charisma and charm could count as one, but you used both so I say two.”

      He watched as the pink flush darkened to a scalding red. Embarrassment, temper or both? “I’m curious,” Melanie said, “were you always this full of yourself or is this attitude a recent change in your behavior?”

      “Hey, you’re the one who said I had a sexy smile.” Then, knowing he shouldn’t but not able to stop himself, he said, “And I did save your job, so perhaps a ‘Thank you, Jace’ might be in order after all.”

      She stepped forward another few paces. “I’m a big girl, Jace. I don’t need a man swooping in to clean up after me. I don’t need a hero.” Her gaze fixed on him. If he hadn’t been watching her closely, he would’ve missed the way her chin trembled.

      Dear Reader,

      I’m a holiday junkie. I will happily admit this to anyone who asks, though those who know me are already very much aware of my addiction to holidays. Valentine’s Day just happens to be one of my favorites. How could it not be? It’s a day meant to celebrate love. Sometimes, though, love can be sticky, confusing and downright painful.

      What happens when a woman’s life experiences have taught her that loving a man spells disaster, especially when the man she’s falling for seems to embody every trait she’s learned to shy away from? What if she has to work with this man on—of all things—a Valentine’s Day feature for the newspaper they both work for?

      These are the questions that sparked the story you’re about to read, A Match Made by Cupid. In this book, you’ll meet Jace and Melanie, two people who are seemingly polar opposites but still find the attraction between them blinding. While Jace is ready for love, Melanie never wants to tie her heart to a man.

      I had such a wonderful time writing this story, and I hope you fall in love with Jace and Melanie just as I did. And of course, happy Valentine’s Day!

      Tracy Madison

      A Match Made by Cupid

      Tracy Madison

      

       www.millsandboon.co.uk

      TRACY MADISON

      lives in Northwestern Ohio with her husband, four children, one bear-size dog, one loving-but-paranoid pooch and a couple of snobby cats. Her house is often hectic, noisy and filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud moments. Many of these incidents fire up her imagination to create the interesting, realistic and intrinsically funny characters that live in her stories. Tracy loves to hear from readers. You can reach her at tracy@tracymadison.com.

      To my mother: for always believing in and supporting me. I couldn’t have asked for a better woman to guide me through life. Thank you.

      Contents

       Chapter One

       Chapter Two

       Chapter Three

       Chapter Four

       Chapter Five

       Chapter Six

       Chapter Seven

       Chapter Eight

       Chapter Nine

       Chapter Ten

       Chapter Eleven

       Chapter Twelve

       Chapter Thirteen

       Chapter Fourteen

      Chapter One

      Some days start off bad but end up redeeming themselves. Other days simply go from bad to worse. Despite Melanie Prentiss’s best efforts to believe in redemption, today promised to be of the latter variety.

       The bad-day vibe began when she lit her hair on fire. Well, more of a smolder than an actual flame. All she’d meant to do was heat up her eyeliner pencil so the color would glide on smoothly. She’d been going for the larger-than-life-eyes look, not the she-barely-escaped-a-burning-building-alive look.

       Fingering the singed chunk of hair at her right temple, Melanie sighed. That was the moment she should have taken notice and called in sick. But because her mother had raised her to be tenacious, she’d ventured on—only to spill her grande-size caramel macchiato all over her lap on the drive to work. A little mishap that nearly caused her to rear-end the car in front of her. Not to mention the so-not-fun sensation of steaming hot liquid drenching her thighs.

       But did she turn her car around and head toward home like any sane person would’ve done? No. Something she regretted hugely when she entered her office building, rushing because she was already late, and managed to catch her heel on the rubber floor mat in the lobby. She’d flown across said lobby like a bird with an injured wing, landing in a pile of coffee-soaked clothes in front of the bank of elevators. Minus one shoe, naturally.

       And now: this.

       Melanie scowled as she stared at the hastily scrawled message from her boss stuck to her monitor: Melanie! My office. ASAP!

       Why today? She’d hoped for a longer reprieve before being summoned by Kurt, the editor she worked for at the small newspaper in Portland, Oregon. How likely was it that he wanted to see her about something other than her latest column? Not very, she admitted to herself. Heck, she couldn’t even blame him. She’d crossed a line she shouldn’t have. Again.

       Shrugging off her coat, she plopped down in her chair. No, the blame could only rest on her shoulders. Her emotions had gotten the better of her. Mostly because of her mother’s latest broken heart. Loretta Prentiss had at least three of them per year, and it was always up to Melanie to help bandage together the pieces. Her mother was intelligent, attractive, the owner of a successful business, and ferociously devoted to finding her “one true love.”

       Too bad she had terrible taste in men.

       Loretta’s men, as Melanie called them, all fell in the “too” category: too suave, too handsome and too charismatic.