Gonna end the week with a fun little small-town romance – take a look below and see what I thought, plus what the rest of the tour thought as well.
Perry Grove #1
by Katya Armock
Monica has the ability to see a guy’s aura light up the first time he touches his soul mate, but she’s kept it a secret since her parents shamed her as a child. Still, she decides to start her own matchmaking company—even if she doesn’t advertise her unique ability. Business is so-so until she gets a call to find matches for the singles of the small town of Perry Grove. She’s not looking for love herself but has an immediate attraction to one of her clients. Too bad another woman lit up his aura.
Hunky dairy farmer Jeremiah wants nothing to do with his grandpa’s hare-brained matchmaking scheme but agrees to play along to appease the man who raised him. But when he meets the sexy matchmaker, he starts to rethink his single status. Too bad she’s intent on pairing him up with another woman. If there’s one thing he knows, though, it’s how to be stubborn.
Monica Morgan slammed the door of her red Camry and kicked the offending tire for good measure. “Ow. Darn it!” Her sensible black flats were no match for the doughnut wheel. Smooth move, Sherlock. Get your head in the game. You need this job or your business is toast.
She took a moment for one deep breath then hurried to the entrance of the Perry Grove United Methodist Church. Before she reached the double door, it swung open and Ed Thompson greeted her with a kind smile. His white hair was a bit shaggier around the edges than when they’d met in person seven weeks ago. She’d spent that afternoon in Perry Grove meeting with only the town council, as she had a strict rule that she couldn’t come into contact with any potential bachelors or bachelorettes in public.
That edict had raised a few eyebrows, but in the end she had sold them on her “process” with no mention of the true reason for the rules. No one needed to know she saw a guy’s aura light up the first time he made physical contact with his soul mate. In a public setting, even one as small as Perry Grove, she ran the risk that more than one woman or man could brush against a man at the same time and mess up Monica’s aura-reading mojo. So she insisted on one-on-one intake interviews with each client early on. Then she oversaw each potential couple’s first contact with no other parties in the room under the guise of wanting to see their first impressions of each other in a closed environment.
Now that she was here for her extended stay, Mr. and Mrs. Thompson would be her hosts for the next month.
Mr. Thompson held the door for her. “Glad to see you made it in one piece. Lucky you were close enough you could make it on a doughnut, but now that you’re here, Sherman’ll get it fixed right up for you. He already ordered the tire. It’ll be in tomorrow.”
Pasting on her best professional smile, she headed down the walkway, hoping he hadn’t witnessed her meltdown. “Glad to be here and to see you again, Mr. Thompson.”
The crinkle around his cornflower-blue eyes deepened with his smile. “At your service. And I told you before to call me Ed. Now let’s get you settled. We have the bachelorettes from the dating pool in the fellowship hall downstairs and the bachelor in an adjacent room, as you requested. Pat Staley—she’s the church secretary in case you don’t remember her—called all the men for today to let them know the appointments have been pushed back a few hours.”
She did remember meeting Pat briefly, as she had made a point of recording everyone’s name, occupation, and relationships in the town. “Thank you for taking care of that, Mr. Thompson. I apologize again—”
He waved a dismissive hand as they reached the stairs. “Ed. And there’s nothing you can do about a flat tire except deal with it.”
She rolled her shoulders to ease some of her tension. She hated being late. “So your grandson is still up first, correct?” An involuntary shiver echoed through her just thinking about her first client’s dimpled smile and the striking blue eyes that stared at her from the photo she’d received along with his profile information—and how inappropriate that thought was. No dating clients.
“Don’t look so glum, girl. No one blames you for being late. Although, I should warn you that Jeremiah isn’t too excited to use your services. I have to admit I strong-armed him a bit, and he’s been stuck in the Sunday school room for a few hours. I was afraid if I let him leave, I’d never get him back, if you know what I mean.” He laughed and winked conspiratorially.
Monica’s Match is all about trust. In order to give love a chance, she’s going to have to share her secret and she has to decide if she’s willing to take that chance. Here the thing she’s hiding is her ability to read auras but this really applies to anyone. We all have something – funny toes, addiction to bad made-for-tv disaster movies, eating crackers in bed, psychic abilities – it doesn’t matter what it is, there is something (and most often somethings) and we have to trust that the person we are interested in can accept us for good and bad. It’s not easy but it is the only way a relationship can be successful. But I totally understood Monica’s hesitation in sharing her secret. She had it drilled into her by her parents that it was something that needed to be hid and being a good daughter she took it to heart.
I’m not sure I totally liked Monica – she is a little harsh and somewhat stand-offish, especially with Jeremiah. But when she relaxes, she becomes a lot more fun. Jeremiah has his moments as well, but I like how he poked at Monica trying to get her to loosen up. It made for some fun interactions between the two.
I’ve seen some complaints about how she treats Jeremiah later in the book and how quickly things are resolved, but I think it works for how the story is written. Just because Jeremiah changes his attitude doesn’t mean that Monica is going to do the same immediately. She’s always had that push away thing going on with him – earlier on when she thought he was meant for someone else and then later when she was afraid of getting involved. As for the big reveal, I think it just highlights the idea that it isn’t a huge problem. She’s made it into something so much worse than it is, which is understandable because the more she focused on it the more she built it up in her mind. And we’re back to that main theme – she’s gotta learn to trust.
I like books that are funny and fun to read, but also make me think or look at the world in a new way. These days you’ll find me living my happily ever after in the Midwestern U.S. with my husband, dog and cats. I love to hear from readers, so please come find me on the Internet.
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