She drives him crazy and he’s falling crazy in love.
Matchmaking a Single Dad, a hilarious, hot single dad romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and USA Today bestselling author Angela Casella writing as Angela Denise, is out now!
Matchmaking a Single Dad
Highland Hills #2
by Angela Denise
They’re all wrong for each other…but sometimes two wrongs do make a right.
The only woman I need in my life is my eight-year-old daughter, Jane. As a widowed brewery owner, I don’t have the time or inclination for anything more serious than a one night stand. Running the brewery is a big job, and being a parent is a bigger one, especially since my in-laws keep trying to prove I’m an unfit guardian.
But there’s no denying Holly Mayberry drives me crazy with her sassy mouth and attitude. I’ve known her most of my life, but I’ve always done a good job of evading her. Until now. She’s teaching Jane’s after-school computer program, and fate keeps throwing us together.
Holly and I are like oil and water, no good for each other. I need to stop thinking about her, so I agree to beta test a new dating app—one that Holly designed, although she’s the last person I’d tell.
My match and I can only DM each other for thirty days. No photos. No real names. No personal information until the end.
If I wanted more with a woman, Cherry Bomb checks all the boxes…so why can’t I stop thinking about Holly?
Cole Garrison is a jerk. Or so I’ve told myself for years. The truth is, he’s a DILF and a half, and bickering with him is better than kissing someone else.
Hopefully, the guy I’m chatting up on my dating app will help me forget him…and take his place in my dirty daydreams.
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The door opens, and the teacher sponsoring Tech Time, Mrs. Applebaum, comes in, followed by a boy and three little girls. Four. That’s not so bad. That’s two each for Mikey and me. I give him a we can do this look, but his expression has soured like milk left out too long. Mrs. Applebaum takes care of getting the kids into the room, which is its own brand of chaos, and then she claps her hands, her expression changing from frazzled to upbeat, and says, “There. Now I’ll leave them in your capable hands.”
“Wait,” Mikey says with alarm, rocking on his feet, “you’re not staying?”
“Oh, I’m sure you’re quite capable of holding down the fort. I’ll check in with you toward the end.”
“Are you sure—” I start, but I’m cut off by the closing of the door.
“Hi, I’m Eloise,” one of the kids says. She’s a little girl in a button-up shirt with pearl buttons that go up so high I’m surprised it’s not choking her.
Oh, yeah. Introductions. “I’m Holly,” I say, gesturing broadly to Mikey, “and this is Mikey. Why don’t you all pick computer stations?”
“Aren’t we supposed to call you Miss Holly and Mr. Mikey? Or by your last names?” Eloise asks as the kids get seated.
They’ve barely had time to introduce themselves before the door bursts open, revealing a newly harried looking Mrs. Applebaum, followed by none other than Cole Garrison himself and his small, dark-haired daughter, Jane.
“No,” I say reflexively.
“No, what?” Jane asks. “Hey, Dad, that’s the woman you always argue with.”
It’s my turn for murder eyes, only I make them at Cole. Cole, who only got better with age, damn him. His wavy dark hair has been joined by a short, trimmed dark beard that perfectly frames his lips, as if saying, “please kiss here.” Those eyes are as puppy doggish as ever, and now he’s both tall and broad, the kind of man any woman would welcome in her bed. To her detriment. Because he’s still a jerk.
I’ve had a somewhat recent refresher course on his jerkitude, actually. Before I left for New York, I made the monumental mistake of trying to be nice to him, and it’s a tactic I’m not about to reprise.
“Will you be joining us, Jane?” I ask, my tone tight.
Cole mustn’t know the no-swearing-in-a-school rule either, because he curses under his breath. “I didn’t know you were teaching this class,” he says to me. “Maybe this was a bad idea.”
“Excuse me,” I say. “I’m very qualified to teach a bunch of eight-year-olds Scratch.”
“What’s Scratch?” Jane asks. “Is it gambling?”
“No,” Mrs. Applebaum blurts, looking horrified. “I mean. It’s not, is it?”
“It’s basic coding,” I say, glancing back at the other kids. “I’m going to teach y’all to make your own games. Doesn’t that sound fun?”
Please God, let them say yes.
There are a few enthusiastic nods, although Eloise instantly raises her hand again. Sighing, I nod at her. “Yes, Eloise?”
“Will there be a test?”
“No,” I say, “but we’ll be giving a presentation to the rest of the school before Christmas break.”
“Sounds like a test,” Jane mutters.
There’s probably no getting rid of her, and it’s not her fault that I have an issue with her father, so I say, “Why don’t you take a seat?”
She does, choosing the open seat near Mikey.
Cole scratches the back of his neck, looking at her. I guess Mrs. Applebaum is satisfied to have done her part, because she nods and says, “All right. That’s settled then. I’m going to my classroom. I’ll be back at the end of class.”
Does she have a flask in there or something? She seems suspiciously eager to get back to her desk.
“Can I talk to you for a second?” Cole asks. It takes me a second to realize he’s addressing me.
I gesture toward the children. Mikey is regarding them with escalating terror, probably because if I step out, he’ll be left in charge. “Not a great time, to state the obvious.” “Why are you doing that?” Jane asks Mikey, who’s tapping the side of her monitor agitatedly. “Do you have a nervous tic, or is there something wrong with the screen? If there’s something wrong with the screen, you probably shouldn’t have let me sit here.”
He mutters something about this being just like middle school.
“It’ll only take a second,” Cole says, his eyes burning into me. Despite myself, I feel a not unpleasant sense of awareness.
“Fine,” I say begrudgingly. “Mikey, get them to turn on their computers and draw up the program.” It’ll be easier for him to step up if there’s a concrete task to focus on.
I step out into the hall, and Cole takes several steps back, as if he feels the need to constantly keep a minimum distance between us. Fine by me. “What is it?” I ask tersely, shutting the door.
For a second, he just looks at me, and I’m about to lose patience when he finally says, “I know you don’t like me, Holly. But don’t take it out on my daughter.”
He might as well have punched me in the gut.
“Is that what you think of me? You think I’d be a creep to a little girl because she has the misfortune of being related to you? If anything, I’ll be nicer to her to make up for it.”
His expression suggests my shot has landed too, and I’m glad, but only temporarily.
The corner of his lips tip up in a self-deprecating smile that lacks any mirth. “You’re hardly the only person to think it’s her misfortune. I had to say it.”
“Did you?” I ask, tilting my head.
He takes a slight step toward me, as if preparing to tell me off, then says, “Goodbye, Holly.”
In my mind, I think of another day, of a young boy, still on his way toward becoming a man, saying, “I’ll be seeing you, Holly Mayberry.”
How the hell has it come to this?
I watch him go, partly because I want to make sure he really leaves and partly because he does, damn him, have a fine butt. No harm in looking, ladies.
I highly recommend anything written under the Angela Denise name. The characters are always interesting, things are never boring, and there’s a good mixture of humor and heat. Matchmaking the Single Dad holds true. The daughter is adorable, the heroine is sassy, and the hero is hunky – all combining to make a fun, and funny, read.
Holly and Cole have been picking at each other for years. Of course, we know it’s because they are perfect for each other but misunderstandings and missteps over the years have led them to this point. A place where spending time together because of Cole’s daughter means that they are going to have to address their feelings for each other. It’s definitely not smooth sailing – both of them are stubborn to say the least – but with the help of friends and family maybe they can finally find that HEA they’ve been waiting for.
Witty banter, tender moments, a spunky 7 year old, and a good amount steam kept me turning the pages and coming back for more. I can’t wait to see what comes next for the Mayberry siblings 🙂
(Part of a series but pretty easily stands on its own.)
About New York Times bestselling author Denise Grover Swank and USA Today bestselling author Angela Casella writing as Angela Denise
ANGELA DENISE is the pen name for the writing duo Angela Casella and Denise Grover Swank.
ANGELA CASELLA loves writing romcoms, particularly with the lovely Denise Grover Swank. She lives in Asheville, NC with her husband, daughter, and two geriatric dogs. Her hobbies include herding her daughter toward less dangerous activities, stress baking, and marathon watching TV shows.
DENISE GROVER SWANK is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author and has sold over three million books. She indie published her first book, a romance mystery, Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes, in 2011. She has since published over fifty novels, multiple novellas and short stories as an indie and with five publishers. She is published in seven languages. She is a single mother to six children and four dogs and hasn’t lost her sanity. Or so she leads you to believe.
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