Hex and the Single Girlby Valerie Frankel
Emma sees naked people (not necessarily a bad thing!)
Emma Hutch's upscale Manhattan clients call her the "Good Witch." Her uncanny telepathic abilities enable her to plant images into unsuspecting minds, which has made her New York's most successful professional matchmaker. After all, what bachelor, confirmed or otherwise, could deny his true destiny when the
Emma sees naked people (not necessarily a bad thing!)
Emma Hutch's upscale Manhattan clients call her the "Good Witch." Her uncanny telepathic abilities enable her to plant images into unsuspecting minds, which has made her New York's most successful professional matchmaker. After all, what bachelor, confirmed or otherwise, could deny his true destiny when the woman he can't seem to stop thinking about suddenly appears right in front of him? Now an all-too-perfect blonde socialite needs Emma's help to snare the most eligible single man in the city all in a day's work for the Good Witch.
Except William Dearborn visual artist, software genius, total hunk, and dedicated hedonist is not so easily snared. And he's becoming a little too interested in the desperate matchmaking sorceress who's been following him all around town incognito. Emma doesn't have to be psychic to know what's going on in his mind. William's having very wicked thoughts indeed about the Good Witch . . . and Emma likes it! But she's got to resist his special brand of magic . . . or else her witchy career is going up in flames.
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Hex and the Single Girl
By Valerie Frankel
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Valerie Frankel
All right reserved.
On a clear day, Emma Hutch, thirty-three, could see forever -- give or take a few yards. Technically, she had 20/10 vision in both eyes. If a normal-sighted person could spot a dog in the street from half a block away, Emma could read the license plate number on the truck that swerved to avoid hitting it. Emma's hearing was also sharp. With the clarity of a diamond, she could eavesdrop on her neighbors talking, singing in the shower, or going at it. At her will, having learned over the years to filter out extraneous noise, she ignored them. Sometimes, though, she listened. Even more dynamic, Emma's sense of smell had both strength and acuity. She could detect a pinch of cilantro in a stew or a waning blossom in the wind. Upon meeting new people, her nostrils could sniff out their essential goodness -- or badness.
At six o'clock (on the nose), Emma opened the door of her apartment to Daphne Wittfield, a new client. Instantly, her nasal membranes sprang to attention.
Daphne Wittfield smelled like money. Great green piles of it.
"I am so glad to meet you," said Emma with a big smile, hopefully not too desperate. "Please, come in."
The tall blond gave Emma the once-over twice. "You don't look like a witch," said Daphne. Her eyesnarrowed. Like every other part of her, they were narrow to begin with.
Emma was dressed in a black turtleneck, jeans, black high-heeled boots, and blue-tinted sunglasses. She said, "We gave up the pointy hats back in 1567."
"But you look harmless. Bloodless." Daphne paused. "That concerns me. And this apartment. It's all white."
Emma said, "Makes it easier to find myself." She waited for Daphne to laugh. Nothing. "Why don't we sit? Get to know each other better."
The two women walked across a white shag carpet to the plump white couch piled with white fluffy pillows. The blond shoved the pillows to the side and sat, crossing her long legs at the knee. Emma guessed Daphne was in her late twenties with skin as tight as an apple peel, puffy lips, a pert nose. Her buttery hair was expertly streaked. The client seemed custom designed from the top down. Then again, for all Emma knew, Daphne and her high, hard breasts were one hundred percent authentic. Emma didn't have EPSP (Extra Plastic Surgery Perception).
She sat next to her client on the couch, smiled brightly, and rubbed her palms on her jeans. For some reason, Daphne made her nervous. Emma took a deep breath, inhaling the client's odor of crisp bills. It calmed her down, but not enough.
"What's with the sunglasses?" Daphne asked. "It's been dark out for an hour."
Emma instinctively touched her blue shades. "Most people find the color of my eyes to be a bit distracting."
"Do they?" asked Daphne, amused (apparently, she was not most people). "Let's see."
Emma took off her glasses with a theatrical flourish. She almost said, "Ta-da!"
The blond gasped when she set her eyes on Emma's. She recovered quickly and said, "Yes, quite dramatic. Put the glasses back on now."
Replacing them, Emma said, "Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I have to object about the pace you want. I prefer to go slow. Do the research. Observe from a distance and then make contact."
"On the phone you said you'd start immediately."
"Pressure makes me nervous, and, frankly, I've felt queasy from the moment you walked in the door. But then again," Emma reflected, "it could be hunger."
Daphne asked, "Are you trying to jack up the fee?"
Emma hadn't thought of that. "What if I am?"
"I offered double your usual rate."
"But that was before we met."
"It's been three minutes!" said Daphne. "Are you the Good Witch or a judgmental bitch?"
"Can't I be both?" asked Emma.
Daphne checked her watch. Frowning impatiently, she reached into her black leather tote, extracting a manila envelope with the Crusher Advertising logo. From that she removed a stack of one hundred dollar bills and fanned it like a deck of cards.
"That explains the smell," said Emma.
With the authority and condescension of a Fortune 500 company vice president, which she was, Daphne said, "Five thousand now. Five thousand when the job is done. You will agree to work my case exclusively for two weeks. I want three hits a day, seven days a week. If you fail to secure me a first date in that time, you won't get a second payment and I'll trash your reputation all over town."
Emma considered her options. She said, "I don't work on Sundays."
"Three hits a day, six days a week," corrected Daphne. "I'll get you access -- invitations to parties and events, reservations at restaurants. It's an aggressive approach. But I hate wasting time."
Emma longed to grab the bills and rub them all over her naked body. Only an hour ago, just as the October sun set, she'd gone through her mail and found a third ("final") foreclosure warning from Citibank. But Emma hesitated. She had rules about new clients. They had to (1) have good referrals, (2) seem deserving of her help, and (3) be motivated purely by love. If Emma were to take the cash from Daphne, she'd be breaking at least two of her rules, and possibly three. Violating her principles would hurt Emma's sense of ethics. But losing her beloved Greenwich Village one-bedroom would hurt much, much more.
She took the money, of course. Who wouldn't? She took the money, and maybe she'd regret it later, but right now, Emma thought, holding the stack in her hand, she felt immense relief. And humble gratitude.
"Thank you, Daphne," she gushed, squirreling the bills in her side table drawer. "I want you to know that this isn't just a business transaction. We're initiating a personal relationship, too. I provide my clients -- my friends -- with emotional services as well. A hand to hold. A shoulder to cry on. We can talk every day, a few times a day, if you need emotional support. I'm available. I listen."
Excerpted from Hex and the Single Girl by Valerie Frankel Copyright © 2006 by Valerie Frankel. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Valerie Frankel has written over thirty books, including three New York Times bestsellers. Her articles have appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; Parenting; Self; Glamour; Allure; and the New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn with her family.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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It's like cotton candy for the brain, not good for you, but fun every now and then. I read this a couple of years ago, it was rather good....so is The Accidental Virgin. Valerie's book Smart Vs. Pretty was horrible (I just finished that yesterday and left a bad review for it).
I have read one other novel by Valerie Frankel and that was 'Accidental Virgin.' I fell in love with that book, and the characters. So then I decided to pick up 2 more books from this author because I was so hooked on the first one I read. I CLEARLY made the right choice! Frankel is a wonderful writer, she makes great characters, and a great storyline. 'Hex and the single girl' hooked me from the first chapter all the way to the end! I loved Emma, and the good witch inc. I thought that her corperation was cute, by making the first dates happnen. I liked how Emma was also finding love on her own! This book is highly reccomended to woman who are fans of the chic lit genra! I give it two thumbs way up!
It is worth the price because it is well-written, humorous, and it is something you'd like to read again and again. Inspiring, in the sense that I can somehow relate to Emma - being witchy and all that - but I'm sure even women without the extra witch powers could still relate to Emma's normal, everyday problems like debts, having not enough money to spare, the emotional setback of thinking you've finally found Mr. Right then suddenly discover he's not for you after all and though her problems seems to be piling up higher and higher until Emma came to a point that she started to doubt her reason for living, thought of herself as a big matchmaking fraud for manipulating the minds of the men with images of her female clients so the men would think they've fallen in love. Aside from that, the main problem Emma faced was - and I'm sure many women at some point in their lives have had this experience - falling for the guy (William Dearborn) her current client wants to be matched with. But despite all the debts, all the emotional setbacks and failed relationships, and self-doubt, Emma emerges triumphant with problems all solved out, new matches made, both major and minor characters in the story had closure - and good, fulfilling ones at that too - and best of all, she got her man - yes, William Dearborn, the guy she was falling for and tried to dismiss because it's against her business ethics. Truly, everything in life has it's own season and reason for being.
This is a quirky and fast read. Definatly different but in a good way the author kept me wanting to read on and on to find out what was next. the main character was fun and interesting. There are a few dirty parts so I wouldn't recomend to all audiences but still a great read.
Valerie Frankel is one of my favorite writers of all times. Her books are gripping from the first page and laugh-out-loud hilarious. Every story has great characters, heartwarming plots, and hilarious dialoge. You'll fall in love with all the characters from the beginning and want to read every book she has ever written. You won't regret this buy!!!
I just recently started reading Frankel and I have to tell you, she's quickly became one of me FAVs! Hex and a Single Girl has it all: Romance, Comedy, witty dialogue, and a little touch of MAGIC! This is a quick read and I recommend trying Girlfriend Curse next.
i picked this book up just to read something different. I'm glad i did it had me laughing out loud most of the book.
In New York, Emma ¿Good Witch¿ Hutch is an enchanting matchmaker with a high level of success due to her gift. For a fee, she will track down a chosen male and telepathically send them seductive images of her customer who as dumb as men are will fall to their knees in thank you when they see the Goddess of their dreams come to life. --- Though extremely successful for other women, her love life is flat lined at zero. Most men flee from her out of fear of her renowned power. She has even found someone who she believes is her soulmate and he does not hysterically run from her. William Dearborn is perfect for her, but though she believes he is the right one, she met him because a client hired her as she wants him one thing Emma knows is that customer is always right at all costs in this case her heart. --- HEX AND THE SINGLE GIRL is an amusing romantic fantasy that in spite of its paranormal elements, reads like a 1930s madcap comedic romance. The story line is fast-paced especially when the Good Witch realizes the object of her client¿s affection is her cherished lifemate. The support cast is very strong, but this fun screwball comedy belongs to lead female protagonist who places a charming hex on readers. --- Harriet Klausner