And this time, their next "victim" was Sheri Marsh. Sheri had long endured the town biddies' attempts at matchmaking, even though she had no intention of ever settling down. As the pool of single women dwindled, their efforts doubled, and Sheri needed a plan that would get the meddling mavens off her back for good
Enter taciturn cowboy Pace Gentry. Playing her beau wasn't what this new Christian had expected. But the always aggravating, yet utterly adorable Sheri proved one thing to himthe Lord sure did work in mysterious ways!
About the Author
A sixth generation Texan, award winning author Debra Clopton and her husband, Chuck, live on a ranch in Texas. She loves to travel and spend time with her family and watch NASCAR whenever time allows. She is surrounded by cows, dogs and even renegade donkey herds that keep her writing authentic and often find their way into her stories. She loves helping people smile with her fun, fast paced stories.
Read an Excerpt
Says the Lord, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
Sheri Marsh stared in wide–eyed amazement at the three women around the table with her at Sam's Diner. They were her official nightmare come a–calling.
Oh yes, it was true. These deceptively innocent–looking little old ladies were the infamous "Matchmaking Posse" of Mule Hollow. And they'd just informed Sheri that they had a plan to wipe her woes away. Whether she wanted them to or not!
"Okay," Esther Mae Wilcox was saying, her hands held out in front of her as if she were about to deliver the biggest punch line of all time. "So, are you ready? Here's the plan." She paused, as if waiting for an imaginary drumroll. "Me and Norma Sue made up a list last night. And Sheri, you are just going to love it!"
Well, Sheri thought, looking at the bright side, at least the truth was on the table now—no more hints, no more hemming and hawing. The posse had come clean. They'd admitted what she'd already deduced was going on behind her back.
They were setting her up!
Tamping down her escalating temper, Sheri leveled her gaze at each of the women at the table.
First she zeroed in on Esther Mae. The woman was like Lucille Ball and her sidekick, Ethel, rolled into one.
Then Sheri shot her gaze to Esther Mae's partner in mayhem, Norma Sue Jenkins. She had a very full figure and the willpower of a steamroller. Sheri could just see herself looking like a flattened Gumby after Norma Sue got through plowing over her with her matchmaking notion.
Last but not least, Sheri settled her gaze on Adela Ledbetter, a wisp of a woman who balanced the other two out with her serenity and godly wisdom. Okay, she usually balanced them out. At the moment, to Sheri's dismay, she wasn't balancing anything with that soft smile and twinkling eyes! Nope, Sheri could tell that obviously Adela had more important personal things on her mind, like the cute–as–a–wrinkled–raisin Sam, owner of the only diner in the rustic town of Mule Hollow, Texas.
Yep, Adela was just sitting there letting Sam place a steaming cup of coffee in front of her, in the special china cup that Sam used only for Adela. It was no secret that there was romance in the air between the spry proprietor and the truly special lady. In fact, nobody seemed to understand what was keeping them from taking the trip to the wedding altar. Plus, unlike the way they'd latched on to Sheri, her cohorts didn't seem in any hurry to tie Adela and Sam up in a neat little match–made–in–Mule–Hollow–heaven package. And as far as Sheri was concerned Adela and Sam needed some help. At the pace they were going they'd be batting eyes at each other forever. They'd never experience wedding bliss unless someone stepped up and lit a fire beneath them.
Sheri bit her lip. Was it too much to ask that the focus be taken off her single status and applied to Adela?
Lastly, Sheri glared at her best friend, Lacy, who was sitting on a stool at the counter and had spun to face them. She was just as intent as the senior posse on trying to find Sheri a husband. Her mischievous grin and laughing eyes proved it as she met Sheri's glare.
"What we did," Norma Sue continued, drawing the words out as if she were about to make a major proclamation, "was make a list of all the single cowboys. Then we listed all their truly wonderful attributes. Let me tell you, Sheri, there's still some great pickin's out there. You need not be worried that you'll get the runt of the litter."
"That's right," Esther Mae broke in. "After all, love is a very idiosyncratic view—"
"A what?" Norma Sue exclaimed.
The previously full–figured Esther Mae threw her recently achieved size–twelve shoulders back and looked down her nose at Norma Sue. "I–di–o–syncratic," she said slowly, as if pronouncing it to a child.
"It means subjective." She smiled proudly, ignoring Norma Sue's frown. "I'm learning new words out of the Reader's Digest. It's supposed to keep my mind alert, so y'all get ready. I'm gonna be bustin' them out on occasion. You know, when the opportunity arises."
Sheri joined everyone in staring openmouthed at Esther Mae. It was a known fact that Esther Mae couldn't get the words she already knew into the right context. Where she'd go with bigger, better words was anybody's guess.
"I think that's a grand idea," Lacy said at last, breaking the silence. "You learn them first then teach us."
"Are you crazy?" Norma Sue asked incredulously, finally finding her voice. "Esther Mae—"
Esther Mae harrumphed. "Now you just hush, Norma Sue Jenkins. Just because I get a word tangled up here and there is no call to get in a tizzy."
Sheri wanted to laugh, but she didn't dare call attention to herself. At least for the moment they weren't focusing on her and the list of local eligible bachelors.
"That's right, ladies," Adela chimed in, reeling her friends back in. "Nobody's crazy. Now back to the topic at hand…. Sheri, I'm sure that you know love is a lasting connection that God orchestrates between a man and a woman. We're simply nudging people in the right direction. No one can actually understand the mystery that binds couples together except the two people themselves."
Well so much for being out of the hot seat, Sheri thought drily.
"True, that brings us back to our list." Norma Sue slapped Sheri on the back and smiled her mile–wide smile. "The best thing for a broken heart is to get back in the saddle, and so we think we've got the field narrowed down for you. I have to tell you that it hasn't been an easy job. You know as well as we do that there's not just any man out there who can keep up with you, Sheri Marsh."
Lacy grinned. "I think most of the guys are scared of you."
Esther Mae halted her forkful of apple pie midair. "That's probably right. I asked Simon Putts about takin' you out on a date—you all should have seen his face. He went pastier than Norma Sue's dumplings."
That did it! Sheri bolted up from the table so fast it shook. She couldn't take Esther Mae asking somebody on a date for her. And Simon Putts of all people? Why, the name fit him like a glove. "Okay, listen up," she said. "You all have had your fun, but for the last time lay off me. I am more than capable of finding my own cowboy. If and when I'm interested in finding him—"
"Well, we never said you couldn't find a cowboy," Esther Mae interrupted. "You just can't seem to find the right cowboy. You know, the one. We know your heart was broken—"
It was Sheri's turn to interrupt, frustrated beyond words. "Okay, okay. Yes, my heart is hurting because of J.P. I hope you're all satisfied that I'm admitting it." She was steadily backing toward the door, feeling as if a noose was tightening around her neck. She needed her freedom. "And since my heart was broken, that should make you realize I'm not, and I repeat once more, I am not looking for the one. I'm not looking for anything. Goodness, y'all, I'm kinda confused right now." There, she'd admitted more than she wanted, and they were still looking at her as though she was the next star of their runaway hit, How to Marry Off a Girl in Ten Days Whether She Wants to Or Not!
Just in the nick of time she bumped into the door. "What's your hurry, Sheri? You don't have a pedicure for another hour," Lucy said.
Sheri glared at her soon–to–be former best friend Lacy, pushed the swinging door open and spun through it. Lacy's chuckles followed her out to the sidewalk.
They were out of control! Really. This was just not right. Happy single people ought to have the right to walk the streets of Mule Hollow just like everyone else. That's right, without the worry that they were going to be unduly set upon by the matchmaking posse. Somebody should do something about it. People could get hurt…like her!
Why, it just wasn't right for them to think that everyone in Mule Hollow was their own special puppet, to be led here and there as they saw fit. Sheri marched down the sidewalk indignantly. How would they like it if the tables were turned on them? They wouldn't like it one bit if a person manipulated them! Oh, no, they wouldn't. It would serve them all right if someone pretended to fall in love because of their scheming. Just when the posse began to pat each other on the back they would find out the joke was on them.
Sheri stopped dead in her tracks. Her anger dissipated as she thought about what just flashed through her thoughts.
It was a brilliant plan.
A way–past–time–for–it kind of plan.
But it seemed deceitful. The thought dimmed her initial pleasure. Then again, she told herself, this was a lesson the ladies needed to learn. And it seemed that they would only learn it through something as drastic as her budding plan…since they certainly weren't hearing what she had to say.
It was true. Sheri stood in the center of Mule Hollow's Main Street, gazing down the colorfully painted buildings lining both sides of the street. She had to admit…there hadn't been a shake–up like this could be since Lacy came to town and painted the two–story beauty salon flamingo–pink, then followed it by talking everyone into painting the rest of town all colors of the rainbow.
It had been the lonesome town's single cowboys who'd been shook up on that day. But this, this plan would shake up the matchmaking posse so they would leave her alone and quit plotting the demise of her single status.
Getting back in the saddle was how Norma Sue had put it. Well, for a girl who'd loved being in the saddle until J.P. threw her off, she was struggling on new terrain here and they weren't helping.
She'd tried to beg off, hadn't she? She tried asking them nicely and she'd tried demanding them to leave it be. But nooo, that little group of happy do–gooders just closed their ears as though she'd said nothing and gone on with their plans.
It was past time for talking, Sheri realized. It was time for action, and she was all over that like a bee to a honeycomb. It would be a much–needed distraction for her while providing a greatly–needed service for the small group of happy singles of Mule Hollow.
All she had to do now was find exactly the right man for the job.
That's right. She needed a man, and not just any man. She needed a man with as little desire for marriage as she had. She thought about her idea for a moment, letting it settle in and get comfortable. She would do this.
She certainly would.
She would find the perfect man to help with her little charade—a man whose name was not Simon Putts. No, this would be a man the ladies could picture Sheri with. He must be a man who valued his freedom and his freedom of choice with as much regard as she did.
All she needed to do now was figure out which of the cowboys in Mule Hollow would fit that specification. The two of them could teach the posse that when it came to running her life, Sheri was the one in control.
And she wasn't giving that up for anyone. Ever.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
In book 5 is Sheri's story. Sheri came with Lacy to start their own salon before the place grew. Sheri got her heart broken when on JP on a date with her fell for someone else and married her.Sheri is warrier of mariage her parents combined married 9 times.Pace Gentry has moved next door to Sheri he is not used to havingneighbors he would go months not talking or seeing anyone where he lived in winter and only a few in summer. He is going to break horses and start his own business he moved because he felt God wanted him to.I liked how Pace was trying to change and realizes he has a ways to go. How Sheri is trying to get over fears.
In book 5 is Sheri's story. Sheri came with Lacy to start their own salon before the place grew. Sheri got her heart broken when on JP on a date with her fell for someone else and married her. Sheri is warrier of mariage her parents combined married 9 times. Pace Gentry has moved next door to Sheri he is not used to having neighbors he would go months not talking or seeing anyone where he lived in winter and only a few in summer. He is going to break horses and start his own business he moved because he felt God wanted him to. I liked how Pace was trying to change and realizes he has a ways to go. How Sheri is trying to get over fears.
Take a beautiful, independent young woman, handsome strong-willed cowboy, small town self-made matchmakers and mix them together and you have this heartwarming story by Debra Clopton. Sheri Marsh is definitely not interested in finding a man. The one she was engaged to walked out on their wedding and she isn¿t in the mood. But the town matchmakers won¿t hear of it. She is their next victim. Granted, some of their matches have proved to be perfect, but Sheri can find her own, thank you very much. Then she runs into Pace Gentry. Her exasperation at his calm demeanor and nonchalant attitude is matched only by his at her. When Sheri intentionally draws him into her plan to get back at the meddling matchmakers, his faith and strength of character is challenged. As always love finds a way. Sit down with this book for a great story. The characters are real and endearing. The story is fresh and new. Debra has written a powerful book in such a few pages. You¿ll love the book and when you read the last page you might even be ready to pack your bags and move to the charming town of Mule Hollow, Texas.
Debra Clopton has a wit and voice that sings across the pages of Meeting Her Match. This is the first book of hers that I have read, but won¿t be my last. In Meeting Her Match, Sheri Marsh just wants to be left alone. But the Mule Hollow Matchmakers are bound and determined to force her over her broken heart and into a forever relationship. Pace Gentry, a taciturn cowboy, returns to town in time to become Sheri¿s Plan B. If she can trick everyone into thinking she¿s happily involved, then maybe they¿ll leave her alone. The book is a frolic, filled with metaphors and similes that are perfect for a Texas cowboy romance. The sparks fly early and often between Pace and Sheri. And through it all, they each learn to trust God more completely with their lives. If you¿re looking for a fun and different romance, this one is perfect.
Sheri Marsh is bound and determined to steer clear of the Mule Hollow Matchmakers. She even goes out of her way to formulate a plan to catch them at their own game! She enlists the help of Pace Gentry, a new cowboy/horse trainer in town, against his better judgment. In the meantime, Sheri and Pace find themselves attracted to one another, but mismatched in their faith. Will the plan work, or will it backfire on Sheri? Sheri is one of the feistiest heroines I¿ve come across in the Love Inspired line of inspirational fiction. At times she was exasperating, but at other times, quite endearing. I enjoyed her very much. Pace, well, he¿s a strong silent type of a cowboy. He¿s a new Christian, and he¿s trying to understand how to follow God¿s will. He doesn¿t approve of Sheri¿s plot to foil the Matchmakers of Mule Hollow, and yet he finds himself in the plot anyway. I really enjoyed this story and of course, I¿ve got a soft spot in my heart for Mule Hollow. I can¿t wait to read the rest of the books in the series!