While Not Looking For Mr. Right...
Although she vows that she's locked her heart and thrown away the key, ravishing red-headed Lauren Stevens suddenly has several men vying to prove her wrong—and to win the right to set free her passionate self. Button-down banker Oliver Gotho seems like a good candidate, but it's Oliver's sexy brother Alistair who has invited the beautiful, penniless free spirit to share his living space—temporarily, of course. She thinks she should encourage the successful businessman brother, yet is it Alistair with the oh-so-sensual magic touch who holds the key to her happiness?
Has She Found Her Perfect Match?
Sexy, wise, and charismatic, Alistair has offered Lauren a place to stay out of the goodness of his heart—and certainly not because of her gorgeous eyes, luscious lips and enchanting body. Lauren may entrance him, but it's time for him to find a sensible woman to take to wife. And Lauren, with her penchant for peccadilloes, spells nothing but trouble. But spring is in the balmy New Orleans air, and so is love, as both Lauren and Alistair discover that the heart-pounding perfect match isn't always the one knocking at the door...
About the Author
Hailey North is a USA Today bestselling author who began writing while employed as a “game show lawyer” for NBC Studios. Tired of hearing that lawyers aren’t creative, she quit her job and typed “Chapter One” (not the chapter, just the heading!).
Since that day, Hailey has authored eight romantic comedies set in her adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in her favorite imaginary town, Doolittle, Arkansas.
Read an Excerpt
"You have sunk to new depths today, Lauren Grace Stevens."
"Arck! Arck!" The parrot on Lauren's shoulder screeched and bobbed its tufted head, obviously agreeing with the sentiments of the woman on whose shoulder he perched.
"The last thing I need at a time like this," Lauren continued, "is criticism from a feathered fiend."
The parrot lowered its head. Lauren sighed and scratched the beak of her only ally in New Orleans. "All right, I'm sorry I called you a fiend. It's not your fault I'm in the situation I'm in."
"Arck! Buy low. Sell high!"
Lauren smiled despite herself. The bird's former owner had possessed a magic touch when it came to the stock market. Not that even the fattest portfolio in the world could have saved Mrs. Plaisance from succumbing to pneumonia, an event that had triggered Lauren's own downfall from paid companion to her current state of street performer, earning tips in exchange for photos of her exotic parrot. Despite everyone's advice to the contrary, two months ago Lauren had taken yet another leave of absence from her doctoral dissertation to accompany Mrs. Plaisance to New Orleans. If only her dissertation advisor could see her now!
"Mom, can I pet the bird?"
Lauren smiled at the youngster approaching the spot she'd made for herself among the tarot-card readers, jugglers, artists, musicians, and mimes plying the tourist trade. It seemed visitors to the city were drawn to Jackson Square in New Orleans's French Quarter like lemmings to a Norwegian hillside.
"Only if the lady says so," answered the woman puffing along in her son's wake. She carried several shopping bags,but it was the bright purple bag with gold lettering that seemed to dance as the bag banged against the woman's thigh that captured Lauren's attention. Focusing, she made out "Bayou Magick Shop." Her artist's sense of style appreciated the beauty of the design, and she promised herself the treat of visiting the shop just to see what type of establishment put such effort into its shopping bags. Of course, she couldn't purchase anything, but possession wasn't her object.
"If Buster says yes," Lauren said to the boy, "it's okay with me."
"What kind of name is that for a parrot?"
"His," Lauren answered.
The boy swung back to the woman. "This is stupid. Why'd we come here? You know I wanted to go to Disney World."
The woman tugged at her hair and directed a glare at Lauren.
Lauren thought of her empty pockets and correctly interpreted the glance. Hating herself for her own duplicity, she said, "Just kidding."
"What would you name a parrot?"
The boy's eyes lit up. He studied the bird, then reached out a hand toward Buster's brightly hued wings. "Tweety. 'Buster' is for dogs."
How predictable. Two hours of working for tips had taught her more about holding her tongue than all her prior twenty-eight years of life. "Let's call him Tweety, then."
The boy nodded and held out a hand toward the bird.
"Buy low. Sell high!" With a show of his wings, Buster hopped from Lauren's shoulder onto the boy's. The child smiled, and Lauren did the same. In a few more minutes, she ought to collect enough of a gratuity from this pair to cover her expenses for the day.
"Wow, Mom," the boy said. "He likes me. Can I get a bird when we get home?"
The woman, who'd broken open a chocolate bar, paused with one square en route to her mouth. "No." The woman glared at Lauren. "Give it back. Now."
Lauren reached for the bird and settled him back on her shoulder. The boy fished in his pocket and dumped some change into the discarded popcorn box Lauren had placed next to her feet. Waiting for the mother to provide the real compensation, Lauren found another smile for the boy.
The woman popped another square of chocolate into her mouth and, without another word, hurried them away.
Two quarters winked in the sun.
Two quarters wouldn't get her a streetcar ride, let alone the art supplies she needed if she were to earn some real money and get herself out of the bind she was in.
"Good morning," said a deep voice from just beside her.
Lauren jumped. She hadn't heard the man approach, but only a foot away stood the most gorgeous male specimen she'd ever seen. A blond with close-cropped hair, he stood almost six feet tall. His lips were full and curved up gently, and she knew without knowing that they would be warm and firm to the touch. Above a perfectly shaped nose, blue eyes matched the dark blue of a suit she could have sworn was cashmere. It was all she could do to keep from reaching out to stroke the fabric.
"Hello," she said.
Buster, for once, said nothing, though he fixed one nonblinking eye on the man.
"I couldn't help but notice your parrot," the man said. "An African Grey?"
Lauren thought about the answer and wondered whether she should tell the truth. Would this well-dressed man wonder why a street performer possessed such a valuable bird? Lauren sure would.
"A real sweetheart," she said, scratching Buster's tufted head.
"Yes, I can see that," the man said, but oddly enough, he was looking at Lauren rather than at Buster.
The saxophonist leaning against the fence behind Lauren chose that moment to blow out a note that rendered any reply unnecessary.
The man stepped closer and spoke over a warbling version of "Summertime." "So are you a regular?"
Lauren glanced from the man to the fortune-teller seated beside her, then down at her feet. She sure hoped not, but what kind of answer was that? You're working for tips, she reminded herself, and flashed a smile. "Oh, yeah," she said, "like clockwork. Every day, rain or shine."
"Buy low. Sell high!"
"And I see you bring your financial advisor along with you."
Lauren chuckled. She appreciated dry humor...Perfect Match. Copyright © by Hailey North. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Cute multi-couple romance! You know almost right from the start that Alistair and Lauren were meant for each other - if only they wouldn't have taken everyone involved to realize it. I actually enjoyed this book a bit more than the first one. 3.5 stars Galley provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
The second re-release in digital format from Hailey North, Perfect Match is another title that is loaded with nostalgia, but may have readers wondering a bit. Lauren is apparently gorgeous, but her self-esteem is pretty much non-existent. Deciding that a relationship is not for her, she is determined (for about 20 minutes) to steer clear of men. Enter Oliver and Alistair, brothers who both have a thing for Lauren. Her scheming and more “logical’ self says that Oliver is the better choice, but her heart and her ego warm up to Alistair’s near over-the-top flattery and attention. And that started my first problem: I dislike wishy-washy heroines (or heroes) and don’t find the triangle theme particularly amusing. North did try to add humor into the story, and provide some situations that varied from snicker-worthy to embarrassing chuckle, but soon the triangle hijinks were no longer amusing. She needed to pick someone already. Oliver is bland, successful but bland, as was his ‘interest’ Barbara. These two had little personality shown, and without a great deal of action or interest in them, soon became unnecessary to the plot. I will say that the stories are entertaining in that ‘oh no she didn’t’ sort of way that is often accompanied by an eye roll. Quick reading, it is a perfect piece of candyfloss beach read to amuse, but not challenge overmuch. I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Lauren Stevens took a leave of absence from her dissertation to care for Mrs. Plaisance in New Orleans. When the elderly woman died, scavengers came out of nowhere to claim parts of the estate. The avaricious relatives even wanted to give away the deceased¿s companion, an African Gray parrot named Buster. Lauren takes charge of the animal, but with no funds, she performs with Buster in Jackson Square rather than calling her father to send money. Button downed banker Oliver Gotho meets Lauren in the square. To the shock of his family members, the suit and tie Oliver is attracted to the avant-garde Lauren. Oliver¿s older brother Alistair, owner of a successful magic store, decides to work at the bank because he feels he let his father down when he turned to magic and not finance. Meanwhile, information technology guru Barbara Warren meets Alistair and to her surprise is attracted to the nonconformist. Will the opposites find love with one another or will these two couples sort it out differently especially with the interference of a neighbor Mrs. Merlin? Anyone who enjoys a lighthearted romantic romp will gain pleasure from the amusing PERFECT MATCH. The story line that centers on the theme ¿love is all around¿ is found on every page of this entertaining read. Several couples (not just the two mentioned above) sort through their feelings to find the so-called PERFECT MATCH. Hailey North, author of BEDROOM EYES and PILLOW TALK, provides a droll screwball romance(s) that imparts much delight to the audience. Harriet Klausner