Series: Boots and Bouquets, #0.5
Published by InterMix on October 15, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Holiday, Romance
New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton celebrates the gift of love and the holiday season with a snowy Christmas wedding at the Bellini family vineyard. Stranded at the Red Moss Vineyard a week before her best friend's wedding, LA native and professional matchmaker Alice Weatherford is not pleased with her first trip to Oklahoma, or the epic snowstorm forcing her to stay. So much for Christmas cheer. What she needs is a project, something to distract her...and, oh, has she found one in neighboring rancher Clay Henry. Gorgeous, charming, and unlike any other man she's ever met, finding the right woman for Clay should be easy....
Having grown up with the Bellini sisters, it's no hardship for Clay to ride out the storm at their cozy family vineyard, especially since that means spending time with their savvy and smart houseguest. But despite Alice’s best efforts, he's not the least bit interested in her matchmaking....
Alice is the only woman Clay wants. Now he just has to convince the matchmaker herself to give love a chance.
I have a confession to make. There’s something about Jaci Burton’s writing that just doesn’t connect for me. I can objectively see that she’s a good writer, but for some reason I always leave her books feeling cold. And yet, I continue to read them. For this one, it’s the adorable cover that got me. I mean, look at it, it’s so cute!
Alice Weatherford is a city girl through and through. And she is unamused by the Oklahoma snowstorm that leaves her stranded on the Bellini ranch over the holidays. Clay Henry, the Bellini’s neighbor and lifelong friend, is stranded briefly as well, though he’s able to leave sooner than Alice and get back to his own ranch.
Clay is instantly smitten by Alice, wanting to learn more about her as soon as he meets her. Alice is equally intrigued by Clay, but she has a much more pragmatic approach to relationships. She’s the titular matchmaker, and she believes completely in the algorithm she has created to pair people up. In her mind, chemistry only takes you so far. Having a set of measurable parameters is the better way to choose a mate, and chemistry can come later. Her 96% success rate would seem to prove her right.
There’s no denying the chemistry that Alice and Clay are feeling, though, and Alice manages to convince Clay to let her put together a profile on her site for him. She’s determined to find his perfect match using her methods to do so. Just wanting to spend more time with Alice, Clay agrees to let her plan.
The more time they spend together, the more Alice begins to realize that Clay might be on to something. She can’t deny their chemistry, but since she doesn’t think it means anything in the long run, she’s willing to explore it while she works on finding the Clay the perfect woman based on her algorithm.
This was a cute story. I thought the instalove was a little much, but that’s generally one of my least favorite tropes. Clay’s solution to their logistical issues also seemed to come out of nowhere, and Alice seemed to jump on board with it pretty quickly, considering how insistent she was that she needed to be in L.A. in order to run her business, but those are minor quibbles.
Overall, this is a quick, fun, holiday read. The snowstorm, forced proximity is always a fun setup for a novella, and Jaci Burton does a good job with it here.