A Perfect Match
by Shelley Bradley, contemporary (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-012-7

A Perfect Match is also the name of heroine Juliette Lowell's matchmaking company. When hero Mitch MacKinnon realizes that Juliette matchmakes her clients using astrological methods and her intuition as well as from the information provided by her clients, he's more convinced than before that either this is a scam she is running or she's... well, weird.

However, our hero is pretty much blackmailed into covering the company by his chief editor and besides, she's hot, so Mitch is not going anywhere. Juliette is determined to present a professional front for PR purposes, but eh, according to her own proven-successful method of calculations, she realizes that he's her perfect match. But she craves stability in a man and Mitch, being a very ambitious journalist, is not exactly the most stable kind of husband material.

I'm relieved that this is not a deception-based story, since both parties know from the start that Mitch is doing a coverage of the company. Fortunately, as well, Juliette isn't too much of a ditsy cow. She comes off like a sane human being here, which is a pleasant surprise considering that astrology and heroines tend to go together like a burning brand and a stick of dynamite. As for Mitch, he's a decent guy. Ambitious, handsome, charming, and good in bed - what's not to like?

A Perfect Match could have easily been a Harlequin Blaze in terms of heat level and plot. I'm not sure whether I like how Mitch has to choose in the end between the girlfriend or his job. Sure, one has to make compromises in a relationship, but here Juliette pretty much forces him to either announce that he's not going to be a hotshot reporter running all over the place or watch as she goes off to marry someone else.

There is also some pacing issues here that become especially noticeable later in the story. A good example is how after Mitch has told Juliette that he's in for the long haul, there are yet pages after pages to go before Juliette realizes that he's in love with her. There are a number of scenes here, sexual or not, that feel like filler material used as padding to extend the length of the story, thus causing the pacing of the story to drag considerably.

Still, rough bumps here and there notwithstanding, A Perfect Match is a pretty readable story.

Rating: 83

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