For drama teacher Kathryn Lamb, being thirty-five and single means an endless run on the dating wheel. Everyone from her happily married sister to her meddling neighbor thinks it's time for Kitty to take drastic action to find herself a wonderful man. So she enrolls in New York's premier matchmaking service, which guarantees five potential mates or her money back. And if Walker Hart, the gorgeous entrepreneur of the company, is any example of the men who will be parading to her apartment, then Kitty will definitely be a satisfied customer.
But as each promising encounter turns into a disaster, Kitty realizes that the only guy who has captured her romantic heart is the one who doesn't believe in happily ever after. Sexy and sassy, Miss Match is a hilarious first novel that delves into the anxieties of the mating game, where every now and then one has to bend the rules. . . .
When 35-year-old drama teacher Kathryn Lamb joins her nosy neighbor's dating service, Six in the City, she meets brilliant entrepreneur Walker Hart, the temporary head of Six. He's living in his mother's penthouse and running her company while she's in Europe getting married or is it divorced? yet again. Though the two share an undeniable chemistry, Walker's serial-marrying mama has made him the poster boy for confirmed bachelors everywhere, and Kathryn's unwilling to settle for anything less than wedding bells. And so Kathryn embarks on a series of disastrous dates with other men, and Walker remains nearby enough to drive them both crazy. Carroll's debut is precisely what Ivy touts it as "Chick-lit meets contemporary romance." With its many encounters between the heroine and men other than the hero, this cutesy comedy will appeal more to fans of the former category. However, even chick-lit readers and hip Manhattanites (the book's target readership) will tire of the characters' aimless repartee, which is more scripted than sincere, and the numerous references to the trendy and designer. Despite an obvious allusion to Sex and the City, this dialogue-driven drama isn't likely to hook fans of that series.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 25, 2002
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Excerpt from Miss Match by Leslie Carroll
"Turn front and face the camera, please, one-six-seven. And remove your hands from your hips."
Kathryn Lamb shook her mass of Titian-red curls. "No way. This is how the models do it. Makes them look like they weigh only ninety pounds instead of a hundred."
The disembodied voice spoke again. "Our clients won't be able to see you."
"Hey, pal, the camera adds ten pounds, you ought to know that. I'm giving you a slenderizing three-quarter profile. If I face front, your clients won't like what they see. Besides, I'm the one who's paying for this service. What happened to 'the customer is always right'?"
"I wouldn't want to date you," the voice grumbled under its breath.
"I heard that."
"Okay, Miss Lamb . . ."
"Whatever. You're the boss. Okay, Ms. Lamb, face the camera--well, three-quarters into it, and do your bit for humanity. You've got thirty seconds. Take a deep breath, relax, and when you're ready, nod your head, and I'll turn the camera on. When you see the red light, go for it."
"Is my lipstick okay?"
Kathryn inhaled, closed her hazel eyes for a second or two, exhaled, and gave the camera operator a firm nod, twisting her heart-shaped face toward him. "Hi, I'm Kathryn Lamb. I'm a high school drama teacher, and I love long walks on the beach, cozy fireside chats, and Welsh accents . . ." She doubled over in laughter.
"Houston, do we have a problem?"
"Sorry," Kathryn said, beginning to hiccup. "This is so corny. I've tried really hard to say something meaningful, but the bottom line is that I did this to get the nosy neighbor from hell to quit asking me prying questions about my social life . . . excuse me." She held her breath and tried to swallow, in order to chase the hiccups away, but the thought of trying to be serious and soulful while taking out a video personal ad sent her back into convulsions of hysteria. "The bottom line is that I don't want to meet any guys for whom money is a reason for living, and I value humor . . ." Another hiccup. "Obviously. And intelligence. And I think a life without music is a sorry one. And I don't want any guys with last names like 'Quartermaine,' or first names like 'Dirk.' "
"Okay, Ms. Lamb, we're done."
"That's it. Your thirty seconds."
"Are you one taco shy of a combination plate?"
"I beg your pardon."
"This isn't gym class, Ms. Lamb. Didn't you read the fine print on the Six in the City application?"
"Who reads fine print? And I don't call what I just got, 'personal satisfaction,' which--according to your service's motto--is guaranteed."
"You'll have to talk to the manager about that. Just step through that door when you're ready. I'll label the tape, and then you'll have your personal interview and be on your merry way."
Kathryn grabbed her tapestry bag and fished for her embroidered blue velvet makeup kit, a special promotion from one of the major cosmetic companies. But it made her feel like a Tsarina, so she carried it everywhere. She checked her face in the Lanc�me compact mirror, deciding that she could have used more lipstick after all, and should have repowdered her nose.
Why did I let some looney tune stranger talk me into doing this, she wondered. I feel like such a moron. At least she was out only half of the five hundred bucks it took to become included on the roster of eligible females at the Six in the City dating service. Kathryn's younger sister Eleanor, a former bank manager turned mommy, had agreed to foot the balance of the bill. An early thirty-fifth birthday present.
Kathryn knocked on the beveled glass door.
She entered the room just in time to catch a Nerf basketball in her tapestry bag.
"Which one of us gets the two points?" The speaker was a sandy-haired man, possibly in his late thirties, maybe early forties. Chiseled jaw with dimpled cleft, and pale green, almost sea-foam-colored eyes. Whoa. If the five dates you guarantee me look like you, I'll get my money's worth, Kathryn thought. He rose from his brown leather swivel chair and extended his hand. Big man, well over six feet--possibly even six feet three. "Hi, I'm Dirk Quartermaine. How're you doing?"
Kathryn paled about three shades.
"Just kidding. The name's Bear Hart. You were a lot of fun in there."
"That was you? You . . . !" She bit her lip to stifle the epithet that wanted to emerge. "That's not very fair!"
"I like to get to know my clients in every situation, so I can get a better handle on whom to match them up with."
"Are you Native American?"
"Only one-sixteenth. Why?"
"Your name is Bear Heart. What was your mother's?"
"Fond of Shopping." When Kathryn didn't wince at his sense of humor, he relaxed a bit deeper into his chair and smiled warmly. "My real name is Walker, which is actually my mother's mother's maiden name. 'Bear' comes from my college days when every woman I went out with eventually came to the realization that I was not marriage material, but a real teddy bear as a boyfriend. Which worked out okay with me, since marriage is an institution to which I never wanted to be committed."