Her Unexpected Match by Lacey Baker
Publication date: February 21st 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary,
Travel writer Allie Sparks has one goal: to find the story that will save her career. So here she is, visiting her bestie on picturesque Crescent Island—with sun-warmed beaches, the briny smell of the ocean, and rumors of a secret astrologer-matchmaker who guarantees love. Of course, Allie doesn’t believe in any of that stuff. If anything, she’ll prove it’s a total scam.
Ryan Parker believes in love—just not right now. He’s focused on expanding his family’s barbeque business, finding investors, and keeping his too-big Great Dane puppy from jumping on everyone, including his sister’s pretty, whiskey-eyed best friend. Besides, falling for a tourist is definitely not in his astrological forecast.
Allie is doing everything she can to resist the charm of the town and its beauty, not to mention her attraction to Ryan. But there’s a lot more happening on Crescent Island than anyone knows…and when her story goes to print, this tiny, close-knit town might never be the same.
EXCERPT: Allie continued her jaunt in the water, walking around and kicking her feet up so that splashes of
water landed on her arms and the tip of her nose. She did a little dance in a circle, water lapping
around her legs, getting the lower half of them wet in the process. Why hadn’t she done this
before? Like in her adult years, after she’d bought her condo on the beach. Excitement bubbled
in the pit of her stomach, circling and traveling until she erupted in giggles. The thought of
playing in the water seemed so silly and yet, it felt exhilarating. She’d opened her arms by then,
swinging them in the air as she moved, enjoying this freedom.
It was a moment in time she’d never forget.
Especially not when water began to slap against her face, arms and chest at a rapid
pace as man and dog swished through the ocean headed directly toward her.
“Not this time!” Ryan yelled as he reached out and grabbed Optimus up in his arms.
But he was too late. Allie was already sputtering and wiping the water from her eyes.
“I caught him before he could jump on you again,” Ryan continued as Allie struggled to
find her words.
He was standing about two feet away from her now, dog tucked under his arm, with a
smile on his face while she frowned. They’d messed up her moment.
“Gee, thanks,” she snapped. “How about catching him before he gets anywhere near me
In answer to her suggestion, Optimus shook the water from his coat, once again sending
sprinkles into Allie’s face.
“Alright, stop that.” Ryan took a step back with the dog that was still flailing in his arms.
“He really doesn’t listen to you.” She started walking toward the shore, sober now from
her “freedom” experience. When she was clear of the water, she looked down with a huff as
thick globs of sand now coated her feet and ankles.
“We’re just getting used to each other.” He’d come out of the water too and was now
standing beside her. “You know, like you’ll get used to the island while you’re here. I mean,
you’re gonna be here awhile, right? At least until Sofia’s better?”
Allie found her shoes, pushed her toes between the strap, and resisted the urge to frown
at the knowledge that now her flip flops were full of sand too. Maybe her mother had a point
about the beach being too messy.
“Yes. I mean, I plan to do what I can to help Sofia recuperate. I’m scheduled to be here
for at least two weeks.” Her life was pretty flexible. She could, and often did, work from
anywhere as long as she had her laptop, phone and a strong Wi-Fi connection which Crescent
surprisingly did. But Ryan didn’t need to know any of that.
She started walking again, heading back toward the house with the warm golden light
pouring from the windows. Where she should’ve stayed before, especially if she’d known Ryan
and his dog liked taking midnight walks along the beach.
“It was really nice of you to come here for Sofia,” he said.
Optimus ran in a big circle around her and yes, Ryan, who had fallen into step beside
“I didn’t know she was hurt when I called to tell her I was visiting. But she’s the closest
friend I’ve ever had, so helping her during this time is no problem for me.”
“But you’re not really into island life, are you?” There was a hint of humor in his tone and
when she looked over at him, he pointed down to her feet. “You should’ve just carried your flip
flops in your hand and walked back to the house barefoot. That would save you from having to
drop the flops in the sink when you get inside.”
Restaurant manager, tour guide and flip flop expert? This guy was too much.
And he was standing too close to her.
Thanks for being on the tour! :)ReplyDelete
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