Miss Match (The Romantic Comedies)

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9781416964131: Miss Match (The Romantic Comedies)

Sasha Finnegan has always had a knack for setting people up, and at sixteen, she's turned her talent into an online business, molding high school crushes into true love. But Sasha finds her toughest match yet when hottie Derek Urban asks her to set him up with Sasha's gorgeous sister, Maddie. It's not that Derek isn't a good catch. In fact, after spending so much time with him, Sasha can't help but think he's perfect -- for her, that is.

Can Sasha push her feelings aside for the sake of her business? Or has this miss finally found her match?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Wendy Toliver has explored a variety of jobs, from impersonating Marilyn Monroe for singing telegrams to impersonating a computer geek at an ad agency. She lives in Eden, Utah with her husband, three sons, two dogs, a cat, several fish, and an occasional mole.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One

I spit a jaw-achingly huge gob of bubble gum into my palm and look at my watch. Three...two...one. The shrill ring pierces throughout Snowcrest High School, sending the last few students scurrying to their first-period classes.

The hall is as vacant as the library-sponsored Don't Forget to Read During the Summer popcorn-and-punch party last May. By that I mean no one's out here except for Mrs. Leonard (the librarian) and moi.

Um, yeah. I was there. But only 'cause I was trying to fix up our school's And Literacy For All chapter prez with her crush. Neither of whom showed up. Which explains why Mrs. Leonard thinks I'm some sort of superdevout bookworm who just loves volunteering in the periodicals section. I can already tell that my locker placement -- right next to the library -- is going to prove problematic. Hoping she doesn't notice me (and heaven forbid venture over for a chitchat) I pretend to be searching for something in my locker. Only it's the first day of school, so besides a tiny magnetic mirror, a tube of Kiss & Tell lip gloss, and my reserve of loose-leaf paper, the locker's empty.

Mrs. Leonard's trademark blue suede pumps clack-clack back into her bookly haven, and I relax. By now my gum has started to harden, so I pop it back in my mouth, give it a good thorough chew, and divide it in half with my tongue and teeth.

One more glance to ensure the coast is clear, and I stick the gum wads in the doorjamb of my locker, one up top and one below. Then I shut the door, squeezing it firmly closed.

After a few seconds I do the combo and try to open my locker. It won't budge. I try again, wiggling it more forcefully. No luck.

Here's the plan: Anna Black (my client's crush) will be trying to get her locker unstuck (after I've performed Operation Gum Stick to it), and right when she's starting to freak out about getting her first-ever tardy mark, Hunter Davidson (my client) will show up like a knight in shining armor to successfully open it. Naturally, she'll bat her eyelashes, swoon, and sigh a heartfelt "My hero." And they'll live happily ever after.

Okay, maybe it won't happen exactly like that, but it will definitely put Hunter on her radar and make a terrific first impression. That's a big step in the whole process. Huge, actually. And yes, maybe this whole scenario sounds a bit old-fashioned, but I've had my matchmaking business for six months now, and if you ask any of my male clients, bringing chivalry back definitely has its rewards.

I kick my locker. Still won't open. Hmmm.

"Need a hand?" It's a soft Southern drawl, and when I whirl around, I'm half expecting to see Matthew McConaughey. Had it really been Matthew, I don't think I'd be any less spellbound. The guy standing before me -- tall, longish sandy-colored hair, dark blue eyes with long lashes, sexy smile, a dimple in his left cheek...erm. What did he say? Oh yeah.

"Sure. Thanks." I scratch my head while he wrestles with the locker. "I have no clue why the darn thing keeps sticking on me. Guess I'll have to find the janitor."

"Naw," he says, examining the doorjamb. "I'm fixin' to get it." He takes his leather wallet out of his back pocket, unfolds it, and extracts a toothpick. Then he proceeds to poke at the top of the locker door, where I stuck one wad of gum. The gum loosens, and he continues jiggling and joggling the door until it flies open.

"Did you put that there?" he asks, pointing at the gum that's still stuck to the bottom part of the jamb. (I don't even want to think about where the other piece ended up.)

Oh, the humility. I just love admitting I'm crazy to hot new guys. "Well, it was kind of an experiment," I say, fully realizing how lame that sounds. "For a class," I add, in case he thinks I am doing the proverbial damsel-in-distress thing to meet a guy. Sure, I stage these types of things all the time so my clients can get with their crushes, but I wouldn't use such tactics myself.

And it turns out I won't be using this particular tactic to help Hunter, either. Mark Operation Gum Stick a failure.

Maybe if I stuff some paper in the jamb...?

"Well, thanks for the help," I say, realizing that The Hot New Guy is just standing there, staring at me. What, do I have something in my nose? Or lipstick on my tooth? I'm not really used to wearing lipstick, but my sister, Maddie, just got a new shade and insisted I try it out when she drove me to school this morning.

"No problem." He turns to leave, and I take this opportunity to check myself in the locker mirror. Hmm. Nose and tooth check clear.

"Hey! You're new around here, right?" I know I'm stating the obvious, but at least it might postpone his vanishing act. And boy, I could definitely use a little more of this eye candy. Besides, I'm already late, and there's no difference between a little late and a lot late on one's attendance record.

"Just moved here from Texas," he says, walking backward so he can face me.

"Cool." I twirl my hair around my finger. Does it look as cute when I do this as when Maddie does it? Probably not, since her gorgeous auburn mane doesn't know the meaning of Bad Hair Day, while my just-long-enough-for-a-ponytail brown hair -- not chestnut or nutmeg or pecan or hazelnut or walnut or espresso or chocolate or any of those deluxe (and suspiciously yummy-sounding) colors -- could very well be the founder and president. Of Bad Hair Day, that is.

"I guess so," The Hot New Guy says. "Well, I'll see ya around. Gotta get to class. And next time you need a place to put your gum, try a trash can."

"Right. Of course. No problem. See you. Bye." Please tell me that dreadful giggling isn't spewing out of my mouth.

He swaggers (he actually swaggers!) down the hall and disappears into the east wing. Which is just as well, because I should probably be getting to class myself.

I gather my chemistry book and folder and scurry down the hall to room 116. Mr. Foley is writing something on the blackboard, and for a split second I frolic in the belief that I'm getting off scot-free. But as I slip into an empty seat in the back, he twirls around and pegs me with an I caught you glare. I swallow and then smile, hoping I'm the essence of innocence. Mr. Foley glances down at a piece of paper on his desk -- the class roster, I presume? -- and says, "And you are...?"

This is my second semester with Mr. Foley (he also teaches driver's ed), so you'd think he'd know who I am by now. But I guess I'm not surprised. I'm pretty good at blending in. Maybe that's why I'm so good at my job. A flamboyant, center-stage type would have a hard time keeping her identity under wraps, I'd think.

"Sasha Finnegan." I don't have a perfect record like Anna Black does at her school, but still, it's a little embarrassing to be put on the spot like this. And the instant I catch a glimpse of a familiar sandy-haired, blue-eyed, Texas-A&M-T-shirted guy in the second row, my embarrassment modifier jumps to totally.

Mr. Foley makes a gross guttural noise and says, "If it's okay with you, Sasha, I'd like to start class on time from now on."

"Yes, sir," I say, squirming in my seat.

Mr. Foley launches into a lecture, but it's impossible to concentrate on all those formulas and definitions. Didn't he get the memo that today is all about fun and games? Who ever heard of a teacher who makes his students actually work on the first day of school? While he yammers on, I keep looking out the window. Not that there's anything interesting happening in the juniper bush out there, but if I tilt my head just so, I have an excellent peripheral view of The Hot New Guy.

My faith in the minute hand is restored when the bell rings and we all gather our folders and backpacks. "Go directly to the gym for the back-to-school assembly," Mr. Foley calls over the din.

I look for The Hot New Guy in the hall. (I'll just call him THNG until I figure out his name.) But, apparently, the swarm of high schoolers has swallowed him whole. Any other day I'd skip the gaudy spectacle of school spirit otherwise known as the pep rally, but Maddie's been working really hard on her routine, and what kind of sister would I be to miss her debut as varsity cheerleader? And since THNG is new and naive and everything, he'll probably be at the pep rally. Not that I'm stalking him.

Squinting, I leave the fluorescent-lit hallway and enter the sunshiny brightness of the gymnasium. The freshly buffed wooden court gleams, and a collage of hand-painted banners scream Snowcrest Rams Rule! and SHS is #1! from the walls. The enormous room is buzzing with first-day-of-school exuberance.

"Sasha! Over here!"

Twisting around, I spot Yasmin waving frantically from the tip-top of the bleachers. As usual she's dressed to thrill, her first-day-of-school ensemble consisting of pin-striped trouser shorts and a red satin wraparound top à la Hilary Duff at the Teen Choice Awards.

I muscle my way up the steps and "excuse me, pardon me, ouch!" my way to her side. "Why do you always have to sit in the nosebleed section?" I ask, slightly out of breath. How she climbed all those stairs in three-inch heels, I'll never know.

"'Cause I get to scam all the hot guys," she answers, not even caring that the boys sitting around us are all listening in. She tucks her shiny black hair behind a thoroughly adorned ear and says, "Oh my God, Sasha. You look darling. Where'd you get that skirt?"

I have to look to remember what I'm wearing. Right. It's Tommy Hilfiger, and it flares out a little on the bottom. The flare part makes my thighs look a little less...well, a little less. "Maddie's closet," I say. "But it falls off of her, so she bequeathed it to me." Sure, I can fit into a few of Maddie's sweatshirts and shoes, but it's not every day I can say I'm wearing something of hers. I should be psyched about scoring a brand-new, this-season skirt, but what I wouldn't give to be the Skinny Sister for once.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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