Mixed Match – part of a series about couples who meet in unusual circumstances – is a fun book with a worthwhile romance that will bring on tears for some, but doesn’t really rise to a higher level.
After a messy divorce, restaurateur Sophia Kent is in the middle of moving to Portland from Las Vegas. All she needs is a location for her new restaurant. Unfortunately for Sophia, she’s got a lawsuit to battle concerning a dispute over the house she and her ex used to live in. The previous owner’s family believes her ex obtained it fraudulently as a revenge tactic in a long-standing family feud, and Sophia has received the house as part of her divorce settlement.
Everett Monroe is a real-estate investor who’s here to hand papers to Sophia the moment she arrives in town. He does not expect to become instantaneously attracted to her while there on business, but attracted he is. But he’s closely related to the family suing Sophia and has been fed lies about the sort of person she is.
Everett soon hates that Sophia’s been dragged into the middle of the situation, his guilt compounded when Sophia asks him for help in finding a location for her restaurant. So – half spying on Sophia, half falling in love with her, he sets up some recon of his own into the situation.
Soon enough, Sophia is into Everett and his adorable dog. But when she finds out that Everett’s working for the enemy, can their love survive?
Mixed Match is a pretty darn good romance with an unusual conflict and some realistic character moments. But a few annoying points kept me away from giving this a higher grade
I really liked Sophia, who’s tough and self-reliant, has a great bond with her very funny sister and busybody mom, and is determined to succeed on her own after a lousy marriage. Everett has a close, complicated relationship with his own family; his grandmother died of dementia recently, and most of what he does in the book is driven by family loyalty and family bonds – until Sophia pulls him in and close.
Their romance is very nice and very tender, though at times it feels a little rushed and, for the first fifty pages or so, a little unbalanced on Everett’s side. He becomes obsessed with Sophia at first sight, while her process of falling in love with him feels more natural and well-paced.
Another strike against the book; its interesting plot is complicated by a Big Misunderstanding. You probably know that going in, since Everett is hiding a big secret from Sophia and Sophia has no idea he’s related to the guy behind the suit (how and why I will not reveal because Spoilers).
The prose also feels a little weak in places; it could have used some judicious editing, as I noticed a number of grammatical errors.
Overall, Mixed Match is a very pleasant, very readable romance with some lovely ups and downs. But be prepared to be disappointed by a few clichés along the way.
Notes: There is discussion of a miscarriage within the novel.