When Suzie’s success as a matchmaker hits the national scene about the same time as her debut cooking show on the Food Channel, her new producer comes to her with a list of requirements—not for Suzie’s job, but for a husband. Patricia Plum has a specific list and if Suzie really wants to make it big in New York City, she’ll make every attempt to deliver Patricia’s Mate to Order.
Excerpt, Chapter One:
Suzie Matthews breathed deep, held that breath for two full seconds, and then relaxed with a lengthy sigh. Staring at the Manhattan high-rise to her right, her gaze steadily rose as she peered out from the grimy cab window. The light changed and the cab jerked, her body scooting forward with it, then falling back against the seat.
Music and words circled inside her head.
Start spreading the news...
I want to, da-da-DA-da-DA, New York, New York...
“I’m a part of it,” she whispered.
Suzie hadn’t realized she’d said that out loud. Glancing to her left, she took in Patricia Plum’s smile. Patricia was the producer of her new show and quickly becoming a very good friend.
“Nothing. Just mumbling to myself.”
“Ah.” Patricia turned to look out her window, and Suzie followed suit on her side of the cab. “Can you believe you are here?”
Inhaling deep, Suzie smiled at the window. “No. No, I can’t.”
It had been a whirlwind, fairytale time. Three years earlier she was struggling through a divorce and trying to start her cooking classes and B&B business, all while writing her first cookbook. Then Brad came back into her life and they had their little boy, Petey, her cookbook became a bestseller, and now…now this! Her own television show!
“Believe it, sweetie. Life is good.”
She glanced again at Patricia, whose head rested against the back of the seat. Her eyes were closed, and she wore a slight smile on her face.
“Good for you, too, Patricia?”
She nodded and smiled bigger. “Your Matchmaking Chef show is going to be hot. It’s going to be good for all of us. I am so glad I discovered you!”
Then, Patricia started humming from her side of the cab.
Suzie guessed happiness was catching. Patricia did seem quite cheerful yesterday when she had picked Suzie up at the airport and as they shared dinner last night. She was excited about the show, of course, but there was a simple calm about her—not the frenzy they had all experienced back home in Legend, Tennessee at the first taping in Pigeon Forge—but something totally different. Relaxed, maybe.
Perhaps it was because Patricia was in New York. In her element.
She smiled at her new friend’s off-tune humming. It was a different song from Suzie’s, although she couldn’t quite make out what it was, because her own tune kept running through her ears.
Earwigs, they call those. Right? When you can’t get a song out of your head?
Start spreading the news...
“I’m gonna be a star,” she whispered, absolutely certain she was up for it.
The pointed toes of Patricia Plum’s candy apple-red Jimmy Choo heels tapped out a rhythm on the vinyl floor mat. The darned tune got stuck in her brain two days ago when she’d come up with a harebrained scheme that she had yet to slide by Suzie.
Ta-ta-ta, Ta-ta-ta, Ta-Ta-TA-TA!
The cab rounded a corner, a little too sharp, and she opened her eyes to glance out at the street. Simultaneously, she rapped on the Plexiglas between them and the driver.
“Hey! I said straight to 5th Avenue. Don’t go this way!”
“Slight detour, miss,” he rattled out. “Traffic.”
“No. No.” She glanced at Suzie who had now turned and was watching her. “Pull over. Let us out here. We can walk.”
The cabby shrugged and did as she asked. Patricia glanced at the meter, tossed him a scowl and enough cash to pay for the ride plus a small tip. She pushed Suzie out the passenger side door.
Scrambling, they reached the sidewalk and both women exhaled.
Patricia watched Suzie, who was looking up—always was looking up, it seemed, since she’d arrived in the city the day before. She linked her forearm at the woman’s elbow. “It’s a beautiful day to walk, and it’s not that far now.”
Grinning, Suzie nodded her agreement, which warmed Patricia’s heart.
“Besides,” she added, “you’re in New York. We walk everywhere here.”
She didn’t know why she was taken so with this country cook named Suzie Matthews, but she knew beyond any shadow of a doubt that she and Suzie would be fast and long friends. She also knew that Suzie was bound to be a star.
Ever since their weeks in Legend, they’d clicked like peas.
And the pilot they’d taped for her show went over famously.
Patricia was going to have a kick showing her new protégé the finer points of New York City. Particularly, the cuisine.
Not to mention, the men.
Not that Suzie needed a man. She had the hunky, sinful Chef Brad wrapped around her delicate fingers. But Patricia was lacking in that department, and if Suzie’s matchmaking skills were as good as they say, and as she suspected...
Well, she’d think more about that later.
They walked arm-in-arm. Suzie still grinned in awe. Was she humming, too? Patricia strained to hear. Ah, yes, she was.
Everyone was just happy!
Her own tune invaded her head again, and she sang to herself. Why not?
Matchbaker, matchbaker, bake me a match...
No...make me a match, she thought with an inward giggle. But bake me a match was much more appropriate.
Shit! What a great jingle for the show.
Brilliant. She was just, brilliant.
This was going to go well. All worries aside. Now, on to the studio.
The duo marched forward. Glancing to her right, she asked, “Are you ready for your first day at work, Ms. Suzie the Matchmaking Chef?”
“I’m scared as hell,” Suzie shot back. “But ready to dig in.”
Patricia knew exactly how she felt.