Book Title: Love Among the Stars (Entertaining Love, Book 1)
Author: Claerie Kavanaugh
Publisher: Half Caff Press
Cover Artist: Cath Grace Designs
Release Date: March 19, 2023
Genre: Contemporary F/F Romance
Tropes: Matchmaker, Celebrity
Themes: Coming out
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 40 000 words/ 250 pages
It is a standalone story and does not end on a cliffhanger.
Hollywood's best matchmaker may have finally met her match.
Genevieve “Eve” Davis is Hollywood’s best, most sought-after matchmaker. Just about everyone in the City of Angels owes her for their happily ever afters. She’s been in the business for ten years and has never made a false move. The only person she hasn’t been able to hit with Cupid’s arrow? Herself.
Then Jemma, Hollywood’s most recent “it” girl, appears on her doorstep. But rather than having an extra bounce in her step, she looks like a dog just crapped all over her brand-new designer boots. The date Eve set up for her was anything but a fairy tale beginning. In fact, it was a downright disaster. The first bad review Eve has ever had. If she can’t fix this, her perfect reputation will be torn to shreds.
When I finally drag myself home, it's nearly 1:00 AM. I'm asleep on my feet, but the Sandman won't claim me no matter how hard I try. That stupid reporter's grilling session keeps repeatedly playing in my mind. Could I have said something better? Different? More... Relatable?
Even as I lay here, I can't help laughing. I sound ridiculous, so saying it out loud would make it worse. Right? After two hours of tossing and turning, I finally give up, kick the covers off, and wander into my living room.
I paddle across the hardwood floor—it’s so much easier to clean up all the cat hair without any carpet getting in the way—and plop on my fluffiest white sectional littered with cowgirl-themed throw pillows. I grab my favorite one. The one with Montana's state flower on it--the Bitterroot, a beautiful purple blossom that looks like an orchids
I pick up one of the controllers, turn on the flatscreen and toy with a few buttons, but ultimately, it ends up back on the coffee table. I don't have enough energy to play another level of Black Ops, so I flip on a random TV channel instead. Kiki hops up beside me, and I run my fingers over the underside of her chin-- her favorite spot-- as the television lands on yet another red carpet. Of course, it does. I know this is Hollywood, but what are the odds that I can't escape the press even in my apartment? My parents had warned me before I moved out here, but I didn't fully believe them until now. They do have eyes everywhere.
Sighing, I pick up the remote again--maybe there's something good on HBO-but, as usual, Kiki's timing is impeccable. She headbutts the control right out of my grip just as the next guest steps into the frame.
"Welcome back to the premiere of Crazy About Cupid." The reporter waves his microphone in the air as if he's twirling a baton, and I can't stifle a snort. "Now that you've met the stars let me introduce you to the woman who started it all. I'm here with Genevieve Davis, owner and mastermind behind the world-renowned matchmaking company Matches Ever After. Genevieve, it's so nice to see you again."
The camera pans over slightly, and my heart skips a beat. The woman can't be much older than me. Thirty at most. She has long, wavy brown hair, complemented by piercing green eyes. Her skin is pale and smooth, with a few freckles scattered across the bridge of her nose. A dimple is barely visible on her left cheek when she smiles. Even standing an entire foot shorter than the reporter towering over her, she somehow commands the entire carpet's attention. The back of the dress is just as stunning with a low scoop that dips almost to the small of her back and hugs every single part of her deliciously curved figure in just the right place. When she turns to face the camera more fully, I barely see a tiny scar on her left cheek above her jawline.
Kiki purrs softly, and the remote slips from my grip, landing on the cushions with a thump.
"Nice to see you too, Seth. And how many times do I have to tell you? Call me Eve; Genevieve was my mother."
They laugh, and I settle back against the pillows as my palms grow clammy. Even her voice sounds sexy.
"Sorry, Eve," Seth waves a hand and tries to smirk at the camera as he corrected himself. I guess I'm just so excited. Rumor has it that you’re the reason we're even here tonight?"
Eve giggles and playfully swats his arm. " Oh, I'm not sure I would go that far." She adjusts the silk shawl draped over her shoulders. " I may have introduced Cole and Phoenix, but they put in the real work to make the relationship last, and they were the ones who allowed their story to be made into a movie."
Seth grins. "Of course, but one could argue that their story wouldn't exist if it weren't for you. How long have you been in the matchmaking business?"
Eve chuckles. "Seth, are you trying to make me discuss my age?"
The reporter feigns a gasp. "Who me? Never!"
Eve narrowed her eyes. "Sure, sure. Honestly, though I've been in the matchmaking game for as long as I can remember, even back in college, I loved setting up my friends whenever I could. I've always been a firm believer in the idea that everyone deserves their happily ever after. Even and especially Hollywood starlets. Love is hard to find in a business like this, and I will do anything I can do to help."
Seth nods along. "So true. What's most incredible, though, is that my sources tell me you've never once made a bad match?"
Eve shrugs, but I can tell by the mischievous gleam in her eye that she’s proud of that statistic. Hell, I would be, too. "So far, so good."
Seth whistled. "Well, you heard it here first, folks. If you live in the Los Angeles area and are looking for love, what better time to try Eve’s services? Go to her website at www.matcheseverafter.com, answer simple questions, and let the sparks fly."
With that, he moves on to the next guest, but my mind remains stuck on that address. A matchmaker who had never made one bad move? My mom always used to say if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. A statistic like that fits that bill. Still, is there any harm in trying?
As if on cue, Kiki promptly climbs off my lap, allowing me to grab my laptop. When I return and type in the address, Kiki leans over her shoulder and gently nudges my cheek.
"What is it, girl? Do you think this is crazy too?"
Kiki shakes her head, and her little collar jingles around her neck. I laugh. "At least somebody believes in me."
For the first couple of questions, I’m oddly nervous. Why is anybody's guess. It’s not like I’m staring at an actual person who will judge me. Computer forms don’t have feelings. Nonetheless, I take my time thinking out strategic and honest answers, and by the time I finally hit send, it’s nearly 5:00 AM.
Eventually, I fall into a fitful sleep, dreaming of baby cupids dancing around my head. Maybe love won't be so hard to find in Hollywood after all. If I have the right help.
About the Author . . .
Claerie Kavanaugh has spent most of her life telling stories, but she never imagined herself writing romance. In fact, she used to think it should only be reserved for Hallmark movies. It wasn't until college, when she discovered fanfiction, that she learned what romance was truly about: not just fluffy relationships and happily ever afters, but human connection, the desire to push one another to be better, and create hope that somewhere, somehow, everyone has someone.
When she's not writing, she loves to travel and explore new cultures, helping other authors polish their works as a freelance editor, and singing while doing so. Broadway musicals are her soul-food, something her mother and sister know well. She constantly blasts the newest soundtrack through the halls of their Missouri home, much to the chagrin of her very sassy and spoiled cat.
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