If you love Hallmark movies, you’ll adore this sweet, small-town romance! Her Purrfect Match by Robyn Neeley is releasing digitally on May 12 from Tule Publishing. (Overseas readers, stay tuned for a special steamier version coming later this year in trade paperback from Germany’s Rowohlt Kyss imprint.)
About Her Purrfect Match:
Ad exec Cassie Wilkerson is on the fast track to a Manhattan corner office when she’s suddenly called to quaint Honey Springs, California. Her estranged aunt has passed away and inexplicably left Cassie her honeybee farm, her matchmaking cat, Belle, and the job of acting mayor. This city slicker needs the help of the farm’s foreman and her childhood crush, Nick Porter, to win over the locals. With a few nudges from Belle, old feelings rekindle, and soon Cassie’s fast-paced life no longer seems quite as attractive as a second chance in Honey Springs.
“Cassie!” A woman who looked as if she might be in her early fifties came running over wearing black cat ears. She threw her arms around her. “We’ve been waiting for you all morning. We’re so glad you’re here. I’m Darla Fitzgibbons.” She called behind her, “Madison, Hank! She’s here.” She turned back. “How was your trip?”
“It was fine, thank you,” Cassie said politely.
Darla slid over a chair and took Cassie’s overnight bag, setting it down.
“Thank you.” Cassie’s gaze lifted to the “It’s a Boy!” and “It’s a Girl!” banners hanging on the wall. “I’m so sorry. Am I interrupting a baby shower?”
Darla nodded, her cat ears bobbing up and down. “We invited everyone in the building to stop by for donuts. It’s a kitten shower for your cousin.”
“A kitten shower for my cousin?” Cassie repeated, thoroughly confused.
“For Belle. Your aunt’s cat. She’s about to pop any day now.” Darla reached behind her, picking up a pair of white cat ears off an office desk. “I saved these for you.”
“Oh, that’s not necess—” Cassie started to object but Darla was a quick one and pushed the headband down on Cassie’s head. “Thank you.”
“Now you’re one of us.” Darla grinned proudly.
I am most certainly not. “I’m supposed to meet Matt Evans. Is he here?”
“He’s running late. Come see Belle. She’s been dying to meet you.”
The cat wants to meet me. She highly doubted it but followed the woman, feeling all eyes in the room were on her. …
“Hi, Cassie.” A woman with long wavy red hair, sans cat headband, came up to her, extending her hand. “I’m Madison Porter, the office manager.”
Cassie shook her hand. Porter. Was this woman related to Nick? Did he still live in Honey Springs? “Are you related to Nick Porter?” she couldn’t help ask.
Not that she cared. That ship had sailed years ago. Besides, they were kids at the time.
“He’s my cousin.”
“Is he still living he—” That question was interrupted by Darla lifting the cat from Hank’s lap and thrusting her toward Cassie. “Belle, meet your cousin Cassie. Cassie, meet Miss Belle.”
Cassie took a step back, tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear, not sure if she was amused or mortified.
The cat locked her blue eyes on Cassie and began to fidget in Darla’s arms.
“You want to say hello to Cassie, don’t you?” Darla asked and started to hand the cat over.
“Oh, I don’t think so.” Cassie blocked the attempt with her hands. The last thing she needed was her black designer suit covered in white hair. The cat didn’t seem to care and jumped from Darla’s arms onto Cassie, her tiny, sharp claws digging into Cassie’s shoulder.
“Oh, okay. Wow. She’s certainly not light, is she?” Cassie did her best to adjust the cat’s heavy weight. Just how many kittens were in that belly?
And so much for saving her designer suit from a white cat hair assault. “When do you think Matt will be here?” she asked as the friendly cat nudged Cassie’s face with her head, her long whiskers tickling her chin.
“Anytime now. Belle likes you,” Darla said, her grin widening, and Madison rolled her eyes.
“What?” Darla asked Madison.
“You know what. Leave Cassie alone.” Madison excused herself to talk to a young couple near the window.
Just then, Cassie’s cell phone rang inside her purse. She recognized the sound immediately. It was her special ring for Lorraine. She held onto the cat awkwardly, plunging one hand into her purse. “I really need to get that. It’s my boss.”
“Let me take her.” Darla reached out and peeled the cat’s front paws off Cassie’s shoulder. “C’mon, Mama Belle. Let’s go open some of your presents. I bet there’s a bag of liver-flavored treats somewhere. Yum.”
Cassie fished out her phone, her pulse racing. Lorraine was requesting a video chat. Could this be the good news about Skin Essentials she was waiting for?
She headed for the door to find a quieter space, clearing the streamers out of her way before accepting the call. “Hi, Lorraine,” she said, walking down the short hall and out the building onto the sidewalk.
“Cassie, I’m glad you picked up. I have importa—” She paused. “What’s that on your head?”
Oh, geez. She’d forgotten to take off the headband. “Nothing.” Cassie lowered her phone just a smidge so the cat ears were no longer in Lorraine’s view. “Is everything okay?”
“Well, yes and no. I’ve been on countless calls today. Skin Essentials is still strongly considering us, but the CEO doesn’t think our approach is fresh or exciting. We’re going to need a new pitch. I’d like to gather the entire team in the conference room for a brainstorming session immediately. How quickly can you get to the office?”
Oh, shoot. She tugged her earlobe. If only teleporting was an option. “Um . . . I am so sorry that I didn’t share this earlier. I’m actually in California.”
“You’re where?” Lorraine leaned into the screen, nostrils flaring.
“California,” she repeated meekly. True, she didn’t have to tell her boss what she did while not at work, but with it being such a pivotal time for the company with the Skin Essentials account, perhaps she should have. “My aunt’s will reading is taking place here.” She paused, quickly adding, “It’s happening shortly and shouldn’t take long. Once it’s over, I’ll head straight back to the airport. I’ll try to get on an earlier flight.”
Lorraine’s stoic expression offered little understanding. “I wish you had told me you’d be on the other side of the country.”
“I’m so sorry.”
“I guess we’ll have to have the meeting without you. At least Tom can be here. Let’s touch base tomorrow.”
“Absolutely. Again, I’m truly sorry. I’ll be back as soon as I can.” Cassie ended the call, her jaw tightening. Her colleague, Tom, was also gunning for the same promotion. Had she just handed it to him?
She squared her shoulders. Not going to happen. It was time to take care of what she needed to do here and get back to Manhattan. Shoving her phone into her purse she spun fast on her heels, smacking into something hard.
Strike that. Someone hard. Her white cat ears slid down over her eyes and were now firmly poking into a man’s chest. “I’m so sorry.” She teetered back, one heel lodging into a small groove in the sidewalk. She pulled, but it wouldn’t budge.
Seriously? She’d spent years successfully dodging subway grates up and down Sixth Avenue; she could easily teach a masterclass on navigating high-heel hurdles.
She gave it another gentle yank. When that didn’t work, she slipped her nylon-covered foot out of it and bent down. There was no way she was breaking her expensive Manolo Blahnik heel.
“Can I help you, ma’am?”
Ma’am? She pulled on the heel harder than she should have. How old did she look? She was just a year over thirty. “It’s fine,” she said, her attention remaining on her shoe. Man, it was seriously stuck.
“Cassie Wilkerson, is that you?”
She froze. That voice. How had she not recognized it? It was much deeper than she remembered, but the minute he’d said her name she knew who it belonged to.
She let go of her shoe and slowly stood, sliding the cat ears back up so they were no longer obstructing her vision. “Hi, Nick.”
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About the Author:
Robyn Neeley is an east coast gal who loves to explore super cute small towns; watches way more reality TV than she cares to admit; can’t live without Dunkin Donuts coffee; and has never met a Christmas cookie she didn’t like. She writes sweet and sassy contemporary romance with heart and humor.