Posted: 02 Sep 2016 12:00 AM PDT
EXCERPT and GIVEAWAY
King of the Friend Zone
(Power of the Matchmaker Book 9)
by Sheralyn Pratt
King of the Friend Zone by Sheralyn Pratt is the ninth book in the Power of the Matchmaker series which features one recurring character – the matchmaker. The series will consist of twelve standalone novels by twelve bestselling authors, which will be released once a month throughout 2016. Currently available: the prequel novella Power of the Matchmaker (FREE; read my blog post), Broken Things to Mend (read my blog post), Not Always Happenstance (read my blog post), If We Were a Movie (read my blog post), Love is Come, Four Chambers, O'er the River Liffey, Chasing Fireflies (read my blog post), and Between Heaven and Earth. Available for pre-order: How I Met Your Brother.
Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancé, a lifelong best friend, and a problem.
The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well ... he's kind of (totally) hot. It's hate at first sight when her fiancé, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon's convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed.
Esme thinks Jon is paranoid.
The truth is, Jon's not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme's happily ever after. Hunter wants what's best for Esme, even if that's not him.
When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter's friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It's an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme's problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance.
They've both thought of the possibility over the years - of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme's finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn't been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other.
Both Esme and Hunter think it's time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?
While everyone around Hunter ate and drank, Hunter swirled the liquid in his glass and watched his friends and family interact with Jon.
The man was suave when he wanted to be; Hunter would give him that. He wore the right suits, said the right words, and charmed the right people.
What a hero.
He was also several inches shorter than Hunter, which meant Esme fit neatly against his shoulder as they stood and spoke with all their guests. Esme looked so content as she reclined against Jon, and Hunter wasn't the only one who had noticed. The last person who had commented on Jon and Esme within Hunter's earshot had called them "two peas in a pod" as if there were awards to be won in the category.
Well, there weren't.
In that moment, Hunter was very glad he hadn't been drinking that night, because otherwise he might have gone so far as announcing that fact to everyone. There are no awards for being two peas in a pod, everyone. Oh, and by the way, you should meet this guy when he isn't trying to impress you. He's a bit of a prick.
But, of course, no one wanted to hear that. No one wanted to hear anything from Hunter tonight except for a glowing toast endorsing the golden couple.
He still hadn't written anything, although he had googled a generic speech and printed it out. It was in his pocket now, but he hadn't practiced it and reading the prepackaged speech was pretty much out of the question now, thanks to his dyslexia. Reading on the best of days usually didn't go that well for Hunter, but when he was seething mad?
Yeah, that wasn't happening.
So he sat and swirled and watched and tried to imagine what in the world he could say that wouldn't earn him more frowns than his jeans had already earned him.
Then it hit him: Why try? Why not be honest?
There wasn't a face at this party that he hadn't known for the better part of twenty years—well, except Jon. His smug mug was as new as it was unwelcome in Hunter's book. But everyone knew Hunter and they'd know if he vomited some fake, glowing speech their direction.
So why should he?
Why not be honest?
The idea grew on Hunter as the night went on and the praise for Jon became more and more abundant. The clincher was when Jon's best man stood up and gave a speech that proved he'd probably met Esme all of once, and everyone in attendance nodded and beamed as the guy praised Esme in the most generic of terms.
According to whatever the best man's name was, Esme was kind and compassionate and a joy to all those who met her.
Seriously? The guy had clearly never been within earshot of Esme when an ice cream truck passed in July playing Christmas music. That would redefine the guy's definition of "joy to all those around her." Yet everyone ooohed and ahhhhed and clapped until the guy sat and Jon gave his bestie an appreciative slap on the back with a look that said, Well done.
Then everyone in the future wedding party looked at Hunter expectantly. It was his turn.
In that moment, Hunter had a choice to make. He could either repeat the same lame puffery the best man had, or he could give the speech that had been building up in him like a sneeze all night.
Be nice now and freak out later, or let it all hang out? That was the question. And one quick glance at Jon's arrogant face gave Hunter his answer.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"There were moments I was on the edge of my bed wanting to bite my nails. In the end I absolutely LOVED this book. It is well written. [...] I really don't know what to say except you can't go wrong with this book. It is not every day or even every book that can leave you feeling like you can do anything and everything is right with the world. This one did that for me." ~ nan
"Fun, funny and full of heart! I enjoyed every minute of this story. As for the Power of the Matchmaker series, this is a perfect fit and by far one of my favorites! Pearl especially is fantastic in this. One of the fun things with the series is seeing how each author interprets her in a wide variety of settings. Seeing her in San Francisco with her cookie cart was just the right amount of magic." ~ Avidfantasyreader
"'The Friend Zone' is such a painfully relatable place. Loyal friendship is our cover when in reality we are a slave to unrequited love. There are so many great things about this book. You'll want to pick it up. It's a page turner." ~ Kindle Customer
"Another great matchmaker book! [...] This book pulled me in from the start and I had a hard time putting it down. I loved it and would highly recommend it!" ~ nari
"... so good that I stayed up reading past one before the first day of school and only stopped because my kindle ran out of battery. Ms. Pratt's characters and relationships and plots are wonderful, but I think what I like best about her writing is her snappy dialogue and great banter. She really stands out here, and it makes the book an absolute pleasure to read." ~ Amazon Customer
About the Author
Some describe Sheralyn as a girl who's been around the block and worked at every shop. This isn't far from the truth. Writing is what she loves most, however. There's a magical power in stepping into new perspectives time and again, and seeing the world through different eyes. Few things increase empathy more than walking in another's shoes for 100,000 words or so. At least that seems to be the trend so far.
Some random things to know about Sheralyn:
Enter the blast-wide giveaway for a chance to win $50 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.
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