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Make Me a Match: A Smitten Novella

Make Me a Match: A Smitten Novella

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Make Me a Match: A Smitten Novella

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Jan 14, 2013


Fall, winter, spring, and summer, Smitten is a place for love  . . . and mystery.

But will professional cupid Zoe finally meet her match?

There’s a secret in Grandma Rose’s attic—a forgotten set of dog tags belonging to her first love. But David Hutchins was killed in action and never returned to town. How did the dog tags end up in the Grandma’s attic? It’s a romantic mystery fit for a town like Smitten, Vermont, which has been working hard to reinvent itself as a destination for lovers. Rose’s three granddaughters are determined to investigate, though their mother Anna has reservations about digging up the past. But will they get distracted by mystery men of their own before they solve the puzzle of the dogtags?

In Make Me a Match, Zoe sinks every dollar she has into a matchmaking service, but the good-looking new city manager seems determined to shut her business down. Is he an obstacle to her success . . . or a divine gift for her own lonely heart?

Excerpted from Secretly Smitten, a novel in four parts written by Inspirational fiction’s most popular romance novelists—and real life BFFs!

Jan 14, 2013

Sobre el autor

Kristin Billerbeck is a Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year.

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Make Me a Match - Kristin Billerbeck

© 2012 by Kristin Billerbeck

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, scanning, or other—except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Thomas Nelson, Inc., books may be purchased in bulk for educational, business, fund-raising, or sales promotional use. For information, please e-mail SpecialMarkets@ThomasNelson.com.

Kristin Billerbeck is represented by the literary agency of Alive Communications, Inc., 7680 Goddard Street, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80920, www.alivecommunications.com.

Publisher’s Note: This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the authors’ imaginations or used fictitiously. All characters are fictional, and any similarity to people living or dead is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Secretly smitten / Colleen Coble ... [et al.].

      p. cm. -- (Smitten ; 2)

  ISBN 978-1-4016-8713-7 (trade paper)

  ISBN 978-1-4016-8929-2 (ebook)

1. Love stories. 2. Christian fiction. I. Coble, Colleen. Tess II.

Billerbeck, Kristin. Zoe III. Hunt, Diann. Anna IV. Hunter, Denise, 1968- Clare

  PS648.L6S44 2012



Printed in the United States of America

12 13 14 15 16 QG 5 4 3 2 1



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Reading Group Guide

Excerpt from The Scent of Rain

Author Bio


What a joy it’s been to work on our second Smitten novel! The idea for Secretly Smitten was conceived in a beautiful Indiana log cabin (we pretended it was Vermont) and met with much enthusiasm by our wonderful editors.

As with every book, Secretly Smitten is the result of a lot of hard work done by many people. We are so blessed to work with Thomas Nelson. They’ve been supportive of the Smitten series right from the start, and their enthusiasm has been contagious. Thanks to the entire fiction team led by Publisher Daisy Hutton: Ami McConnell, Natalie Hanemann, Katie Bond, Kristen Vasgaard, Ruthie Dean, Laura Dickerson, Becky Monds, Kerri Potts, Jodi Hughes, and Amanda Bostic. Love you all!

A special thanks to our editors: Ami McConnell and LB Norton. Their expertise is truly astounding; we’re so glad you have our backs!

Our agents Karen Solem and Lee Hough have been a huge help with this work and many others. Thanks, friends!

We’re thankful for our families, our backbones, as we juggle life and career.

Thanks to you, our reader—none of this would happen without you! We hope you enjoyed coming along on our journey back to Smitten.

Our biggest thank-you goes to God, who brought the four of us together in a bond of unbreakable friendship. We’re all so different, and yet one, in our love for Christ and for one another.


Zoe Thomas perched herself atop the metal ladder and straightened the wooden sign that read Cupid’s Arrow Matchmaking Services. She looked down at her older sister, who stood on Main Street’s brick walkway. Better?

A little higher on the right, Clare called up. Zoe wondered if it would ever be straight according to Clare’s exacting standards.

She pressed upward and peered down again to the brick sidewalk. Now?

Perfect, Clare confirmed.

Zoe breathed a sigh of relief, amazed that Clare hadn’t produced a level from the overalls she wore. Clare could survive in the woods for an eternity with all that came out of those gardener pockets of hers. Zoe jumped from the ladder and brushed her hands together. Seeing the hand-painted calligraphy announcing her business made everything so real.

Can’t you just feel the love? Imagine Smitten being bitten by its own love bug. And Nat’s marriage to Carson was the perfect kickoff to my new business. Zoe’s heart filled with possibilities, seeing the fruits of her labor. The tired storefront looked fresh and inviting with its newly painted wood-paned windows and a gold-framed services offered announcement. She’d draped two small crystal chandeliers in jewel tones to bring attention to the services menu, and with a little specialized lighting, the display would emanate romance.

Clare grimaced. This is still Smitten. If the men here have been bitten by anything, it’s something closer to a mosquito carrying malaria.

Zoe’s shoulders slumped. Poor Clare, never looking for the spontaneous. Life is too short to be so serious, Clare. We can’t exactly claim to be the romance capital if we don’t believe our own slogan. Romance should start here; we shouldn’t simply import it. She blew her bangs off her glistening forehead. It’s hot already today. I’m glad we started so early.

Clare wouldn’t allow her to change the subject. "The point is, Smitten is a romantic destination. The couples bring the love with them. We just warm the embers of the fire they’ve already built. I’m worried, Zoe. You could lose everything with this."

We have plenty of single men and women in Smitten. Why shouldn’t we start a spark of our own? Remember that song we sang at church camp? She struck a pose and started to sing. It only takes a spark to get a fire going . . .

Fire, and a bit of dynamite might get things going. Clare’s ponytail bobbed as she spoke, which was a lot of passion coming from her serious older sister.

Now you’re just being surly. Zoe knew Clare’s words came from a deep need for security. In Clare’s mind, one didn’t just willy-nilly up and decide to start a business. It took expertise like Clare possessed in gardening, and then accountants with ten-year forecasts for the math skills the sisters hadn’t mastered. If I lose everything, I’ll let you be the first to say ‘I told you so.’ How’s that?

I’m only saying—Clare spoke in her soft, motherly tone—I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that I’m worried about you. You’ve worked so hard for what little you have. Why not forget all this and go to college? Smitten will be here when you get back.

Zoe waited out the recycled warning. Advice that had already come from her cousin Natalie, from her mother, and from most everyone in town whom she’d ever been straight with in her long history of not being able to keep her opinion to herself. People had a nasty way of enjoying telling her their predictions of imminent failure, which only made her want to succeed more. Not to prove them wrong, but because she believed so strongly in what she was doing.

Not everyone has a big family like we do, Clare. People are lonely. I see it every day when I deliver dinner to the shut-ins. Human contact is what makes life worth living. If I can make that happen for one person, it will be worth it. Okay, I guess it would be two people . . .

Clare rubbed her head as if the conversation gave her a migraine.

Smitten needs a matchmaker. Dating in a small town is never a secret, so folks keep to themselves rather than risk public humiliation on a relationship that might fail. This way it’s my failure, and no one is the wiser. Do you see?

Not really, but somehow the Lord always looks out for you. I’m going to pray he works extra hard this time.

We have different ideas of success, Clare. If all it takes for people to be less lonely is a little initiative on my part, that’s worth my time and money. Don’t you think? The failure is in ignoring my calling.

Everyone in town already knows each other, Clare protested.

That’s true, but with the neighboring towns, the seasonal employees, and even with the locals, they need encouragement. They need a chance to get to know one another without the pressure of everyone knowing their business. Maybe they think love is not in the cards for them, but it’s actually right in front of them if they’ll only take this small risk.

And pay the small membership fee. Clare shook her head. Zoe, I love how you care for people. I really do. I’m only worried there’s no money in this as a business. Your heart is so huge that you never think of details like cash flow. Trust me, it matters.

Clare ran a seasonal plant nursery, and she worried each winter that this was the year she wouldn’t make it to spring.

I know you’re good at discerning people who might belong together, but does that mean there’s a business in it?

Maybe they won’t pay, Zoe said. I’ll make you a deal. If I haven’t turned a profit within the year, I’ll apply for college next fall. She regretted her words the minute they tumbled out of her mouth, but it only meant Cupid’s Arrow had to work.

Clare exhaled audibly. All right, Zoe. I don’t understand it. I never have understood that romantic view of life you’ve got, but if this is what you want, I’ve got no choice but to support you.

Zoe had heard that her whole life, about her romantic dreams and magical, dreamy way of thinking.

Why didn’t you go to college, Zoe?

Smartest girl in town, but you’ve got no ambition.

"There’s an entire world outside of Smitten if you’d only go search it out."

But she wasn’t as starry-eyed as everyone thought. She simply had no interest in a world bigger than Smitten. She had everything she needed right here: good friends, people she loved and cared about deeply, a ministry with the town’s senior citizens. Now that she’d started her own business, her family should finally feel the same way.

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