The Match

A Novel

About the Book

From the New York Times bestselling author of Practice Makes Perfect comes an expanded edition of The Match—a charming romance novel about second chances and the healing power of love, with a never-before-seen chapter.

Sometimes love finds you when you least expect it.

Evie Jones has dedicated her life and very limited funds working for Southern Service Paws, the company that matched her with the love of her life: Charlie, a service dog trained to assist with her epilepsy. But it’s no secret that the company has been struggling to make ends meet. It’s up to her and her longtime mentor and boss to throw the fundraiser of the century to keep the doors open.

Then Evie meets Jacob Broaden at a client consultation meeting. There are instant sparks—but not the good kind, because Jacob’s daughter set up the meeting without his knowledge. Ten-year-old Sam has been recently diagnosed with epilepsy, and has wanted a service animal ever since. While he had hesitations at first, it doesn’t take long for Jacob to be convinced that a service dog, and possibly Evie, with her magical, woodland-green eyes, might just be the best thing for him and his daughter.

As Evie spends more time with Jacob and helps Sam find her perfect match with a lovable golden retriever named Daisy, she starts longing for something she’s never had before: a loving family. For Jacob, falling in love with Evie is the last thing he should be doing, but love has a way of finding those who need it most.
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The Match

Chapter 1


I wake up to the feel of Charlie’s tongue grazing my cheek. I don’t like being kissed like this first thing in the morning. Mainly because I don’t like mornings, and I wish that he would get it through his thick head that I need my sleep. But just like every morning, he’s persistent.

I am Sleeping Beauty, and he is the prince. Although, I’m pretty sure the prince didn’t roll his tongue all over Sleeping Beauty’s face like Charlie is doing now. What a different movie that would be.

“Can you please just give me five more minutes?” I ask while shoving my head under the pillow in an attempt to block his advances.

But he doesn’t like this game. Never has. It worries him to not see my face. We’ve been together now for three years—­and he’s become the tiniest bit overprotective. But he’s the best snuggler in the whole world, so I allow his slightly domineering attitude.

Plus, he really does know what’s best for me. He’s improved my life in more ways than I can count. It’s why I adore him. It’s why I let him lick my face at 6:30 a.m. It’s why I sit up in bed and roll him over onto his back and rub his tummy until his leg starts shaking.

Oh, right. Charlie is my dog. Did I forget to mention that?

More specifically, he’s my seizure-­assist dog.

I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was sixteen years old. It stole my adolescence. It stole my peace of mind. And more importantly—­it stole my license. Turns out, the state doesn’t like it too much if you randomly black out and convulse. Believe me, under no circumstances will they let you behind the wheel of a vehicle once they get wind of the E-­word.

No one sympathizes more with the poor girl in the Beach Boys song about her dad taking her T-Bird away than me. Except mine was a 1980 slate-­blue Land Cruiser with a cream-­colored top. My dad bought it for me a month before my sixteenth birthday. Not even a week after that sweet sixteen, I had my first seizure. And my life changed forever.

Those next few years were hard, to say the least. I was scared of going anywhere or doing anything. One day I was a teenager, blissfully carefree about everything besides the chip in my hot-­pink glitter nail polish. The next, I was painfully aware of how small a part I played in my own existence on this earth.

Charlie didn’t come into my life until I was twenty-­three and still living with my mom and dad because I was scared to live on my own. Actually, I thought I couldn’t live on my own. But then I met a woman in a coffee shop who had an adorable white Labrador retriever at her side, a bright-­blue vest strapped around its body with a patch sewed on the side that read Working Dog, Do Not Pet.

The first thought that went through my mind was wondering if this dog could do my taxes. Turns out, they don’t do that sort of work. The woman was kind enough to field all my silly questions, because in her exact words, “No question is too silly.

But I figured if she gave me enough of her time, I could manage to change her mind.

The rest was history. Joanna Halstead, the woman from the coffee shop—­also known as my fairy godmother—­quickly became one of my best friends. I learned that she owned a service dog company called Southern Service Paws, and she trained and matched dogs with people living with all sorts of disabilities. Disabilities just like mine.

That’s how Charlie came into my life. It’s how I regained my independence and security. It’s how I decided to live on my own. It’s how my parents came to hate the company that I adore and am being groomed to take over when Joanna retires next year.

Well, company might be a bit of a stretch.

Company implies monetary value. And money is not something that Southern Service Paws has. It’s more like Jo is grooming me to take over her heart. Something that has a whole lot more value than money, but a shockingly low credit score.

I am the only other employee that is paid a salary—­the rest are volunteers. And, actually, salary is also another one of those deceptive words. When you hear it, you think benefits, 401(k)s, and down payments on pretty little houses. When I hear it, I just think of my apartment that is the size of my thumbnail and my kitchen pantry that is stocked with ramen noodles and Froot Loops.

Luckily, I love Froot Loops.

I will eat nothing but sugary cereal for the rest of my days if it means I get to keep working for Jo and her company. Because I love what I do and the people I help. And as cramped as I am in this little place, I’m proud that it’s mine—­not my parents’.

In this new world I have carved out for myself over the past three years, I’m just Evie. Not Miss Evelyn Grace Jones, daughter to Harold and Melony Jones of the prestigious Charlestonian family that resides SOB (South of Broad, aka Snootyville, and where I was raised). That name might not mean anything to you, but around here in Charleston, it’s everything.

My family comes from what’s known as “old southern money.” You know the kind: big historical houses, prestigious country clubs that only accept members with names that have been on the list since it was founded, garden cocktail parties served by men in white jackets, and a unique southern drawl that says, I’m better than you.

My dad is an attorney and partner at Jones and Murray Law, the oldest and most elite law firm in all of South Carolina, and my mom is on the board of the Powder Society of Revolutionary Ladies. What do they do? Mainly sit around in their finely tailored day dresses and drink martinis, planning more cocktail parties for their wealthy husbands to mingle and continue to pass their old southern money back and forth like playing cards.

Basically, how I’m living now is the exact opposite of how I grew up, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

That thought reminds me of my schedule for the day, and I reach over Charlie, my ninety-­pound golden retriever—­who is more of a bed hog than any full-­grown man—­and pick up my phone. I do a double take at the time. That can’t be right. It says it’s 9:10 a.m. How can that be when I set my alarm for 6:45 a.m.? Oh, wonderful. I forgot to set it. And now I’m going to be late for my client meeting.

“No, no, no.” I throw off my white comforter and jump out of bed.

Charlie sits up, ears at attention and body poised for anything, and watches me race across my studio apartment to the closet. I’m wearing a pair of cute new pink undies, and it occurs to me how sad it is that Charlie is the only male in my life to see them.

I trip over a shoe before I look in my empty closet and remember that I put off going to the laundromat last night so I could finish binge-­watching The Bachelor. Don’t judge me. It’s the only romance I have in my life right now.

Charlie walks up beside me and gives me a look that says, I told you not to shirk your responsibilities. He’s so much more adult than me.

I put my hands on my hips and frown down at him. “I have twenty minutes before I need to be at the coffee shop, and I have nothing to wear, so quit giving me that high-­and-­mighty look or I’m going to shave your fur and wear it as a coat, like Cruella de Vil.” I’d never.

He rolls his eyes at me. Some people might think it’s impossible for a dog to roll his eyes, but that’s only because they haven’t met Charlie. I smile and rub his adorable head because I can never be mad at him for more than two seconds.

Thankfully, I spot the turquoise summer dress I wore yesterday. It’s laying crumpled on the couch in a tight little ball that would make my mom gasp with disbelief. Her maid would never allow one of her dresses to crease. How atrocious.

Crossing the room, I shake out my dress, give it a good sniff, then decide that wearing it one more day won’t hurt anyone. It smells a little too much like the burger I ate last night, so after pulling it on I douse myself in vanilla body spray.

Now I’m a walking ad for Bath & Body Works, and I consider requesting some sort of royalty from them.

The clock continues to race, and I look like I’m in the middle of a game show challenge as I rush around my apartment trying to gather everything I need for the meeting, take my meds, and get Charlie fed. I better win a million dollars when I beat this clock.

“Charlie, find your vest,” I tell him while hopping on one foot and pulling my white tennis shoe on the other.

Another fact that would make Melony Jones gasp. Mom swears that this is the reason I’m not married yet. I think it has more to do with the shockingly small pool of men who want a serious relationship with a woman who has to take a service dog with her everywhere and might drop down with a seizure in the middle of their dinner date.

About the Author

Sarah Adams
Sarah Adams is the New York Times bestselling author of The Cheat Sheet and Practice Makes Perfect. Born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, she loves her family and warm days. Sarah has dreamed of being a writer since she was a girl, but finally wrote her first novel when her daughters were napping and she no longer had any excuses to put it off. Sarah is a coffee addict, a British history nerd, a mom of two daughters, married to her best friend, and an indecisive introvert. Her hope is to write stories that make readers laugh, maybe even cry—but always leave them happier than when they started reading. More by Sarah Adams
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Random House Publishing Group