Matchmaking guru Kennedy Pepperdine’s life is perfect. Perfect job. Perfect friends. Perfect boyfriend. Except…when she gets trapped in an elevator with a handsome stranger, she accidentally confesses a secret: maybe her perfect boyfriend, Justin, isn’t so perfect for her after all. But a matchmaker should be able to successfully match herself, right? Thankfully, she’ll never see the handsome stranger again. Until she heads home with Justin for the holidays and learns that the sexy stranger is none other than Justin’s older brother, Matt.
Matt Ellis is trying to be on his best behavior for his mother—it is Christmas, after all. But when he recognizes the beautiful woman from the elevator—the one he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about for months—his best behavior is being held by a thread. Matt’s always sacrificed for his family, and nothing is more important than their happiness, but the more time he spends around Kennedy, the more he wonders if her supposed “right match” might just be the wrong brother.
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Kennedy grew silent again. She began chewing her bottom lip. His eyes automatically dropped to her mouth, and for the forty-eighth time since being trapped together, he thought about kissing some sense into that anxious brain of hers.
“You’re right.” Her words were so soft, he wasn’t sure she’d spoken them. “He’s wonderful. Really awesome. But honestly…” She gave him a sharp if slightly tipsy look. “I’ve never said this to anyone, so you can’t tell a soul.”
He gave her a droll look. “Who am I going to tell?”
She stared him down for several seconds as if judging his sincerity. “Cross your heart?”
“Cross my heart,” he repeated, making the motion against his chest.
“Okay.” She bit her lip. “It’s just that…sometimes I doubt we’re meant for each other.”
“Yes. I know it’s crazy,” she murmured. “Especially since I can’t afford for my software to be wrong.”
Before he could respond, the lights overhead flickered. Her head whipped up toward the ceiling. “Thank God!” The elated expression on her face reminded him of a child watching fireworks go off. “We’re finally going to get out of here,” she squealed.
“Yeah…awesome.” Matt swallowed hard. He should be happy, too. Why the hell wasn’t he happy? He’d finally be out of this cramped elevator and away from this anxiety-ridden woman with her boyfriend issues. But instead, all he could do was bank down a strange sense of disappointment at the thought of her walking through those elevator doors and him never seeing her again.
He stood first then held out his hand to help her up. Her palm met his, and he tugged just as the elevator began to move again, causing them to lose their balance. His back slammed against the wall, and she fell into his arms.
“Nice catch,” she said with a laugh, obviously still feeling the effects of the champagne.
Matt held on to her, his heart beating wildly. Having her in his arms ignited all kinds of thoughts, all kinds of feelings. Naughty thoughts. Good feelings. His gaze captured hers for a long moment until eventually her smiling face grew serious, too. Then his conscience tapped him on the shoulder.
What the hell do you think you’re doing? it said. You’ve both been drinking. And she has a boyfriend.
He’d always hated his conscience.
Matt didn’t move. The elevator was going to open soon. They would be free to leave separately or leave together. There was still a choice. Growing up, he had always been the one to toe the line. Do what was right for everyone else in his life. But so help him, he didn’t want to do that this time. Maybe it was the alcohol, but he wanted her. True, the woman had a boyfriend—a neglectful boyfriend—but still, there were rules for that sort of thing, weren’t there? Like what if…
He kissed her.