Well Matched - book cover
Dramas & Plays
  • Publisher : Berkley
  • Published : 19 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 336
  • ISBN-10 : 0593200446
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593200445
  • Language : English

Well Matched

A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she's decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell. 

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire-a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she'll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more "serious" career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what's real and what's been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship. 

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch's family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch's girlfriend again...and it doesn't feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they've just been putting on an act. But when there's the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans-and open her heart-for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.

Editorial Reviews

"A great comfort read. Warm, sweet, and hopeful, Well Matched is about daring to come out of your shell and building the life you always wanted."--Helen Hoang, USA TODAY bestselling author of The Heart Principle

"This series is one of my ultimate comfort reads. I knew I'd adore April and Mitch together, but I didn't realize how deeply obsessed with them I'd be. Well Matched is for anyone whose life hasn't gone according to plan, and about all the joys that come with veering off course. Warm and witty, sweet and sexy-this tender hug of a book is Jen DeLuca at her best."--Rachel Lynn Solomon, national bestselling author of The Ex Talk

"Jen Deluca writes with exceptional warmth. Well Matched is cozy, sweet, and brimming with charm. It's such a joy to go back to the faire with Mitch and April!"--Rosie Danan, national bestselling author of The Intimacy Experiment

"Well Matched is completely charming and delightfully touching. DeLuca delivers a love story that leaves you feeling as warm and fuzzy as you are hot and bothered. April's vulnerability and humor are endearing and Mitch is book boyfriend goals in a kilt--I couldn't put it down."--Denise Williams, author of How to Fail at Flirting

"With well-drawn characters and laugh-out-loud scenes, Well Matched is a perfect opposites-attract romance."--Shelf Awareness

"This sexy, witty, fast-paced romantic comedy has surprising emotional depth."--Library Journal

"DeLuca's enchanting tale of unsought love developing over home improvement tasks and making family members happy, cheerfully set against the charming backdrop of a Renaissance fair, is a joy to read."--Booklist

Additional Praise for Jen DeLuca

"Stacey finds her greatest joy at the Faire, looking forward to its return each year. In DeLuca's hands, we'd have to agree – there's endless tales and excitement to be found in this world, still one of the freshest, most engaging concepts in romance a year after she introduced us to it. A hearty huzzah for Well Played."--Entertainment Weekly, on Well Played

"What a delight! This is enemies to lovers at its absolute finest, folks. DeLuca proves to be a master of creating characters you believe in and a storyline to keep you totally engrossed. Well Met is a hilarious, swoony, and captivating romance--hands down our new favorite feel-good novel of the year."--New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren, on Well Met

"Well Met will especially appeal to readers who like bookstores, Renaissance fair shenanigans and nerdy English teachers wearing vests. DeLuca will have readers laughing all the way to the turkey leg vendor."--Shelf Awareness...

Readers Top Reviews

Staying in the Willows Creek was never an option. April raised her daughter like many single moms on her own, putting her needs on the back burner. But her daughter about to graduate high school and go to college. It’s time April gets what she wants, even if she won’t admit she has feelings for Mitch! April might not be everyone’s favorite character she has heart protected in tall walls. She’s not very social and hates the idea of people talking about her. But as my mom was also a single mom I get that being a softy isn’t an option sometimes. Letting someone else take care of her needs is hard. Relying on someone else is scary. Not to mention her baby making days are over. That is one topic I love the author touched base on! Babies and forties. April is not having anymore kids at maybe forty, hot mom that she is, she is not interested more kids. Mitch maybe in his mid thirties might still wanting babies. When he admits he doesn’t, because he’s a gym teacher and coaches younger kids and teens, he’s around kids all the time and has had his fill. I feel like it really said “you don’t need kids to make you happy”. And now all he has to do is break down the walls around April’s heart and they could have something special! Tropes include single parent, fake dating, one bed, renaissance fairs and families!
Well Matched is a fake relationship story about a high school gym teacher who spends his summers in a kilt at the local Ren Faire pretending to date a single mom who's ten years older and has a lot of baggage from a marriage-gone-wrong and having been in a serious car accident. I loved the flirty banter between Mitch and April in the previous two books in this series, so I was excited to see how it played out and I was NOT disappointed! Although their fauxmance starts out as a simple exchange of services (he helps her renovate her home so that she can sell it and move once her daughter leaves for college while she plays the role of his girlfriend at a family event so that his relatives will get off his back about settling down), things quickly heat up and complications ensue. Mitch has his work cut out for him with breaking down April’s defenses and I’ll admit that I could see where she was coming from when she thought their relationship was just a fling and had no future. You’ll have to read the book to discover how everything works out for these two crazy kids, but I guarantee you’ll enjoy the journey. My favorite thing about all the books in this series is the Ren Faire setting, which the author gives so much detail and behind-the-scenes info about you feel like you’re there and part of the fun! I wasn’t sure that anyone in this ‘verse could ever supplant Simon (the pirate-costumed hero of Well Met) in my affections, but Mitch Malone might just have edged him out. Like April, I found him very hard to resist! He’s gorgeous, sweet, and funny, can wear the heck out of a kilt, is a great role model to the kids he works with, and can do home reno. SWOON I feared this series might be wrapping up with Well Matched, but a new character is introduced in this book whom I instantly liked and I was delighted to learn she’ll be back to star in Book #4 next year. Huzzah! I will happily read as many of these stories as Jen wants to write!
There is nothing better than returning to the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire every year with another one of Jen DeLuca’s delightful, steamy and heartfelt rom-coms. I mean, is there anything sexier than a man in a kilt? And I love nothing better than a romance which features a character who has built walls around their heart, who finally meets the person who can help her tear down those walls. The banter between Mitch and April was fun and sexy, their times together passionate and love-filled, and enjoyed every moment!

Short Excerpt Teaser


The card wasn't addressed to me.

I leaned an elbow on the bar and took a sip of my hard cider. It was happy hour at Jackson's, but I wasn't happy. I wasn't happy at all. And this drink wasn't changing anything. The card still lay there on the bar. It was still addressed to my daughter, Caitlin, and it was still from her father. The man who'd wanted nothing to do with her since the day she was born, or in any of the eighteen years after that. It was hard to believe that even after all this time, his handwriting could strike my heart the way it did. Back in the day, that handwriting had covered pages and pages of love letters. Little notes we'd leave each other on Post-its on the bathroom mirror or near the coffee maker.

Then our birth control had failed, barely a year into our marriage. The marriage itself had failed not long after that. The last time I'd seen Robert's handwriting had been when he'd signed the divorce agreement, terminating his parental rights. Rights that he'd freely, almost eagerly, given up.

Why the hell was he writing to Caitlin now?

Like poking at a bruise, I flipped the card open again.


I know I haven't been there for you. But I want you to know how very proud of you I am. Graduation from high school is an important milestone in anyone's life. As you move on to greater things, I want you to know that if you ever need anything from me, all you have to do is ask.

With love from your father,

Robert Daugherty

I almost wanted to laugh. If you ever need anything from me . . . How about eighteen years of back child support? That would be a start. He couldn't even stick a lousy twenty-dollar bill in the card.

Our daughter had turned out great, no thanks to him. Caitlin was a smart, funny, respectful young woman and I couldn't be more proud of her. But that had absolutely nothing to do with Robert, who in the end had been little more than a sperm donor. What the hell was he thinking, getting in touch now and trying to do a victory lap as a father? Fuck that. And fuck him.

I stared at his name, wishing my eyes could burn a hole through this cheap card stock. I'd been April Daugherty once, for roughly one and a half of my forty years. And if we'd stayed married, my daughter would have been Caitlin Daugherty instead of Caitlin Parker. I thought, not for the first time, about those two hypothetical Daugherty women, and the life they might have had.

Would Caitlin Daugherty have had an easier time of things? Would April D and Caitlin D have worried a little less about affording college, applied for fewer scholarships and grants? I'd sat up a lot of nights with Caitlin P, our laptops side by side at the dining room table, filling out forms late into the night. At the time it had felt very feminist, very "us against the world," the way most of our lives together had been. But Caitlin Daugherty would have had a provider for a father. Maybe she would have had to fight a little less. Maybe-

"What're you drinking?"

Oh. I glanced up and to my right, squinting at the guy in a gray business suit who'd taken up residence on the barstool next to mine. He didn't look familiar, and Willow Creek, Maryland, was the kind of town where everyone at least looked familiar. He was probably on his way down to DC-he had that Beltway look about him. Salt-and-pepper hair with a nice expensive-looking cut, pale eyes, a decent smile. Of course, one strike against him was that he'd just hit on a strange woman at a bar.

I gave him a friendly-but-not-too-friendly smile. "I'm good, thank you." There. Pleasant enough, but not encouraging.

He didn't take the hint. "No, I mean it." He moved his stool a little closer to mine, not quite in my personal space but close enough. I slipped the card back into the envelope and slid it onto my other side. He peered at my drink. "Whatcha got there, a beer? Probably a light beer, huh? I can go for that." He beckoned at the bartender. I wasn't a person who hung out at bars, but I came here enough that I knew her name was Nikki, and she knew I liked the cider on draft.

"It's not a beer," I said.

He wasn't listening. "Another drink for the lady. Light beer. And I'll have one too." His take-charge voice was grating. Maybe he'd sound commanding in a government building in DC, but in a town like this he sounded like a dick.

Nikki raised her eyebrows at me, and I shook my head, covering the top of my glass with the palm of my hand. "I'm good. But he can have whatever he wants." I probably should have been flattered. Not bad for someone who'd recently hit forty, right? But ...