Book Tour and Giveaway: The Matchmaker's Playbook: Rachel Van Dyken

The Matchmaker's Playbook 
(Wingmen Inc. #1)
Rachel Van Dyken
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Expected April 5, 2016

Wingman rule number one: don’t fall for a client.

After a career-ending accident, former NFL recruit Ian Hunter is back on campus—and he’s ready to get his new game on. As one of the masterminds behind Wingmen, Inc., a successful and secretive word-of-mouth dating service, he’s putting his extensive skills with women to work for the lovelorn. But when Blake Olson requests the services of Wingmen, Inc., Ian may have landed his most hopeless client yet.

From her frumpy athletic gear to her unfortunate choice of footwear, Blake is going to need a miracle if she wants to land her crush. At least with a professional matchmaker by her side she has a fighting chance. Ian knows that his advice and a makeover can turn Blake into another successful match. But as Blake begins the transformation from hot mess to smokin’ hot, Ian realizes he’s in danger of breaking his cardinal rule.…

Wingmen, Inc. is composed of two friends, Ian and Lex who know how to please women. Now they are using their skills to help needy women find their confidence and get the men of their dreams. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it...and they do it well. 

The girls are usually awkward, needy, confused, and insecure. And Ian's newest client Blake is no exception. She might just be one of his biggest challenges with her tomboy ways, attitude, and inexperience. She seems to be a bit of a hopeless case. But then why does she spark unwanted reactions with Ian? It is totally against his own rules to dally with clients...it is even in the contract. And she is also his best friend Gabi's room mate and she has threatened him with bodily harm if he messes with her friends.

Soon Ian is in a situation he never saw coming. He's as desperate for attention as his clients. For the first time he wants a girl who wants someone else and he is supposed to help make that happen. He and Blake have some serious confusion and mixed signals complicating everything.

This is told in Ian's unfiltered, cocky, comical point of view. I love the way he sees the world and how he gets confused as his usual organized world starts spinning out of control and make him want to break all of his previous set rules. He is used to being sought after for his looks, personality, and skills. But he has a vulnerable core hiding under that know-it-all attitude, along with some past pain and disappointments. He really was a complex and sweet guy. I really felt bad for him at times, but he also cracked me up.

Ian is a risk taker in life,  but not usually in relationships since he never gets that far. He does not like having the potential to fail or let someone down. He has strong feelings about people settling for less than they deserve. And ultimately he needs to figure out who really would be the better man for Blake and help her find happiness.

His sidekick, Lex is more of the evil genius. He's smart, a tech guru, and kind of  a judgmental a** and man slut. He has a serious hate relationship and sparring battle going on with Ian's other best friend, Gabi.  Oh how the taunts and terror flows between these two. They are a flaming hot mess and likely to kill each other. I can't wait to get more with them in the next book. 

This was a funny, snarky, playful male POV romance with some unique, likable characters and entertaining banter, but it had heart and feels too. The story was fast-paced and the narrating was brash, honest,  and almost frantic at times, but it made it quite engaging. I am looking forward to more in this series. 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review. 

Ian Hunter runs Wingman, Inc., with his best friend/sidekick Lex. The men take on women as clients who are looking to make the man of their dreams notice them. Lex has a whole set of tests and data that show whether the match will be successful or not and Ian’s job is to teach the woman the steps to land her man. Ian is unapologetic when it comes to his own love life -- he isn’t interested in a relationship. He’s cocky, focused, intense, and knows his own limits. Keeping things strictly professional has never been a problem. Until Blake.

When Blake moves in with his other best friend Gabi, Ian is at first outraged by her lack of confidence and style. He isn’t sure what she is hiding under her baggy clothes and ugly flip flops, but he is intrigued, until he learns she is his next client. But as he begins working with her to catch her longtime friend, David, he finds himself feeling the jealousy he usually stirs up in his clients’ targets, and that’s something he’s never had to deal with before.

Once again, Rachel has proven she can write humor perfectly. This may be my favorite of her more humorous romances simply because it was well paced and didn’t try too hard to be funny. I found myself laughing at Ian’s decisions, the women he coached, and the situations he finds himself as a result of his lessons. As he continues his lessons with Blake, I can only say the entertainment value went even higher.

The leads were cast perfectly. Ian is the head strong, confident man who knows what he wants in life -- to make those around him happy. While a relationship may not be in his future, he knows most people want that connection and his focus is making it possible for women to reach for a man rather than settle. Though it sounds a bit on the chauvinistic, machismo side of things, listening to him talk about what he does made it the perfect fit for him.

Blake is a focused athlete, raised by a single father. She has never cared enough to make anyone notice her and now that she wants David to notice her is willing to change things to open his eyes. It was fun watching her confidence level soar as she makes a few simple changes. And it is that rising confidence that really catches Ian’s attention.

These two prance around real feelings for each other for a while. There was nothing speedy about their relationship, especially since they begin with a professional relationship. It is a non-traditional professional relationship though, because how often does one really have the opportunity to kiss one’s business contacts? But I loved watching Ian struggle with his feelings as they developed, as he fought to keep things professional and honor the contract he had with her. 

This story is told solely from Ian’s point of view, but there is plenty of background on both characters to make this a fun story. With the added benefit of watching Ian’s best friends fight each other tooth and nail on everything, this was one of those reads that kept me smiling and connected from start to finish. I can’t wait for Lex’s story, as there is some fire between him and Gabi that points to a history they have kept from Ian.

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review.
Ian and Lex's Rules of Play

1. Jealousy is key when trying to get noticed by a dude. No girl ever got her guy by hanging out by the potted plants or doing the dishes in the kitchen.
2. Smile. Often. Smiling makes dickheads automatically assume you've got a secret--and damn, do guys love discovering secrets.
3. Never call. Always text.
4. If he calls you, answer on the third ring, but only after he's called you three times.
5. The rule of three pertains to every situation, answering in person, the length of time you touch a body part (unless it’s down below, but you shouldn't be doing that at this point unless you're a psycho), the length of time you take to answer the door, the point is this, you have to pause, breathe, stare, and then answer. If you're doing it any other way. You're doing it wrong.
6. I don't care if he's serenading you with Taylor Swift and it’s just like absolutely OMGEE your most favorite song, holy shit he brought coke zero? I LOVE COKE ZERO. No. Hell no. You don't cave. It’s been one day. You do not cave on day one. On day one. You plan.
7. You are NEVER to be so interested in them right off the bat that you're willing to cancel plans, according to them, you're always busy damn it, why can't they just catch a break?
8. Walk away, never toward. I don't give a flying shit that he's wearing your favorite shirt and holding a monkey on his head, smile, wave, walk the other way. The only time you walk toward is if the douche needs medical attention and even then...if he's gonna live, so will you.
9. It’s not about you. I know, I know, you're just so pissed about Shelly and how she gave you a bitchy look during chem, but control yourself. It’s about him, ask him questions, in return, he will ask you. This. Is. Called. A. Conversation.
10. Put your damn phone away. When you're in his space, you aren't on Facebook or tweeting about it, this is how you lose his attention and gain another cat. Toss the cell phone away or Wingmen Inc will very politely shove it up your ass.

If the first ten rules are too difficult for you to comprehend, you probably aren't the client for us...because quite honestly...there are forty more, no chance in hell you'll get through them if you're already scowling. Buh-Bye.
Blake let out another pitiful groan. “I don’t think it fits.”
“They measured you. It fits. Just, tell me if it looks okay so we can go.” I checked my watch. “Gabi said dinner was at six, and it’s already a quarter till.”
“This is too much pressure.” Her voice was frantic. “I can’t do this. I mean, how do I know if it looks good? They’re boobs.”
I groaned. “Boobs always look good. Believe me.”
“Boobs are gross!”
Said no man ever. Even the gay ones.
One of the salesladies eyed me up and down. “Are you two okay?”
“Great,” I chirped. “Just having a very heated discussion about the beauty of breasts.” I dipped my chin to Blake’s chest. “What are you? A double D?”
Scowling, she marched off.
Thank God.
“Blake,” I hissed.
No answer.
I’d never had such a difficult client. If anything, they jumped when I told them to, asked how high, and then kept jumping until I was satisfied. Blake fought me at every turn.
“Open the door before I crawl underneath it. I’ll pick the bras, you can close your eyes if you want so you don’t have to watch me look at you, alright? My stomach literally just ate my liver. I need protein. Open. The. Door.”
The door slowly creaked open. Taking advantage of the small crack of air, I pushed it farther, then clicked it shut behind me and turned around.
Blake was facing me, hands on hips, face beet-red, body . . . freaking perfect. My tongue almost lolled out, like a dog.
Most girls starve themselves to have abs like that, which was disgusting. But her abs? They had muscle, actual muscle, but still appeared feminine.
She also had a nice tan, just enough to show that she spent time outside or maybe just had naturally darker skin. 
My throat went completely dry as I continued to stare.
“Well?” Her voice was weak. “How awful do I look? On a scale of one to ten?”
I’d convinced her to buy some new workout clothes to replace her old ones. I knew I’d never get her to actually completely change her style. She liked workout clothes? Fine, at least buy the kind that fit and actually point to the correct gender. I tried to steer her away from the boyfriend sweats and sweatshirts, but she eventually wore me down, so I told her if she bought at least five new Pink outfits that had spandex in them, I’d let her get one pair of ugly slouchy sweats. You’d think I’d just given her a million dollars, from her reaction.
Currently, she was sporting a short pair of bright-blue yoga shorts.
And a black push-up sports bra that did wonders for her boobs.
And the world just in general.
Holy shit.
I gulped as I became more and more irritated with the fact that my body was reacting as if it had never seen a girl without her shirt on before. “Blake, it’s great.”
“You sound bored!”
I had to, damn it! What did she want me to do? Sound interested? Turned-on? Intrigued? Curious? I was all those things. I just tried to ignorethe insanity bouncing around in my head and blurted, “Your boobs look really good. Perky, happy, just . . . awesome.”
Did I just call her boobs “happy”?
“You think?” She stared down at her breasts, then grabbed them.
Holy shit, was she seriously feeling herself up? I braced my hand against the door and sucked in a breath.
“They still feel comfortable,” she said.
“Do they?” I managed to choke out while she continued bouncing them a bit in her hands. Dear Lord, did she know what she was doing? Waving a flag in front of a bull. My jeans suddenly tight in all the wrong areas, I tried to envision Lex naked, anything to get my dick to clue in to the word “client,” meaning I was in a no-play zone.
Another first.
It was because I was hungry.
And Marissa? Melissa? Hadn’t satisfied me. I’d gotten off, and made sure she did too, but the entire experience left me feeling empty, bored, and—if I was being completely honest? A bit depressed. Besides, her tits paled in comparison. I had to wonder what the hell I’d been doing all my life if this was the first time I was having such a strong reaction to boobs.
Something about Blake had me wondering if I’d been satisfied at all up until this point. And I had no idea what the hell was so confusing about her, and about the situation. I was unable to put my finger on it, and the more I thought about it the more my head hurt.
Hunger does weird things to guys.
“Yeah.” More bouncing, then turning and staring in the mirror. I wasn’t sure what was worse. Her staring at her own boobs or touching them. “I’m just no good at this stuff. I didn’t grow up with a mom, and I hit puberty really early. The girls made fun of me, and the boys pointed.” Her shoulders slumped inward again.
Could we please go back to the bouncing? I was a fan of that Blake. The one that rolled up like an awkward armadillo? Not so much.


Rachel Van Dyken 

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!

Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!

You can connect with her on Facebook www.facebook.com/rachelvandyken  or join her fan group Rachel's New Rockin Readers. Her website is www.rachelvandykenauthor.com

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