The Match is a contemporary romance by Sarah Adams. This is the first book in the It Happened in Charleston series. This isn’t a book review but an actual summary of what happens in the story, so keep in mind there will be spoilers ahead.
- Book Title: The Match
- Author: Sarah Adams
- Publication Date: May 30, 2020
- Category: Contemporary Romance
- Print Length: 284 Pages
The Match by Sarah Adams is an enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy. Evie Jones is a service dog trainer poised to take over the company she works for, Southern Service Paws, from its current owner, Joanna. She was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was sixteen and spent years thinking she would not be able to live independently until she met Joanna and got her service dog, Charlie. She has a meeting with Jacob Broaden, who is looking for a service dog for his ten-year-old daughter, Sam.
He happens to be very bad at spelling and uses a lot of exclamation marks, so Evie isn’t sure what to expect when they meet. He doesn’t recognize her name, and they realize that Sam wrote the email. Jake tells Evie there is no chance Sam is getting a service dog, insults her and the company, and then leaves.
Sam is deeply upset and reflects on how much she has changed since her diagnosis. He talks to his sister, who recommends he tries to do something that will make Sam happy. He changes his mind and decides to contact Evie again to schedule a real meeting for the next morning. This meeting goes quite a bit better, except that Jake is attracted to Evie and can’t risk having another beautiful woman in his life after his ex, Natalie, abandoned him and Sam.
Evie finds a service dog for Sam, Daisy. They start a week-long bootcamp so Sam can learn how to interact with Daisy. When Evie first arrives at Jake’s house, she is shocked by how nice it is. He is an architect who owns his own firm and designed it himself. That night, Evie goes out to dinner with her parents. Her dad is half of a Charleston law firm, and she was expected to marry his partner’s son, Tyler.
She is resistant because she does not want to give up the independence Charlie gave her, and Tyler is a playboy. Her mom starts out insulting Evie for being a few minutes late and then lets it slip that she invited Tyler. Evie leaves. She calls Jo for a ride, but then Jake and Sam pull up. Jake gives her a ride home. Sam asks her to come to dinner with them, but Jake warns her off with a look at Sam. Both Sam and Evie are amused by this.
Evie’s mom is overbearing in general. Jo and Evie are working on a benefit for their company so that they do not have to charge people so much for service dogs. Her mom found an invitation on a friend’s fridge and took it, inviting herself, Evie’s dad, and Tyler. She instructs Evie to let them on the list. Evie will for her parents because she recognizes that they are huge on the Charleston social scene, and having them present will ensure others come. Her mom also knows the caterer and changes the menu.
On the second day of camp, Sam asks Evie to talk to Jake about allowing her to go to a slumber party. Since her diagnosis, he has been hovering and does not allow her to go to friends’ houses. Because he is a single dad, other moms worry about sending their kids to Sam’s house. As a result, she does not get to spend much time with friends. Sam shoves Evie into Jake and tells him she has a question.
Evie realizes asking about the party would not be a good idea at that moment, so she asks if she can stay for dinner. Jake agrees. After, Sam asks Evie to tuck her in. Jake is concerned about how much Sam already likes Evie because he is trying not to like her.
He and Evie talk and tell her about how Natalie left him a year ago to move to Hawaii with another man. She hasn’t been back to see Sam. Evie talks a bit about her parents. They flirt. Evie finally does please Sam’s case and explains how important it is to learn to live with your disability. Jake reluctantly agrees and figures out that she invited herself to dinner so he wouldn’t immediately say no to Sam’s wish.
Jake and Evie flirt via text for the next few days of camp. Neither of them wants it to end on Friday. When Evie is actually there working, he stays distant and allows her to focus on Sam and Daisy. Evie snoops into his house, which he has noticed and thinks is adorable.
It means she also wants to get to know him. On the last day, she finally goes into his bedroom. He catches her there and flirts, more like the Jake who texts her than the one she sees during the day. Joanna has stopped by, nominally, to check in on Evie’s work, but really to see Jake for herself. Evie tries to rush Jo out, but she manages to invite Jake to the fundraiser as Evie’s date anyway. Jake says he’ll go.
Sam tells Evie that she has permission to go to the slumber party. She also tells Evie about her fear of other kids making fun of her for her disability. Evie tells Sam that it isn’t always easy, but it is brave to grow up and make a career and life for yourself despite your epilepsy. Jake comes out to join them. Evie shoves him into the pool, fully clothed, and then jumps in after him. Later that night, he shows up at her apartment unexpectedly. He invites her to a pool party he and Sam are throwing. He kisses her, but they are interrupted by a knock.
Evie’s parents are there, and Jake is thrown because he recognizes them as basically city royalty. Evie’s mom invites herself in and immediately starts criticizing. She tells Evie to accept Tyler’s proposal, and she’ll never have to worry about money again. Jake is very confused. Jake comforts her, and Evie assures him that she has no intention of marrying Tyler or anyone like him. Jake investigates her kitchen and realizes that since she’s standing up to her family and barely drawing a salary, she doesn’t even have money for groceries. He takes her out to get some. She bakes some brownies (with him, in his oven) to thank him.
Jake comes back the next day to pick her up for the pool party. Jake’s whole family is there, and they like Evie. His family is a little bit pushy about whether or not they are dating, but ultimately Evie has fun. Jake follows Evie inside and kisses her, but they are interrupted by his dad, who points out that everyone can see them through the glass. Jake asks Evie on a date.
Evie meets Jo in a café. She is then hit on by a stranger and rejects him because she is kind of seeing someone, only to have Tyler show up. Tyler is pushy about the idea of marriage so she can be his trophy wife.
Evie is nervous about her date with Jake. They make out in the kitchen, but Jake stops it before it can escalate. She tells him about getting asked out earlier and asks him where they are in their relationship. He says they are casual and that he would not mind her dating other men.
She is upset and starts her period, which gives her a good excuse to cut the date short. He gives her a whole speech about why he said they could be casual and that he wants more, but she plays it cool, and he decides she wants casual. He then lets her loose on his extensive menstrual product selection, which he has for his sisters. After dinner, Evie asks about his divorce. At first, he and his ex, Natalie, had a great relationship, but they moved fast and were too young.
She realized she wanted other things and eventually left him for another man. Even before that, she had barely been spending any time with Jake or Sam. Evie tells him about her relationship with her parents and how they are trying to starve her out so she will marry Tyler. He asks her to stay overnight, but they’re cut off by a call. Sam wants to come home from her sleepover. Evie comforts Sam on the way back to her apartment.
Evie’s mom tells her to come for dinner because her parents are willing to donate to Southern Service Paws. Jake offers to be her plus one. While on the phone with Jake, Charlie alerts Evie that she is going to have a seizure. Jake tells her he’s coming over. When Evie wakes up, Jake is there. He carries her to bed and stays with her. Jake asks his sister to keep Sam overnight so he can keep an eye on Evie. He knows his feelings aren’t casual, but he’s still scared. Evie knows both of their feelings aren’t casual and doesn’t mind going slow for him.
Dinner with her parents is hard for both of them. Tyler and his family are there as well, and it is clear they all planned on Evie bringing Jake, even though she didn’t tell them. Everyone takes passive-aggressive digs at both Evie and Jake. Evie’s mom also tells Jake that they’re sure he’s nice, but they’re all waiting for Evie to marry Tyler since he’ll be able to keep her in the style to which she is accustomed. Finally, Evie snaps and tells them to keep the check. After they leave, Jake tells her he isn’t good enough for her and that he’s worried that she’ll leave him and Sam behind. Jake realizes he’s made a mistake the second he gets home, but Natalie is sitting on his porch. She wants to get back together and be in Sam’s life again. He says she can stay the night but leaves to go stay with Evie.
In the morning, Evie goes to Jake’s house so they can talk but finds Natalie there. She gets the wrong impression and heads to Jo’s house. Jake couldn’t find Evie at her apartment, so he planned on finding her at the benefit that evening. He does talk with Sam, who doesn’t want to see her mom. Evie is surprised and pissed to see Jake at the benefit.
She refuses to talk to him, even though he says he won’t give up on her. She takes a break a few hours later, leaving Charlie inside. Tyler follows her and tries to kiss her without her consent. Jake pulls him away, punches him, and forces him to apologize. Jake is halfway through explaining to Evie that he didn’t sleep with Natalie when his mom calls to say Sam had a seizure. Even without the full story, Evie says she’ll go with him, and they can talk once he knows Sam is okay.
Seeing Evie with Sam makes him feel like they’re a family. Evie puts Sam to bed. Jake finally gets to tell her what happened the night before with Natalie. Natalie has already left without even trying to see Sam. He wants a serious relationship with Evie.
In the epilogue, Evie and Jake are married a year later, and she is pregnant. It is the morning of the now annual benefit for Southern Service Paws. Sam sees Evie as a mom, although she is still hurt by Natalie’s abandonment. A few months prior, Evie’s dad almost died of a heart attack, and after that, both of her parents started trying to mend their relationship with her. Two months later, their son is born.
The Match by Sarah Adams: Having worked for Southern Service Paws for a few years, I think I’m prepared for just about any client meeting under the sun. I am dead wrong.
The day I met with single dad Jacob Broaden about potentially matching his daughter with one of our service dogs, I learned a few valuable lessons.
1) Always set my alarm clock.
2) Single dads are way hotter than I previously thought.
3) It is possible to go from fantasizing about kissing someone to wishing they would be run over by a truck in a matter of two minutes.
Unfortunately, I don’t hold that opinion of him for very long. Not when he shows me a different side of himself—one that’s sweet as maple syrup and hot as apple pie fresh out of the oven. And after a few days of working closely with him and his daughter, he starts looking at me with fire in his eyes, making me dream of something I probably shouldn’t…
The Match is a feel-good, closed-door romantic comedy! Perfect for readers who enjoy sweet, sizzling chemistry with passionate kissing only.