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Publisher's Summary

Leaving his life in New York City behind, 33-year-old Ira Hughes has moved back into his childhood home to help care for his ailing father. His overbearing mother quickly guilts him into looking after her interests in the family curio shop. That means dealing with her business partner, Colton McCabe, the bully who made Ira's teen years a living hell. 

Ira is now forced to confront painful memories from his past. As he watches his father fight for his life, and his relationship with his mother becomes even more strained, he begins to find unexpected comfort in his time with Colton. Could it be that Colton is not the high school horror he used to be? Is the bane of his youth now becoming the love of his life?

©2017 Matt Burlingame (P)2018 Matt Burlingame

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Becoming addicted to this author and narrator

A complimentary audio was provided in exchange for an honest review. *If you are interested in a copy of your own, please let me know and I will pass along their contact information.*

Let me start by saying I am quickly becoming addicted to this author and narrator. There is a special chemistry between author Matt Burlingame and narrator John Steinkamp; like peanut butter and jelly. :D They just belong together.

The story behind The Perfect Match is not easy because it deals with bullying and the all the suffering the recipient deals with, even in to adulthood. And it wasn't trivial bullying, no. Colton tormented Ira severely and Ira suffered through it alone. He wrote about what Colton did to him in his diary/journal and the dread and pain he went through just getting up in the morning to go to school. I really felt what Ira was going through because I suffered through bullying in school and it was hell. I couldn't wait to graduate and get OUT. And for whatever reason, Colton decided to pick on Ira, and Ira didn't tell anyone how bad it really was. Partly because Ira's parents thought Colton was a dream child who could do no wrong. When Ira finally moves away and grows up, he goes to counseling to deal with his childhood and it seems he has come to grips with it. But now that his father's health has deteriorated, Ira comes back home and sees Colton again.

Colton doesn't have the same feelings about what Colton did to Ira as a kid. Colton claims it was all harmless kid fun. Ha, yeah - Ira doesn't feel that way and is really struggling to come to grips with the Colton he knew as a kid, and the Colton who is now an adult and business partner to Ira's mom. Ira can't help but bring up all the tortures Colton did to him and while Colton acknowledges he was a shit to Ira, he thinks Ira should get over it. I didn't like that at all. Colton was abusive towards Ira, and now Ira is having to deal with Colton because of his mother's store. That was very hard to listen to because I have no desire to be around those who hurt me in school. Talk about torture!

Ira can't help but be afraid that Colton is playing an act and will turn in to kid Colton once again, and that is the crux of this story. Colton wants to be friends with Ira, doesn't want his past to define who he is now, and hates that Ira keeps bringing up the past. But Ira is struggling with letting go. How do you forgive someone who hurt you like that? Isn't this the same relationship dynamic that an abused spouse/partner suffers? Would an adult victim - SHOULD and adult victim, forgive and forget what their abuser did to them? I really had a hard time letting go of myanger towards Colton.

Not a lot of time passes from when Ira comes back to town and Colton and Ira become a couple. It happens over the course of a few weeks, which is very fast and unrealistic for me. HOWEVER!!! as the story is going along and Ira and Colton spend time together, and as I see Colton struggle with what he did as a kid, everything that transpired over the course of those weeks felt...good. One half of my brain was like, yeah right, and the other half was saying, it's ok to trust him. Very weird feeling. I didn't want Ira to suffer anymore and from Colton's actions and admissions, Ira sees that Colton isn't playing a trick on him and it's ok to trust him with his heart.

I found this to be a very serious story with a mix of holiday romance. Their path to an HEA was far from easy and I do think Ira and Colton will continue to need to work on their relationship simply because of their shared past. Would I recommend this story? You betcha! It was well written and I felt what the characters were feeling, not just between Ira and Colton, but between Ira and his mother and father, and Colton and Ira's parents. For being such a short story it packed a lot into it and I do recommend this. Ira and Colton manage to find their way and it was very sweet to see that. I still find it hard for myself to forgive Colton what he did to Ira, but they both decided to move on and not let the past get in their way.

The narration was excellent and I think I've mentioned before that John Steinkamp's voice isn't what one would consider a traditional narrators voice. But I very much enjoy it and it fits so well with the characters Matt Burlingame has created. I think this is my third by this duo and I look forward to them each time because I know they are going to be great. 4 stars all around!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cassi
  • ScrolMates Blog
  • 11-09-18

Sweet love story about personal growth

I liked this story, it was sweet and the characters really grew as the story progressed. It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the narration as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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sweet story of moving on

this was a sweet story of forgiving the pain of teenage years and moving on. liked everything about it a wonderfully enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The Perfect Match

3.5 Stars Overall (book/audio)

This was a nice, pretty quick listen at about 3hours long. I’m not sure how I would categorize this book though, it’s definitely an Enemies to lovers, second chance. But there’s not a whole lot of romance or heat in this book, focusing more on the story between the two men than their conflicting feelings for each other. It was hard for me to connect with these characters at times because I wanted to strangle them both at different times during this book. Lol.

Ira, is bitter and cannot let go of the past. And, I totally get it… When you hear the things that Colton and others put him through during high school and their younger years you can see why Ira has held on to his anger and dislike for so long. It very obviously stuck into Ira’s skin, and those feelings are hard to let go no matter how long has passed, especially when you’re forced to confront the person and those feelings when you are not ready and prepared to do so. I really felt bad for Ira, I hated that he let it all get to him so much that it was ruining the relationships he had and tried to form with others. I didn’t understand why his parents (mom) loved Colton so much to the point where she was pushing her own son away. Colton was a hard character to like, what with his past treatment of Ira, and then all the issues that come up with the business and what he was doing and hiding from everyone. But once we learn all the small details into the end of this book everything comes to light and Colton doesn’t look like such a douche, he does actually have some redeeming qualities. Overall I liked how this story was written, and it played out pretty really well through the whole book, will definitely give this authors other books a try in the future..

Audio – First time listening to this narrator John Steinkamp and I think he did a great job with all of the characters in this book. I really think his voices for them portrayed their characters and personalities perfectly bringing these men and their emotions to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Sweet enemies to lovers story

I enjoyed this short story, it was a fun listen. I like enemies to lovers stories and The Perfect Match showed the issues and obstacles characters must overcome to get over the hurt of the past and allow new relationship to develop. Narrator did a good job with voices for both MC's and showed hurt and other emotions well. This was my first book by Matt Burlingame but will not be my last. I will look forward to reading/listening to his other books. I recommend this sweet story to readers who enjoy enemies to lovers trope with likable characters and good narration.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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The perfect match for my busy day!

This was a first for me by both author and narrator, and I quite enjoyed them both. It was "the perfect match" for my busy day, with just enough twists and turns to keep me interested. I felt the two MC's connection right away, despite their past, and I enjoyed seeing them overcome the painful memories to find something beautiful. I also liked seeing Ira reconnect with his family. A great short story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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enemies to lovers

My heart ached for all Ira had been through, and especially because of his lack of a relationship with his mom in his early years. I enjoyed the enemies to lovers storyline and quickly got pulled into it. Kudos to the positive changes in Colton's character. I loved the turns the storyline took and the great ending. The narrator's storytelling enhanced the characters and storyline and made it come alive for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • B
  • 11-12-18

enjoyable

this was an enjoyable enemies to lovers story. I struggled to connect to Ira however.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Sweet, short story of enemies to lovers/2nd chance

OK, first off - did Steve Buscemi narrate this? Because the narrator sounded a LOT like him! ;)

This was a nice, quick listen, just coming in around 3 hours. It's the story of Ira, who moves back home to help take care of his ailing father, only to find that Colton, his high school bully - and worst enemy - has wormed his way into his family's life. Colton is a business partner with Ira's mother and now runs her shop, he's celebrated holidays with Ira's family while Ira was living his life away in NYC, and Ira is most upset by the fact that the person who bullied him in high school and called him homophobic slurs, is now openly gay.

I will say, with my personal background in the wholesale gift industry, it was hard for me to buy into some of the story's details (like - I would LOVE to know what holiday vendor would let you return everything you didn't sell at the end of the season! LOL) but I get that the focus of the story was on Ira and Colton, not the gift and holiday wholesale industry. :P I digress!

I also wish we had gotten some alternating chapters from Colton's POV. Ira was just so angry, so passive aggressive towards his mother and Colton, that it would have been nice to get some perspective from Colton himself, to know more about what he was feeling towards Ira, especially when they meet early on in the story. However, for the most part, I did enjoy this story. And once they talked, and Ira was ready and open to moving on, I loved how everything came together at the end and we got a happy ending.

First time both reading this author and listening to something from the narrator, and I enjoyed both. I received an audio copy in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-01-18

Loved this short story

This story gives you all the feels. The main characters are better known as frenemies and old wounds come to the surface very quickly. However, time and life experiences have changed them and they reluctantly fall in love. There is a great story that flows alongside the relationship which I really enjoyed. The narrator is really easy to listen to. I would highly recommend if you just want something quick and heart warming to listen to.