Title: Love, Lorena
Author: Ivy L. James
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: 10/18/2022
Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, lesbian, bisexual, light romance, royalty, matchmaker, arranged/forced marriage, modern fairy tale, flirting, interracial/intercultural, pets, family drama
Lorena García Fernández has built her matchmaking company, “Love, Lorena,” from the ground up, but her parents refuse to acknowledge the business as legitimate. Hoping to impress them, she travels to Ìovoria to find Crown Prince Callum a match. However, when Callum unexpectedly abdicates, his wild sister, Rosamund, becomes the crown princess and Lorena’s new client.
Lorena knows “Rowdy Rosamund” from the news headlines, but as she helps the princess, she learns there’s more to Rose than her public persona. The two women grow closer with each date Lorena sets up for the crown princess, and Lorena finds herself falling for Rose.
With only a month to find the perfect match, each failure increases the pressure to succeed. How will Lorena choose between her duty and her heart?
Ivy L. James © 2022
All Rights Reserved
In her rural Virginia office, Lorena García Fernández bypassed the usual salacious story about the Ìovorian princess and snipped out the article about her business trip. The blades of her scissors slid through the newspaper in long, clean lines, perfectly even on every side. Although she sometimes wondered why Westmoreland County still used physical newspapers, she had to admit it was handy now.
She set the article in its frame and glanced at the front door to see if her second-in-command had arrived. No sign of her, but then again, it wasn’t even seven o’clock yet. Cool early-morning sunlight streamed through the windows and glass door. Lorena straightened the clipping, pressed the back of the frame into place, and double-checked how it looked from the front. Flawless. She rose from her chair and hung the article on the wall between two testimonials, neat and level.
Her ginger cat, Amado, rubbed against her ankles before hopping onto the desk, his tail twitching impishly. He wove between two photos of Lorena in Ìovoria—one selfie set in rolling green hills, one in the ancient capital city—and leapt onto the windowsill, where he settled to chirp at a bird.
The lock clicked, and the bell over the front door jingled. In walked Lorena’s best friend and vice president, Natascha Barclave, juggling her purse and several binders overflowing with papers. Her mouse-brown curls were pulled into a french braid but already frizzing around the edges of her freckled face. She reached out with one full hand and flipped the CLOSED sign to OPEN with her pinkie finger. “I’m here, I’m here. And it may not look like it, but I’m fully prepared for the Johnson intake interview at ten.”
“Are those my Wallace-Díaz notes?” Lorena took the binders and set them safely on the welcome desk. “What the hell did you do to them?”
“Chill. Everything’s still in there. It’s just a little, um, messier.” Natascha dropped her purse onto the desk chair. They did their quick secret handshake and bumped fists before getting back to business. “I took Casey Bright home, too, and ran the numbers. We should set her up with Allie Masterson. They were a 90 percent match in the algorithm, and I think they’d get along well.”
Lorena flipped through the Bright binder and found the printout of the results. Promising indeed. “Okay, let’s talk first-date options after my eight o’clock review with Eve Ebron.”
Her work cell rang atop her desk. Lorena snatched up the phone and pressed it to her ear. “Thank you for calling Love, Lorena. This is Lorena. How can I help you?”
“Good morning, love!” The two familiar, Ìovorian-brogued voices sounded far away: Teague and Ailsa Duglass on speakerphone. The two thirtysomething aristocrats talked over each other before Ailsa shushed Teague and asked Lorena, “How’s your first day back in the office? Is the jet lag bad?”
“Not too bad, but I will say I already miss Ìovoria.” She leaned against the desk. “How are y’all?”
“Enjoying the honeymoon you planned for us.” Teague’s smile shone through his voice.
“Thank you again for everything you did, bringing us together,” Ailsa said. “It was all straight out of a fairy tale. I never thought I had a perfect match, but you found him.”
“Think you’ll find that someone special of your own soon?” Teague asked.
Lorena’s throat closed, but she tossed out a blasé “Nah. My to-do list is long enough.” As if she couldn’t be bothered, as if she’d hardly considered it at all. As if her own parents’ brutal divorce hadn’t convinced her long ago love wasn’t in the cards for her. Not now, not ever.
“Not to worry, we won’t hold you up. You’ve plenty of clients to help, I’m sure.” Ailsa paused meaningfully. “We wanted to let you know a little something special is coming your way soon.”
A thank-you card, maybe? If Lorena was lucky, it would include a hefty tip. Running an international matchmaking company wasn’t cheap. “You didn’t have to do that. Thank you.”
“No, thank you,” Ailsa corrected her. “I’ve never been happier in my life. You have a gift, you know?”
Lorena’s heart warmed. Nothing felt as good as a satisfied customer.
Meet the Author
Ivy L. James wrote her first story on Post-it notes as a child. Since then, she has graduated to regular paper and enjoys writing inclusive, heartwarming romance as a way to counterbalance the negativity in the world. She lives in Maryland with her partner and their corgi, cat, and two snakes.