Welcome to Mercy, Indiana, where happily ever after might be just around the corner…
What’s worse than putting on a banana costume in a desperate bid to save your business? Running into your ex and his new fiancé at the worst possible moment. For Katie Dole, moving on from being left at the altar has been her top priority, until desperation has her kissing the town bad boy to send a message to her ex. Katie thinks she holds all the cards, until that simple kiss turns into something far more enticing…
Matt Webster has just blown back into town on his Harley. After the death of his son and the end of his marriage more than a decade ago, he has put Mercy, Indiana in his rear-view mirror. Now he’s home, ready to rebuild the life he left behind. And the first person he runs into—literally—is pretty Katie Dole. What should be an easy favor becomes more complicated by the hour, especially for a man who wants to keep his life relationship-free. But Katie’s the kind of woman who has commitment written all over her.
As Matt’s heart softens toward this sweet shopkeeper, he has to decide if he’s ready to move past his old wounds and give Katie the love and future she deserves…or lose his second chance at happiness.
Winner, Booksellers’ Best Award for Best Traditional Romance of 2003
“THE VIRGIN’S PROPOSAL (4) is Shirley Jump’s Silhouette debut, and it’s a winner! Readers will fall head over heels for Matt right along with Katie. There’s nothing like a reformed bad boy for a winning hero.” — Romantic Times BOOKClub
“What has gotten into Cindy, constant readers may wonder. She’s never read these series novellas before. And now Jane Porter and Shirley Jump in one week? What gives?
“Part of it is my new responsibilities at RT. I’ve got a series column now and it behooves me to get to know the type of books I’ll be reviewing. Part of it is that I have recently read articles in Romance Writers Report by both Jane and Shirley and was impressed with their writing. And Shirley wrote the essential guide for non-fiction writers How To Publish Your Articles which I reviewed here.
“And as for the romance novellas, I must admit, I’m smitten. These are fun, romantic, breezy reads that, when at their best, are full of humor and pathos and passion.
“In The Virgin’s Proposal Matt and Katie meet cute. She’s dressed up as a banana to promote her flower shop’s fruit baskets. Then she kisses him at the supermarket to make the guy who left her at the altar jealous. This all happens in the first couple of scenes. What comes after is a romance that blooms despite the odds.
“Katie’s a sweetheart with a sense of humor. Matt’s a typical bad boy with a sensitive side. I was rooting for these two to get together even though I knew that of course they eventually would. That’s the number one rule of romance. The reader is guaranteed a happy ending. But Ms. Jump takes the ending a step further, with a clever and sweet final sentence that epitomizes the essence of this winning couple. (4 out of 6)” — What Cindy’s Reading, CynthiaHarrison.com
“Jilted at the altar, Katie Dole pours her heart and soul into her business, when she witnesses the return to town of bad boy Matt Webster. Just once Katie wishes she had the courage to walk on the wild side. When she meets her ex-fiancé’, and the woman he dumped her for, she does. Katie grabs Matt and anoints him with a searing kiss. Propelled by his father’s heart attack, Matt realizes that it’s time to grow up and agrees to help Katie through her ex’s wedding by posing as her new love. THE VIRGIN’S PROPOSAL (4) is Shirley Jump’s Silhouette debut, and it’s a winner! Readers will fall head over heels for Matt right along with Katie. There’s nothing like a reformed bad boy for a winning hero.” — From Romantic Times, January 2003, reviewed by Judith Rippelmeyer
“Katie is as reliable and as comfortable as an old pair of jeans. She is the epitome of conservative. People in her hometown of Mercy, Indiana have come to expect this of the twenty-four year old, the youngest daughter in a largish family. The only scandal associated with Katie is the unfortunate situation that happened a year prior. Her fiancé left her at the altar, and ran away with her maid of honor. From an outsider’s point of view, Katie even took that in stride. Only her closest friends know the private pain she still carries around from the deepest and most sensitive of rejections. She has seemingly recovered from the hard times and is now the co-owner of a florist business. Sarah, her best friend and sister in law, is her business partner, and though they are struggling financially, they enjoy their work greatly. Even though Katie knows that her personal life is in a rut, she isn’t uncomfortable enough to venture out of her comfort zone.
“One day, everything changes. One of Sarah’s marketing schemes causes Katie to be dressed in a banana suit. She endures all sorts of jeers from the high schoolers and feels her humiliation growing by the minute. Then, she has a run in with a mysterious stranger in town. The man captivates her thoroughly and she cannot get him out of her head.
“Matt has returned to town after an eleven-year absence. The son of well-to-do parents is returning to begin facing the demons that forced him to leave his marriage and parents behind after his son died. Matt is far from the wild child he was in his youth, but his bad boy reputation is legendary in town.
“When Matt and Katie first meet, sparks fly. Very quickly, they are thrust together by a crazy scheme that has them masquerading as a couple. The good girl grows fonder of the former bad boy by the moment and seems poised to lose her heart to him. All of her instincts tell her to stay away from a man who was so burned by commitment, but her heart is lost to Matt. His emotions war with his past hurts as he begins to care more about Katie. Can Matt and Katie keep fact and fiction separate?
“The Virgin’s Proposal is an amazing story of love, friendship and emotional healing. Ms. Jump packs a tremendous amount of characterization and plotting into a small package. She has a deft hand with highly charged emotional issues. Katie and Matt’s relationship was a joy to behold while the personalities in the town made for a very full reading experience. Take me back to Mercy, Indiana again, Ms. Jump! I don’t want to leave!” — Briana Lambert, Timeless Tales
“Conventional Katie is what she’s known as in her hometown of Mercy, with a population of 4,000 and change. But that’s about to change when Matt Webster rides into town on “Jane”, his beloved Harley.
“Part-owner of a flower and flower design shop, Katie’s trying to boost severely lagging sales by dressing in a banana suit (for fruit baskets!) – and, of course, who should come up but the handsome, rugged, bad-boy Matt Webster? Eleven years has passed and no one has forgotten how bad Matt Webster was… in high school!! But since Katie’s tired of being dull with no dates on Friday nights, not to mention being pitied by the locals for having been dumped at her own wedding a year ago, she’s definitely ready for some change. Matt, on the other hand, has already changed… but is he what Katie wants… or needs?!
“The Virgin’s Proposal has two adorable main characters – and secondary as well! Katie is cute – a bit serious, but she’s trying to change that! And with the help of her sister-in-law and Matt, she’s succeeding in overcoming her staid outlook and reputation. She hasn’t turned into a happy-go-lucky barfly, however, as there are certain things that Katie doesn’t change, such as her morals and beliefs – and it’s why she’s so endearing! She knows herself.
“Matt, on the other hand, has some pretty heavy baggage beneath the charming exterior. But that doesn’t make him unlikable in the least! It gives him depth and character – something that a proper romance hero should have! And, of course, redemption with the right (or lucky!) woman!
“Lots of sizzle, wit, love and romance, A Virgin’s Proposal is definitely worth the read!” — Veronica, ARomanceReview.com
“Jilted at the altar, Katie Dole pours her heart and soul into her business. Dressed as a banana, Katie witnesses the return to town of bad-boy Matt Webster. Just once Katie wishes she had the courage to walk on the wild side. When Katie meets her ex-fiancé, and the woman he dumped her for, Katie grabs Matt and proclaims him to be her new fiancé, then gives Matt a soul-searing kiss. Propelled by his father’s heart attack, Matt realizes after eleven years it’s time to put away the past and grow up. Matt agrees to help Katie through her ex’s wedding by posing as her new love, but Katie doesn’t realize she’s made a pact with the devil of Mercy. THE VIRGIN’S PROPOSAL is Shirley Jump’s Silhouette debut, and it’s a winner! Readers will swoon over bad-boy Matt and fall head over heels right along with Katie. There’s nothing like a reformed bad boy for a winning hero.” –Judith Rippelmeyer, Editor in Chief, <ahref=”http://thewordonromance.com”>The Word on Romance
“Shirley Jump has written a book that brings both joy and sadness to the reader. I felt like I was on the street with Katie in the banana suit and on the motorcycle with Matt. This book pulls you into the town of Mercy, Indiana, a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. But they are also there when you need them. I cried as Matt relived the saddest time of his life. This is Shirley’s first book, but I am sure it won’t be her last. I see a bright future for this author.
“Katie Dole was dressed in a banana suit outside of “A Pair of Posies.” Katie and her best friend and sister-in-law owned the store in Mercy, Indiana. They hoped it would promote the sale of fruit baskets. Sales had dropped and they were hoping this would help them.
“Katie was glad that most of her face was covered; the costume was humiliating—walking up and down the sidewalk like a piece of fruit. The last thing Katie wanted was anyone knowing who she was. A sexy man rode up on a motorcycle, stopped at the curb and dismounted. He commented, “Great marketing idea,” as he disappeared into a shop.
“The sexy man was Matt Webster, handsome and rich renegade son of the Webster family. Matt had been in trouble from the time he was little. He had married a local girl and shortly after their son’s death, they divorced and Matt left town. He had returned after eleven years and was hoping to make the people of Mercy realize that he had changed.
“A year ago, Steve Spencer had left Katie at the altar, running away with Katie’s bridesmaid. Steve had written Katie telling her the reason that he left was that she was too boring for his taste. Steve and Barbara had returned to Mercy to get married.
“Katie was buying groceries when she overheard Steve and Barbara talking about getting the extra cheese popcorn. After a year’s worth of anger she was ready to assault them with the extra-large box of microware popcorn when she spied Matt Webster in the store. She asked him to kiss her. The kiss was more than either of them could believe. Steve and Barbara were shocked by Katie’s behavior. Katie told them that she and Matt were engaged. Steve and Barbara ask them to come to their wedding and they agree.
“Shirley Jump has written a book that brings both joy and sadness to the reader. I felt like I was on the street with Katie in the banana suit and on the motorcycle with Matt. This book pulls you into the town of Mercy, Indiana, a small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. But they are also there when you need them. I cried as Matt relived the saddest time of his life. This is Shirley’s first book, but I am sure it won’t be her last. I see a bright future for this author.” — Helen Slifer, Writers Unlimited Reviewer