I don’t know about you, but a 36-year-old, commitment-phobic playboy who makes women doubt their self worth, doesn’t stick around long enough to leave a phone number, never promises exclusivity, and has zero interest in developing an emotional connection… is not appealing to me. That’s the biggest problem with this otherwise scorching hot romance. It’s a return to vintage MM, with a focus on steam, chemistry and no over the top comedy – which I love. But I hated this hero, from start to finish.
Fair warning: this book is smoking HOT, and nothing like the lighthearted rom coms MM has been putting out recently. If you’re a newer fan, it might be shockingly different for you. I’ve been around since the St. Luke’s series, so I knew that MM was capable of some serious steam – and this goes there. We’re talking public acts, voyeurism, and a near-constant physical connection. An emotional connection, though? Pretty much non-existent. I found the exchange of “I love you’s” to be laughable.
Still with me? Then let’s talk about the story. Essentially, this follows Jude, a guy who never wants a relationship. He’s completely satisfied with being the good time guy, and doesn’t see that changing – ever. But when a bet introduces Jude to Sophie, he’s immediately put off-balance. Sophie is fascinating to Jude in a way that no one has ever been, and the attraction that sparks between them is all-consuming. It’s not long before they’re falling into bed together, but Jude has no desire for more than that. As a woman who wants a relationship, Sophie has to decide if she’s willing to put aside her long-term goals for the chance to have this once-in-a-lifetime fling with Jude.
There’s a lot that I DID like – I loved that Sophie and Jude are in most scenes together, and the focus is entirely on their evolving relationship. It doesn’t get sidetracked with funny retirees or humor for the sake of humor. The overall tone is light, just not AS light as MM’s recent books. And the steam is front and center throughout. I loved the zap of connection between them, and probably would’ve liked this a whole lot more if a few of the steamy scenes (one in particular) were omitted in favor of actually growing the relationship. Unfortunately, without that, I just couldn’t like Jude – and I couldn’t respect Sophie for allowing him to make her feel used. The exploration of that subject is an interesting one, but it really didn’t need to drag on as long as it did. This is an intriguing series starter and I’m curious where the other books will lead, but the brothers are ALL commitment-phobic, so I’ll be tempering my expectations.
When it comes to life’s fun and games, always know:
What’s at stake.
When to quit.
Wise words from…well…my fortune cookie. But wise words, nonetheless.
I just wish the Fortune Cookie People had considered how hard the whole “knowing when to quit” would be to carry out when a woman like me is gambling with her feelings.
Heart-palpitating, vageen-tingling, butterflies-in-my-belly feelings for a noncommittal, hot-as-sin player by the name of Jude Winslow.
After a crazy night where we were both pretending to be someone else, I’ve found myself immersed in the fun of the fling.
The irresistible charm.
The pleasure of being with a man like him.
Problem is, I’m positive he’s the exact opposite of husband material, and that is a serious issue for someone who is fixated on finding her happily ever after.
I know the rules and I know the stakes, oh wise Fortune Cookie.
Now I’d just like to know how close to self-destruction I have to get before I find the will to quit Jude Winslow.
Goodness knows, when your heart is on the line, you can’t ante up your bet with an IOU.
Author Note: The Bet is a full-length standalone romantic comedy and the first standalone book in the Winslow Brothers Collection. This book is chock-full of hilarious rom-com moments, but also, it’s spicy. We’re talking alllllll the sexy.
Tell me…is it ever possible to recover from the shame of having orgasmed in public—discreetly, I think—all because of the stupid exotic dancer I hired for my sister?
Because, if not, I won’t bother sharing this with my therapist when we have our next session.
“Oh my God!” Belle yells from the stall, her feet teetering on my heels as she tries to squat and hover over the toilet. I swear, if she pees on my one and only pair of Jimmy Choos, I will hex her so hard. “Did you freaking see that guy? He bent you over backward and planted a baby in your womb through your dress, I swear to Jesus.”
“Uh, yeah. I saw,” I comment on the absurdly obvious. But truthfully, I didn’t just see anything. I felt his heat and his heart thrumming in his chest and smelled the undeniably intoxicating subtlety of his cologne. I felt the stretch in my muscles as he manipulated my body left and right and sideways and upside down, all while somehow managing to make the ridiculousness of a male stripper seem sexy.
The only time I could truly say I saw, I suppose, was during the out-of-body experience I had while he straddled my body in the sixty-nine position and straight up sent me into purgatory. There I was, just hovering by the ceiling of the room like Mary fucking Poppins and the kids when they go to have tea with the loopy guy, wondering if that was really my face under his superior crotch or if it was all just a mirage.
And then I had to go and fucking orgasm, like a teenage boy in the middle of a wet dream.
I shake my head to clear it again, thanking my lucky stars that, in this situation, I was at least afforded the luxury of being a woman. No boner. No jizz-filled underwear. Just a hard twist of arousal and a pair of damp panties.
“I swear he tossed you around like a rag doll!”
“Yes, Sophie,” I say, emphasizing my name instead of hers just in case any other drunken members of our group found their way in here and into another stall while I was busy with my emotional breakdown. “I’m well aware of everything Jude, the Magic Dancer was, thank you very much.”
She flushes the toilet and swings the stall door back toward herself, stumbling out into the open area and laughing hysterically at my revamp of Puff, the Magic Dragon, one of our favorite songs as kids before cynics ruined it.
I’m glad she’s having a good time, but holy hell. I’m still shaking. And once I’m certain none of the gals from our group are in the bathroom with us, I give her the cold, hard reality.
“You owe me so freaking much, it’s ridiculous.” Pretending to be the bride at my sister’s bachelorette party when I’m not even dating anyone would surely be something Dr. Winters would see as a “setback.”
“I know I owe you, I really do, but I would have died, okay? You know I would have died. And that would really complicate your use of my Costco membership, wouldn’t it?”
I snort. “Fine. But can we switch back now? Don’t you want to enjoy the rest of the evening as the bride-to-be?”
Belle shakes her head almost violently and stands at the sink to wash her hands. She waves them obnoxiously in front of the automatic sensor several times but still never manages to turn the faucet on. I lean forward and wave my hand in front of hers, bringing it to life.
For some reason, she always struggles with that.
“No way. I’ve had a great time the whole night tonight, but I didn’t realize how much better it is when no one is paying attention to me! Maid of honor is where it’s at, and I can’t go back now that I know how good it is here.”
“Are you serious?” I snap.
“Please,” she begs, pretending to pout. “I know it’s not ideal for you, but pretty, pretty please with a cherry on top, do this for me? I’ll bake you however many cookies and cupcakes and cakes you want for the next six months.”
My sister is the baked goods goddess, and she knows I can’t resist that kind of offer.
“Fine,” I grind out. “But if I were you, I’d invest in stock for flour and butter and sugar and shit because I’m going to run your ass like a factory worker.”
“Whatever you want. John’s really good with investments, so I’ll make him figure it out.”
I laugh at her drunken seriousness—it’s too hard not to—and finally pull her into a hug so I can whisper directly into her ear. “I love you, Bells. But I also fucking hate you.”
She nods. “It’s the Sage sister way.”
“Well, two out of three,” I correct, knowing that Katelynn is the least drama-associated sister of the three of us. At five years our senior, she was always more of a “Disciplinary Board” than a defendant when it came to Sage sister arguments.
“That’s true,” Belle agrees. “I’m seriously surprised at how drunk Kate’s gotten tonight. It’s a real mom’s-night-out kind of vibe.”
I roll my eyes. “Like you should talk. You’re drunker than she is.”
“Yeah, but it’s my bachelorette,” she asserts.
Immediately, I shake my head with a fake smile. “Uh-uh. Not anymore, it’s not. Thanks to you, the glory of tonight seems to be mine.”
Coming in October!
Sexy bachelor Flynn Winslow is such a man of mystery, not even his four siblings know the details of his life. He’s quiet, patient, and kind, and when the time comes for a coolheaded perspective, he’s always the man for the job.
But over a decade ago, a fortune teller predicted that one day Flynn would make a pact with a beautiful stranger and his life would take a drastic turn…
This Winslow Brother better buckle up—he has no idea what’s coming.
About the Authors:
A duo of romance authors team up under the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling pseudonym Max Monroe to bring you sexy, laugh-out-loud reads.
Max Monroe is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of more than ten contemporary romance titles. Favorite writing partners and long time friends, Max and Monroe strive to live and write all the fun, sexy swoon so often missing from their Facebook newsfeed. Sarcastic by nature, their two writing souls feel like they’ve found their other half. This is their most favorite adventure thus far.
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