Published by Forever on August 29th 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
She's no Sleeping Beauty. And he's definitely no prince . . . Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot's whiskey-augmented grandmother "buys" Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he's at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass. Bentley's just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that "just friends" will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .
“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?
“What what’s like?”
“A kiss. From a jackass.”
“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”
She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”
“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”
“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”
“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”
Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”
“Oh, so you want romance?”
“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.
“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.
Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.
Oh, this was bad.
And very, very good at the same time.
~~Reviewed by Monique~~
Margot McCleery is a successful romance author, albeit a recluse, after a dreadful accident changed her life, ten years before. She hadn’t seen her best friend Bentley Wellington since then, and she certainly didn’t want to see him again, ever. Bentley is your typical playboy, with money to burn, never dating with the same woman long because he will not give them what they want: his money. Margot and Bentley had once been the best of friends, and their grandparents are bent to change all that, when Bentley enters a playboy auction and Margot’s grandmother acquires him for Margot. To say that Margot is displeased would be the understatement of the year!
I had adored the first book in The Bachelors of Arizona series, The Bachelor Auction, which was all lightness and fluff and was a complete delight, and I couldn’t wait for THE PLAYBOY BACHELOR. This second instalmnt couldn’t be any different from the first one, and it’s just as brilliant. THE PLAYBOY BACHELOR is a careful character study of two people who chose to cope with unbearable pain in different ways, and it hasn’t been successful for either of them. At first, Margot appears quite disagreeable, she really hates Bentley, who seems like an easygoing and carefree Casanova, but while Margot wears her heart on her sleeve – or she would if she interacted with anyone – no one could ever fathom that anything ails Bentley. He behaves like a jerk, he knows it, and he doesn’t seem to care. What amazed me the most is that at no point in the story did I dislike Margot and Bentley, and that is why I consider Rachel Van Dyken such an exceptional author. Too often, this type of situation makes me terribly uncomfortable because of its usually unavoidable unpleasantness, but there is none of that here because the author knows precisely why the characters act the way they do, it’s just not a haphazard plot tactic. We immediately sense that there is much more than what the appearances suggest, and it is positively enthralling to watch Margot and Bentley try to navigate the perilous waters they have been thrust into by Margot’s grandmother, who is a spectacular character, may I add. The resolution to the conflict happened a bit abruptly, but in view of why it came about, I felt it was reasonably justified.
I love Rachel Van Dyken’s literary voice and subject choices: she is fearless, she can do it all, and do it well. We never quite know what to expect of her, and I really like that she keeps me on my toes; she challenges herself and her readers as well, and that is very commendable. I truly cannot wait to see what Ms. Van Dyken has for us in the future for The Bachelors of Arizona, but I know I will want to read it.
I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book.