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3 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Bet Me To Stay by Candace Havens

After a bet with his brother, Liam O’Connor has to date the next woman who walks into the pub. And he’s all in, because his pub is on the line. What he didn’t expect was Cassie Meadows, who at first glance with her big glasses and bulky sweater looks like a woman who has many, many cats––but her wit and smile make him wonder what’s underneath her bulky armor.

Cassie Meadows aka sweet romance author Cassie O’Brian is about to lose everything. As in, her writing career is going down the drain because she can’t write the sexy stuff that’s selling these days. She needs inspiration in the worst way. That’s when she walks into the wrong pub at the right time. Sexy owner Liam is just what the writing doctor ordered. Her whole body is feeling inspired–-and when he makes a proposal she can’t refuse––she’s all in. Oh, hell yes. Best. Sex. Of. Her. Life. Thanks to Liam, she’s about to write a best-seller.

But having an erotic romance alter ego is nothing compared to the real secret Cassie is hiding—and that one could destroy everything.

Title:Bet Me To Stay
Author:Candace Havens
Series:n/a
Pages:193
Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Bet / Wager
Temporary Relationship
Point of View:
Location:US
HEA:✔️
Release Date:8th July, 2019
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Missing Something

I’ve never read Candace Havens before despite her having a large number of novels and being a well-loved author. Actually, I’ve just found out I have read her before but just forgot. Awkward! Anyway, it was the cover and blurb that pulled me in though – both are cute and sexy and had me anticipating a smart and sexy read.

But, for some reason – this book just didn’t work for me.

Our premise is simple: a man makes a bet to save his pub – he’ll date the first woman to walk through the door while his brother stays celibate. The woman in question is Cassie Meadows – a romance author without much experience to make her sex scenes sizzle. And so the two meet and form a mutually beneficial temporary arrangement.

I can get on board with the bet and the near virginal author looking for more experience. I just didn’t really like the way it played out. Things went far too fast for me to believe there was any kind of passion or spark between the pair. The lack of build up before they got together meant the sex scenes left me a little cold. If it was supposed to be insta-love, I could have got behind it – but it wasn’t.

“Yes, there is a lot of sex in this book.”

Cassie was a nice enough character but for someone who had little to no experience, she sure didn’t act that way. She was bold and knowledgable, demanding and feisty and her dirty chat was second to none. Now I like a little filthy banter in a book – it’s properly my jam – but this felt forced and uncomfortable. Like when your mum swears. And it happened a lot. Cringe.

Liam, again, was a nice enough character. But he was “Irish”. Luckily he didn’t “fiddle-dee-dee” or wear a green suit but it was close there for a bit. Again – it missed the mark for me in terms of cuteness, sexiness and reality.

And now onto the sex. Yes, there is a lot of sex in this book. At times I felt it overshadowed the actual plot – which is pretty much just the build up to the reveal of the “big secret” (which I can’t really see was a big deal anyway!) As I said before, there was no sexual tension which left the scenes a little flat for me. And when the dirty talk became too much, I ended up skimming. And that’s a lot to skim.

This book was just missing something vital for me to give it more than 3 stars. Cute premise and the writing flowed – but I didn’t feel anything for the characters or in their interactions. Not one for me.

Bestselling author Candace Havens has published more than 25 books. Her novels have received nominations for the RITA’s, Holt Medallion, Write Touch Reader Awards and National Readers Choice Awards. She is a Barbara Wilson Award winner. She is the author of the biography “Joss Whedon: The Genius Behind Buffy” and a contributor to several anthologies. She is also one of the nation’s leading entertainment journalists and has interviewed countless celebrities from George Clooney to Chris Pratt. Candace also runs a free online writing workshop for more than 2000 writers, and teaches comprehensive writing classes. She does film reviews with Hawkeye in the Morning on 96.3 KSCS, and is a former President of the Television Critics Association.

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