Jennifer Cruise is a big name in the romance world. It’s almost weird that I haven’t read anything by her before. So on a whim, I picked up Bet Me, a contemporary romance stand-alone that promised a good time.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers
Min Dobbs is a woman who lives by the rules. Her job as an actuary means that she’s a pro at breaking down what can and will go wrong, something that seeps into her love life. She’s recently been dumped by David, a man who was perfect on paper, but behind the scenes, he was a little too interested in having her lose weight and getting her into bed than he was getting to know the real her. While a breakup is never fun, Min has the extra pain of being dateless to her perfect sister’s wedding, something her judgmental mother will never let her live down. She never expects to be picked up by the handsome Cal Morrisey one night at the local bar, especially as she thinks she’s a little too “fat” for a guy like him.
Cal has a reputation as a bad boy, a guy that leaves a girl when she decides she loves him. He’s not a mean person, just emotionally stunted, which is why he’s intrigued when a guy he knows named David makes him a bet. David gives Cal one month to get prim and proper Min into bed. The number on this bet? Ten thousand dollars. There’s a bit of a communication breakdown between the guys, but Cal finds that he’s drawn to the self-proclaimed chubby girl in the flashy shoes. He finds himself shedding his tough facade around her and figuring out for himself what in the world would really make him happy.
The pair bonds over chicken Marsala, he bugs her to not dress like she hates her body, and she makes him think about why he’s so against opening up. The push and pull sparks a friendship that bothers David and Cal’s most recent exgirlfriend, who in turn bond over splitting them up, dispose the fact that Min and Cal make it clear to everyone that their relationship is strictly platonic. As the end date of the bet draws near, the cast of characters is drawn into a tangle of secrets, sexual tension, lies, malice, and the sinful Krispy Kreme donuts that may throw an entire wedding off its tracks.
Overall, I liked the book. Min was cute and sassy and Cal was a meathead with a heart of gold. I thought his obsession with her shoes and toes was a little weird, but foot fetishes aren’t my thing, so I can’t exactly hold that against anyone. They had a nice back and forth that was pretty realistic. But the most realistic thing about this book was Min’s feelings about her body and what she should look like. We’re not given an exact number on how much she weighs, but her concern over fitting into her bridesmaid gown and never cooking with butter is relatable. There have been times in basically every woman’s life where she felt less than, and it was nice to see Min’s growth throughout the book.
Parts were funny, some were sad, others were straight out of everyone’s life story, down to the one friend who believes in fairy tails and the other who has no interest in being tied down. Sure, the whole book could have been sorted by a good chat between the MCs, but what’s the fun of a romance without a little drama?