Updated: Sep 6
Betting On Love
by Jennifer Hoopes
Published by Entangled: Bliss
Book #2 in The Ellis Family Saga
Whitney Carroll is back home in Gatlinburg, Tennessee after divorcing her low-down, cheating husband.
First thing on the to-do list: Get a job. Second thing: Just say no to men. Third thing: Don’t fall for the boss. One out of three’s not too bad, right?
For Sam Ellis, his to-do list is always work, work, work, trying to keep his family’s legacy alive. Now, out of concern, his siblings bet he can’t keep a girl happy for thirty days, and if he loses he’s out as CEO. No problem, he can fake a relationship. And he knows just who to ask...his new man-vegan assistant.
Yet Whitney’s sexy boss—secret singer and Skee-Ball champion—is definitely NOT boring, and their connection is undeniable. But when a disaster strikes at work, Sam will have to decide if he’s willing to trade in his job for his heart.
RATED: 16+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Foul Language Romance Feel Good
When I first came across this book on NetGalley and requested it, I had no idea it was part of a series. If I knew, I wouldn't have requested it, as I am the type of reader that wants to start a series from the very start. Luckily for me, it seems like you don't really need to read the book beforehand, to understand this one. While the couple from the last book are in this one, their story has no part in this one, so in a way, I felt like it was, or could be, a stand alone.
First of all, I was surprised at how short this book was. I was able to finish it in just a few hours. I really like the story. It was a cute, instant-attraction sort of romance, with the chemistry that comes along with that. But it was short. I like build-up. I like a story. We get the stories of what led these two characters to the path they are on now, but we see very little of what draws them together. It's easy to excuse it as "love at first sight", like the Ellis patriarch's supposedly had, but that falls flat for me. The saving grace was that the book ended (not including the epilogue) with them proclaiming to like each other. Not love. Like. At least it wasn't THAT fast of a romance.
Where the stories lacked detail, the characters did not, and were well written. Sam's struggles with something he overheard as a child, and shaped who he is in the present. The problem is, he let it override his life. Whitney also had an interesting backstory, and one that happens all the time. She was recently divorced, after finding out her husband was cheating on her, and was left with nothing, because she let him take care of her. Her need to get back on her feet and be independent was relatable to a lot of women out there.
If you like short and sweet romances, than you would really enjoy this book. The characters are written well, their conversations with one another are good, and there is obvious chemistry. It's a whirlwind. It's sweet. I think it could have been better with more time ... perhaps the 30 days of the bet drawn out, with more one on one time with them, and some dirty details on the sex scenes (so if you like romance that leaves out the details in the bedroom, you will like this one).
1. Whitney and Sam's initial meeting at the bar
2. Whitney and Sam discussing rules
3. Their first kiss
4. (bonus) Their date at the carnival after closing time
5. (bonus) Sam playing an apology song at the bar
Where to Buy:
Whitney: "What makes you think I don't want to be here?"
Sam: "Do you?"
Whitney: "No. I don't. I want to be home in my pajamas reading. But we don't often get what we want, do we?"
Sam: "Not even close most of the time."
Sam's face flushed with heat.
Whitney: "You said bet."
He closed his eyes and groaned.
Whitney: "Is this a bet? This job offer?"
Sam: "What? No. Of course not. I didn't even know you were coming; how could it be a bet? I'm sorry. This is not a bet. This is me hiring you because you are the best person for the job."
Whitney: "Why do I feel there's a rather large but coming?"
Sam: "But there is a bet."
Whitney: "About me?"
Sam: "No. I men. Lord, I am screwing this three sides to Sunday. My siblings have made a bet with me. A bet I really want to win. A bet I need to win and well ..."
Whitney: "What's the bet, Sam?"
Sam: "To keep a relationship going for thirty days. A good, solid, spend-time-with-a-person relationship."
Sam: "Why what?"
Whitney: "Why did they come up with the bet?"
Sam: "Ahh ... my siblings think I'm overworked and underplayed."
Whitney: "Are you?"
Whitney: "And how do I figure in?"
Sam: "You don't."
Sam: "I mean you are not part of it, but I was thinking you might want to be - all fake of course - and then I realized that was stupid. None of that thought process was meant to leave my mind."
Whitney: "And yet here we are."
Sam: "Yeah. Here we are."
Whitney: "A bet to have a relationship for thirty days that you want to win, so you're looking for someone to fake it with you."
Sam: "Ummmm, yeah ... that sounds really bad, but the alternative is not good."
Whitney: "It clearly must not be, since you're making an utter fool of yourself."
Sam: "Yes. Yes, I am and for that I am sorry. Let's forget I ever mentioned it. Now how about that contract? Have any questions?"
Sam: "Maybe we should lay down some rules."
Whitney: "That would be very good."
Sam: "I mean, what is acceptable touching? Can I hold your hand? Kiss your cheek? Do you like for men to hold doors open or do you find that antiquated? I want you two hundred percent comfortable with the whole setup. Maybe we need a safe word?"
Whitney: "Sam, I do not think any part of this fake relationship will involve the need for a safe word."
Sam: "I try to make people comfortable."
Whitney: "And what about you?"
Sam: "My feelings don't matter."
Whitney: "Says who? What if I nibble on your earlobe and you hate that sort of thing? Does my love of earlobes override your hatred of it?"
He froze and fought the urge to look at her. Did she really confess to nibbling earlobes? He needed to refocus things quickly.
Sam: "No. One does not override the other."
Whitney: "How about we approach this like the normal progression of a relationship. We get to know each other and face the hurdles as they come."
Sam: "Fair enough, but I would still like to know if -"
Whitney: "I'll say sloth."
Sam: "Oh ... okay. Sloth it is."
Whitney: "And ..."
Sam: "I like having my earlobes nibbled."
Well, shit. He'd said it out loud.
Whitney's mouth dropped open, and a blush rushed up her face.
Whitney: "I was wondering what your word was."
Sam: "Really. Bad. At. This."
Becky: "He knows?"
Becky: "Well that ax is coming."
Lucas: "I find your internal pep talks fascinating."
Whitney: "My internal ... how ... I'm not sure we can be friends, Lucas."
Lucas: "That's a pity. I think you and I have a lot in common. Plus, I have the answers you want to find out."
Whitney: "Really? The answers to all the universe's questions?"
Lucas: "No. These answers are more 'Whitney' specific."
Whitney: "What is the answer?"
Lucas: "Everything will come out in good time."
Whitney: "Definitely not my favorite Ellis."
Sam: "I fully support any type of revenge you concoct."
Whitney: "And you?"
Sam: "Depends on what you're thinking."
Whitney: "I'm not giving away anything. You should be very scared."
Sam: "I'm on my toes now, Carroll."
Whitney: "Hey, the videos of you drooling and snoring are for my viewing pleasure only."
He rolled his eyes.
Sam: "I do not snore."
Whitney: "How do you know?"
Sam: "Cause no one has ever told me I do."
Whitney: "Maybe your other women were too polite. I'm not going to blow smoke up your ass."
Sam: "Did I really snore?"
Whitney: "No. Just thought you could use a little teasing in your life.:
Sam: "I think I need a lot more of Whitney in my life."
Sam: "If I do not cross any of those lines we keep blurring tonight, you seriously owe me a damn Nobel prize."
Whitney: "For peacekeeping between an Ellis and a Winston?"
Whitney: "Wow, Ellis. It was like you didn't even try."
Sam: "We all have a bad roll."
Whitney: "Try nine."
Sam: "Ouch, you're a trash talker, aren't you?"
Whitney: "Only when warranted."
Whitney: "Sam. There are no buts. Not tonight. Maybe tomorrow there will be. Maybe next week, or when this stupid bet brings hell down on our heads. But tonight - I want you and you want me. The people we are, not the people others think we are. You and me."
Sam: "No buts."
Sam: "What's wrong?"
Whitney: "I just thought ..."
Sam: "Thought what?"
Whitney: "That you regretted last night."
Sam: "Not one moment."
Whitney: "This is a mess."
Sam: "I know. It is confusing and anxiety-ridden but also ..."
Sam: "Also, amazing, and exhilarating and exciting and my God, I need to kiss you."
Lucas: "Whitney might have been a distraction on some front, but you wanted that distraction. You needed it; in face, I daresay you craved it. You want to know why I chose her? 'Cause that first night in Monsoon's you woke up. You noticed something other than spreadsheets and emails and your desk. Your eyes lit up after a thirty-second encounter with her."
Sam: "You're crazy."
Sam: "I meant that I think we would have found our way to each other even if Lucas hadn't pushed us with the bet."
Whitney: "I think so, too."
Sam: "We would have probably been gray and hunched over, knowing how stubborn both of us are, but hey, love is worth the wait."
Whitney: "Love is totally worth the wait."