For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it.
Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .
Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.
Famous actor Gage Barrett has finally gotten himself in front of a camera he wants to shy away from, not to mention, twenty women, only some of whom are sane, interesting, and anywhere remotely near his ideal life-long mate. Too bad the show, Jilted, is supposed to end in a wedding – his. Lucky for him he managed to find one woman who does pique his interest in more ways than one, and of course, she’d have to also be the only one who wants a ticket home.
Ellie wanted some free publicity for her business, not to be part of a harem vying for Gage’s attention…and ring. She wants to get married, but she wants a normal courtship without all the prying eyes and death stares from the competition. Trying to do a good deed for the day backfires when Gage refuses to send her home. When their spy mission results in secret trysts and open conversations, Ellie realizes there’s more to Gage than his pretty, playboy image. He’s as deep as the pile of poo they’ve gotten themselves into, and neither would want to brave the mush with anyone else.
The whole bachelor-esque theme was pulled off beautifully. Layne kept Ellie and Gage front and center without minimizing the show or the other contestants. Everything was woven together flawlessly, and the chemistry between Gage and Ellie simmered beneath the Maui skies. Ellie kept true to herself, and although Gage understood his image, he didn’t let it define him or change who he really was on the inside. He didn’t put on pretenses other than with the show and his iron-clad contract. He honors his commitments, and he’s very thoughtful and considerate, all traits Ellie found it hard to ignore despite her initial impression of him.
Public opinion was touched on, but not made the catalyst for any of Ellie’s or Gage’s actions or reactions. The other contestants were interesting, to say the least, and Layne went all out with the craziness while keeping it believable. Gage and Ellie’s relationship developed smoothly, and I loved their witty exchanges.
Put the dog out, feed the cat, grab a snack, and find a comfy place to sit. This is a must-read!
Rating system: Cups of Coffee (the less the better)
0: You won’t need any coffee to stay up for this one. It’s intriguing enough all on its own.
1: You’ll stay up late, but not all night. Brew one cup.
2: You’ll read as long as you’re not tired. If you are, two cups should do the trick.
3: I hope you got plenty of rest; you’ll need it, or at least 3 cups.
4: If the cable goes out, read the book. It’s better than nothing, I guess. Oh, don’t forget your brew!
5: Find anything else to do- it doesn’t matter what it is. Don’t waste your coffee. Too much caffeine is bad for you.
My rating: 0 cups of coffee
Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of romantic comedies. She lives in New York City with her husband.
A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career. She signed with her agent in 2012, and her first book was published in summer of 2013. Since then, she’s written over two dozen books, hitting the USA TODAY, New York Times, iBooks, and Amazon bestseller lists.