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Title: The Wager
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 1st.
Book Two in The Bet Series
Lose a bet, lose your heart…
What is it about a junior-high crush that can send an otherwise intelligent woman into a tailspin? TV reporter Char Lynn wishes she knew. Jake Titus is too rich, too handsome, too arrogant: a trifecta that once lured Char into the best night-and worst morning-after-of her life. Now they’ve been thrown together in a wedding party. It’s awkward, but survivable . . . until Jake stops acting like a jerk, and starts acting like the man she’d always hoped he could be.
If watching your brother marry your best friend is weird, being attracted to your best friend’s other best
friend is downright bizarre. Unfortunately for Jake, Char hasn’t forgotten how he once tossed her aside. Worse still, Jake’s already-nutty grandma is even crazier about Char. Cue meet-cute shenanigans and all manner of meddling, and somehow, Jake’s falling. For Char. Now all he has to do is make her believe it . . .
Char woke to yelling. After her odd conversation with Jake where she was at least eighty percent sure he was drunk, she’d faked a headache and gone to bed, skipping dessert and family game night.
With a groan she picked up her cell and looked at the time. One a.m.? Were they still up?
Not thinking, she swung her feet over the side of the bed and hit something soft. It groaned, then cursed as it pulled her feet out from underneath her, causing her to land with a thud against it.
“Jake?” She breathed.
“No, it’s some other half-starved, half-drunk, crazy seagull-talking lunatic. Yes, it’s me, Jake. Who else would be sleeping on your floor?”
“You can get off me now.” He grunted.
“Why are you talking to seagulls?”
“That’s all you took from that last statement? Not even gonna ask about the whole starving or drunk thing, just straight to the seagulls?”
Char moved away from his warm body and sighed audibly. “It’s simple subtraction.”
“Which thing is not like the other? Food and alcohol go hand in hand. Seagull taking? Not so much.”
“Either you’re brilliant or drunk. I can’t decide which.” The tone of his voice was gravelly. “Why the hell did you step on me? Better yet, why are you out of bed?”
“I heard a noise.”
“It’s called breathing, Char. Some people need to do it in order to live.”
“Shut up, you ass.” She pushed him down and walked toward the door. “It was more than that. It was like a scratching or something.”
“So, we have a squirrel problem.” He sounded bored.
“You hate squirrels.”
“Let them get me! You hear that, squirrels? I’m ready for you!” Jake lifted his hands into the air and sighed.
“How much beer did you have?”
With a curse he struggled to his feet. “Clearly not enough. Otherwise I would still be passed out right now, instead of having this ridiculous conversation with you.”
He moved into the moonlight.
Char’s mouth went completely dry.
The man was a god.
How had she forgotten that?
Thick-corded muscles lined his abs and plunged into his pajama pants. Every part of him was smooth and tan. Just… way too beautiful to be real. She stepped forward. Was it possible for a man to be Photoshopped? In real life? In person?
Curious, she pressed a hand to his chest. He was so damn warm, and hard. Dang, but his body was hard.
“Char?” His voice was hoarse. “Are you sure you’re not sleep-walking?”
Jerking her hand back, she laughed nervously. “I thought I saw a, um, scratch, just there.” She pointed to the perfectly smooth skin on his chest.
“A scratch?” Jake’s eyebrows rose. “Really? Well, if you’re so concerned I’m sure I can take off my pants and you can check everywhere else. Wouldn’t want me not waking up in the morning. I’ve heard scratches can turn septic.” He winked.
“Ass.” Char pushed against him and reached for the door, opening it a crack.
“Char,” Jake groaned. “I’m exhausted. Like I said, it’s probably nothing—”
With a curse, Char hit him directly in his hard stomach and told him to shut up, then pointed to the hallway.
Sure enough, Kacey was making her way down the hall toward Travis’s room. His door was open. He was mouthing directions to her and pointing to the floor. Did he expect her to army crawl? And then he made a motion with his hands and cupped his ear.
“Hmm,” Char whispered. “Squeaky floor?”
“Yup.” Jake chuckled; his breath was warm on her neck.
“You know where the spots are?”
“Oh yeah.” He moved past her out into the hall and looked smugly from Travis to Kacey.
Kacey’s eyes narrowed. She made a cutting signal with her hand across her throat then flipped him off.
Like a lunatic, Travis was making obscene gestures toward Jake. It looked like he was threatening him, but Char couldn’t tell. It was like watching a mime get angry. His hands were everywhere in the air, but it was too comical to mean anything.
And Grandma, bless her heart, was sitting in a recliner in the middle of the hallway. Mouth ajar, snoring louder than sin. Her leopard print pajamas practically glowed in the moonlight, and her face was covered with one of those creepy sleep masks with the eyes painted on as if to say, she’s always watching.
Jake took a tentative step toward Grandma.
Kacey waved her hands frantically.
Char covered her mouth to hide her laugh.
Kacey glared in her direction.
A loud creak sounded down the hall. Jake took another step. The second creak was even louder.
Travis began banging his head softly against the wall.
Kacey looked like she’d started praying.
And then, all of a sudden, Grandma moved. Without pulling the mask up, she pulled a gun from underneath the cushion and pointed it directly at Travis.
“You sneaking out, son?”
Char’s mouth dropped open as Jake hurried back to their room and stood near safety.
“I, uh…” Travis closed his eyes. “Do it. Just kill me. I’m miserable enough as it is. Sorry Kacey, I can’t do it. I can’t make it; if that makes me weak, so be it.”
“Kacey!” Grandma scolded, pulling back her mask so she could see. “And to think! I was blaming poor Travis for this fiasco, but look at you! Halfway down the hall! You little hussy.”
:Buy The Wager:
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!
Book One in the series is The Bet…
“I have a proposition for you.” Kacey should have run the minute those words left Seattle millionaire Jake Titus’s mouth. It’s been years since Kacey’s seen her childhood friend Jake, but the minute Jake mentions his ill grandmother, Kacey is ready to do anything for the sweet old woman. And if that means pretending they’re engaged for her sake-so be it.
But Kacey wasn’t counting on Jake’s older brother Travis still being there. She calls him “Satan” for a reason: she’s never forgotten the way he teased and taunted her. Yet when they meet again, Travis’s gorgeous smile is a direct hit to her heart . . . and Kacey’s more confused than ever. As the days pass, only one thing starts to become alarmingly clear-she never should have accepted Jake’s deal…
:Buy The Bet:
-2 Ebook Sets (The Bet & The Wager)
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