Title – The Bet
Author – Rachel Van Dyken
Series – The Bet #1
Publication Date – April 29, 2014 (Paperback Release)
“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 . . .
I have NO idea why it took me so long to start this series! I’m a huge Rachel Van Dyken fan, but I was more familiar with her heartwrenching stories. The Bet is everything I adore in a romantic comedy and so much more. This series had my attention from the very beginning and before I knew it, I had been sucked into the world of Jake, Kacey and Travis. Rachel Van Dyken has a voice that is fresh, witty, and sarcastic in all the right places. The Bet is laugh-out-loud hilarious, with an unexpected sweetness that had my heart fluttering. I loved the dueling dynamics of Kacey’s relationship with Jake and her relationship with Travis. Kacey’s vulnerability gave her a relatability that made you feel like a part of her story. The ups and downs of this crazy, fun journey had me hooked and I definitely need more of these characters ASAP.
“Why did I pick her? Because she’s the only one my family would believe I had fallen madly and deeply in love with.”
Rachel Van Dyken never disappoints with her characters. Kacey, Jake, and Travis are all well-developed with unique personalities and voices that gave this story so much vibrancy. Jake was such an arrogant bastard, capitalizing on Kacey’s feelings for him and a lot of the time I wanted to smack him, but Rachel made sure I still had a soft spot for him. Travis was a mystery we got to unravel as the story progressed and I loved seeing the different facets of his character develop. His unexpected sweetness was oh so swoon worthy! Kacey is a heroine you can definitely get behind. She’s so genuine, that you can’t help but relate to her. I understood her unrequited feelings, her annoyance at still holding a small candle for Jake, and her confusion at her childhood torturer turned sexy dreamboat. Each character in this book shined and it allowed me to lose myself completely in their world.
“I’ll get hurt either way, Travis. Just depends on which brother I decide to give that opportunity to don’t you think?”
I don’t think you can talk about this book without mentioning Grandma Nadine. She might be the best character I’ve ever read. My sides hurt from laughing so much at her ridiculous antics and insane scheming. Rachel Van Dyken has written an inimitable character with Grandma that you’ll find yourself quickly addicted to. She is so full of life, love, and blatant honesty that you can’t help but absolutely adore her. The Bet took me by surprise with its tender moments. Kacey and Travis have an undeniable connection that lends itself to some serious feelings. Rachel captures their warring emotions perfectly, making my heart continuously ache for these two. The story moves so seamlessly that I read it all at once, enjoying every amusing minute of Jake and Kacey’s charade and the delicious tension between Kacey and Travis. The Bet is a fantastic romantic comedy, full of love, laughter, and life. I can’t wait to see what’s in store next for this series!
I absolutely loved this book! The synopsis pulled me in and I just couldn’t put it down. The premise was so cute — and I really love a friends into lovers tale. However, this little spin on it just made me love it even more! The fact that they started off as childhood friends made me delve in head first and not want to put the book down until I knew the ending.
I don’t think I have squealed and literally laughed out loud more in any other book I’ve read. Grandma Nadine was HILARIOUS and just added such a breath of fresh air. She made an already good book just that much more special. I only wish we could all be so lucky to have someone like her in our lives. I loved that the characters were reminiscent of their childhood selves. Yes, they could be considered immature sometimes, but the cuteness factor made up for it. Somehow, it just worked for me. I also liked that Travis and Kacey didn’t always know how to interact with each other. It set a different example for real life people that we don’t have to have all the answers as adults – it’s okay to be nervous and not self-confident in all situations in our lives. It was just a feel good, light-hearted story. Hours after finishing it and I still had fluttering happening in my stomach. I love that there wasn’t a whole lot of angst and drama.
Finally, that prologue was so ridiculously cute! I loved how Rachel Van Dyken tied it in at the end so Jake and Kacey’s story really came full circle. I really, really adored this book and I can’t wait to read The Wager to see what other crazy antics these characters get themselves into!
Travis sighed next to her. “You don’t need a man like Jake to give you what you want. Believe me. When you have the perfect house and tons of money, you still won’t be complete if the man you share it with is out paying whores to do things you would never do.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Kacey joked.
“Kace! Jake isn’t worth it!”
“No.” She laughed. “I meant things that strippers do. Pretty sure I know how to please my man. I could drive circles around those girls. I just need the right guy.”
Travis tensed next to her. He cleared his throat and pushed away from the chair. He walked over to the counter and began cutting the pie.
What was his deal lately?
“Let me guess.” Kacey leaned over the counter. “Raspberry pie?”
“How’d you know?” He smirked. His voice was hoarse.
“It was the only pie your grandma taught you how to make, and if I remember correctly, you made it for your senior prom date.”
“Ugh.” Travis carefully cut it into eighths. “If I remember correctly, she spilled it on her dress and blamed me for making raspberries red.”
“She always was such a charmer. What was her name again?”
Travis chuckled. “Oh no you don’t. That’s just what I need. You digging up my past girlfriends and making fun of them. Besides, I don’t date girls anymore. I date women.” He eyed her up and down before slowly licking the fork.
Kacey averted her eyes, mainly because the picture of him licking that fork was so erotic she nearly jumped across the table and assaulted him. Apparently, this is what happens when you don’t have boyfriends and the closest relationship you’ve had in the past year has been with your e‑reader and a fictional duke named Henry.
“So . . .” Kacey nudged him a bit with her arm. “Women, hmm? What women are you dating? I don’t see any of them here for family dinner night.”
“There are no women.”
Kacey’s heart hammered in her chest.
“If you must know, there is one woman. One being the key word.”
She clenched her fist and cursed herself for bringing the subject up. “What’s her name?”
“Oh no you don’t!” Travis placed the knife on the plate and grabbed Kacey by the shoulders. “That’s just what I need, you stalking the one woman I’m interested in.”
Did he say he was interested in only one? Damn the man. Be unattractive! She wanted to yell. “C’mon, Trav, you know me. What harm could I possibly cause?”
“Junior year—” he began.
“Forget I asked.”
“Junior year.” He held his finger in the air as he was making his point. “Somehow you discovered I had a crush on Ashley Willis. I still don’t know how, considering I’m a guy and I don’t keep a diary.”
“No.” Kacey dipped a fork into the pie and licked the tangy berries off it. “But you did moan her name one time in your sleep. But carry on.”
He glared. “You told her.”
“Okay, Trav, come on. I did nothing of the sort. I merely hinted that you had a tiny bit of a crush on her.”
“Kace, making a poster with my face on it and heart stickers is a hell of a lot more than hinting. God, I don’t even think you know the meaning of the word discreet.”
“Do too!” she argued.
He walked around the table and pulled her into a tight headlock.
“Do not!” She fought against him but was helpless. “Do you give?” he whispered into her hair.
His hard-muscled chest was heaving behind her. Did she give? Oh God, what she wouldn’t give for something, anything.
Ah! Red alert! What was she thinking? It’s Travis, Travis!
“Travis!” she screamed, totally unintentionally. He released her and winked.
“Come on. Let’s take the pie in before they think you stabbed me or something.”
“Close,” Kacey grumbled, though stabbing wasn’t necessarily what she had in mind. Rubbing his body down with berries and licking it off? Yes. Violence? Only that of a sexual nature.
She needed to trip and hit her head or something to shake Travis’s smile and scent out of it before she lost her mind.
“There you two are!” Grandma winked as they rejoined the family and began to enjoy the pie. “I thought maybe Travis was having an encounter in there with you, little girl.” Grandma winked again. Unfortunately, at that exact moment, Kacey, having taken a ginormous bite of pie, began to choke.
It worsened when Travis lifted his hands in the air and said, “I was trying to be discreet.”
His entire family laughed, and she kicked at him again under the table. He moved his foot in time and then stuck out his tongue like a two-year-old.
And really, maybe it was the sexual frustration, but she lunged for him, his chair tipped backward, and she straddled him, shoving pie into his beautiful face all the while screaming, “I’ll get you!”
In her mind, the family was cheering, when really everyone was completely silent.
Except Travis, who was yelling and cursing and spitting pie back out at her. Luckily, they had hardwood floors instead of carpeting.
Finally, when the pie was done, she wiped a berry off his face and licked her fingers. His eyes darkened, and for a minute it looked like he was going to kiss her.
He leaned forward and reached up behind her. And suddenly she had hot pie all over her face.
“I win, Kace,” he whispered huskily into her ear.
Yes, yes, you do.
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Check out the rest of the Bet series:
The Wager (The Bet #2)
Check out our reviews HERE
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The Dare (The Bet #3)
Check out our reviews of The Dare
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Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times 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! You can follow her writing journey at www.rachelvandykenauthor.com.