Welcome to Mayhem, Minnesota, where the cats wear sweaters, the local priest dispenses dating advice, and you can find your fortune in the bottom of a pie tin.
When her family's pub is threatened with foreclosure, Hennessy O'Halloran, along with her three sisters, is determined to raise enough money to keep it out of the hands of the L.A. real-estate developer trying to raze it and replace it with a—god forbid!—multiplex theater.
Bryan Truitt always gets what he wants. And what he wants is the sweet corner property on Mayhem's Main Street where O'Halloran's Pub sits. But his "quick business" turns into more than he bargains for when he meets the feisty Hennessy. Next thing he knows, he's betting her he can outlast Mayhem's punishing winter in time to make the pub his—or he'll gift it to her for free.
Hennessy knows better than to flirt with the enemy. But suddenly Bryan's not sure which he wants more…the property or the woman who owns it.
Each book in the Whiskey Sisters series is STANDALONE:
* Blame it on the Bet
* Mischief and Mayhem
* Mistletoe in Mayhem Boxed Set
About the Author
L.E. Rico didn’t set out to be an author. In fact she’s made a name for herself as a classical music radio host—doing her best to make the music and the composers relevant by putting them into a modern context. It was just a few years ago that she discovered a passion for writing that blossomed into an entire novel. And then another. And another. Today, she still spends plenty of time on the radio, telling the stories of the great composers, but she spends even more time composing her own great stories.
She lives in New York with her husband, Tom, and one impossibly cute/obnoxiously bratty miniature schnauzer named Gracie. When she’s not behind a microphone or in front of her computer, she enjoys binge watching English, Danish and Australian crime thrillers.
Read an Excerpt
The paper is thick and creamy, the typeface a perfectly neat and neutral Times New Roman. I've examined documents like this hundreds of times, but I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around what I'm looking at as I flip through page after page of legalese. I mean, I am, after all, a lawyer. I understand the terms. I understand the law behind the terms. What I don't understand is how these terms of the law came to apply to my father. Or, more accurately, to his estate.
"And you found this where?" I ask my sister Jameson.
"At home. In Pops's sock drawer. We were packing up some of his clothes to bring to the Goodwill, and there it was, in a file folder."
"Well, I guess that explains why we didn't come across it with the rest of his files in the office," I mutter.
It's been about a month now since my father was felled by a massive aneurysm, and I'm still reeling. We all are. These things, by nature, happen quickly — no symptoms, no warning. No chance to say good-bye. Pops was dead before he hit the floor, and all I've been able to think about since then is what I should've said. What I should've done. Because here I am with a head full of memories, a heart full of regrets, and a hand full of papers that reduce his life's work to a few paragraphs of legalese.
We thought the pub was free and clear. Our parents paid off the mortgage when I was a kid. But apparently — unbeknownst to my three sisters and me — our father had been borrowing against the equity in the business. Now, as I sit at my sister's table examining the particulars of his loan activity, I see the cost of our lives unfold before me. Ten thousand here, thirty thousand there. Each five-figure withdrawal coinciding with a major life event for one of us. I see what can only be my law school tuition ... and the cash he gave me to get settled in the Twin Cities. I'm comparing the math and the dates that match Jameson's nursing degree and subsequent wedding. Then there's tuition for my sister Walker and braces for Bailey. There's also a substantial withdrawal dating back to a little over a year ago, when Pops insisted on paying for his first grandchild's nursery. In all, it's more than a hundred thousand dollars.
"Holy. Crap." I flip from page to page, shaking my head in disbelief. "How did this happen? Why wouldn't he tell us?"
"Because he was a proud man, Henny," Jameson says. "He'd never ask you to take out a school loan. And he'd sooner have died than let the Clarke family pay for my wedding. And then when little Jackson was born ..."
Before she can even finish her sentence, Baby Satan is in action. I don't even see the wonton as it comes hurtling across the table, hitting my cheek and sliding down my neck. It leaves a slimy trail before it splats to the floor. I can't move. None of us can. Bailey is the first to laugh. She slaps one hand over her mouth and points to me with the other, howling behind her fingers. Walker is right there with her, trying desperately not to spit her mouthful of wine all over the table. Jameson is the only one who is not amused.
"Jackson Winston Clarke!" she shrieks at my nephew, the dumpling-flinger.
His entire little body is shaking with a deep belly laugh, and he's already reaching into his Winnie the Pooh bowl for something else to toss my way.
"Win!" Jameson calls over her shoulder. "Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!"
"What the hell, James? Dad and I are trying to watch Jeopardy!," my jerk of a brother-in-law says when he deigns to enter the kitchen where my three sisters and I are all sitting around the table, eating Chinese takeout.
Oh, he's handsome, all right. Win Jr. is your typical Minnesota hottie — tall, blond-haired, and blue-eyed. But the attractive qualities stop there.
"Win, Jackson is done with his dinner. Please take him up and give him his bath. I'll come and tuck him in when you're done," my sister instructs, hauling the little felon out of his highchair and holding him out toward his father ... who's already shaking his head.
"No, no, no. Sorry, James, but I'm beat. I've had a long day, and I'm in no mood ..."
He stops as soon as she gives him "the look." The one that says "do this now, or you'll pay for it later." I know that look very well, and judging by how quickly Win snatches his son from his wife's arms, he does, too. I can still hear him grumbling under his breath as I swab the remnants of the wonton from my cleavage.
Walker is still snickering as she pulls the guts out of an egg roll.
"I'm so sorry, Hennessy," Jameson apologizes as she kneels to wipe the food from the floor. When she looks up at me, I can see the dark circles under her moss-colored eyes and ... could that be the start of crow's feet? God, Jameson's only twenty-five, a year-and-a-half younger than me, but you wouldn't know that to look at her. Even her beautiful auburn hair seems tired, pulled back into a wilted ponytail. I reach down and put a hand on her shoulder.
"It's not a big deal, really. He's just excited to see me. It's been a while since his favorite aunt was in town."
"Oh, puh-leeeeeeease." Seventeen-year-old Bailey groans as she rolls her perfect blue eyes and tosses her perfectly straight, perfectly golden-blonde tresses. "If anyone's Jackson's favorite, it's me. I'm the one who babysits ..."
"Yeah, well, you're not my favorite," Jameson chimes in, returning to her own seat. "You're the one who lets him eat enough sugary crap to keep him up for twenty-four hours straight."
"I haven't got all night, you know," grumbles Walker, suddenly less amused and more irritated. "Can we please just get on with it already?"
It's been a long-ass day, and I'm tired — exhausted, really — and I have no patience for Walker's signature snark.
"You know," I begin, dropping my voice and leaning across the table toward her, "I had to convince my boss to give me some time off — and right in the middle of a big case. I threw a few things into a bag and drove the three hours up here because you guys said something was really wrong and that you needed me. So, here I am — and don't you dare tell me you've got 'stuff to do,' Walker."
"Hennessy's right," Jameson says soothingly. She's good at that, calming the ever-churning tension among the four of us. "She dropped everything because we asked her to come. The least we can do is show a little gratitude."
Walker's turn to roll her eyes. Unlike the blue and green shared by most of our family, hers are the color of gray flannel.
"Fine," she spits. "Because, you know, the earth doesn't spin without Hennessy O'Halloran. And, just for the record, I thought we could sort it out on our own."
Jameson is rubbing her temples now, and I can see she needs this like a hole in the head. I've got to get this thing back on the rails, or we'll be here all night long. I draw in a long, deep breath and take another stab at diplomacy.
"Guys, let's not do this. Please. Look, I'm here now, and we can get the business back on track. I'll take over the day-to-day of the pub. James, maybe you can handle the paperwork? Walker, we all know you're the best bartender in the family, after Pops. You can help out nights and weekends when you're not in school. And Bailey can help in the kitchen and with serving food. I'll call the bank tomorrow and see if I can refinance the loan. That should buy us a couple of months —"
"Hennessy." Jameson cuts me off. "We don't have a couple of months."
This time, she takes a letter from the drawer of the sideboard and hands it to me. I pull it from its envelope and start to read, my jaw dropping a little lower with every line that I skim. I glance, more than once, between the official correspondence and Jameson's drawn face.
"What?" I gasp, not believing what's right there in black in white. "They're calling the loan? The bank is calling the entirety of the loan? And they want it in ... ninety days?"
"That's not the worst of it," Jameson says solemnly. "Keep reading."
She's right. Upon further inspection, I see that this is the second notice. I look at the date at the top of the page and do the math in my head. Six weeks. We've already lost six weeks, and there are only six more to go.
Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.
"How?" I whisper.
Jameson shrugs slightly and shakes her head. "I don't know. Maybe the first notice was lost in the mail. Maybe it was somehow shredded with the rest of Pops's paperwork. But, however it happened, we're in a pretty tight spot here."
"You can fix it, though, right, Henny?" Bailey asks hopefully from across the table.
I consider her closely. Not even out of high school and she's lost both parents. She lives at home with Walker, who's rarely there, and depends on a hot meal from the woman we pay to clean up the house, shop, and make dinner most nights. At least the rest of us are adults, more or less. The last thing Bailey needs is to be worried about something like this.
"I'm going to try, Bailey," I say with the most reassuring smile that I can muster. "I just have to figure out where to begin ..."
"Well, this might help," Jameson says, reaching into the sideboard once more.
"God, James!" I huff. "Another one? Quit the drama already, and just give me everything at one time, will you?"
"This is the last one. And excuse me for trying to break it to you gently. We've all had a few days to digest this."
I don't respond as I take the last document from her hand. It's a letter of intent to purchase the pub property. Upon closer examination, I see that it's come from a real estate developer out of Los Angeles — some guy named Bryan Truitt has made an offer to purchase the pub, and by the looks of this, my father was planning to accept. I'm suddenly struck by how little I knew about what was going on here. I was so busy trying to prove to myself and everybody else that I could make it in the "Big City," that I was oblivious to what was unfolding back here at home.
"All righty, then. It would appear we have a little mystery to unravel if we hope to salvage the pub," I say with quiet resignation as I let go of the paper and watch it waft down past the table, landing on the oak floor in my sister's dining room with a soft swoosh. "And I suspect this Bryan Truitt guy is at the center of it."
It takes me a few seconds to locate the key on my ring. And, when I finally do manage to get it into the lock, I have to jiggle it a little before the deadbolt retracts. It's been a while since anyone has used the apartment above the pub. The steep, narrow staircase is dark. I reach for the light, but nothing happens when I flip the switch. I leave my suitcase at the bottom of the stairs, propping open the door with it so I can have a slice of light from the streetlamp outside. The upstairs lock is considerably smoother than the downstairs one, and when I reach around on the wall, I find the light switch, and the apartment's interior hall light comes on. Perfect.
Once I reclaim my suitcase and hoist it up the stairs to join me, I close the door behind me. I heave a deep sigh and take a long, appraising look at the tiny rooms that were our home for the first seven years of my life. It was sweet, and cozy, and I loved sharing a room with James. But then, along came Walker, and my parents shoehorned her crib in between Jameson's and my beds. By the time Bailey came a few years later, it was clear that the O'Halloran Clan needed something bigger. That's when we moved to the little cape cod on Orange Avenue.
Like the rest of the place, the bedroom smells musty. Clearly no one's stayed here since I was in town for my father's funeral in December. I crack open the windows on the opposite side of the room, inhaling the frigid, fresh air.
Back in the kitchen, I get a K-Cup going in the Keurig and pull the phone out of my pocket. The phone that I've been ignoring all night.
There are a few messages from work that I'll return tomorrow, and twice that number of work-related emails. Several un-work-related emails offer me a hot Russian beauty, an all-natural miracle for erectile dysfunction, and a walk-in tub.
And then there's the text. Just the one.
Hey. You get there okay?
That's from my "Friend with Benefits," who shall remain nameless. Because I like it that way. And so does he. This relationship couldn't get any more casual. We were random strangers in a bar who found out after last call that we lived in the same apartment building. We decided to share more than the Uber ride home. It's not love or anything. It's not even lust — not for me, at least. FWB has come in very handy during the long, dark winter nights. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? The lonely winter nights. Well, at least he cares enough to check on me, and that's something. He's also agreed to water my plants while I'm gone. My thumbs are a blur as I text him a succinct reply.
All good, TYVM. TTYL.
I flop onto the couch and close my eyes. It's good to be home — even under these insane circumstances. It's been a long time since I've lived here in Mayhem — college, law school, and my internship having kept me downstate. Finally, the pot of gold at the end of that particular rainbow was an assistant district attorney position with the Hennepin County Prosecutor's office.
The truth is that I could have had Jameson send me all the papers — hell, I could've asked one of the senior partners to go over them with me. But I packed up and got in my car before I'd even gotten off the phone with her, calling the office from the road.
What's wrong with me?
I've got a good job, and I make decent — if not great — money. My overpriced apartment has a nice view of the Mississippi River and a sexy, hot, anonymous guy on the next floor up. What have I got to be unhappy about? It's ridiculous.
I rub my temples, trying to push back the dull ache that's starting to surface. That's when I spot the framed pictures of us on the mantel. My father's broad, easy smile shines back at me.
"What happened, Pops?" I ask the silence. "And how can I make it right?"
The silence has no reply.
Truittism Number 2: Nothing is better than "boots on the ground" to properly assess an unclear situation.
The sun is in my eyes. It slips through the crack of space where the blinds end and the windowsill begins, stealthily creeping across the carpeted floor, seeking out the delicate tissue of my eyelids. This is why I have special blackout blinds and an added layer of insulated drapes in my bedroom. Unfortunately, I'm not in my bedroom. I know this because I feel the coarse grain leather of my office couch under my face.
I try to turn so that I'm facing the back cushions, but my body seems to be stuck, all six foot two of me wedged into the five feet of space between armrests. All I can do is squeeze my eyes shut against the burning glare. It makes my eyelids look red, even when they're closed. I groan in frustration, wanting nothing more than to just fall back to sleep. Suddenly, my world goes blissfully dark again. Something has inserted itself between the sun and me, like a beautiful eclipse. Did the blinds somehow drop all the way down? Did my desk somehow silently flip over onto its side? Maybe it really is an eclipse. Or a rogue asteroid.
Turns out it's not a what, but a who. Helen.
"W-What are you doing here?" I mutter hoarsely.
"I work here," my assistant says tartly as she looks down upon me with undisguised disdain. "It smells like a brewery in here," she informs me. "And a locker room. Like the locker room of a brewery," she pronounces with a disapproving tsk of her tongue.
"Huh," is all I can manage, allowing my eyes to close again. But then she moves away, and I writhe like a vampire burned by the brightening dawn. Is that my flesh I smell burning?
"You have a perfectly lovely condo," Helen says as she unfolds a white plastic trash bag. "I don't understand why you feel the need to sleep here." When she jerks the bag open with a loud snap, I wince.
"Please. Could you please, please, please keep it down?"
But she ignores me, chattering away as she moves around my office, tossing takeout containers and beer bottles into the bag. I can't make out everything she's saying, but I catch a word here and there. Something about my hedonistic lifestyle catching up with me someday.
"Why are you here so early?" I grumble. "And what are you doing?"
She stops and looks at me, one garish orange eyebrow quirked.
"Uh, well, let's see ... I'm cleaning up this pigsty that you call an office. Once I've gotten all the trash and beer bottles out of the way, I'm going to bring in a guy with a power washer to see if we can't get the smell out of the walls. But I'm not holding out hope."
Excerpted from "Blame it on the Bet"
Copyright © 2017 L.E. Rico.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
God help me. I’ve found a new author. L.E. Rico has made me laugh. She’s made me cry. She’s made my heart swell. I will never understand how I missed reading her before now. In Blame it on the Bet, the four O’Halloran sisters are still reeling from the sudden death of their father. They are shocked to discover their parent’s life’s work, O’Halloran’s Pub, is schedule to be foreclosed on within a matter of months. They are also shocked to discover that their father was contemplating selling the pub to an L.A. based real estate developer. The four sisters realize how much the pub means to each of them and come together to save it. Bryan Truitt is a driven real estate developer. He’s taken some knocks along the way, but he always gets what he wants. And what he wants is the land O’Halloran’s sits on. Tired of the radio silence from Jack O’Halloran, he decides it's time to pay the man a visit in Mayhem, Minnesota. Mayhem isn’t anything like Bryan expected. For starters, it’s freaking cold and his Armani trench coat and handmade Italian loafers just don’t cut it. Then there's Hennessy O’Halloran. It turns out Hennessy isn’t a he, but a she, and the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Hennessy turns out not to be gullible and naive as Bryan expects her to be, but is in fact a worthy opponent in his quest to get the pub. The two find themselves unexpectedly attracted to each other. In a way to spend more time with Hennessy, Bryan comes up with a bet where the winner ends up with the pub. With a matchmaking priest named Father Romance, a pie making psychic, a terror of a toddler and friendly people, Bryan discovers the O’Halloran pub isn’t the only thing he wants in Mayhem. But just as Bryan and Hennessy’s relationship seems to be doing well and the possibility of saving the pub is in sight, a secret from the past is revealed that could destroy everything. Lauren (L.E.) has written wonderful characters who are fun, witty, and provide humor throughout the book. Bryan is the king of putting his foot in his mouth. But that’s what makes him so likeable and loveable. Plus, he truly has a heart of gold. The O’Halloran sisters consisting of Hennessy, Jameson, Walker, and Bailey have each other’s backs throughout everything. I loved watching them truly come together. Looking at the cover, I thought this was a Christmas story, but it isn't. Regardless, Blame it on the Bet is a story of love, friendship, and family. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. I’m sure in Whiskey Sisters fashion, I will continue to laugh and cry. **Received a copy of the book from the publisher and voluntarily reviewed.**
The first book in the Whiskey Sisters series, I was immediately drawn in by the small-town setting and the quirky cast of characters that live in Mayhem, Minnesota. I mean, how can you beat a priest named Father Romance, and a psychic who reads pie instead of tea leaves? Each named for a brand of whiskey by their pub-owner father, the girls are still reeling from their dad’s death, and are shocked to find things aren’t as they believed. Mixed up in that turmoil is Bryan Truitt, a savvy businessman who has his own plans for O’Halloran’s Pub. Unfortunately for him, Hennessy O’Halloran is more than a match for him. Both are strong, passionate characters who struggle as much with their past mistakes and who they think they should be, as they do with their intense attraction to each other. I was glad I already had the second book so I could dive right in and spend more time with the characters, they were that much fun.
Hennessy and her sisters have been raised at their family's pub in Mayhem, Minnesota. After their father's death they discover he had money problems and if they can't find money fast they're going to lose the pub. Hennessy's father was already selling it to Bryan, a real-estate developer, who's interested in the premises and wants to build a multiplex theater. Bryan thought buying the pub would be simple, but when he discovers he now has to deal with Hennessy and her sisters instead of their father the situation becomes a lot more complicated. Bryan travels to Mayhem, a town where he's completely out of place, to find out what happened to his quick and easy purchase of the pub. When he meets Hennessy he decides to stay in Mayhem for a while. They even start a bet. Who will end up owning the pub, Hennessy and her sisters or Bryan? Hennessy and Bryan are sworn enemies, but it's quite easy for them to forget this. Will they gain something valuable or will they both lose what is most dear to them? Blame it on the Bet is a wonderful romantic story filled with snow, delicious drinks and charm. I loved the fierce and proud Hennessy. She has a fantastic strong personality that I admired from the start. She doesn't let Bryan get away with anything and that's something he can definitely use. He has a good heart, but needs a reminder every now and then because he's built so many walls around it. I couldn't wait to find out if they'd get their happily ever after and couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to discover what fate would have in store for them. L.E. Rico has a great sense of humor and her writing style is warm and welcoming. I immediately loved Hennessy and her sisters. They have a special connection that gives the story some fantastic charisma. I was spellbound by L.E. Rico's vivid descriptions of her main characters and loved the cheerful and temperamentful way she portrays their feelings. The result is an amazing entertaining story. Blame it on the Bet captivated me from beginning to end.
Hennessey O’Halloran and her sisters are trying to save their pub following their father’s death. Bryan Truitt is a developer who want’s the land their pub sits on for land development. They make a bet that will either save the pub for the O’Halloran’s or give Bryan what he wants. This was a cute story that was an easy quick read. The characters were likable and the story kept you entertained. I highly recommend. **I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
Right off the bat, Hennessy and Bryan butt heads. Their arguing and bantering is half the fun. Plus, I love how her sisters treat him. They seem like a fun bunch to be around. This is one of those cases where I wish these fictional people were real. Are there really places like Mayhem, Minnesota with people like this? Because I want to go there! This was such a fun & sweet story. I loved the characters. I loved the town. And, I think we all need a Father Romance in our lives. The ARC of Blame It on the Bet by L.E. Rico was kindly provided to me by the publisher through Net Galley for review. The opinions are my own.
Lauren Rico has done it again! I don't know how she does it, but she sucks me right into the story and doesn't let go. I loved this freaking story. I bit of a different twist for her, but I have to tell you the story shines right off the pages. Welcome to Mayhem Minnesota, home to O'Hallorans Pub, A Little Slice of Heaven, Basilica of St Mary of the Assumption and home to Father Romance and Knitty Kitty. First of all, the sisters O'Halloran, aka the Whiskey sisters. Right, Hennessy who is an attorney and lives in St Paul. Walker, bartender and mixologist extraordinaire, Jameson married to Win aka the books resident jack hat and Mom to little Jackson. Bailey, the baby soon to graduate highschool. They've jus lost their beloved Pops a few months earlier and have called Henny home to make heads or tails out of all the paper work and the loans none of them knew he took out. Waiting in the wings to snag the property from beneath them when they default on the loan is Brian Truitt, real estate handler who lives in Cali and hasn't a clue about Minnesota, small town life or what he's up against with the sisters. He's soon to find out. He decides the go to Mayhem when he doesn't hear back from the girls Dad, he's got no idea the man has passed away. When Hennessy is going over the paperwork and finally puts things together, the bar is deep in debt, Truitt is their now breathing down her neck and the initial dance these two do is pretty comical. The book has so many funny moments, Walker is a fire breathing snark machine, James not so much, but she takes no prisoners either and young Bailey for all her gum chewing and primping is no dummy and adds a lot of color in her own way. Henny is just classic. I loved the witty and snarky banter between her and Bryan. When Brian decides to settle there for the next month, even renting office space, he's got a plan of attack courtesy of his secretary Helen who as he describes her best, looks similar to an orange haired troll doll. But Helen looks after Bryan and keeps him in line. Bryan is settling in to small town life, he's getting comfy with the people, Father Romance and even the sisters. One night as he and Henny were going head to head over something, he makes her a bet, one that she can't and won't back down from. That he'll give her the deed to the pub free and clear, there are other details but you have to read them. The girls need to raise 100k. That's a lot of money in a short period but these girls don't roll over for anyone. And the attraction between Bryan and Henny continues to grow and I love how up front she is with him about it. I held my breath a couple times, thinking something would happen and then it didn't and damn when I didn't see it coming, it clobbered me over the head. The Knitty Kitty hits the fan and I'm going to leave you dangle right there. This book is a must read. Lauren is a favorite of mine but even having said that, this book just bowled me over. Funny, snarky and she writes such great characters, real people with real dialogue and real problems. I just love her for that alone. She sets up the perfect story here and you're missing out if you let this one slide by. It's a must read. Absolutely. Perfection Lauren!!! And what I wouldn't give to see a book about Walker!!!
the town of mayhem, minnesota is the perfect backdrop to blame it on the bet. hennessey o'halloran has come back into town to lay her father to rest, only to discover that the bar that their father built, the bar that formed the cornerstone of her and her sisters' childhood is in the red and has a buyer. the saving grace is that the contract hasn't been signed, but the sisters only have 60 days to pay off the mounds of debt that the bar owes. when bryan truitt comes into town to figure out what happened to his handshake deal with pops o'halloran. what he discovers is four angry women intent on keeping their family legacy. when bryan makes a bet with hennessey that he can stick it out in mayhem for the duration of their 60 day grace period from the bank, he doesn't expect to be so charmed by the residents of mayhem. as hennessey spends more time with bryan she comes to realize that he is not the bad guy in this scenario. the bet is actually a pretty fair deal for the pub, and even though she doesn't agree with what he plans to do with the property she can acknowledge that he really does have good intentions for the town. i enjoyed spending time with the residents of mayhem, and the romance between hennessey and bryan is sweet and, as they open up about their past and family histories, has some surprising depth. as the start of the series, a fair amount of time is spent introducing us to mayhem and the whiskey sisters, and i do look forward to jameson's, walker's and bailey's stories, but sometimes with these small town romances, i feel like i get cheated out of time with the leads. **blame it on the bet will publish on september 11, 2017. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (bliss) in exchange for my honest review.
What a fantastic read! This story will put you through the feels - love, grief, sisterly bonding, self healing, determination. I first have to say that I loved how the sisters were named, unique and a little contrary for girls/ladies. I so wish we could have met their parents but this story begins where their father passed away. The sisterly bind grew and strengthened. Such a beautiful and funny part to the story. The connection between Hennessey and Bryan was sweet and magnetic. He had some emotional issues of his own that he was helped by his assistant Helen. She was a fun take no carp woman - loved her. Bryan and Hennessey's journey to love was a definite feel good and he will totally steal your heart with his words I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley
Book Review: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ Blame It on the Bet wasn't what I expected, and I think that is why it took me a bit of time to get into the book. The story its self is really good and the book sets-up a town, which is loveable. This is a standalone novel. However, is the first in the series about The Whiskey sisters. Hennessy O’Halloran moved away from home to pursue her career. Unfortunately, her father has just died, and she has returned to her home town to help her family. Her father wanted to give his daughters everything he could, which led to expensive loans. At the heart of the family is the pub the sisters hold dear, and now they have to fight to save it. Hennessy hadn't realised how much she had given up for her career, and now is getting an insight into what living close to her family could mean. Bryan Truitt life is his career. He literally sleeps at his desk. When one of his projects isn't turning out the way he would have liked he decides to get hands on and find the source of the problem. What he discovers is a town that is more than he expected, and the key to unlocking his cold heart. There isn't much humour in this book, and I realised after that I kind of expect at least a bit of sass/wit in my romances reads. In this book, humor isn't needed, and I think it wouldn't benefit the story. Bryan is a complex charter who closed off this heart a long time ago. His job needs him to keep his head in the game. Hennessy has just lost her father and needs to find some money fast. These situations aren't really funny. As for the bet (the title). It wasn't really a big aspect of this story. I would say if you are looking for a story with depth over comedy this one is for you. 4 stars out of 5. *ARC received in exchange for a fair review*
I really enjoyed this book. It's full of charm, family, and small town goodness. The Whiskey sisters are all fantastic and I can't wait for the other's stories. Hennessy and Bryan are so cute together and the author did a great job with their story. After the death of their father the O'Halloran sisters are struggling to keep the family pub open and running. They have enough to deal with without some developer trying to get his hands on their property. Yet that's exactly what Bryan Truitt, Mr. Bigshot LA real estate guy, is trying to do. All his flash and charm might work in LA but in Mayham, MN they do things just a bit differently. With all the barbs and sparks flying between Bryan and Hennessy it isn't long before they have a bet. If Bryan can make it through a long MN winter the pub is his, if he can't he'll give it over to the sisters. Don't miss the fun as these two battle it out. I highly recommend this one.
Rating: 4.5/5 This is a thoroughly enjoyable contemporary romance packed with turmoil and humour, making it a great read to escape into. Following the death of their father, the O’Halloran sisters discover that their father had taken out a huge loan to keep the family’s Irish Pub running and to fund their education and treats. The young women, all named after alcoholic beverages, are determined to pay back the loan and keep the pub as a family run establishment. The story is told from alternative view points of the two main characters - Hennessy V. P. O’Halloran and Bryan Truitt. She is a lawyer working in the city but would much rather be running the pub and near her family again. Bryan is a developer who is used to getting his own way. The initial encounters between the two are hilarious as he expects to be able to bamboozle Hennessy into signing over the property to him without any problems. This is just the start of things as he ends up making a bet that he’s not sure whether he really wants to win or not, she’s got him so twisted up emotionally! The four sisters are amazing diverse characters, each with their own reasons for attitudes and behaviour. The small town community has additional folk who bring the whole thing to life - especially the priest who provides so many laugh out loud moments, starting with his name. I mean, what else could you expect when he’s called Father Romance? Then there’s a pie maker who seems psychic and a lady who knits sweaters for cats . . . . well, you get the idea! With a main character keeping secrets, you'll just have to read it yourself to discover what happens! This is a brilliant easy read small town romance and I hope there will be other stories featuring the other sisters in the near future! I requested and was given a copy of this book via NetGalley and this is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
Confession time: I was originally drawn to L.E. Rico's Blame it on the Bet because of the cover. It gives that Christmasy, snowy feel without actually witnessing - and more importantly, feeling - the coldness first hand. The result? Blame it on the Bet was fantastic. Mixing together four dauntless sisters, a memorable small town setting, and most importantly a romance that made my heart SWOON, Blame it on the Beat made my bookish heart so incredibly happy. Mayhem, Minnesota has quickly shot up to the top of my list of favorite fictional small towns ever! I even go so far as to say that it's reminiscent of another one of my favorites - Stars Hollow, CT. So trust me when I say that there's so much to love about this quaint, close-knit community. L.E. Rico did a wonderful job of describing and establishing Mayhem. I often felt as if I was right there with Hennessy and Bryan, experiencing the fortune inspiring pie slices, the oddly named cats in sweaters, and the cozy and charming O’Halloran’s Pub. My favorite part of the setting, however, was the wide variety of characters it introduced. For instance, Father Romance was equal parts wise and devious. His "secretive" plots to unite Hennessy and Bryan were not only adorable but also just so well played. I also loved Janet Lahti, the incredibly smart business woman & fortune teller behind The Little Slice of Heaven Pie Shop. Her fortunes were not only spot-on but essential to key parts of the plot. I always enjoyed when Janet and her pies appeared on the page; however, I am super disappointed that she can't predict a fortune for me based on my pie selection. Now let's get to the two stars of the book: Hennessy & Bryan! Both were not only incredibly relatable but also incredibly lovable. I admired Hennessy's love for and dedication to her family, especially when it meant keeping the place that was so incredibly precious and important to her family's history. I always enjoyed seeing her interactions with her three sisters: Jameson, Walker, and Bailey. For four sisters, the girls couldn't be any more different, and that's part of the reason I came to love each of them. They were so distinctively each their own person, and I applaud L.E. for making that occur - sometimes with a book with that many siblings they start to blend together but thankfully that didn't even come close to occurring here. Additionally, Hennessy was also fierce & savvy, making her one girl whose bad side you definitely didn't want to get on! More importantly it's part of what made her interactions with Bryan so incredibly enjoyable, because every time he would attempt to one-up her, she would shoot right back him and just as hard - if not harder. Bryan was the typical hero on the path to redemption and true love, and I enjoyed every single minute of him straying further and further away from his playboy millionaire ways and closer and closer to being a small town boy loving a small town girl. Besides his interactions with Hennessy, I also loved his interactions with everyone else in Mayhem. Each one moved in one step closer to being at home; however, his interactions with Jameson's baby were some of the most hilarious moments of the book! In all, Blame it on the Bet is a great start to a new series! I can't wait to see which Whiskey sister gets a book next. Personally, I'm hoping it's Jameson. Grade: A+ *This review originally appeared on Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf*