Goaded by her competition, matchmaker Jane Wright makes a very public bet that she can find the "perfect" match for Manhattan's hottest confirmed bachelor-sexy-as-sin bartender Charlie Goodman. Unfortunately, Charlie is also Jane's ex-lover, a man she broke up with on a cocktail napkin. With her company on the line, Jane has no choice but to convince the man of her most impractical dreams to dive back into the dating pool.
Charlie doesn't want to see Jane's business fail. He just wants a little revenge. Determined to prove to Jane that chemistry always beats compatibility algorithms, he plans to drive her crazy with desire...then walk away. And his plan is working. A little too well, actually. Because even as Jane scrambles to calculate Charlie's best match, the heat building between them combusts. But Charlie's been so busy outsmarting Cupid that he hasn't noticed he's the naughty cherub's next target...
Each book in the Smart Cupid series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Breaking the Bachelor
Book #2 Unexpectedly His
Book #3 One Little Kiss
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Breaking the Bachelor
A Smart Cupid Story
By Maggie Kelley, Vanessa Mitchell & Sue Winegardner
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Maggie Kelley
All rights reserved.
@KathieLeeandHoda Lay down your bets, America, the NYC Love Gamble starts now!
"Totally. Screwed." Standing outside Rockefeller Center, Jane Wright pulled out her phone one more time to look at the article on the NY Singles Facebook page. Even clad in her super-insulated North Face jacket, reading the post made her break out in a cold sweat.
Love's a gamble, right? Not according to local matchmaker, Jane Wright, who claims a logic-based algorithm in her company's new dating app can find a perfect match for any New Yorker in five days — she's even willing to bet on it.
Bet on it? Had she suffered a blow to the head she didn't remember? Sure, her pain-in-the-ass, push-her-to-the-limit business rival had made her furious, mocking her logical love theories on television, but betting her company down to the studs to prove her point was Crazytown. Crazy. Town.
Boy, had that bastard cornered her.
The interview with Kathie Lee and Hoda had been complete sabotage. What should have been a morning spent sipping Prosecco, and chatting about the success of Smart Cupid, generating buzz for her company's new dating app, had morphed into her nemesis making an appearance to tout his company's new matchmaking strategy.
Oh, yes, the battle lines had been drawn. DatesRUs — and, really, who could take a matchmaking service with the nomenclature of a giant toy store seriously — had thrown down the gauntlet.
On live television.
"We generate fifty matches a week," the Antichrist, Adam Walters, had said.
Hoda and Kathie had bobblehead-swiveled at that comment. The whole studio audience had waited silently for a rebuttal. Jane recalled the panic, the just-keep-swimming mantra she'd repeated in her head. Sweat had popped on her brow and she distinctly remembered hoping she wasn't glistening all over national television.
"That's wonderful, Adam." Kudos on not sounding snarky. "But here at Smart Cupid our focus is quality. Not quantity. We take the gamble out of love. Our matches have a statistical compatibility criterion that guarantees success."
"Is that right?" Adam had replied.
She should've bolted right then and there.
"So you wouldn't be opposed to a little wager then, would you?"
Bet? Oh, no. She didn't gamble — ever.
"Let's see," Adam-the-Asshole had begun, conspiratorially nudging Kathie Lee until a picture popped up on the screen behind them. A picture that had the sweat on her face turning to ice. He hadn't picked a normal New Yorker. No sirree. A-hole had done his homework. By the glint in his beady little eyes, he knew it, too.
"Hold the phone!" Hoda shouted. "Isn't that Charlie Goodman?"
It sure the hell was. He smiled back at her from the photo, casual and seductive in a pair of faded Levis and white shirt, unbuttoned at his throat. She looked away. Maybe if she refused to look at him, she could pretend it was someone else — someone other than New York Magazine's sexiest mixologist. Someone other than Charlie Goodman.
Talk about Karma biting her in the butt.
Adam leaned back in his chair, "I dare you" written all over his face. "Think your new dating app can handle him?"
The ON AIR light blinked bright red across the studio, and she fought back the urge to give that chair of his a little push. "Absolutely, Adam," she said, amazed by the calm in her voice. Calm was the last thing she felt. Panic. Anxiety. Assaulted by her own personal shitstorm.
The hosts swiveled back in her direction. "Ready to take a risk for love, Cupid?"
Jane smiled. "If Adam agrees to sit outside my office on Valentine's Day, passing out conversation hearts and chocolate ..."
"No problem. It's a bet!"
Jane refused to rehash any more of the memory. Could she ignore the social media surrounding her Today Show appearance? Um, no. Could she undo the wager she'd been cornered into taking in front of an audience of five-point-two million viewers? Again, no.
Today was all about damage control.
She pivoted to walk down Fifth toward Bryant Park, forced her attention back to the article on her phone, and tried not to pass out.
Rumor has it DatesRUs has chosen super-stud Charlie Goodman, the city's sexiest bartender according to the annual Hot List unveiled in this week's New York Magazine. According to the interview, while the Midtown mixologist is habanera hot, after a break-up earlier this year, this particular NYer claims to be a confirmed bachelor. Tough luck, Cupid. Better aim for the <3.
"Aim for the heart, my ass." There were already six hundred and nine comments. Seems New Yorkers had a lot to say on the subject.
Or maybe they smelled the blood in the water.
She glared at the screen looking for a loophole — wiggle room, even. But no. Damn her for staring at Kathie Lee like a tourist in the middle of Times Square.
Unable to take it anymore, she shoved the phone deep into her pocket, only to stop short in front of a local newsstand stacked with copies of the offending New York Magazine. Unbelievable. The man was literally everywhere.
He grinned at her from the cover, oozing sex and charm. She sighed. There was no way around it. She'd have to call him — the man she'd grown up with. The man she'd fallen into bed with while on vacation in the Caymans six months ago. The man whose kiss made it hard for her to think. Or breathe. Her stomach fluttered at the thought.
No. No fluttering stomachs. She balled her hands into fists and kept walking. That kind of passion couldn't be trusted — the brighter it burned, the colder it was when it burned out, and it always burned out. Even when there was history like hers and Charlie's to back it up. Passion wasn't for her. She needed a safe, predictable guy, and during her six days with Charlie, nothing had felt safe. If anything, she'd been in a free fall, on the verge of falling hard, and falling fast ... right up until she'd seen him cozy up to the Rum Runner girl the very night she'd planned to ask him to give things a shot when they got back to New York. After dumping him unceremoniously via cocktail napkin, she'd made herself a promise.
No more free fall.
She bit down on her bottom lip. Okay, so it was, perhaps, a tad more complicated than just seeing him chat up another woman. But she wouldn't go ... there.
They hadn't spoken in twenty-three and a half weeks. They'd ruined their friendship the second they'd slept together, so there'd been no point. Yeah, Charlie had called, and called, and tweeted, and hit her up on Facebook in those first Post-Paradise Hookup days. Yes, he'd even solicited her brother, Nick — talk about awkward — to reach out on his behalf.
But she hadn't been ready to hear his halfhearted excuses. She still wasn't ready. Not for the first time, she cursed her genes, because surely only a fluke of DNA could've landed her in a bet that put her at the mercy of Charlie Goodman.
Guess it was now or never. She wrinkled her nose at the keypad and dialed the number she knew by heart. A few agonizing rings later, she landed straight in his voicemail. Her eyes narrowed at the glowing screen. 8:13 am. Like he wasn't available to take her call.
She'd call again, and if he didn't pick up ... well, then ... she'd simply hunt him down. Of course, tracking him down would mean seeing him again, and considering that a glimpse of his sexy cover shot for the New York Magazine interview had sent her pulse bouncing around like a SuperBall, actually seeing him might be more than she could handle.
But with the bet going viral, she didn't dare renege because NY Singles and good ole' Hoda and Kathie Lee were following the whole damned deal, and if she failed, it'd mean that the Adam-the-A-hole would win, and her company's reputation would be DOA.
Jane drew in a long, messy breath. Only one thing to be done. She needed to match Charlie Goodman with his one true love.
In five days.
@Goodman Never open your door before nine am. #earlyamwakeupcall #bartenderhell
Charlie pressed end call on his third interview request of the morning. In truth, plenty of R-rated comments had flown to the tip of his tongue, but it was too early to resort to profanity. Even if profanity was justified.
He tossed the phone onto the leather recliner next to the bed, rolled over, and pressed his face into the warm pillowcase. He needed a break. Since Jane's early morning television bet hit social media, he'd been fielding call after call about his love life, and every one of them made him want to remain single, possibly for all eternity.
The phone chimed again. He eyed another unrecognized number, reached for the cell and powered it down. Christ, it was barely eight thirty. He shoved his head under the pillow. All he wanted to do was get some sleep, and forget about the way he'd felt watching Janey on The Today Show. But the morning's hell simply refused to go away.
"Charlie? Charlie, open the door, it's me."
He dragged his head out from under the pillow, his body suddenly on red-alert. There was only one person in New York with the kind of nerve required to knock at his door this early. His ex-friend, ex-lover, ex-whatever.
"I know you're in there, Charlie."
He groaned into the mattress, hating the fact that his name on her lips still drove him absolutely crazy. He hadn't seen her in six months, but what red-blooded man wouldn't respond to that Jameson-laced voice this early in the morning? Especially when he could still hear it whispering sexy little demands into his ear. Could still remember her gold-flecked eyes warming as he rained kisses across her skin, kissing every inch of her until she begged him to make love to her. Not that he was imagining that scenario right now. That scenario led straight back to Hell.
No, all he wanted right now was to go back to sleep and forget all about how her bet had put his marital status on the chopping block.
"Charlie, open up."
Relentless. The woman was relentless. He covered his head with the pillow again, but she refused to go away, pounding on the door like a crazed trick-or-treater out to score a Twix bar.
"Charlie Goodman, open the damn door!"
He muttered his protest into the mattress. If he let the pummeling continue, a petition by his neighbors to kill him — or worse, kick him out of the building — seemed inevitable. He landed a right hook into the mattress and considered his choice. Death, or eviction from an uptown co-op. Tough call in Manhattan. The threat of eviction ultimately forced him to toss aside the pillow and climb out of bed. He dragged on a pair of flannel pajama bottoms, a safeguard against the chill in the early morning air. Somebody needed to teach the woman some manners. He trudged down the hall, tearing at his bedhead with both hands. Late nights at the bar meant he was not an early riser, a fact she damned well knew. She knocked again.
"Holy Mother of all matchmakers, I'm coming!"
He swung open the door and there she was, inches away, fist half-cocked, skin flushed a pretty pink, smiling up at him like an angel.
For a moment — yes, a sad and very naïve moment — he thought maybe she'd come to apologize, to reconcile and admit she'd made a mistake. The single voicemail she'd actually bothered to leave had said only, "We need to talk." But she wasn't looking apologetic this morning. He caught the glint in her bourbon-colored eyes, the set of her jaw. He knew that expression too well. So the angel had an agenda. Figured.
Still, she looked good after all this time, standing there in his hallway, her lips curved, her short, dark hair mussed and curling around her ears. Her form-fitting jeans and low-cut shirt beneath her open coat were a one-two punch, designed to bring a man straight to his knees, and God help him, he was seconds away from hitting the ground. He narrowed his bleary eyes. Maybe she was a dream and if he went back to bed, she'd disappear. He made a move to shut the door and she stopped it with her foot.
"Peace offering." She held up a red and white checkered bag, which he knew would be filled with the world's most perfect bagels.
As if bagels erased the past six months. He ignored the bag. "How did you get past the doorman?"
"You mean Benny?"
"Yes. The doorman. Benny."
Another grin slid across her face, this one as easy as melted butter. Yup, he knew that look, too. He bet his poor doorman hadn't stood a chance. "I may have also brought him a dozen bagels from Hot and Crusty, which may or may not be his favorite bagel place."
He leaned a weary shoulder against the frame. "Good to hear Doorman Benny can be bribed with a few bagels and a tub of cream cheese."
"Pecan honey cream cheese." She tucked a curl behind her ear, all innocent and sweet. "Are you going to let me in?"
"That depends." He scrubbed at his unshaven face with his hands. Did she really think she could bust in and steamroll him with breakfast? "Are you going to tell me what you're doing here?" When she didn't answer, he reframed the question. "Jane, what the hell do you want?"
She smiled and looked up at him from beneath her lashes. "What makes you think I want something?"
He ticked off a list of reasons on his fingertips. "Let's see. That smile, that look, the fact that the last time I set eyes on you was six months ago, the fact that you've avoided me ever since. And, oh yeah, the fact that you called thirteen times this morning. Even left a message."
"You refused my calls, so I decided to stop by and up the ante." Her hip jutted to one side in that uncompromising way of hers. "Guess I'm not a straight-to-voicemail kind of girl."
Oh, and what about all the times she'd avoided his calls? Nah, he wouldn't go there. Better to find out exactly what she wanted and be done with it. Dredging up the past wouldn't change anything.
"Tell me what you're doing here, Jane, and give it to me straight. We both know you don't flirt without an agenda." She wet her lips to object, but he held up his palm. "Don't even try to pretend those bagels aren't flirting."
"Can't a girl stop by for breakfast?" She peeked around the doorframe, and her neckline dipped enough to give him a glimpse of what he had missed. "Unless you're not alone?"
"I'm alone. But I'm only letting you in if you drop the act." His eyes fell to the deep V of her shirt and he weighed his options. Grab the bagels and shut the door, or let her in and hear her out. He took the bag and waved her curves inside.
Her sweet vanilla scent filled the air as she strolled past him like she owned the damned place. As usual, it sent his brain into a tailspin. His thoughts detoured to the street games they'd played as kids, before returning to the more risqué games they'd played as adults.
He kicked the door closed and followed her into his Man Kitchen — concrete floors, stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, but not a lot of actual food or supplies. She dropped her parka on the table before working her way through his mostly-empty cabinets, collecting the stuff to make coffee.
Normally, he got coffee at the corner store, but he still kept some on hand for Janey. Before The Cocktail Napkin Incident, they'd hung out all the time. Poker nights, pasta nights, martini Tuesdays. She'd bought him that damn coffee maker with its automatic timer and programmed it for him so when he finally woke after his long-ass shifts, he'd have a hot pot of French vanilla or mocha or whatever frou-frou flavored roast she'd insisted he try. Shit, he'd even grown fond of that holiday spiced java.
Some old habits needed a sledgehammer.
"You look good," she said, all casual and easy, like it was just another morning,
Now, there was a curve ball. Playing the whole for-old-time's-sake card.
"Yeah, well, you always liked the unshaven look."
"A lot of women do. Like the unshaven look." She bit her bottom lip. "A lot of perfectly nice, perfectly dateable women."
Excerpted from Breaking the Bachelor by Maggie Kelley, Vanessa Mitchell & Sue Winegardner. Copyright © 2015 Maggie Kelley. 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
For a short story the same plot line was really drawn our too long to get to the end. Became boring before the HEA occurred
Very cute, very light, very funny read. The sweet romantic date of every day laundramat, pizza in the best pizzeria in Brooklyn, and watching Rocky movie over and over. Charlie proved his point of wanting every day love that will last even after the combustible passion subsides. I liked it. It was fun.
This is a fun, sexy, and absolutely enjoyable read that made for a great afternoon read! Jane is the owner of Smart Cupid and she has been dared into a bet on national TV that she can find true love for New York's most eligible bachelor in just 5 days and it happens to be her ex, well...her best friend from childhood who she spent a hot and sex-filled 6 days with until she left him high and dry with a note on a cocktail napkin when she fled back to the states. Charlie is a confirmed bachelor and does not believe in love, chemistry yes, love not so much. What starts out as maybe a little revenge on his part turns into so much more. The chemistry between Charlie and Jane is off the charts and it was so much fun watching the banter between them and watching them fall... I highly recommend this one for a great time read! **Received a copy of this from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
Never mix business with pleasure... Truer words could have never been said to describe the chaos that is Jane and Charlie. A neurotic matchmaker facing off with a former lover can never end well. Breaking the Bachelor is pure genius. Ms. Kelley speaks to the heart and the funny bone with this totally clueless twosome. Jane may be one smart cookie but she needs to learn to listen to her heart more than her brain. Charlie may be just the man to teach her how. It's hard not to fall in love with perfection.
What an entertaining fun read. Breaking the Bachelor is the debut novel by Maggie Kelley and I really enjoyed getting under Jane and Charlie's skin, seeing behind their facades and going along for the ride on their journey. Jane and Charlie have been lifelong friends, best friends, the kind of friends who were always there for each other, until their issues clouded their vision and became roadblocks that lead to a 6 month separation. Can you find true love based only on a scientific formula, a set list of criteria based on a checkbox of compatibility not chemistry, and a dating app? Jane thinks you can and she is willing to put her company on the line to prove it. She may have been tricked into the bet, but she never backs down and is determined to show the public that it takes more than smoking hot chemistry and a week of unbridled passion to form a long lasting loving relationship. Charlie was literally left at the bar 6 months ago, his heart broken by Jane and vows to get a little revenge by proving that they still have that off-the-charts chemistry and then walking away, just like she did to him. However, things begin to shift and Charlie finds it hard to hold on to his original plan. It then becomes more about showing Jane that what they had back then, and what is still so evident, was far more than a quick roll in the hay. This pair had some heavy relationship issues stemming from a family history of hurt, watching their own families fall apart, and living through the pain that followed. No one could blame them for being gun shy, but the the walls they had placed around their hearts are stifling their chances at ultimate happiness. The question is, can they overcome their fears and take a chance on love? Jane and Charlie had sizzling chemistry. They were like moths to a flame around each other, but so much more than that, they were compatible in the best of ways. I really liked both characters, even though at times I wanted to shake some sense into them. I liked their banter, the way they were obviously suited to each other, but so in denial of that fact, which made for some funny and entertaining scenes. Both had their stubborn pride, Jane in particular, not willing to take a chance on Charlie and what they had and it was fun seeing Charlie break down her walls and come to some realisations about his own issues at the same time. This was an easy, page-turning read, humorous, sweet and sexy. The ending was in true rom-com style which I loved. I found it easy to connect with the characters and immerse myself in their story for the duration.
Very good for a debut novel. The characters have great chemistry and depth. The banter is fun and flirty. The secondary characters add dimension, humor and insight. The pace is perfect to keep the reader interested throughout the novel. The use of social media makes the story fresh and current. I would like to see this become a series with stories for Nick and Marianne. ARC received from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This was an awesome read and one that was near impossible to put down (I did have to feed the family at least once)! Charile and Jane have known each other since they were kids and probably loved each other as long but both coming from broken houses, their hearts were locked away for no one to touch. Jane runs a dating service and on national TV accepts a bet with her competition to find Charlie, sexiest bachelor bartender in NYC, the love of his life in 5 days. I can't wait to read more books by this author!
One of my favorite things about this book is that it grabs you from the beginning. It's funny and sexy(two of my favorite things in a book) and I am looking forward to reading the next story by this author. Jane is a matchmaker and she has made a bet to find a match for Charlie, one very sexy bartender and her ex. This is a quick read and totally enjoyable.
On a scale of OMG to asdf;lkj!, where OMG is great and asdf;lkj! is SO GREAT, this romance would definitely be worthy of a keysmash. And it’s Maggie Kelley’s debut novel! Her voice is so great, it’s hard to believe. It’s spunky and fun, even the angsty bits don’t hurt too too bad. The sexual tension is crazy, the anticipation heady, and the payoff is super hot. Think Stephanie Plum and Morelli, but in Manhattan instead of Trenton, New Jersey. Our sparkplug of a female lead is Jane, AKA Smart Cupid, NYC’s logical matchmaker. After a childhood ruined by a father with a gambling addiction, Jane’s chosen the safe road, a life ruled by lists and her dating app’s sophisticated matrix. She may be great at setting other people with the reliable, secure loves of their lives, but she’s had nothing but bad luck with her own. Not that she believes in luck when it comes to love, just compatibility. Which is why the bet she makes with a competitor – on live TV no less – is so uncharacteristic. But she’s eager to prove, to the city and maybe herself, that her data-driver, logical approach to finding a match works every time. The only potential snag is that her competitor picks the toughest possible person for her to set up: a man Jane grew up with, her best friend before they ended up in bed together on an island vacation and then didn’t speak for six months. Confirmed bachelor and NYC’s hottest bartender, Charlie Goodman. Charlie is basically my perfect man. A mixologist who loves hockey, I mean, come on. On the surface that’s all he is, a hot bartender who doesn’t want to settle down, but there’s more to him than that. He actually owns the bar he works at, something very few people know. He also runs a foundation to help out kids from his old neighborhood. He also doesn’t believe in true love, just chemistry and passion. Jane doesn’t believe that chemistry and passion last. Both of their beliefs are challenged as Jane tries to find Charlie’s perfect match, and it turns out his perfect match was under their noses all along. These two are combustible together, whether they’re arguing or making up. With an ending that I’d put up against any good rom com, Breaking the Bachelor will make you giddy and feel warm and fuzzy.
Charlie, Oh sweet hot hypnotizing Charlie! He was definitely a fun man to read about. And he knew Jane so well, down to her crazy sweet tooth habit. I loved their interactions, the flirting and the can't keep their hands off each other reactions they had toward each other. It was very heartening to see how they felt for each other and knew each other so well. I would love to be known and know someone that detailed. But as with Jane and Charlie, that leaves one open to much more hurt. I could relate and understand their fears. I am glad it worked out the way it did. I would have loved more of an epilogue because I wanted more. I am hoping this is just a first of many in this series since I would love Nick and Marianne to both get their own HEA's as well as hear more about Jane's other brother. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
When a matchmaker meets her match! Matchmaker Jane Wright and Manhattan’s hottest confirmed bachelor, Charlie Goodman, have a turbulent history. They’ve known each other since childhood and six months ago crossed the line from our friendship to lovers. Then everything went wrong and she finished their tryst with a message on a napkin. Now a television interview results in her agreeing to bet that her business software can find the perfect match for Charlie in just five days. Can she succeed in helping him find his perfect match and win the bet? Can she really pair him up with someone else or will their love be rekindled? A story where mutual past events inhibit their potentially great romance. The author creates great characters for whom the past is impacting dramatically on the present and future for them both. How they overcome obstacles to achieve their HEA is told in an easy to relate to and thoroughly enjoyable manner – a great story that I have no hesitation in highly recommending to lovers of romantic fiction. Thanks to the author, publishers and NetGalley, too, for letting me read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Remember playing Truth or Dare as a kid? What if you played it once as an adult ... and find both your reputation and career are on the line as a result? Now you can imagine how Jane Wright feels. She's a matchmaker based in Manhattan, who believes that relationships are based solely on scientifically measurable standards of compatibility, and not on anything remotely emotional or physical (like attraction). And her competition has cornered her into a bet: that her scientific system can find a match for Charlie Goodman, sexy bartender and Manhattan's most desirable bachelor ... and Jane's ex-lover. Charlie, meanwhile, has zero interest in letting Jane match him with anybody. He's still desperately attracted to him, even though she dumped him via cocktail napkin. In his opinion, revenge is a dish best served heavy on the compatibility characteristics Jane is so against: attraction and good old-fashioned lust and desire. If he can seduce her and show her how it feels to be dumped, she'll get a taste of her own medicine. He just doesn't count on falling for her all over again. Entangled Publishing's Lovestruck imprint presents BREAKING THE BACHELOR by Maggie Kelley, debuting just this month. For a romance simultaneously sweet and intriguingly sexy, this offering delivers. One of its most unique selling points is the way each chapter opens with Twitter messages, quick exchanges that set the scene and provide context for the chapter contents. It's a different (in a really good way) technique with which to maintain reader interest and tension, especially as Jane and her competition in the matchmaking industry exchange increasingly biting Tweets. Charlie, especially, is a multidimensional character ... who ever heard of a bartender being voted the best-known and most eligible bachelor in the whole of Manhattan? And yet he wears his notoriety easily, even as he works his charm and skills to his advantage over Jane. He is her perfect foil: determined to prove to her that love is something that can be felt, not necessarily scientifically analyzed and proven. Jane, on the other hand, falls flatter as a character. She's not as well-rounded as her lover, even as she excels at snarky dialogue effectively designed to put Charlie in his place more than once. Indeed, their exchanges are one of the most entertaining aspects of the story. Also a challenge to what would otherwise be a suspenseful (in the romantic and sexual senses) read is the great deal of back story included in the first few chapters as the stage is set for the characters to act in their present setting and situations, and the lengthy paragraphs of explanation throughout the work. Such aspects slow the forward momentum of the story regrettably, and the pacing suffers for it. Still, for a feel-good love story based on an intriguing premise, BREAKING THE BACHELOR fits the bill. # # # Author: Maggie Kelley Title: BREAKING THE BACHELOR Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Lovestruck) ISBN: 978-1-63375-089-0 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
This was a light hearted contemporary romance. I enjoyed the up to date technology mentioned and people we see on TV as well. I think that was unique, fresh and fun. Jane is not your normal gal. She's got baggage and thinks she knows what love is supposed to be. With her job, she makes it her mission to find love for others, but what about herself? Then comes the bet... one that will change everything about her and the pain she's endured for the last 6 months.... to make the eligible bachelor Charlie fall in love. Charlie is not your typical man. Yes, he's a bartender.. but there's more to him than meets the eye. He was Jane's best friend for years and then bam. Nothing for the last 6 months due to their flame/fling. He's hurt but goes along with this 'so-called' plan, but will make it worth Jane's while.... These two have chemistry that's for sure. You will enjoy their banter, sex appeal, Jane's brother, her friend and the storyline that you can find love... all you have to do is look right in front of your face, if you will allow it. I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. If you want a light hearted read...trust me you will enjoy Breaking the Bachelor. 3.5 stars from me
Originally posted on my blog: Tangled Up In Books I received a copy of this book, from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review. In no way did this sway either my review or my rating. I got Breaking the Bachelor desperately wanting to love it. I thought the title was cute, the blurb had me very excited and intrigued and yet as I read it there was a lack of that certain something, the wow factor that would normally have me fully embracing a story and it's characters. Instead it was fun at times and there were cute aspects to it but it didn't grab me like I had hoped it would. I think the thing I found the most enjoyable was Jane's character. More often than not she actually had me laughing pretty hard. You see, Jane has these quirks...food related quirks, that in some ways I could relate to them and in others were extremely humorous. I feel like she must have an impressive metabolism because that woman stress eats, actually it's more like she inhales her food than takes the time to eat it, like nothing I've ever seen. I swear in one tiny scene she went through at least 4 candy bars alone. I won't give away all her wacky food rituals I'll leave the rest for a surprise. Other than that I don't know I guess I just have this thing were I am loving all of these logical, smart, analytical female characters lately and Jane fit that mold perfectly. Charlie was an okay character. A bit on the cocky side at times but all the same very likable. Really there wasn't anything terrible or annoying about him. I just didn't feel Charlie and Jane together. Whenever they flirted or kissed or played their little seduction games, when I should be feeling that sexual tension skyrocket I just felt nothing. In fact I legitimately thought from the opening of the book, "Huh. I sort of wish Jane was going to be hooking up with Adam instead..." Adam is that competition/business rival mentioned at the start of the blurb. I mean, truly Charlie is great but I think Jane and Adam could have been sizzling. I'd definitely suggest giving this book a chance. The storyline was solid, other than a couple of very brief moments of cheesiness, and there was lots of humor. My issue with it all seemed to be personal and I allowed my brain to latch on to the wrong guy from the beginning and couldn't seem to let that go even though I knew for a fact that it wouldn't go anywhere. So I was doomed from the start. I do think a lot of people are going to like this one though. There was enough of the good stuff to have me interested in keeping an eye out for the next book in the Smart Cupid series. There were quite a few secondary characters that I enjoyed so maybe, hopefully it will be about one of them. Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book!
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim Six months ago, after a lifetime of friendship and two fun and amazing sex-packed weeks in the Caymans, Jane Wright broke up with Charlie Goodman. This wasn’t just your normal argument and we’re done break up. No. No. Jane broke up with Charlie on a cocktail napkin. As a reader, I can deal with that. Not cool, but I can get over it. Jane’s competitive nature gets the best of her. On national tv, she says that her company’s logic based algorithm dating app can find any New Yorker the perfect match in five days. She is so sure of this that she bets her company. Jane has to match New York’s hottest mixologist and confirmed bachelor Charlie Goodman. Yep, the guy she broke up with and hasn’t seen nor spoken to in six months. At this point, you would think Jane would be all apologetic and begging Charlie to forgive her. But no! Jane has the freaking audacity to barge into Charlie’s apartment and demand that he go on five dates. (Yeah. Not feeling her right now.) There aren’t enough words to explain how much I loved Charlie. He’s smart, playful, and is really a romantic. There’s so much more to him than what he allows certain people to see. He doesn’t have a picture perfect past, but he’s dealing with it. Jane has some serious issues when it comes to love, not that she has ever tried it herself. She thinks that a couple only needs to have the same likes/dislikes and be compatible. Passion should not factor into love because passion dies and can’t be trusted. Charlie thinks passion is the basis for love. Charlie agrees to allow Jane to set him up. Jane just doesn’t know that Charlie plans to date on his terms and even throw in a few additional dates Janes doesn’t know about. When Jane is being the Jane from six months ago with Charlie, she’s good. Together they’re fun and playful and combustible. They’re simply great. Breaking the Bachelor has great secondary characters who need their own story. Putting aside my initial feelings for Jane, the book is funny and tells the story of a wonderful romance. I’m looking forward to more books from Maggie Kelly and more books from this series. **Received a copy from Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest unbiased opinion.**
This story won my heart… I could describe Breaking the Bachelor by the tropes…it’s a tale of reunited lovers, specifically the heroine and her big brother’s best friend, and it revolves around a bet she ought not have made. But none of that captures all the fun, sweet and flat-out sexy of this debut novel, or how I smiled the whole way through. Jane is a bundle of angst wrapped up in an ambitious, fast-talking package. Remaining in control, keeping a level head and a firm grip on her heart helped her climb to the top of the matchmaking game in the competitive NYC market. The wild, impetuous, out-of-control feelings her brother’s best friend, Charlie Goodman, inspires scare her to the bone, so when she’s challenged by her biggest competitor to find the perfect match for the very man who threatens all her carefully devised theories about love, she agrees. Win the bet, prove her Smart Cupid compatibility matrix works, and get the tempting Charlie off the market and out of her head once and for all. Charlie’s having none of it. Oh, sure, he agrees to play along, but he has no intention of letting her pair him off with someone else. He knows what he wants, and it’s Jane. The trick is finding a way to tell her so without scaring her off…again. He’s convinced the chemistry between them speaks for itself, and really, there’s no hiding it. Trouble is, it’s the chemistry Jane distrusts! The result is an endearing, entertaining and incredibly HOT push-pull between these two characters. Their journey includes so many funny, sexy scenes I literally could not put it down. I adored Jane, and I LOVED Charlie. I rooted for their happy ever after even though I was sad to reach the end of the story. Luckily, I spied a couple secondary characters who could use a little help finding love. Hello, Smart Cupid?
I really loved this one. Both charters have issues on love working out in the long run, but it doesn't stop them from feeling it. A fling they had six months ago has put their friendship in shambles, but one bet changes all of that. Now Jane must see Charlie and gain his help at finding his true love in five days. Charlie wants nothing to do with love, but he can never say no to Jane. The sparks start flying once again. Can Charlie show Jane who his perfect woman is and that he has staying power. Will Jane take the gamble on love? My favorite part of the book is when Charlie takes Jane to Brooklyn to show what his perfect date would be like. It was just so romantic. I highly recommend this one.
Could not put this book down. I loved it! It’s full of snarky, snappy dialogue that will surprise you and make you laugh out loud and the chemistry between these two-friends-turned-lovers-turned-exs sizzles from page one. I loved Jane, the matchmaker with a difficult past determined to prove love could be found with a matrix, and Charlie, her long-time friend-turned-lover-turned-ex, New York's most confirmed bachelor, whom she must match on her matrix to prove a bet with her company on the line. But Charlie is determined to prove her wrong. This book is sexy and heartwarming, it’s lighthearted but also deeply emotional and feel-good. Jane is wonderful and vulnerable and Charlie is the guy with a heart of gold determined to get his gal. There’s a fabulous New York vibe and the descriptions of Brooklyn are wonderful. Walk--don’t run--to get this book! Looking for more from this debut author with a sparkling voice!
A really fun sexy read that was completely entertaining. The premise of this story was unique and fresh and the writing was terrific. There was great terrific banter between the H/h and the chemistry between them is sizzling. Charlie's looking for a little revenge, after all Jane did leave him high and dry with a note on a cocktail napkin. Now she needs him to help save her company after she makes a bet on national TV. This is a good one, I highly recommend it.
This sexy contemporary romance is the story of Jane and Charlie. Friends since childhood who had a fling that Jane ended abruptly without an explanation to Charlie, she now needs his help for her matchmaking business. She's been goaded publicly into promising she can make a love match for anyone, including confirmed bachelor and well recognized bartender Charlie. Given this second chance at being in Jane's life, and with the thought to make her pay for dumping him so abruptly then suddenly showing up in his life again, Charlie is determined to make her see that they have chemistry together and that this can beat any dating algorithm. As Jane sets Charlie up on three dates with women she thinks he'd be compatible with, how long will it be before she realizes that the perfect woman for him is actually herself? I really enjoyed this story! I loved the setup and the way the plot unfolded. Jane's bright idea to set Charlie up with 3 blind dates begins to backfire on her as she realizes that seeing him with other women isn't actually what she wants after all. Yet with her company on the line, she's determined to try her best. Jane was a fun and feisty woman and I loved the witty banter between her and Charlie. Charlie is an equally engaging character, strong, dependable and missing his one time best friend. He loves being back in Jane's life even if he believes her motivation is short sighted. The sexual attraction between them is sizzling and leads to some hot and sexy love scenes. One of the story ideas that I really appreciated was that while Charlie is friends with Jane's brother Nick, there is none of that "don't touch my sister or I'll have to kill you" machismo. Instead, Nick is supportive of Charlie and believes he is good enough for his sister and that Charlie's best approach would be to tell Jane how he really feels about her (though first Charlie will have to admit that to himself). That was a refreshing change from the way the 'best friend's sister' trope usually plays out. The secondary characters in the story, in particular Jane's aforementioned brother Nick and her dating company rival Adam added some humourous moments and I'm definitely hoping to see more of them in future stories. Overall I found it an entertaining and fun read. 4 stars!
3 Fluff 'N Fold stars Matchmaker, Jane (Janey) Wright, has got herself into a difficult, very public wager. She had been very vocal about the logical app that her matchmaking company had developed, and being so confident of it’s abilities, she bet that she could find the perfick gal for Manhattan’s renowned bachelor; bartender Charlie Goodman. But Charlie and Janey aren't unknown to each other. Charlie has been Janey’s brother’s friend for years, and as a consequence, became very good friends with Janey. On an unplanned trip to the Caymans 6 months ago, Charlie and Janey moved their relationship up a notch, and had a sizzling 6 days, or so he thought they had both felt. But something happened to scare Janey off, and she left the island with only a few words on a napkin, and as a result, Charlie is still sore about being abandoned with no explanation. This is Maggie Kelley’s debut offering, and I was encouraged by the easy flow of her story. I had a definite connection with Charlie, and his long term adulation for Janey was enough to keep me hooked. Janey, however, was a tad flighty for my tastes. She had her reasons, which we become aware of, but I wasn’t convinced they were enough to elicit the reactions she displayed sometimes. The bonding process between these two characters was good, and there was an amusing undercurrent. This was a cute story, which introduced us to a few other characters that I would definitely like to see their stories unfold. ARC generously provided by entangled publishing in exchange for an honest review..
Romance is in the air.... This is a funny, cute and sweet romantic novel. A must read for all romance lovers. There are a lot of laugh-out-loud and swoon worthy moments which will keep the readers so engrossed that they won't be able to put it down. I loved it. People who love and be loved in return are luck. Jane and Charlie are two such people. unfortunately they don't know it yet. Both of them are childhood friends and have always been there for each other but when their relation takes a romantic turn things don't go so well and they end up ex-friends. Now Jane has accepted a bet from her competitor and in a very public way... She must convince Charlie to let her find him true love but what she doesn't know is that he has already found his one and only.
Fantastic 2nd chance romance with spice & humor along with some heavy flirty sexual comments'' ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*** Great story of love comes around again for ex lovers Jane Wright and Charlie Goodman. Jane and Charlie have been lifelong friends, best friends, then friends who turned to lovers who were always there for each other, until their issues clouded their vision and became roadblocks that lead to a 6 month separation. Jane isn’t your normal kind of woman. She has baggage but she thinks she knows what love is. She has a dating agency to find love for others, but what about herself? After a bet , and national tv coverage , Jane goes back to Charlie, determined to fix him up, knowing that this bet is her way to prove she can show everyone she can do it but deep down she is unsure what will happen between them and she just wants to prove she can do it to keep her business going and to keep her heart intact. Charlie was literally left by Jane 6 months ago and hasn’t heard from her in 6 months- not a call, text, emails. Nothing and this is his chance to get some great payback. He plans to walk away from her after proving that their chemistry is still as hot and as good as it way 6 months before. Charlie agrees to 3 dates with limitations and Jane sees this as a chance to help her company- both see this as a chance to get what they both want but they do not realize what is going to happen. when they get in close proximity to each other again the sparks fly and they can hardly keep their hands and lips off each other. As they grow closer together despite the dates Jane keeps setting up for Charlie, Charlie starts to turn the magic and starts to entreat Jane slowly and the charm starts to work but there are still hurdles to overcome. Charlie and Jane were wonderful and the heat was there and the chemistry was great!! This book was so enticing. It was a frisky and dreamy read. I loved the idea of the story and how the author wrote out this story for the readers. For a debut novel, she knocked it out of the park. I would love to see a follow up to this book. The characters in here were fantastic. My rating: 4.5 stars ****
2.5 - "If the cocktail napkin fits." Stars. Breaking the Bachelor is the first release by the talented Maggie Kelley. Although I’m not blown away by the plot line or the main characters on this occasion, what I am hopeful about is the fact that there is definite potential in relation to the author’s easy to engage in writing and development style, and that further books in the series are in the works. He doesn’t believe in love, and I don’t believe in chemistry. I liked Jane and Charlie but that's it really, friends for 20 years previously; it all comes to an end when they step out of the Friend-Zone whilst on holiday in the Caymans, 6 days of sun and sexy-times, leads to upset, and the mother of all knee-jerk reactions when Charlie’s attempts to help a female Rum-Runner are misconstrued as flirting. Six months on and due to Jane’s refusal to speak to him, Charlie has had no contact with her since she upped and left on the next flight out… I would have liked a prologue giving me this part of their story as to what happened in the Caymans between them; it would have given their relationship as a whole more depth, and me more understanding and maybe a little empathy towards Jane and her subsequent actions/reactions. Because this is basically why I have only given the book 2.5 stars, I really struggled to believe that Charlie would then agree to being involved in Jane’s bet, after six months of radio silence from her, added to the fact that she offered him absolutely no explanation as to why she reacted in such a way that necessitated in him having to Fed-Ex her luggage back to her. There is a lot of hot/cold and I do/I don’t in this from Jane as well, to the point that if I was in Charlie’s shoes, I honestly think I would have kicked her to the kerb, it just went a little too far for me, and I felt the story suffered for it. Seducing Cupid might be the stupidest idea he’d ever had. This isn’t a bad book, it’s an easygoing read, I think the ’Matchmaker’ trope when done well is a winner, but Jane had far too many issues with her own relationships (Past & Present) to actually work for me as a believable character in that scenario. Jane has brothers, and a BFF so I am hopeful that their story lines will match up in potential, to the quality that Maggie’s writing offers in Breaking the Bachelor. ARC generously provided via Entangled, in exchange for the above honest review.