Advertising guru Olivia Masterson is all work and no play. But on the eve of earning her dream promotion, her best friend dares her to let loose for one night and seduce a sexy stranger. Olivia's worked her ass off to get where she is—why the hell not?
Cole Bennett never thought he'd run into his feisty one-night stand at the office, furious that he stole her promotion. No matter how hard she tries to ice him out, they can't seem to keep their hands to themselves...or their clothes on.
Olivia's talented—maybe even more than Cole—so when his dropped hints to the boss net her a promotion of her own, he's ready to celebrate...until she accuses him of fueling office rumors that she slept her way to the top. She wants to earn her own way? Fine. So what the hell does a guy have to do to permanently melt an ice queen?
Each book in the Risky Business series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Book #1 Once Upon a Dare
Book #2 Once Upon a Power Play
Book #3 Seducing the Fireman
About the Author
Jennifer Bonds writes sizzling contemporary romance with sassy heroines, sexy heroes, and a whole lot of mischief. When she's not writing or wrangling toddlers, Jennifer can be found curled up with a good book and a bottle of wine. While she'd like to tell you she's always loved reading, it just wouldn't be true.
In second grade her mom had to bribe her to read (and learn multiplication tables), but by the time she reached middle school she was hopelessly addicted. Amazingly, it didn't help her popularity level, but did inspire her to write her first book, which (thankfully) is buried in the basement where it will never see the light of day.
Ten years of professional insanity and one MBA later, Jennifer decided to take a chance and pursue her dream of writing. Because, honestly, what could be better than spending your days reading and writing swoonworthy romance?
Jennifer lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where her overactive imagination and weakness for reality TV keep life interesting. She's lucky enough to live with her own real life hero, two adorable children, and a pair of rambunctious dogs. Loves Buffy, Mexican food, the Winchester brothers, and all things zombie. Sings off-key.
To connect with Jennifer, find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at www.jenniferbonds.com.
Read an Excerpt
Once Upon a Dare
A Risky Business Novel
By Jennifer Bonds, Heather Howland
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2015 Jennifer Bonds
All rights reserved.
Olivia Masterson surveyed the Friday night clientele of Olive or Twist and came to the disturbing conclusion that she might be the only single twenty-something in the city of New York who wasn't ruled by her libido. Was she doing something wrong? It appeared she was the only one in the sleek bar not looking to get flat-out drunk tonight. Or laid. The proof was sitting right across the table from her in the form of her best friend Chloe, who was too busy checking out the competition to actually listen to a word she said.
Despite the swell of raging hormones, the atmosphere of the bar was relaxed, with its dim lights, high top tables, and soft jazz music. That was one of the reasons she had chosen it. The other had to do with its proximity to the office, which was just down the block.
Truth be told, she'd rather be at home, curled up with a carton of chicken lo mein and her Kindle, but Chloe had insisted they stop for a drink to celebrate Olivia's imminent promotion to partner at Pritchard and Associates, the advertising agency where they both worked. So there she was, spending her Friday night in a bar where the martinis were flowing and so were the pickup lines, and all she could think about was Chinese takeout.
Whatever that said about her, she wasn't going to dwell on it.
"Come on, Liv!" Chloe pouted, signaling the waitress for another round of drinks. "Loosen up already."
"If I didn't know better, I'd think you were trying to get me all liquored up and take advantage of the situation," Olivia teased, popping a blue cheese stuffed olive in her mouth. Another perk of the martini bar—they had divine olives and weren't shy about dishing them out.
"You should be so lucky," Chloe countered, polishing off her drink with a rather unladylike gulp. "Considering the lack of actual sex in your sex life, I'd probably be the best you ever had."
"Hey ..." Olivia's protest trailed off in a halfhearted sigh. How could she argue with that logic? She hadn't had a man in her bed in, well, years. It was a wonder she and Chloe had become such good friends. Chloe was a hopeless romantic desperately seeking Mr. Right, and Olivia spent most of her free time holed up in the office working on pitches. Not exactly glamorous, but in her experience, the road to success rarely was.
Determined to make partner before her thirtieth birthday, she had made a lot of sacrifices in order to prove her father, and everyone else who doubted her abilities, wrong. She'd had plenty of motivation along the way. Her first year on the job, one of her coworkers had stabbed her in the back, telling everyone at the office she was shaking her ass up the corporate ladder. That little rumor had forced her to work twice as hard as everyone else. And even then it had taken months for people to stop whispering behind her back.
"I'm serious, Liv. There's more to life than work, you know. And you can bet your Jimmy Choo's the job won't keep you warm at night, so I'm going to let you in on one of life's little secrets, okay? When you die, no one's going to care if it says partner, or president, or fry cook on your epitaph."
Chloe shifted on her stool and tossed a handful of dark curls over her shoulder. She scanned the bar subtly. Always trolling for a man, Olivia thought as she watched her friend. Chloe had the curves of a bygone era and had yet to find a man who could handle them. Then again, maybe it wasn't her curves that were the problem. Chloe had a larger than life personality and when her heart-shaped lips parted, there was no telling what might come pouring out.
"When Pritchard promotes you on Monday—"
"Don't you mean if Pritchard promotes me?" Olivia corrected. "There's no guarantee."
"Whatever." As usual, Chloe was quick to wave off the voice of reason. "Pritchard practically promised you that partnership if you landed the Bianchi account, which you did. Besides, what else could he want to see you about?"
Olivia rolled her shoulders, trying to ease the tension that had taken up permanent residence. Under normal circumstances, she thrived under pressure. Too bad these weren't normal circumstances. Ever since Pritchard had sent her the cryptic meeting request, she'd been wound tighter than a Manhattan facelift. She deserved this promotion. She wanted this partnership so bad she could taste it. It tasted a hell of a lot like humble pie, which she'd be too happy to serve up to her family on a silver platter from Tiffany.
Chloe made a rude noise in the back of her throat and scrunched up her nose. "God knows it's not like the old toad to skip his Monday morning squash game. He's definitely up to something."
Olivia shot her friend a disapproving look. Pritchard wasn't that bad. Sure, he was a little temperamental, but he had a good heart and had always treated her fairly. He'd given her a shot five years ago and she'd stand by him as long as he did the same for her. Even so, with the meeting weighing on her mind, Olivia didn't know how she was going to get through the weekend. "Can we please talk about something else? I don't want to get my hopes up for nothing."
For good reason. Thrust into beauty pageants from the time she could walk, Olivia had been crowned a Dairy Princess, an Apple Blossom Princess, and a hundred other ridiculous things she didn't care to remember. But it made her parents happy and earned money for college. Win-win, right? Problem was, the more pageants she won, the less people actually saw her. Olivia became known as a pageant princess, nothing more, nothing less.
It didn't matter she'd had the highest GPA in her class or that she was the editor of the high school newspaper. No one cared that she'd started the civic club or volunteered at the food bank. It didn't even matter that she'd been accepted to Cornell. Any hope of being seen as more than a pretty face evaporated.
Back home, everyone assumed she would become some rich businessman's trophy wife and live in a stupid house in the Hamptons. Well, screw that. She was writing her own plan and she'd done pretty damn well for herself so far. She was successful, self-reliant, and happy. Mostly. All she needed was this promotion.
And for people not to assume she'd slept her way to the top.
"Well, he'd be stupid not to promote you," Chloe continued, unfazed. "You've been busting your ass for the last five years." She paused as the waitress dropped off their drinks: a dry martini for Olivia and a cosmopolitan for Chloe. "You deserve that promotion," she said, a wicked grin spreading across her face, "and a night of hot, dirty sex."
Choking on her drink, Olivia fixed her friend with a death glare she hoped would end the depressing conversation about her sex life, or notable lack thereof. She certainly didn't need a reminder that the only orgasms she'd had this year had come from a purple beaver vibrator.
"Seriously, Liv. You deserve, like, a whole weekend of raunchy sex," Chloe assured her, head bobbing up and down. "The dirtier the better."
"Charming." Olivia rolled her eyes and opened the top button on her blouse. Spring was in the air and at the front of the open air restaurant the glass windows had been rolled up, admitting a light breeze which kissed her skin as it floated across the bar. It was her favorite time of year, and she relished walking through the city's parks as they came to life at the end of a cold, slush-filled winter.
Of course, she could enjoy the changing season a lot more if Chloe would get off her back.
Guilt seized her at the thought. Chloe meant well and she was a good friend to put up with Olivia's ridiculous work schedule. Hell, without Chloe, she'd probably never leave the office. Their friendship was basically the only thing that could challenge her reputation as the office "Ice Queen"—not interested in making friends, definitely not interested in dating.
"Answer me this." Chloe's brown eyes sparkled with mischief and Olivia worked to suppress a groan. No need to guess where this line of questioning was headed. As if she'd read Olivia's mind, Chloe asked playfully, "When was the last time you got laid or even went on a date, Ice Queen?"
"Umm," she stalled. She knew the answer to the first question, but no way was she admitting that. As for the last date she'd been on? She really couldn't remember. Maybe Chad? He'd taken her to see the latest Hollywood thriller, which had totally sucked. It was their first and only date. "Last date? I went to the movies with Chad, that guy from the gym, last summer."
"Liv, that was two summers ago," Chloe returned quietly, a look of pity clouding her face.
"Oh, hell." Leaning back on her stool, she crossed her arms over her chest. Had it really been that long? Did it even matter? She was so close to reaching her goal. Dating could wait. She was only twenty-eight, after all, and she wasn't looking to get tied down any time soon. Not that it looked like she was in any danger of that anyway.
"You know what I think?" Chloe asked, not bothering to wait for a reply. "You need to adjust your expectations."
"And you're going to help me with that?"
"Take it from me," Chloe grumbled. "I've got a long list of one-night stands to prove that a night of great sex doesn't equal 'I do'. Why deny your carnal urges? Look around." She gestured to the crowd. "Are you really that oblivious to all this sexy man candy?"
"I appreciate a good looking guy as much as the next girl, but—"
"Bullshit," Chloe argued, crossing her arms and giving her ample breasts an unnecessary lift that was sure to turn a few heads.
"What? I do!"
"Oh, really?" Chloe smirked, locking eyes with Olivia. "Prove it, Ice Queen."
"Would you cut that out? What are you even talking about?"
"I dare you to seduce one of these delicious stud muffins," Chloe challenged, a lascivious grin transforming her face. "And I get to choose which one."
"Man candy? Stud muffins?" Olivia arched her brow. "Are you hungry? Do you need me to get you a snack?"
"I. Dare. You."
"You cannot be serious." Olivia scoffed, tapping her fingers idly on the table and avoiding Chloe's intense stare. "What are we, twelve? I am not going to have sex with some random guy on a dare."
"Your loss," Chloe chided, smiling coyly. "Don't you at least want to see what you're missing?"
Unable to deny her curiosity, she twisted in her chair, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man who'd inspired such a ballsy challenge. When her gaze settled on Chloe's choice, she was sorry she'd looked. The guy was insanely hot. Tall, broad shouldered, and oozing confidence, he was exactly the kind of guy she would be attracted to—if she were in the market for a one-night stand, which she wasn't. Still, it was impossible to ignore the slow burn moving south from her belly as she drank in his smoldering good looks.
Crap! His gaze swung toward her and she knew she'd been caught staring. Real smooth. She bit down on the inside of her cheek, refusing to shrivel under the heat of his gaze. She wasn't one of those girls. And judging by the light in his eyes, he kind of liked that. She couldn't quite make out the color, but their ravenous look left no doubt as to his intentions.
Olivia had never been a believer in lust at first sight, but apparently her body hadn't gotten the message. Like a lit fuse, desire raced through her, awakening urges that had been dormant too long. Maybe Chloe was doing her a favor after all. It had been a while, and the prospect of having those masculine hands wrapped around her body instead of the stem of a martini glass was promising.
* * *
Cole Bennett eyed his martini with a mixture of appreciation and discontent, trying to decide if he should order another. The martini was damn near perfect, but it wasn't exactly his drink of choice. He preferred a nice smooth scotch any day of the week, but what the hell. The night was young and he didn't have anywhere else to be. It also didn't hurt that he was getting top notch service from the busty, bottle blonde bartender he'd pegged for the actress/model type. He'd smile and tip her well, but that was as far as it would go. It was his first night back in New York, and he was determined to be on his best behavior.
More than anything, he was glad to be home. Home meant a New York slice and more time with his sister, Anna. Growing up, he'd always looked out for her, but thirty-five hundred miles had forced him to step back and recognize her independence. Although he grudgingly accepted her adulthood, it was comforting to know he was only a short drive away if she needed him.
Sure, there were certain things he'd miss about London, but his lifestyle was far better suited to the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple. It was no secret to anyone who knew him that he lived on the edge, with his penchant for fast cars, hard liquor, and high stakes. After all, life was meant to be lived and he was determined to go full throttle after what he wanted. It was that tenacity which had earned him his first million and almost ruined him in London, where going after what—or rather, who—he'd wanted had nearly cost him everything he'd worked so hard to build. That was a mistake he wouldn't be repeating, but it didn't mean he was going to change his lifestyle any time soon. He nearly laughed at the thought.
For years, Anna had been bugging him to settle down and start a brat pack of his own, but there was no way in hell that was happening. Cole Bennett didn't settle for anything. Besides, hadn't fantasizing about that happily-ever-after bullshit been what had burned him in London? He'd seen enough broken families, including his own, to know a fairytale when he saw one.
No, Cole liked his life just fine. He especially liked the hot blonde he'd been admiring for the last half hour. Too bad it was her sultry looking friend who was undressing him with her eyes.
He wasn't interested.
Cole set down his drink and focused on the blonde. She exuded class with a snug skirt that hugged her subtle curves and a hint of cleavage peeking through the open collar of her crisp white blouse. Just the thought of twisting his fingers in that honey-blond ponytail had his palms itching. And those legs. He had always been a leg man and hers were first class all the way.
Fortunately for his newfound resolve, she didn't look like the one-night stand type. She was completely focused on her friend and hadn't looked his way once. Nor had she looked at anyone else in the crowded bar.
There was a time when he would have jumped at the challenge, but he was older and wiser now and had seen firsthand what kind of trouble that could bring. There were plenty of women who were looking for a night of great sex, no more and no less, so why borrow trouble by screwing with the ones who wanted more?
Who was he kidding? If he sat there much longer, he'd have a full blown hard-on at the mere thought of slipping between those thighs. He needed to get that second drink, or a change of scenery.
Without warning, her stool swiveled and she met his stare straight on, as though she'd felt the heat of his gaze all along. There was no mistaking the burning desire that flared in her clear blue eyes while she stared at him unabashedly.
Maybe he'd been wrong about her after all. She was definitely interested, but would she act on the impulse?CHAPTER 2
Hoping to calm her unsteady nerves, Olivia sucked in a deep breath as she approached the bar. Was she really doing this? And, oh God, what if she made a complete fool of herself? What if he wasn't interested? Maybe she'd imagined the spark between them? She exhaled slowly.
Confidence in the bedroom had never been an issue for her, but she'd also never set out to seduce a complete stranger before. She was out of her league and it took all her self-restraint not to glance back at the table where Chloe was waiting for the check.
What was the big deal anyway? It wasn't like she'd be giving up her virginity, for crying out loud. Her v-card was long gone, no thanks to the ineptitude of Danny Reid and one highly overrated prom. This was just sex. As long as she remembered how to do it, things would be fine. Probably.
Excerpted from Once Upon a Dare by Jennifer Bonds, Heather Howland. Copyright © 2015 Jennifer Bonds. 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
## Not great but by no means bad. This was a bit frustrating for me. I get sexual attraction, I really do. But letting your boss undress you at work and then bend you over the conference table with people right outside the door? Come on! Both Olivia and Cole kept contradicting themselves. First Oliva, "No, no, no we can't, yet they did, over and over. And every time they "did it", she said "no more". Ha. Then Cole reiterating over and over how he doesn't want a relationship or a girlfriend, yet he keeps saying how they were meant to be together. How he didn't want her to see other guys. And we were left hanging over the whole London thing. He was heartbroken and devestated about Jaquelin dumping him enough to move to another country yet he said he'd only ever loved Olivia. Gah! Yep, sorry 2 1/2 stars was all I could manage.
Olivia couldn't be more surprised when at work she found out that her one-night stand is her new boss and person who stole her promotion. But her nickname Ice quin doesn't mean jack when she is in the same room with Cole so they start a secret affair. Emotions get very quickly involved and Coles intention to fix and control things ruins everything. I liked both Cole and Olivia, I was positively surprised by her action about her job decision. Together they made great powerful a successful couple. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Olivia Masterson is at the top of her advertising game. She is now expecting to be made partner to the firm. One night her friend and she went out together. Her friend has to drag her out because she is all work. Her friend dares her to find and seduce a stranger for one night. Cole Bennett is having a drink at the bar when he sees Olivia. Sparks fly between them, but Olivia slips out in the morning and doesn't say goodbye. When Olivia is called into a meeting with her boss, she is expected to be told that she has been promoted. Instead, she sees Cole and is told that he has been made partner. She feels totally betrayed but they are still wildly attracted to each other. Working in the office has never been hotter, but Cole can't help but to meddle in her job. It is something she has already told him to stay out of. Can Cole convince Olivia that he is proud of what she's accomplished and back off? I loved the story. Olivia is a strong woman and I really liked her. I received this book from Net Galley and Entangled Publishing for a honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
Once Upon a Date is a steamy workplace romance. The one night stand that got away turns up the next day. Fighting list and egos takes up almost as much time as their day jobs. It's naughty fun. Once Upon a Dare was a great way to immerse myself in a workplace romance with out the drama of real life. ☺ So kick off the offending heels, put your feet up, and cut loose with a Dare...
Loved this book! It's sexy and fun, with characters that made me care about their story. Olivia is a bit too rigid and focused on her career when a dare leads to a one night stand with Cole....then, on Monday morning when she thinks she's meeting with her boss to receive her promotion, instead she learns that Cole has taken her partner promotion..... This entertaining premise leads to an engaging and sexy novel as Cole and Olivia fight their attraction to each other, even while forced to work together. More importantly, Olivia struggles with her attraction to the man who took her job and thinks he knows what's best for her. If you enjoy the genre, you will love this book. I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author.
"Once Upon a Dare" is a quick read that follows Olivia Masterson and Cole Bennett. Olivia works unbelievably hard at her job for an advertising agency- so hard that she has no personal life. Her hard work is about to be recognized, because her boss suggested that she would be made partner if she closed this case, which she did with aplomb. She is out with her only friend (because she works so much she can't maintain friendships) to celebrate. Her boss scheduled an unlikely meeting on Monday, so Olivia is pretty sure the news will be good. Her friend dares her to let loose and have a one night stand. Although not usually Olivia's style and the fact that she hasn't even had a date in a few years, Olivia decides to go for it with the handsome stranger at the bar, Cole. Olivia sneaks out in the morning, seemingly never to hear from him again- it is New York City afterall. That is, until Monday morning's meeting when he is named the new partner and Olivia is supposed to show him the ropes (talk about the glass ceiling!!!). Cole has been working in London for the last several years and has never mixed business and pleasure. However, he can't get that one night with Olivia out of his head and might be breaking his own rules. He has come to NYC with lots of money to buy his way into partner, but he didn't know he'd be taking the job from Olivia (who, based on Cole's descriptions, may just be a pair of legs?). Anyway, my main issues with the book were Cole's perspectives. He seems shallow and misogynistic- and he is intent on pursuing Olivia, primarily based on her appearance. I get the lust thing, and I am OK with it to a point, but I would have liked a little more personality from the main characters early on to understand why they wanted to pursue the relationship. Also, Olivia is a really talented and hard worker whose efforts seem to be mostly ignored. This does get better, but it is a bit rough at places, especially early on. I guess I was hoping for a little more substance or something extra (beyond the physical), particularly on Cole's end. Overall, it was fast-paced and a quick/light read. I think this definitely has a good standing for audiences who are looking for steamy romances stemming from lust with a workplace addition. I am not sure how much I liked it due to the above. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
I LOVED IT!
I loved the premise of this book, a dare, a one night stand between two feisty people who don't yet realise they are work colleagues and the resulting fallout when they realise they are. Olivia was career driven, always needing to prove her ability to make it on her own merits. She gets the job done with good old fashioned hard work, never relying on her looks or gender to further her career. On the eve of a meeting with her boss where his is expected to offer her a partnership in the advertising firm she works for, she is nervous and excited. Her whole focus has been on work and achieving partnership has been her only goal. When her friend dares her to let loose for just one night and enjoy herself with a one night stand, she takes the leap and falls into bed with new-in-town Cole, both unaware that they are working for the same firm. After one night of incredible, delicious, panty-melting hot sex, they go their separate ways. Never in a million years did Olivia think that she would see Cole again, but when she walks into her bosses office on the premise of being offered the partnership, her dreams come crashing down as she is told that Cole is now the new partner and her new work colleague. Cole has just moved from London, buying a share in the business and has unwittingly taken Olivia's place as partner. He is just as shocked as Olivia, but he is also pleased as the night they shared left an indelible impression on him and he is only too happy to have another opportunity to reignite their obvious connection. When he meets with her resistance, he is unperturbed and is determined to have her in his bed again. When he realises the cause of her resistance and cold shoulder attitude towards him, he goes out of his way to try to make things right, albeit clumsily. He has his heart in the right place and I loved the way he pushed Olivia to admit to the undeniable attraction they had between them. I loved both of the these characters. I loved Olivia's sassiness, the way she pushed back, giving as good as she got and I really enjoyed the playful banter and dialogue they shared. They were both strong characters and personalities and the suited each other perfectly. I loved Cole and his bigheartedness, he was only trying to do the right thing and I enjoyed how he chased Olivia and opened her heart for love. I thought the progression of the relationship was well developed, past the sizzling hot chemistry in the bedroom into more intimate experiences, illustrating a deeper connection. Overall this was a fun, quick read, well paced and enjoyable. Both characters were easy to connect to and I felt their connection to each other. I look forward to reading more by this author.
4 steamy, engaging, fun, panty-melting stars! I love the Brazen collection from Entangled. I have discovered so many amazing authors because of the Brazen collection. When I was given the opportunity to receive an ARC of Once Upon a Dare I did not think about it twice before accepting it. I always love to discover knew authors and I am always looking for my next memorable reading escape. I am so glad that I gave Jennifer Bonds a chance. Her Risky Business series is off to a wonderful start and I can't wait to see what's next! Once Upon a Dare, by Jennifer Bonds, is a forbidden office romance that will leave you fanning yourself hours after you have finished reading it! Olivia and Cole have an explosive chemistry that will keep you glued to your seat from beginning to end! Olivia Masterson has big dreams of being promoted and she knows she's one step closer to achieving her dreams until Cole Bennett walks into her life and turns it upside down. They may have shared a night of passion, but when Olivia comes face-to-face with Cole again it's not under good circumstances. As days go by, Olivia and Cole will need to work side-by-side. The intense chemistry between them is so hot that even the Ice Queen of Pritchard and Associates is starting to feel the heat. Will she be able to resist Cole or will she give their relationship a chance? Once Upon a Dare was fun, sexy and a real page-turning reading escape! The author did an amazing job with her first novel. It did not put it down at all and even if the characters got on my nerves sometimes (Cole!!!!!) I was cheering for them to find their HEA. I can't deny that the chemistry between Olivia and Cole was freakin' hot!!! Jennifer Bonds knows how to write some pretty steamy scenes!!! *Fans Self* I loved Olivia. She knew what she wanted and she was determined to achieve all of her goals. She has worked so hard to get where she is and she deserves all the success that is directed her way. Cole's arrival was another obstacle in her life she had to overcome, but it turned out that he melted her heart ... And, her panties too! :P I really liked Cole as well, but I have to admit that sometimes he was a bit too cold. I know that Olivia was driving him crazy, but I found that under the circumstances that he got the job that she so badly wanted, he could have been more understanding about her behavior. Overall, it was a great book that I would recommend. If you are looking for a forbidden office romance that is sexy and fun there is no doubt in my mind that Once Upon a Dare is exactly what you are looking for! I'm very curious to see if Chloe will get her story next. She's Olivia best friend and she's really funny and lovable. I give Once Upon a Dare, by Jennifer Bonds, 4 steamy, engaging, fun, panty-melting stars!
I enjoy reading a debut by an author because I feel like I'm in the know, on the brink of discovering a gem. And I have with this book. Jennifer Bonds is an exciting contemporary romance author to look out for. (She's also a published the Crossroads Academy series (YA) as JJ Bonds.) Once Upon a Dare was fantastic story built upon a familiar premise -- the office romance. It was a book that took me only a few hours to get through because I wanted to see how it would end. What makes this book a great contemporary romance is, of course, the chemistry between Olivia and Cole. They are perfectly matched to each other, intellectually and physically. One person does not have the advantage over the other in any aspect of their lives. That's what makes the story exciting because with such parity comes the question of "who's going to win the battle of wills?" True to their nature, neither backs down from the other's challenges. And the physical chemistry -- I mean, come on. It was hot, people....hot!. From their first interaction, you knew it was going to be good. They were blowing each other's minds in the bar before they even got to the hotel room to blow, well, each other. A fast-paced, sexy story with a hot guy and a gorgeous woman. Who can ask for anything more than that from a contemporary romance? I do have to say, however, that an office romance is always a tricky situation, especially between a superior and a subordinate. It seemed to me that Cole was the constant pursuer, never accepting no for an answer and stacking the deck in their professional interactions to make sure that he got his way. I would have liked Olivia to have been less strenuous (or less constant) in her resistance to Cole's advances. Yes, her rejection of Cole was necessary for the tension and conflict in the story. But, for me, if Olivia initiated more of the sexy times, it would have made the story feel less like a sexual harassment lawsuit waiting to happen. Overall, I think that this book told a fantastic story. Not just a fantastic story for a debut contemporary romance author. A fantastic story, period. I'm definitely looking forward to more from this author. (Perhaps a story for Chloe. I just loved her character.) Reviewer's Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All errors are my own. This review was excerpted from my book blog.
I love to read and this particular book was right up my alley. It was a fun, entertaining, steamy, and quick read! It was easy to relate to Cole and Olivia, and their witty back and forth banter was thoroughly enjoyable. Both characters came across as strong and knowing what they want (at least professionally), while still being likable. The book starts off with a one night stand dare that the reader just knows is going to end up being something far move complicated, and the author does not disappoint. Olivia is up for a promotion and walks into the office of her boss only to come face to face with her one night stand, the man she spent the most steamy night of her life with.... and he got the partnership she wanted and has basically given up any semblance of a social life for, as she's worked towards it with single-minded focus. Things take off from there as Olivia and Cole cannot contain their feelings or fight their off the charts chemistry in the office, but you'll have to read it to find out where it all leads! Definitely a great first entry into this genre for a brand new author, and I'll be keeping an eye out to see what she brings next. Highly recommend!
Wowza--the chemistry between Olivia and Cole is off the charts in this one! Once Upon a Dare was a quick and steamy read, and the start to a brand new series I'll definitely be reading more from. I really liked both Liv and Cole--they're both career-minded and driven, drawn to each other but not looking for any kind of a real relationship. Cole's been burned in love and doesn't want to repeat the performance, and Olivia's just trying to overcome the gender bias she faces at work and make partner as she knows she deserves. Throw in a alcohol-fueled dare, an unforgettable one night stand, and then have Cole waltz into the promotion Liv thought was hers, and you've got the basis for one heck of a story. It's an office romance...plus. There were times I was reminded that this is Ms. Bond's first book--occasionally the pacing seems a bit off, and the relationship's black moment felt like an over-the-top overreaction on Olivia's part. (Yes, I get why she was upset over what he did. But her response was above and beyond what was needed--to accuse the guy of never listening to her? It was too much.) It wasn't enough to stop me from turning the pages like a fiend, though. Overall, this was a quick and fun read. Jennifer Bonds' Risky Business has officially been added to my "series to watch for" list! Rating: 4 stars / B+ I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 stars Once Upon a Dare was a fun, steamy and entertaining read. The writing is well done and the chemistry between the characters is smoking! Looking forward to reading more from Jennifer Bonds in the near future.
Olivia Masterson is a workaholic. She needs to prove that she can be successful on her own. She won't take help. A dare from her friend leads to a one night stand with a handsome man. He brings her sexy back. Too bad she can't see him again. Imagine her shock when she find out that he's her new boss. He's been made a partner in the advertising firm. The job should have been hers. Could her life get more messed up? Olivia and Cole have a love-hate relationship. It made Once Upon a Dare a sizzling read. The chemistry between them is amazing. Olivia is a strong woman. I liked her feisty attitude. She may be wildly attracted to Cole but she won't let him control her. Cole is a determined Alpha. He wants what he wants and won't back down. He hides any vulnerability with his arrogant demands. He really doesn't understand his lover. I'm was glad that he finally realized and accepted that he was wrong and made amends. Jennifer Bonds wrote a sensual and passionate story that was impossible to put down. It was a fast paced and passionate story. I'm looking forward to reading more of her books.
Olivia Masterson was excited because being summoned to her bosses office could only mean one thing. She was finally being made a partner. When she walked in she was shocked to see Cole Bennett sitting there. Cole was her one night stand from Friday night! As her boss had just announced to her, Cole was the new partner. WHAT? How was she going to work under someone she'd slept with, who clearly wants to do so again and who'd taken the job that was supposed to be hers? Super sexy! The entire story line had a sexy vibe running just under the surface. When Cole spoke in that sexy voice, I could hear it in my head. Delicious! I admired Olivia's "I want to succeed on my own" attitude. She had the skills and everyone knew it, even if it was hard for Cole to fully understand it all at first. Great story that was very well written. I look forward to reading more from this talented author. Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed for Read Your Writes Book Reviews by Kim For the past five years, Olivia Masterson has been working her butt off at Pritchard and Associates. She has been so focused on proving that she's more than just a pretty face that she has gained the reputation of being the “Ice Queen”. Rumor has it that Olivia is finally going to make partner. In order to celebrate the upcoming event, she and her friend Chloe go out to celebrate. Chloe ends up daring Olivia to pick up a guy in the bar and have a sexual escapade with him. After a wonderful mind blowing night, Olivia sneaks out, never to see the guy again. To her surprise, not only does Olivia not get the job, but she loses it to Cole Bennett, the man she had the one night stand with. Now to be fair, the two had never met each other and Cole had no idea Olivia even wanted the job. But Olivia blamed him all the same for taking her job. Set in the competitive world of advertising with the forbidden office romance as the trope, Once Upon a Dare was a hot and fun read. I really liked Jennifer Bonds' writing style. There’s no question I will read her again. I wanted to turn the page to see what was going to happen next. Olivia was so hot and cold. “I want you. I don't want you.” The back and forth was really irritating. Once Olivia got herself together, the book got better for me. Cole is actually the kind of guy I usually fall for, but surprisingly, I didn’t fall in love with him. He’s been hurt by love before and has his sweet, tender moments, with a little cockiness included in the mix. The two actually are really good together. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jennifer has in store for this series. **Received a copy from Entangled Publishing for an honest and unbiased opinion.** Rating: 3.5
Imagine that something for which you've worked and slaved almost your entire life, and have been all but guaranteed that you'll receive ... goes to someone else. Now imagine that that "someone else" turns out to be the man with whom you had a flaming one-night stand, but only after a friend dared you to do so. You'll be able to sympathize, then, with Olivia Masterson, whose stellar advertising career was just about to result in her being offered a partnership at her place of work, when she receives news that backhands her with the size of the betrayal: Cole Bennett, recent transplant to New York from London and an extraordinarily talented and exacting businessman, has been offered her partnership. Which he accepts. If only she hadn't accepted her friend's dare to seduce him in a bar just days earlier. And if only their night together hadn't been so steamy and fulfilling, especially after the dry spell through which she voluntarily put herself as she worked her way up the corporate ladder. Now, Cole is her boss, and she refuses to be known (again) as the woman who slept her way to the top ... though the sparks between them continue to fly. Entangled Publishing's Brazen imprint presents the erotic romance ONCE UPON A DARE by Jennifer Bonds, newly released just this month. Olivia is an excellent representation of the driven working woman, flouting relationships, hobbies, personal interests, and anything else that might interfere even fractionally with the high-powered career she wants for herself. Who among us hasn't gone after something with -impassioned dedication, especially (as in Olivia's case) to prove herself (to herself and -everyone else) that she's "not just another pretty face"? When Cole happens on the scene, as deft in the bedroom as he is in the office, Olivia immediately feels threatened by what he represents: the alpha male, a control freak who knows precisely what he wants in every facet of life and won't back down from a fight. As her foil, her opposite, and nearly (for the majority of the book) her only antagonist, Cole fits the mold with excellence, showcasing Olivia's obsession with her work and her single-minded devotion to achieving success without help from anyone or anything else (thank you very much). The Brazen imprint is usually so hot with sexual tension and intimate lovemaking that the very pages steam. This time around, though, the heat level was a bit of a disappointment, with sex scenes that felt rushed and forced rather than extrapolated and enjoyed. There's no denying the attraction between Olivia and Cole, in theory, but putting it into practice on the page falls short. The book also struggles with being "wordy," for lack of a better term. There's far less dialogue than usual between the characters, and much more internal ruminating, reminiscing, remembering, and pondering, along with more summarized back story than is necessary for the immediate story to make sense. All of that tends to slow the forward momentum of the work. A tamer Brazen title, ONCE UPON A DARE nonetheless features an office romance that, refreshingly, doesn't turn out the way you might predict. # # # Author: Jennifer Bonds Title: ONCE UPON A DARE Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Brazen) ISBN: 978-1-63375-253-5 Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this work from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
First off, let me feed my coverwhoring ways - isn't this cover sexy! I love it!! Little known fact about me, I used to work in advertising and marketing for a national grocer... so when I saw that this was about someone who works in advertising I was soooooo intrigued! Now what Olivia and Cole do is far outside of what I did for my company, but I really loved the setting the story is in. Ok, as you can see I didn't fall in love with this book, but it was good. What I liked about it far outweighs what I didn't like. Bonds' writing is top notch. The characters are fluid and well done. The flow of the story is good and the content is great. The story itself is well done. What I didn't like was Olivia... I didn't get her and I didn't connect with her. I couldn't understand why she did what she did through the story. Towards the end I started to get it, but at that point I didn't feel invested in her. Cole on the otherhand, for some reason, I liked and felt invested in, but not enough so to get to the gotta have it gotta finish it feeling while reading. To sum it up - good story, great writing, characters didn't do it for me.
Olivia has worked hard to make partner at the advertising firm so imagine her surprise when the man from her one night stand gets her job! The physical attraction is strong between then but work-related they clash. When Cole oversteps his bounds by not accepting Olivia's rules/boundaries, Olivia quits the company and Cole. Cole is miserable and needs to figure out a way to win Olivia back. *I received this book in exchange for an honest review. *
Once Upom reads like a good pick me up and / or great piece of chocolate. Will cure anything that ills you. Fantastic Writing **, ***A gifted copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*** This is a delightful read that is the story of how two advertising execs who find they are attracted to each other and how that attraction blows hot, hard and fast. Advertising executive Olivia Masterson loves her job and is considered to be an expert in her field. She never does anything fun, or adventurous or even thrilling, she just works, works, and dare I say it again--works. She believes her time from all that hard work is finally about to pay off HUGE with an offer of partnership in the very near future. Olivia’s friend dare’s her to break her ice queen façade so she indulgences in a one night stand with a handsome, hot Cole Bennett and that one night stand was filled with hot steamy sex. That night was filled with things she had never expected and Liv let her guard down and felt free to be herself. To let go, to “let her hair down” because she never dreamed she would see Cole again…famous last thoughts/words. Well that all changed, when Cole Bennett is the new partner in the ad agency that she works for—and her new boss. Talk about mood killer! Monday morning all hell breaks loose inside the minds of them both when it becomes apparent that not only did Olivia not get the anticipated promotion, but Cole had been hired specifically for that partnership instead! So begins an Office Battle Royale of all time between Olivia and Cole, fueled by the lust, passion, and the beginning stirrings of love they can't deny for one another no matter how hard they may try. Oh my the witty quips they throw back and forth is so entertaining, I wish I could hear it in person live, I bet it would be even funnier because reading it, I was in stitches. There are some twists and some emotional turns that make you wonder how this story will turn out but as the reader, you will want to stay going all the way. Their relationship is a roller coaster of emotions and feelings to the realization what they have isn’t just sex anymore, which leads to hiding their feelings from one another in order to not give that other person power to hurt them. Their journey is so broken, bumpy but their love really does win out in the end. I loved this story and loved how it showed everything, from the physical to the emotional -the nitty gritty to the shine. Loved the secondary cast of characters too & would love to read more in this world. My rating: 4.3 stars ****
3.5 I don't get out much stars Crowned Ice Queen of Pritchard and Associates ad agency, Olivia Masterson finds herself in a NY bar contemplating her imminent promotion to partner. She’s destined to get it, she’s worked her arse off to get it, she is that archetypal dull girl after all. So in complete contrast to her usual behaviour, she is challenged by her BF to launch her inhibitions and enjoy a one night stand. Cole Bennett was fresh home from a stint in London, and about to walk into a prized position. Contemplating his new adventure in a bar, he spots Olivia across his martini and commences an eyeball conversation. Needless to say, Dirty Martini’s were the order of the day, and the two commence the one night two step. What neither of them expected was to see each other at their workplace the next morning. What Olivia didn’t expect, was to be pipped at the post for her Partner status by one carnal Cole. This was my first read by this author, and I can say she certainly conjured up a great start to this new series. I certainly engaged with the characters, whilst they romped their way through this story. Olivia was able to relax and let herself go with Cole, having been a stalwart throughout her working life. But she didn’t expect any hand outs, or leg ups, and was constantly concerned about her perception of her colleagues. Cole was smitten, having been an illusive hustler in the relationship department. He had been blindsided by Olivia, and it was great to watch him melt….until the end…which was a tad gooey for my palate. ARC generously provided by entangled publishing in exchange for an honest review..
First I must say that I love stories with strong confident women. They prove who they are, what they can accomplish. And Olivia was definitely a strong heroine. She did not cater or back down to anyone, tried to prove she was more than just a pretty face. I liked Cole. He was a I want-what-I-want-no-matter-the-consequences type of guy. But up against a strong woman like Olivia, he was challenged. Their chemistry was off the charts. Their mutual respect for each other was endearing. I liked the way their circumstances played out. Great quick paced smoking hot read! I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.
Advertising guru Olivia Masterson is all work and no play. But on the eve of earning her dream promotion, her best friend dares her to drop her ice queen façade for one night and seduce a sexy stranger. Olivia’s worked her ass off to get where she is—why the hell not? Cole Bennett never thought he’d run into his feisty one-night stand at the office, furious that he stole her promotion. No matter how hard she tries to ice him out, they can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves…or their clothes on. Olivia's talented—maybe even more than Cole—so when his dropped hints to the boss net her a promotion of her own, he’s ready to celebrate...until she accuses him of fueling office rumors that she slept her way to the top. She wants to earn her own way? Fine. So what the hell does a guy have to do to permanently melt an ice queen? Review: Wonderful debut for this new Author! I love the office affair stories, so I picked this one up to review. Though there were parts that were predictable, like you know Cole is going to show up in Olivia's office. I found the characters so engaging that anything that seemed predictable was not so glaring in the overall feel of the book. Both characters are sexy, hard-working and smart. The chemistry was definitely there from the one-night stand until the ending and the stories satisfying resolution. The sexy scenes were wonderfully done and will get your blood-a-pumpin. The fast-pace of the story made this a really quick read, though I can see this as a perfect rainy day, stay in bed and read kind of a story. I predict we will see more great romantic stories from this Author. 4Stars
A dare that Olivia acts on in a bar, for a one night stand with Cole. A hot night of incredible sex. Only to find out Cole is the new partner in the same company that Olivia works for, that she was vying for that same position. So now you have one hot office romance. The only problem is Cole doesn't date for more than a week and Olivia is still hurt with the promotion. Loved these characters, the sizzling attraction between these two is very hot. Hot sex scenes. This is a new author for me and can't wait for more from her. I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.
3.5 stars--ONCE UPON A DARE is the latest adult, contemporary romance novel from new author Jennifer Bonds. This is advertising phenom Olivia Masterson and Cole Bennett’s storyline. Olivia Masterson is an advertising executive with an ‘all work and no play’ attitude, so when her best friend and co-worker Chloe dares her to seduce the beautiful stranger at the bar, Olivia spends a sex filled night with a one night stand-a no strings attached evening in bed with a man name Cole Bennett. Fast forward to Monday morning, where Olivia hopes to be awarded partnership in the advertising firm of Pritchard and Associates, Olivia will come face to face with the agency’s new partner-her one night stand-Cole Bennett. Anger, humiliation and betrayal are only a few of the heartbreaking emotions throwing Olivia into a spiral. Believing she was passed over for a man, Olivia begins work on a plan of her own. Cole Bennett had no idea the woman with whom he had sex is an executive in the firm of which he is now partner. Her actions and humiliation at the knowledge that she had been passed over for Cole find our hero confused but his attention to and need for Olivia becomes all consuming. Cole wants Olivia in both the bedroom and boardroom, but Olivia knows that sex with the boss will no doubt, in the end, destroy her career and reputation. When a once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself, Cole and Olivia must work together on the latest campaign that will prove that she is more than worthy of partnership material but at what cost with the partnership come? The relationship between Cole and Olivia is one of immediate attraction. There is plenty of sexual tension between our couple that does not go unnoticed by their fellow employees and coworkers. But Olivia is a feminist at heart, and no matter what Cole does to improve Olivia’s chances at making partnership at work, Olivia sees nothing but Cole’s interference with her upwardly mobile status. There is a distinct feminist ideal running throughout the storyline that finds our heroine butting heads with Cole at every opportunity. The continuous push and pull of the relationship was dizzying. The $ex scenes are sensual, intimate and provocative. The secondary characters include Olivia’s boss and coworkers, as well as her best friend Chloe. Chloe’s need to find a man for Olivia puts all men in direct competition with Cole Bennett who believes that he and Olivia are meant to be. Cole’s sister Anna pushes him to make things right knowing that Olivia is the woman who has stolen her brother’s heart. ONCE UPON A DARE is an entertaining but oft times frustrating read. Olivia’s need and overwhelming drive to make it on her own was a bit of a distraction at times. Cole’s take charge attitude pushed our heroine one too many times and in this the relationship was a roller coaster of emotions. Olivia and Cole are a passionate couple caught up in an emotional situation.