"The Bet is a sizzling hot page turner! I couldn't put it down." - New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett
Jace "the Jet" Benning is a legend on the football field. And off. He has the arm, the charm, and the reputation of being the hottest player in the league.
Too bad Dr. Alessandra Mastrazacoma is not impressed.
With a busy schedule and a bruised heart, Alessandra doesn't have time to date, but when she is lured into making a friendly bet with her best friend, she finds herself agreeing to go out with the next guy that asks...and to give him three shots, three dates, before pulling the plug.
Jace also has a friendly wager with his friends going, and it involves making sure the slightly klutzy, but very pretty, doctor will be his date to the biggest night in sports. With two wagers and two hearts on the line, will Aly and Jace win or are they betting to lose?
About the Author
Elizabeth Hayley is actually "Elizabeth" and "Hayley," two friends who love reading romance novels to obsessive levels. This mutual love prompted them to put their English degrees to good use by penning their own. The product is Pieces of Perfect, their debut novel. They learned a ton about one another through the process, like how they clearly share a brain and have a persistent need to text each other constantly (much to their husbands' chagrin).
They live with their husbands and kids in a Philadelphia suburb. Thankfully, their children are still too young to read.
Elizabeth Hayley's writing motto is best captured by the words of Patrick Dennis: "I always start with a clean piece of paper and a dirty mind."
Read an Excerpt
By Elizabeth Hayley
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Sarah Glasgow and Shauna Johnson
All rights reserved.
Jace followed the hospital room numbers down the hall and around the corner until he came to 3002. He knocked twice and then heard James's bored voice say to come in. "Think fast," Jace said, tossing the autographed football to the sixteen-year-old who was resting in bed.
James grasped the ball between his hands. "You're lucky I've got quick reflexes," he said. "You always go around firing passes at sick kids?" He pulled the headphones from his ears and set his phone on the table near the bed.
"Just the ones I know have good hands. And besides, you're not that sick." Jace moved toward the bed and gave James a friendly handshake. He'd met the teen a year ago when Jace had first begun helping with a charity run by one of Jace's teammates. James was a quarterback for a local high school football team, or had been before his diagnosis. Jace had instantly connected with him.
"How you feeling?" Jace asked. He hadn't seen him since James had surgery to remove the cancerous bone in his lower leg.
James shrugged. "About as good as can be expected, I guess, considering I have a metal rod in my leg."
Jace took a seat in the chair. "That's badass. You're basically like Wolverine now."
James laughed, but Jace could tell it was half-hearted.
"You'll be back on the field in no time."
James flipped the ball around between his hands. "Holy shit," he said, his face lighting up as he noticed the names on the ball. "Is this the whole team?"
Leaning back in the chair, Jace nodded.
"Sweet! Tell everyone thanks for me."
"I will," Jace said.
The two talked football and watched a little TV before they heard a knock at the door a while later.
"Come in," James said.
A woman in blue scrubs entered the room at a frenzied pace and made her way to the computer against the wall without making eye contact with them. She put down the chart she'd been studying and then put her fingers on the keyboard. "Morning, James," she said as she typed away.
"Hey, Doctor Maz," James replied as he leaned back against his pillow.
Jace studied the doctor as she scrolled through the computer. Well, the back of her at least. The white lab coat was far from formfitting, but he could tell it hid a pert ass and a thin frame.
Finally, the doctor turned around and faced them, opening her mouth to speak but words seeming to die on her tongue. She blinked a few times before trying again. "I, um, sorry, I ... I didn't realize ..." Her hand gestured toward Jace briefly before she pulled it back to her side. He watched her take a deep breath before she began again. "I wasn't aware you had company. I would've ... greeted you."
Greeted me? Who talks like that? Jace had to admit, he was enjoying how flustered he was clearly making this woman. This fairly attractive woman — now that he could get a good look at her. She didn't look older than twenty-six, though she probably had to be since she was a doctor.
Her black-framed glasses weren't exactly the picture of fashion, she wore no makeup that he could discern, and her hair was pulled back with the type of hair tie he had only ever seen on middle school girls. But there was an appeal there Jace couldn't quite put his finger on. He'd bet what was under the scrubs was more alluring.
"No worries," Jace said as he stood and extended his hand toward her, wanting to see how she'd react to the small bit of contact.
She cleared her throat slightly before rigidly extending her hand and shaking it harder than necessary.
"I'm Alessandra Mastrazacoma, one of James's doctors. I just started working with James," she said, her voice professional.
"Jace Benning," he replied, trying to figure out what the fuck she'd just said her name was.
She withdrew her hand abruptly, which made him realize he'd held it longer than would be considered normal.
"Nice to meet you. How do you know James?" she asked.
"Through a charity I work for. Victory for Kids," he added.
She fidgeted with her hands a bit before she crossed her arms over her chest. Which only served to show what a nice chest she had. Not porn-star fake, but large enough to fill out an outfit. Jace realized he was likely staring and quickly lifted his eyes.
Her head tilted slightly, but she didn't comment. "Oh, that's great," she said, seeming genuinely interested. "Do you volunteer sometimes or do you work for them full-time?"
"He can't work for them full-time," James interjected.
Jace glanced at James and laughed softly.
Doctor ... whatever her name was looked confused.
"You don't know who he is, do you?" James asked her.
"Should I?" she answered.
"Jace Benning," James said slowly, obviously hoping the gradual pronunciation of Jace's full name would help ring a bell. It didn't. "Of the Jersey Commanders."
"I don't really follow baseball," she said.
"Football," Jace corrected with an amused smile. "I'm a quarterback." Her cluelessness was almost cute.
"Sorry," she said, though Jace guessed she really wasn't. She tucked a loose strand of brown hair behind her ear. Jace noticed there were others that weren't up in her ponytail, but for some reason she left those alone. "I've never heard of you."
Jace shrugged, a slight smirk crossing his mouth. "No biggie. I haven't heard of you either." He paused to let the joke sink in, but it didn't seem to. "What did you say your name was again?" he asked.
"It seriously sounds like your last name is Masters of Coma. Did that make it difficult to get a job as a doctor?" He laughed, hoping to alleviate some of the awkwardness that seemed to be building. Her blank expression told him his joke had completely backfired.
* * *
Alessandra stared at ... whatever his name was. She knew his type. Ruggedly athletic, boyish charm, got whatever he wanted because he knew how to flash his dimples and do ... whatever people like him did with a ball. She'd gone to college with enough guys like that — guys who were good enough to be tutored by her behind closed doors, but wouldn't so much as wave to her across the quad between classes. And now this asshole was making fun of her name and career? To hell with him.
"Actually," she said, "getting this job was fairly easy. There weren't any other applicants who graduated at the top of their class and had multiple articles published in a medical journal."
His eyebrows lifted. "I was kidding," he said to her before turning to James. "Is she always this serious?"
"Usually," James answered.
Alessandra rolled her eyes, suddenly hoping there was an emergency elsewhere so she could leave. And wasn't that a great thing for a doctor to think: wishing for medical emergencies so she could escape the hot guy she was a bumbling idiot around? No wonder she was still single. She seriously needed to work on her social skills.
It shouldn't matter what this guy thought of her anyway. So what if he had broad shoulders, messy blond hair, and a short beard to match? She wasn't into the muscular, athletic type. That thought actually calmed her a bit. "I need to go." So much for calm.
The confused stares of both guys told her they noticed her awkward attempt at leaving.
She plastered a smile on her face. "I have a few more patients I need to see before lunch." She could hear how abrupt her departure sounded, but she figured they would just attribute it to her busy schedule. "The nurse will be in later to do some blood work, and then I'll be back in to review the results with you."
"Okay. Thanks, Dr. Maz."
She smiled at James before turning on her heel to walk out. But as she turned, she found herself colliding with the privacy curtain that was drawn halfway around James's bed. Instead of stepping back and righting herself, she irrationally panicked and tangled herself even more in the damned fabric.
"Whoa. Hang on. I got ya."
Alessandra cursed her misfortune as she felt strong hands grip her hips through the curtain and halt her flailing. There was absolutely nothing sexy about making an ass of oneself, she reminded herself. Being manhandled held even less of an appeal. She was so busy convincing herself of those things, she didn't immediately register that he had freed her from the fabric prison.
His eyebrows were drawn together, his hands now on her biceps as he looked at her as though she were a skittish animal.
How has this all gone so wrong so quickly?
"You okay?" he asked.
"Yes," she squealed. She cleared her throat and stepped away from him. "Yes," she repeated, more firmly this time. "I'm fine."
"If you say so." His response was accompanied with a smirk that made her hate him a little. Why wouldn't he make the most of another chance at poking fun of her? His type always did.
"I do." The assertiveness that had gotten her through med school and into a highly sought after fellowship oozed through her veins. "See you later, James." She stuck out her hand toward Jace, who shook it, amusement still written all over his face. "I apologize, but I've forgotten your name. Though I doubt we'll see much of each other, so it probably doesn't matter much. Have a good day."
And with that, she turned and left the room — this time managing to avoid the curtain. She made it two steps down the hall before she heard a deep voice follow her out. "Bye, Dr. Coma."
Alessandra wasn't sure she'd ever come to hate someone so quickly. But Jake ... Jack ... James, no, James is the patient ... whatever his name was was definitely hate-worthy. She did her best not to stomp as she made her way down the hall, taking deep breaths to try to get herself under control. Which worked well up until Brian Mercer rounded the corner.
Her head swiveled as she frantically searched for a place to hide. It was bad enough he had to work in the same hospital she did, he had absolutely no right being on her floor. By the time she stopped twisting her head to locate an escape route, she noticed that Brian had stopped directly in front of her.
She felt her face flame red as a solitary thought popped into her head. This is it. This is how it ends. Because if nearly face-planting in front of a star athlete was embarrassing, looking like a crazed loon in the middle of a hospital in front of your ex-boyfriend was drop-dead-on-the-spot mortifying.
Alessandra barely managed to keep herself from cringing. "Sandy" had been his pet name for her, and when they'd first met, she'd been too enthralled with the handsome med student to tell him she loathed nicknames. And she couldn't have very well told him to stop calling her that after she'd allowed it, so that's what she'd been: Sandy. Dr. Coma was sounding better and better. "Hi, Brian," she squeaked after realizing she'd gone too long without responding.
He shoved his hands into the pockets of his scrubs and rocked back on his heels like the cocky asshole he was. "How ya been? I'd heard you were doing your fellowship here but hadn't seen you around."
Alessandra wished they'd been able to keep the streak going. "I've been doing well. Just working with patients. With cancer." Oh God. Alessandra wondered how she'd been able to get a perfect score on her SATs with the vocabulary she was currently exhibiting.
Brian's mouth twisted into a sardonic smile. The jerk.
"How have you been?" Alessandra forced herself to ask.
"Good as well. Also working with patients." He held up his left hand. "Got married a year ago. We're expecting twins in September."
Alessandra felt her brain disconnecting from her body. The poor organ tried to hang in there, but it was a losing battle. Desperation was setting in.
"How about you? Married? Kids?"
Maybe she'd imagined the extra emphasis on the last word. Odds were he wasn't trying to reopen the wound he'd created years ago. But it didn't matter. All she knew was that she had to find a way out of there. Looking around again, she saw only one other person in the hallway walking toward them. Complete and utter panic was really the only excuse she had for what she did next. Because there was no way on this earth she'd ever have grabbed ... that guy who'd been visiting James, and pulled him closer to her. No way she would have looked up at him and said, "Hey, honey. This is a nice surprise." And she definitely wouldn't have lifted up onto her toes and kissed him.
Not if she'd been of sound mind and body.
She'd meant it to be just a quick peck. Something that would signal a simple hello between lovers. But for as surprised as her rescuer had initially looked, he'd certainly recovered quickly. Because as she attempted to pull away from him, his arms flew around her waist and pulled her more tightly against him. His lips parted slightly and his tongue darted out to rub over her lips.
The moan that left her was a sound of surprise and nothing more. The way her body tingled was an aftereffect of the high-stress situation. And the way her hands rubbed over the hard planes of his chest was ... okay, she couldn't really explain that one.
He pulled back slowly, and leaned his forehead against hers as he smiled at her. "Hi."
Alessandra came back to herself with a start. She jerked away from him and smoothed her hands down her lab coat. "Yes, ahem, hi." She resisted the urge to rub her hand over her mouth, but just barely. Casting a quick look at Brian, Alessandra noticed that he wasn't looking at her at all. His eyes were all over the Thor look-alike with a mouth that should be outlawed.
"I can't believe it."
"You're Jace Benning. Dude, I'm such a fan. This is incredible."
In the year and a half they'd spent together, Alessandra had never heard Brian utter the word "dude." And she wished she hadn't heard it now. Though she was thankful that he'd supplied her kissing partner's name. Introducing them would have been a special kind of awkward if he hadn't.
Jace extended his hand toward Brian. "That's me. And you are?" Jace slung an arm around Alessandra's shoulders. She couldn't help the eye roll and hoped Brian hadn't noticed.
"Brian. I used to date Sandy."
Jace looked over at her, his forehead wrinkled in confusion. "Who's Sandy?"
She reached up to where his hand hung off her shoulder and, under the guise of taking hold of it, pinched him. Hard. "That's what Brian used to call me."
Jace winced, whether from the pinch or the nickname Alessandra wasn't sure. "Oh. You don't look like a Sandy to me."
"Maybe because I'm not a Sandy."
Jace looked at her for a moment longer, his gaze intense, before shrugging. "Maybe." Then he turned back toward their audience. "It was great meeting you, Brian, but we need to go. Afraid I practically have to drag this one out of here to get her to eat lunch."
Brian glanced at his watch. "But it's only ten fifteen."
Pursing his lips, Jace seemed to mull that one over. "Yeah, but you know how she is. It'll take me at least an hour and a half to get her out of here. Nice meeting you." Jace started walking away, effectively taking Alessandra with him.
Once they rounded a corner, Alessandra tossed his arm off of her and turned toward him. "I'm so sorry for that. It was completely unprofessional and I sincerely apologize. I really appreciate you playing along with that. I just —"
"So that's the kind of guy you go for, huh?" Jace interrupted.
The comment startled Alessandra. "No ... yes ... well not really ... anymore ... or ... wait, why are we talking about this? It's none of your business."
"I think you made it my business when you stuck your tongue down my throat."
Gasping, Alessandra's hand flew to her chest. "I did no such thing."
Jace smiled and then leaned toward her, causing Alessandra to shiver at his proximity. "No, but you wanted to."
"I did not."
Looking into her eyes like he could read the truth in them, Jace's smile grew. "No? Guess it was just me who wanted it then."
Alessandra floundered for a response, but was ultimately saved from having to give one when Jace spoke again. "Have a good day, Dr. Coma. You ever need a kissing buddy again, let me know."
Then the bastard winked before heading for the elevator.CHAPTER 2
"Jace." Ben smacked his friend on the shoulder. "You're up."
Jace made no movement toward the podium.
"Jace. Jace. What the fuck are you doing?" Ben whispered. "Get up there."
Suddenly Jace's head snapped up from where he'd been absentmindedly staring out into the crowd, taking in everything but somehow not processing any of it. He hated being the center of attention. Unless, of course, it was on the field.
Jace rubbed his hands over his tuxedo pants and buttoned his jacket as he stood to walk toward the podium.
Excerpted from The Bet by Elizabeth Hayley. Copyright © 2017 Sarah Glasgow and Shauna Johnson. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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
A great start to a new series by a favorite author of mine. The characters really make this story since at it’s core it’s a character driven romance. Both Jace and Alessandra were complete opposites and initially they felt that there was no way they’d work together because of this. Elizabeth Hayley did a great job of making these two work and making the reader believe they worked as well. The pace of the story was perfect and I never felt bored with what was going on. With both characters only dating each other because of a bet they made with friends, you know this is going to be interesting. Jace was a wonderful hero who has all the confidence and swagger of a famous football player without having the annoying arrogance that I sometimes see in sports romances. I LOVED that Jace doesn’t feel like he’s the hottest thing out there and instead he believes that Alessandra is out of his league. He truly enjoys that Alessandra really sees him for him and not the athlete and that he can be himself with her. I also had some great laughs over Jace’s need to rile Alessandra up and get her flustered in the best ways possible. Alessandra for her part was this slightly awkward, bluntly honest woman who had no problem holding her own against Jace. At first I found her awkward demeanor a little much since it made her seem a little ditsy, but Hayley quickly developed the personality to make it an endearing part of Alessandra’s character. She reminded me a lot of Abigail in The Witness by Nora Roberts (one of my favorites) with her intellectual assessments of everything even down to them having sex. I wish that Alessandra would have accepted a little more blame for keeping secrets as well since she never would have gone out with Jace if it weren’t for her bet with her friend. However, it was clear that her bet’s intentions were very different than Jace’s bet’s intentions. This story also introduces us to Ben and Gabe, Jace’s friends, who I assume will have their own books in this series, along with the super secret Player’s Club which I hope to see a lot more of! I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Loved the book.
Received an ARC for my fair review for netgalley. This was a cute story, between two people that looked like they had nothing in common. Alessandra,(Dr. Maz) to her patients and Dr. Coma to Jace, was a genius, however her social skills truly lacked, she was clumsy, awkward when around others, especially handsome men. She meets Jace in the one of her patients room, and the meeting did not go well due to her clumsiness, a situation arises that she grabs and kisses him, and he was pretty stunned, he knows that they have nothing in common, but there is something about her. Jace and his friends make a bet, on who can take the best looking date to a gala event, and his friends choose Aly for him, as his date, because she was also a bumbly mess in front of them. At the same time, Aly's friend bets Aly that the next guy to ask her out, she has to agree to go out with him, for atleast three dates, and of course that guy was Jace. As astonishing as it sounds, they connect in more ways than one, and they fall in love, and Jace tells his friends, that she is no longer part of the bet, but he never mentioned to Aly how they got there. Of course, it comes and she is heartbroken and feels betrayed and lied to, and breaks up with him, and he is heartbroken also. Lane, Aly's friend reminds her, that she also had made a bet, and if not for that bet, they never would have gone out. Anyway, it does get resolved, and I am happy for the HEA, I enjoyed the other aspects of the story also, I think you will to, now I hope to read of the others. Enjoy!
While I enjoyed Jace and Aly's story I just felt like it dragged at times and I had a hard time getting into it. I can normally read a book in a couple of hours. This book took me a week to get through. I kept setting it down because it just doesn't suck you into the story. It was a good premise but it was slow. I think another issue I had was with Aly she is just so cold most of the book. I think if she was a little warmer I would have been able to connect more with her. Jace was typical jock. I didn't feel like there was anything that set him apart from other books I have read with athletes.
Jace "the Jet" Benning is a legendary football player. He and his friends, both also great sportsmen and leaders in their own fields, make a rather unsavoury bet as to which one can bring the hottest girl to the annual sports award ball. After a lot of banter, Jace says he is so hot/ famous that any woman with him automatically becomes the best looking woman in the room, so his friends decide to choose his date for him. Alessandra Mastrazacoma is a brilliant but socially awkward paediatric oncology doctor, she had a rather disastrous relationship with a fellow doctor and has avoided dating since. Until her best friend challenges her to go on three dates with the next guy who asks her. Jace visits the sick kids in Alessandra's hospital, she is completely unaware of who he is and dismisses him, which intrigues Jace. When his friends witness her shut him down again they decide that the feisty, beautiful but socially inept doctor must be his date for the ball. Jace is secretly thrilled at his friends' choice but doesn't think the doctor will just agree to go the dinner, he'll have to lead up to it with a few warm up dates ... Although Jace is a millionaire sportsman he thinks the brilliant doctor is too good for a jock like him. Alessandra knows that a beautiful successful man like Jace won't stick around with her for long, she's just a novelty. But they have fun looking into each others worlds and stepping outside their comfort zones. And the sexy times aren't bad either, because the scientist in Alessandra isn't afraid to experiment! This was a fun read, a slight twist on the jock meets brains, opposites attract, dating for a bet scenario. It is the first book I have read by Elizabeth Hayley but I shall look out for more. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
I love a nerdy, smart heroine who is also a little or a lot clumsy. Add in a hot football player who visits pediatric cancer patients and you’ve got yourself one awesome read. Right? Well, I wanted it to be. After meeting Alessandra for the first time and getting a look into her thought processes, I was almost giddy with excitement. She was going to be my perfect h. Those are hard to find you know. Jace’s thoughts were pretty much wrapped up in Aly after meeting her so I added the potential for a perfect H as well. I settled in because dang, my boxes were being checking off as fast as I could read. The klutzy heroine began to disappear, the strong alpha hero I was expecting only asked her out because of a bet. But I continued to hold on because there were all kinds of plot lines being dangled in front of me. 33% in and I didn’t know where the heck this book was going. All of those potential storylines just disappeared. Well, there was one or two but they weren’t even reintroduced until the very end of the book. Everything in between was slow and drama free and I just didn’t get it. Fortunately the very end helped to bring this up from a 2 star review to a 3 because that was a pretty unique way to capture her attention and make his point. ARC provided for this honest review Dual POV Safe No apparent triggers
The Bet is the first stand-alone book in Elizabeth Hayley's new series. It is the story of Alessandra Mastrazacoma, a nerdy, socially awkward pediatric onocologist working on her fellowship and Jace "The Jet" Benning, the hot, hunky professional football player who visits one of the pediatric cancer patients. They are opposites who would under normal circumstances never date each other; however, due to each having separate bets with their best friends, these two are brought together and get more than they expected. This was a very enjoyable story to read. It had Elizabeth Hayley's signature witty dialogue and laugh out loud lines. It also had some steamy sex scenes and the sweetest scene when Jace tries to win Aly back. I "bet" you'll love reading this sweet, sexy sports romance!
3.5 - "...It bought me you." Stars! The writing duo of Elizabeth Hayley, starts their new The Players series, with The Bet all-in-all a pretty enjoyable read. I finished this book a couple of days ago, and after having a think about it I decided to lower my rating a tad. Although Aly and Jace’s story was pretty easy-going, it struck me that there were an awful lot of pointless plot bunnies used in the story. "Even though you drive me completely insane, you’re beautiful and smart and intriguing in a way that somehow makes me want to kiss you and kill you at the same time…" Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with people taking their business to the back-door but is just seemed to be bizarre behavior if you take into account how socially awkward Alessandra is when she first starts dating Jace. "There’s nothing about you I don’t like." That aside there was plenty to like about the book, both the H/h are dating the other due to a bet, and both of them get more than they were initially bargaining for when it comes to how well they connect and the levels of chemistry that they have going on between them. This really is a story of opposites attract. "Will you show me your hamster?" I liked the banter between them both, as well as the camaraderie between Jace and his friends; Ben and Gabe, both high profile sportsmen like himself. The sexy-times were plentiful and the secondary characters many and varied in their levels of involvement. However, if the erroneous bits had been fine-tuned/removed this would have been a much sharper read. "It hurts to lose what we love the most." Knowing this couple initially come together due to a bet, it’s pretty clear as to why there is conflict towards the end of the book between them, but I have to say this is where the authors kept the rating up there for me though as it the way they bought Aly and Jace back together was one of the cutest apologies I have read lately. A promising start to the series. This was my first book by this duo, and although a few niggles, I did genuinely enjoy the story. I hope to see Ben and Gabe have their stories told at some point in the future too.