Tuesday, January 10, 2017

REVIEW/RELEASE BLITZ: Safe Bet by Monica Murphy

Series: The Rules
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Sydney Walker’s new job is perfect. As the live-in nanny to the most famous quarterback in the NFL and his beautiful wife, she couldn’t have it any better. Their kids are adorable. Her bosses are more than generous. Plus, there are hot football players at the house all the time. Life can’t get much better than this.

Until her life turns into an absolute nightmare. The media is abuzz with rumors that she and her boss Drew Callahan are having a torrid affair. Everyone knows the truth—except the public. So Drew’s wife Fable comes up with the perfect idea.

She creates a fake relationship between Sydney and one of the rookie players on Drew’s team. Wade Knox is forever indebted to Drew and Fable and readily agrees to the set up. Pretending to be in a romantic relationship with the hot nanny for a week—how hard can it be?

Crazy how it only takes one week for two people to fall head over heels in love…

(This mash-up new adult romance features characters from both the One Week Girlfriend series and The Rules series.)

~Book Review~
4.75 Stars

Sydney Walker, 19, has managed to get herself disinherited. She needs a job and even with no nanny experience, jumps at the chance to be a live-in babysitter and personal assistant to a famous football player’s wife. And then things turn really crazy when a hectic night lands Sydney in the tabloids as a celebrity mistress.

Wade Knox, 22, is one of the newest members on his pro football team. He wants to make the right decisions and is taking his career seriously. Lucky for him, his best friend’s brother-in-law is the star of the team and has taken Wade under his wing.  A former player when it comes to women, Wade’s never had a girlfriend before and he’s not looking for any woman right now.  That doesn’t mean the new nanny hasn’t caught his eye, and once scandal breaks out, she has his full attention.
“This girl came out of nowhere and rocked my world with a few choice words, a handful of touches and a kiss that’s making me reevaluate every other kiss I’ve ever experienced.”
This was a fast read. Not sure if it’s a shorter novel or it just pulled me in so easily that the time flew by. I’ve never read any of the other books in these series and while many of the supporting characters in this one were the main characters in other books, Safe Bet can easily be read as a standalone.  

Sydney and Wade were both great characters and they certainly had chemistry together. Neither had led perfect lives in the past, but they seemed to have learned from those experiences and we’re trying to do the right things now.
“It’s like we’re bonding over our mutual distaste for love and relationships. While we sit here pretending we’re in love and in a relationship.”
I liked that Sydney and Wade were attracted to each other and started to connect even before they got roped into a fake romance. It made the premise feel more like a catalyst for the relationship to develop rather than making it feel contrived.
“Her fingers slowly slide beneath the fabric, pausing before they go farther, and I hold my breath, waiting for that moment when she makes her discover.”
This is one of those stories of how two people meet, get to know each other, and fall in love. As a reader, you see it and feel it. There’s no unnecessary angst, no OW/OM drama; just a sweet and sexy tale where things like honesty and not keeping secrets are stressed. I simply adore romantic journeys like this because there’s enough drama alongside so many bad relationships in the real world. Maybe if we had more stories like this people would have better examples to follow.
 “‘You want me?’
I nod.
‘Then you have me.’”

A final comment in response to the author’s note at the end: Did Drew and Fable take over the story? Maybe in some places their life being inserted in the tale felt a little heavy handed, but mostly I didn’t have a problem with it (even though I’ve never read their story) except with the bonus scene from Fable.  That’s where ending the story with the final scene highlighting Drew and Fable seemed to overshadow Wade and Syd.  It was a missed opportunity to cement their HEA instead of a HFN.  Is it okay that Wade and Syd’s story isn’t angsty and heartbreaking? Absolutely!  Swoonworthy love stories don’t need all that crap. You can tell a feel-good romance without dragging it down with drama. This one is a great example.

“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“Uh huh.”
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”

Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she's not writing, she's reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She's a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

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