The Dare (The Bet #3), by Rachel Van Dyken
Publish Date: July 8, 2014
Format: e-book, purchased
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble
Rating: 4 STARS
(From Goodreads) Boring Beth Lynn has always lived up to her nickname… until she wakes up in a hotel bed next to a sexy as sin state senator she re-connected with at a wedding the previous night.
The biggest problem? She can't seem to remember anything about the night before except for crying into a box of cookies, and she’s pretty sure Grandma Nadine slipped something in her drink. And what should have been a one night stand turns into a six day adventure when Grandma whisks them off to Hawaii to save them from the ensuing media firestorm.
Jace isn't looking for commitment — he believes he made that clear when he left the wedding with Beth. Then again, he can't remember much of anything other than the way her skin felt beneath his hands. Now he's stuck with her at some lame couple’s retreat and trying his hardest to fight the attraction only a woman like Beth could invoke.
He doesn’t think it can get any worse.
But one spider attack… A donkey ride from hell… And an unfortunate episode with Viagra tea — and there’s one thing Jace knows for sure: He should never have agreed to Grandma Nadine’s suggestion in the first place. Because if this isn’t paradise, and it isn’t a vacation — that only leaves one option.
But to make it through alive… they might lose their hearts in the process.
Whenever I'm in need of something light to read, I know I can count on Rachel Van Dyken's The Bet series. Everyone who has read it knows that Grandma Nadine and her matchmaking machinations steal the show, and that is never more true than with The Dare. It seems that Grandma was only practicing with brothers Travis and Jake so that she could pull out all the stops with family friend Jace and Beth, Jake's new sister-in-law.
So, Jace and Beth actually have some history. Twelve years earlier at Beth's disastrous senior prom, Jace was the only bright spot when he saved her with a dance and a kiss. And then she never heard from him again. But, neither of them forgot the other person, and it's purely coincidence that Beth's sister Char married one of the Titus brothers, who are friends with Jace. They see each other again at Char's and Jake's wedding, and the morning after, wake up in bed together with no memory of the night's extracurricular activities.
Grandma Nadine is on the case, as she whisks Jace and Beth away to a couples retreat in Hawaii so that Jace, a state senator, can escape media scrutiny. Once they get there, it's one hilarious activity after another.
Beth is a chemist working to cure cancer. She's also a thirty-year-old virgin. Men just aren't interested in "Boring Beth." And, to be honest, I think she's always been a little stuck on 16-year-old Jace when he swooped in and saved her from her douche canoe date Brett. She decides to carpe diem when she finds herself in Hawaii with Jace for a week, and she asks him to romance her pants off - literally. She has no illusions about what this is - she knows that Jace would never be there with her if Grandma hadn't practically kidnapped them. But, she's willing to take advantage of the situation
For his part, Jace is inexplicably drawn to Beth, but has no desire to leave his bachelor lifestyle. Despite all the wonderful things he finds he loves about her, he continues to keep the finality of their week together in his mind. He is absolutely convinced that at the end of the six days, no matter what, he will walk away and have no problems doing so. Jace's cavalier attitude when it came to Beth bothered me at times. He had no problems giving her her romance - taking her on excursions, kissing her every chance he got, wining, dining and protecting her caveman style - he really led her on. Gah - so many times I wanted to smack Jace around a bit. Luckily, Grandma Nadine did it for me.
Of course, Grandma Nadine was everywhere in The Dare. You know she set everything up, and her evil matchmaking ways are hilarious. There's a spider mishap, a donkey named Shit, drugs of various types in beverages... I laughed out loud through most of this book. Of course, not all of this book is in any way believable, but that's okay. I didn't expect it to be.
The only downfall is that Grandma Nadine stole the show. I mean, the book should be about Jace and Beth finding their way back to each other and falling in love again. Instead, that was the backdrop. Some of the stuff that happened to Jace and Beth in their pasts was kind of serious, but because discussion of what happened was, most of the time, laced with banter and jokes, it diminished the impact of their pasts. I'm not sure that's entirely a good thing - there needs to be a nice balance of funny and serious, and that balance felt off.
That's not to say that the banter was unwelcome. Beth and Jace are fun together. They give each other crap, they're not sappy and swoony with each other, but there are sweet moments. They are sarcastic and have so much fun together. And, that's the bottom line with this book - this is just a fun book. So, if you're looking for a quick, light read that is funny and sweet, this book will not disappoint. And, best yet - the epilogue which recaps all three couples five years later is the absolute BEST.