Review: The Betting Vow by K.M. Jackson (2017)

Unconventional Brides, Book 3

Heat Factor: Steamy

Character Chemistry: Believable

Plot Development: Strains credulity

Overall: Entertaining but not amazing

So as my faithful readers may know, I am all about the nonsensical plots. Long lost princess? Sign me up! Mysterious villain who makes no sense? I’m here for it! Mistaken identities, random explosions, and plot twists you see coming from page one? Love it! However, in this case, I just could not get behind the entire premise of the book. To me, it didn’t make sense within the internal logic of the story.

Here’s the deal: Leila is a model slash girl about town, who wants to break into acting. Carter is a television producer, who wants to cast Leila in a new comedy. Sounds perfect, right? The problem is, Leila wants to be taken seriously, and not be cast as the bimbo in some dumb comedy – so she has her eye on a meatier role (which would honestly go to Viola Davis, let’s be real here). Enter Leila’s manager, who proposes a deal: Carter and Leila get married. If they stay married for six months, then Leila gets to read for whatever part she wants. If she bails early, she’ll take the comedy. It’s unclear how getting a lead role in a new comedy – even if she’s basically Penny from The Big Bang Theory – is losing, but I guess that’s what makes him a good manager.

What makes no sense whatsoever is that this marriage is presented as a way for Leila to fix her image as a party girl who leaves heartbroken men in her wake. A six-month marriage is not going to rehabilitate her reputation. Like, I know that the attention span of the internet is short, but it’s not that short. Just think of all the snark that was written about Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin when they tied the knot (as of press time, they are still together). This is especially the case since Leila and Carter don’t know each other and have an impromptu Vegas wedding.

However, given the completely nonsensical reason for Carter and Leila to get married, the rest of the book works. They are in this completely ridiculous situation, trying to prove to the world that they do actually care for each other, and in the process, slowly come to know each other as people. Both Carter and Leila are cynics about relationships; Leila’s cynicism is especially reasonable, as she has gotten blasted for breaking up with men who cheated on her. (Patriarchy!) They slowly fall in love, by dating, basically, but with some of the pressure off (since they’re already married, so why not?), are able to let their respective guards down a bit.

Some specifics that I appreciated, in listicle form:

  • Carter is the one with Resting Bitch Face, so he always looks grouchy in the paparazzi pix.
  • The first time they have sex, Carter ensures that he has Leila’s enthusiastic consent before getting down to business. And then rips his shirt off.
  • They have an excellent discussion about safe sex. And use condoms, until they know each other well enough to trust each other about STIs.
  • They attend a truly bonkers art opening where some designer’s pieces are modeled by goats and nudists. The goats wear the pants, the nudists wear the shoes. It is very New York hipster.

Buy Now: Amazon

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