I love it when the sequel to a book is just as fantastic as the first- and this one definitely was!! The Wager was everything that you wanted and more from Rachel, and a great continuation to the Titus story. This is the story of Jake, whom we met in The Bet, and Char- whom we also briefly met in The Bet. Jake, is the younger brother to Travis Titus- who is marrying Kacey (Jake's former girlfriend and all around best friend), and Char is Kacey's other best friend. Nothing was ever mentioned in The Bet about them having any previous history together at all, but apparently they do- and it is not the best. Apparently, they had a night of steamy passion several months prior to when the story begins (picking up soon after the end of The Bet), and just as Jake did to Kacey, he left Char high and dry promptly afterwards. But in this case, he actually was quite affected by Char, which I really think just scared the hell out of him.
So, when he and Grandma run into Char at the airport on their way back to Seattle, he instantly knows that his life is about to become quite uncomfortable for a bit. Enter Grandma and all of her meddling, yet seriously freaking hilarious, ways of rearranging his life and working her matchmaking magic. Have I said yet how much I LOVE Grandma?? She is awesome!! She is most definitely the source of the humor and hilarity throughout both books. So, she begins doing what she knows best, which is bringing Jake and Char back together, being sure to make it so that they will be completely joined together- not taking any chances that all of her hard work might go to waste. I have to say, that woman is quite creative!! But of course, we have to remember that this book is titled The Wager though, which means that somewhere, somebody is bound to be doing their own form of matchmaking in addition to Grandma's. Enter Kacey and Travis, who take it upon themselves to try and fix Char up with an acquaintance of Travis's, while simultaneously betting Grandma that their coupling will be the ultimate winner. Apparently, this means war to the Titus family, because Grandma starts pulling out all the stops to get her way. And her way, I gotta say is the best way!! After all, her way gives us this kind of goodness.........
Dessert was served. Char chose a chocolate soufflé with whipped cream. The minute it was set in front of her, she saw Jake’s hungry gaze.
With a wicked smile she dipped her finger into the whipped cream and slowly licked it clean.
His mouth dropped open, just slightly.
She licked her lips and dipped her finger again.
Jake leaned forward, his eyes almost closing as his half-lidded gaze went from teasing to lustful.
Char wondered when was the last time the player had been played, or that he’d had to actually wait for something.
Carefully, she slipped out of her wedge heels and relaxed a little further down in her seat. Trying to act nonchalant, she took another bite of her dessert and watched Jake watch her. She knew the exact moment her foot came into contact with his leg. With a jerk, he grabbed the edge of the table and cursed.
“Everything all right, Jake?” Petunia asked, examining him through her glasses.
“Perfect,” he said in a strained voice. “A bit hot.” His hooded eyes blinked a few times before he reached for his water glass and took a long sip.
“It is quite humid out.” Petunia fanned herself. “But you look positively flushed. Are you sure you aren’t coming down with something?”
“I wish,” Jake said.
“Pardon?” Her brows furrowed.
“Pretty dish.” He pointed to the butter dish in the middle of the table.
Char bit her lip to keep from laughing; she took another slow bite of soufflé and licked her fork. Jake groaned across the table.
Her foot came into contact with his skin.
“Jake?” Petunia shook her head. “You have me worried.”
“Me too.” Char licked her lips and let her foot inch up his leg.
Jake braced both hands on the table, his eyes setting her on fire with how hard he was staring at her. “I’m sure.”
His eyes closed as she rubbed up and down his calf and then braced his one leg with both of hers, jerking him closer to the table.
“Shit.” He exhaled.
“I beg your pardon!” Petunia scolded. “Jake Titus, you stop your filthy language.”
“He’s such a dirty, dirty, boy,” Grandma agreed with a wink.
Jake groaned, his eyes pleading with Char to either stop or keep going and kill him right then and there.
“You know what happens to dirty boys,” Char said helpfully.
“What?” His voice was hoarse.
“They get spanked,” Petunia spat. “Hard!”
Jake swore a blue streak.
“Wescott!” Petunia demanded. “Please control your son! It seems he keeps having urges to use foul language at the dinner table! Well, in my day we’d send boys to their rooms if they did such a thing.”
“Fine.” Wescott rolled his eyes. “Go to your room, Jake, take your punishment like a man.”
“I, uh…” Jake sputtered. “Should probably stay right here.”
“You heard your father.” Petunia shook her head. “You need to be punished.”
“Please.” He whimpered and hung his head in his hands.
“Jake…” Char pulled her foot away and leaned forward. “You should probably listen to your father. Wouldn’t want you getting into any trouble… go to your room.”
“I can’t,” he said through clenched teeth.
Grandma pushed to her, feet knocking an entire pitcher of ice water into Jake’s lap. His eyes bulged out of his head as she leaned over so only he and Char could hear. “You’re welcome.”
“I want to die.” This from Jake.
“You clumsy boy, go change your pants,” Grandma ordered. “Char, why don’t you get us some more water from the kitchen?”
She didn’t have to be told twice.
Cursing, Jake threw down his napkin and chased after her.
Shoes off, she was able to run across the grass. Once she was in the house she stole a glance behind her. Jake was gaining on her. The look on his face was predatory.
With a squeal she ran up the stairs to the bedroom, just as his strong arms came around her, pushing her farther into the room.
“Naughty girl. I’ll make you pay for that.”
She turned in his arms and licked his chin like she had her soufflé. “You promise?”
“Strip.” He released her and walked over to the bed, slowly sinking down into it. “Now.”
“Demanding.” Char put her hands on her hips. “Aren’t we?”
“Yeah.” Jake leaned back on his elbows. “The way I see it, you owe me. Not only did I do a naughty dance for you, with chaps might I add, but you made me suffer through dessert, while my great aunt, the virgin one, you know her, told me I needed to be spanked.”
“Not funny,” Jake groaned. “Most awkward moment of my life.”
“Before or after Grandma cooled you off?” Char asked.
“If you want me to be able to perform, ever, you won’t mention that again.” Jake swore.
Char fumbled with the straps of her dress. “I remember.”
“Remember?” Jake’s eyes were trained on her fingers as she toyed with the straps pulling them further down her body. “What do you remember?”
“Us.” Char let the dress fall to the ground and stepped out of it. “I remember our night together. I lied. I told Beth I didn’t. I told you it wasn’t good. I was just trying to make you feel bad.”
“Hmm.” Jake stood and slowly approached her. “I deserved it.”
Now, aren't you glad that 86-year old bitty stuck to her guns and helped us all out?? Again, love me some Grandma!!
This book definitely has its steam, not as much as some, but definitely more than others. I have noticed that all of Rachel's books that I have read so far, do tend to keep it on the lighter side of steamy, which is perfectly acceptable. I just want to make sure that everyone understands that this isn't anything too hot and heavy, and nothing too graphic. But that doesn't take away from her books-- not at all!! Some of my new faves are hers. And this one, is no different from that.
And, like the rest of us, I know while reading- you always imagine what the characters will look like should they suddenly spring to life and start up a convo with us, so how about this:
Now, to give you a little bit about this fab author:
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!
And because she is so fab, here is a little giveaway for ya!!:
Now, hop on over to your favorite retailer and pick up a copy of The Wager- you will not be disappointed!!