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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Review: The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel van Dyken

Rachel van Dyken doesn't pull punches when it comes to her characters' emotions. This was my first time reading one of her books but it won't be my last.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 11, 2017

She's no Sleeping Beauty. And he's definitely no prince . . .

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again-her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot's whiskey-augmented grandmother "buys" Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he's at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

Bentley's just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love-nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that "just friends" will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

What’s it About? The Playboy Bachelor is a second chance romance between Bentley Wellington and Margot McCleery. Basically a life altering accident lead the former best friends to become enemies and when the story begins they haven’t seen each other in ten years. Margot’s grandmother wins Bentley in a charity auction and sends him to Margot hoping that the two can patch things up and help each other heal. What ends up happening is Bentley and Margot spend a lot of time fighting and then trying to untangle the web of miscommunications, misunderstandings, and assumptions.

Overall reaction to the story? What I thought was going to be a straight up second chance/enemies to lovers romance was actually a complex story about two very broken people who started off as insecure friends and grew into insecure adults who needed to work out their past. New-to-me author Rachel van Dyken created an emotionally challenging and complex story that held me captive from start to finish. I loved the less-than-perfect characters, and the fact that Margot wasn’t physically flawless. The Playboy Bachelor wasn’t without its lighter moments though; there was plenty of heat and humor between Bentley and Margot that balanced out the heavier issues they had to deal with.

Describe the hero in five words: Stubborn. Anxious. Caring. Angry. Intelligent.
Did you like him? Surprisingly yes.
Why? Bentley wasn’t a bad guy, he was a little immature but what mainly motivated his behavior was severe guilt. A bad guy wouldn’t feel guilty but Bentley was living with loads of it all while trying to keep his family together. He had two sides to him, the fake Bentley and the real Bentley. The real Bentley naturally was going to win me over because he was vulnerable, afraid, and not at all like the cocky jerk the world thought he was. He was funny too. It took awhile for that side to come out but when he was the real deal, he was totally irresistible. Who wants a statue for a hero in a book anyway? I loved the real fear and anxiety he had when it came to Margot. He was just as much a mystery as she was.

Describe the heroine in five words: Stubborn. Afraid. Traumatized. Intelligent. Selfish.
Did you like her? Sometimes.
Why? Margot had zero faith in people after her accident and I could see why. Like Bentley, she was suffering from some severe guilt but unlike Bentley, she didn’t have a support system to lean on (Not that Bentley ever did lean on anyone). I understood Margot on a basic level with how insecure she felt about what had happened to her, and I understood how little she trusted people, especially Bentley. However, there were times she was mean to Bentley just for the sake of being mean. She didn’t exactly think before she spoke and while Bentley would lash out at her too he did try to change whereas Margot stayed stuck in the same place until closer to the end. She was only focused on her pain instead of trying to see how he suffered in the past ten years. Margot stubbornly hung on to her assumptions instead of really trying to find out the truth. Of the two characters, Bentley had the most growth and his turnaround time was much more believable than Margot’s almost abrupt about-face.

Let’s talk about the romance: The heat department is the one place Bentley and Margot didn’t need help in. Their chemistry was always there but they were both afraid to really go for it. As much as these two fought, they also cared deeply for one another and I loved how their relationship wasn’t easy to repair. It had realistic ups and downs that could have broken them completely but it didn’t. To me the romance felt pretty real and took a realistic amount of time to develop from a foundation of a broken friendship. It was all pretty emotional and worth the time.

How about that supporting cast? Bentley and Margot spent most of their time alone which was really for the best since they were forced to deal with the past but Bentley’s equally tortured twin Brant made an appearance. Now I’d love to know what’s going on with him because he’s fast on his way to ruining his life and there were only hints of what may have happened with him.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. The Playboy Bachelor is one heck of an emotional war but it’s also a terribly romantic story about forgiveness and second chances.

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