Today’s book comes from a favorite publishing company of mine, Entangled!
Those of you that know my reading tastes, know that I love YA and romance reads. I also have a special spot in my reading heart for bad boys. This one, The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley caught my attention. The name drew me to it, and the cute cover, but when I read the blurb I knew I wanted to read this. Check it out.
Baseball player Kyle Sawyer has many labels: bad boy, delinquent, ladies’ man, fearless outfielder… Only one of them is actually true. But then sweet ballet dancer Faith Gladwell asks him to help wreck her reputation, and everything goes sideways.
Faith knows a thing or two about love, and what she had with her cheating jerk of an ex wasn’t it. When he starts spreading rumors about her being an Ice Queen, Faith decides it’s time to let a little bad into her life.
Lucky for her, Kyle Sawyer—dark, dangerous, totally swoonworthy Kyle Sawyer—is landscaping her backyard over Spring Break. Shirtless. And if she can convince him to play along, “dating” Kyle will silence the rumors.
But Faith’s plan threatens to expose Sawyer’s biggest secret of all…and that’s a risk he’s not willing to take.
Disclaimer: This book contains drop-the-book-and-fan-yourself kisses…and touches. Fall in love with a bad boy at your own risk.
As I mentioned above, I found this book through Entangled Publishing, and I love their books and stories, so I’m always scoping out what’s next on the release. The cover caught my eye first, and once I read the description it was game over. I wanted to read this.
You see, I have a soft spot for bad boys and naturally, I love romance so The Bad Boy Bargain was right up my alley.
Disclosure: I’m actually pretty tough on romance novels because I feel like romance has a lot of stupid clichés and more often than not, I end up disappointed or annoyed at how lame the plot or dialogue was. But let me be clear. There was zero disappointment here.
I love love loved The Bad Boy Bargain.
Here’s what I loved about it:
The Build-up: Kendra, the author, does a fantastic job building the world that we meet. We meet the main characters without info-dumping and it’s fantastic being able to see the world through their eyes via the third person perspective.
The Romance: There is nothing I love more than sexual tension. Ms. Highley does a fantastic job creating this tension, building this tension, until as readers we’re ripe with anticipation over what on earth is going to happen between Kyle and Faith.
Sweetness: This book kind of reminded me of A Walk to Remember (the movie and the book). In both the book and the movie (though they were different in many ways) at the essence of the story, was a sweet, true love. Kyle kind of reminded me of Landon and Faith reminded me of Jamie. They both have problems and flaws, but they find comfort, love, and belonging in each other and the journey to being together. It’s the kind of love that you can’t help but cheer for and scream from the rooftops about when they finally kiss.
Sass sass sass: I really loved Faith because she wasn’t meek and mild. She was strong, ballsy, and I appreciated how she carried herself. There were a few times when she had these clutch one liners, “…I like kissing a lot, too…” (don’t worry, you’ll get it when you read it) and I wanted to be there, high-fiving her for putting herself out there like that.
Happily Ever After: I love a good dose of happily ever after and this one has that and more. There’s nothing more satisfying than closing a book (or in this instance, turning the digital page) with a smile on my face when it’s all over. I really enjoyed the ride and I felt happy and giddy when I tried to imagine what their future will hold. And really, I think that’s the key here. I cared enough about these characters at the end to not stop their story there. I thought about their future, their history, long after I turned my e-reader off.
Thank you Ms. Highley for the fun adventure and sweet read! I can’t wait to check out your other books!
If you’re looking for a sweet, fun romance to read, look no further. Pick up a copy of The Bad Boy Bargain!
Special Sneak Peek Excerpt
Badass, troublemaker, girl magnet—familiar words always followed Kyle from his locker to his senior English classroom. Or from the cafeteria to the parking lot. Or from the locker room to the baseball field. Anywhere he went, the whispers followed.
Today, it went something like, “Ooh, I know who we should vote most likely to drop out before graduation,” as he walked by. Or, “I heard he banged two girls at once at North Texas last weekend. College girls, man!” Or, “Dude, I heard MLB scouts are coming to the games to watch him play.”
He wished that last one were true.
Kyle zipped his hoodie up tighter, acting like he couldn’t hear a word. The dark red hoodie and a pair of headphones were pretty thin armor, even if he did encourage the stories…the lies. Suttonville High was a big enough maze of suck without letting the truth out.
And no way, no how, was he showing any sort of weakness ever again.
“Dude! Wait up!” a guy called.
For a second, Kyle stiffened. Old habits died hard. But he recognized the voice and let his shoulders relax. Cade Adams, unlike the hundreds of rich, snobby kids crowding the halls, was worth waiting for. He slowed his stride until Cade caught up, looking disheveled. For an amused moment, he wondered if Cade was running from a pack of zombified football players, then he noticed the pleading look on Cade’s face. The same one he’d ignored from a half dozen other guys.
He shook his head. “Nope, still not going.”
“It’s supposed to be a great party,” Cade said, running a hand over his hair to coerce it back into shape. It was a little too long, and curls kept springing up on his head. “First night of spring break, man. All the seniors are going.”
“Everyone except me,” Kyle said, quickening his pace.
“Come on,” Cade pleaded. “I need to be your wingman. Just once. Your leftovers would be a feast to us mere mortals.”
That’s what half the baseball team said, too. But if he let someone be his wingman, they’d find out really quick that he wasn’t what everyone assumed. “Sorry, not my scene.”
“Fine. Okay, I get it.” Cade’s crooked smile didn’t do much to hide his disappointment. “Just…think about it.”
He strode off, breezing through the hall filled with students in designer clothes as if his Iron Man T-shirt, wild hair, and faded jeans didn’t matter to him. And it didn’t—at some point last fall, Cade had become cool. Either that, or he’d stopped caring what any of them thought.
Kyle stalked to chemistry, praying he’d pass today’s test. Being dyslexic turned the periodic table into a medieval torture device, even if his teacher was good about giving him tutoring on the down low. He couldn’t let anyone know he actually cared about his grades, aside from passing to play baseball.
“I heard he’s going out with some girl at Texas Woman’s,” a girl whispered to another as he walked in, as if he couldn’t hear them.
“Wish I knew for sure if anyone here has a chance,” said the other girl, a pretty senior who had a reputation of being a man-eater. “Because I’d ride that pony all over town.”
Kyle’s ears flamed up. To hide his discomfort, he rolled his neck, getting a little satisfaction out of the wary stares after the vertebrae cracked. That’s right, the scary kid just cracked his back. You puny humans shouldn’t try that at home.
The bell rang and he sank into his desk, adopting his typical pose of “I’m only here because the truant officer made me show up today” with his legs stretched out in the aisle. Mrs. Moody, the chem teacher, rolled her eyes. She saw right through him. And if she could, how much longer would it be before everyone else did?
During the test—in which chemical compounds morphed into ancient Hebrew right before his eyes—he couldn’t shake the conversation with Cade. He felt bad about letting the guy down, especially since he hadn’t been much of a friend the last few years, but he hated those parties because of the baggage that rode on them. Namely, his reputation.
Because who at Suttonville would believe that the resident delinquent, skateboard-riding, drag-racing, smart-mouthed chick magnet Kyle Sawyer was actually none of those things?
“Faith Gladwell?” The school secretary’s voice was bored. “Your mother left you a package.”
Faith sighed in relief. She hadn’t meant to leave her ballet shoes at home, but she’d nearly been late for first period, and a tardy on her record was worse than the shame of calling for help.
She took her dance bag from the secretary and flashed her a big smile. “You made my morning.”
Like magic, the secretary smiled back. “Glad to help.”
That was thing most people missed about life—being nice actually worked. And with a name like Faith Gladwell, people expected nice. They wanted an angel with a sweet smile and bubbly attitude, and she was happy to oblige. Most of the time, anyway.
But it was getting harder. Wings were heavy and really hard to keep from dragging on the ground. Especially when you dated one of the most popular guys in school—and you weren’t sure you wanted to be with him anymore.
She hurried to the drama room, dodging past other students as if it were all a dance. Everything was a dance to her, especially now with her big break on the horizon. The musical was in two weeks, and they’d be starting dress rehearsals soon. After Mr. Fisk had learned she was classically trained in ballet, tap, jazz, and hip-hop, he’d insisted she try out for the lead in Oklahoma!
“You’re a triple threat, dear,” he said in his drawling theater voice. “We knew you could sing, and you can certainly act…but you can dance? Well, between all that and your girl-next-door demeanor, and you’re perfect for Laurey. I can just see you pirouetting in the dream sequence. Perfect!” He’d snapped his fingers and strode off, shouting for the costume designers to come take her measurements, not even waiting for tryouts to be finished.
The lead…she still couldn’t believe Mr. Fist had picked her. Mom was thrilled. Dad had taken to singing “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top” at random intervals. Even her older sisters had called home to say congrats.
Cameron, though, had frowned and asked how much time the rehearsals would take up. “Will I be able to see you?” he’d asked. “Or will the musical take up all your time?”
Some people would call that sweet. Faith called it “smothering slowly,” especially since she knew he wasn’t really missing her, but a warm body to coo at his football stories and let him stick his hand up her shirt. She’d almost told him, nicely, that he could keep himself perfectly good company, given what he really wanted out of her.
So much for nice.
She hummed as she skipped through the halls. Getting the lead in the school musical was one more box checked for her high school bucket list. Only two marks left:
Get accepted to NYU’s musical theater program.
Have sex with a guy she loved.
Her mother would need smelling salts if she ever peeked in Faith’s diary, but what she didn’t know wouldn’t give her a stroke. Dad? Well, he’d lock her up and go shopping for chastity belts.
Faith snorted. That image was way too easy to conjure up. Dad probably knew someone who made chastity belts. He hadn’t even let her get into a car with a boy alone until she was sixteen. S-E-X wasn’t spoken of.
Faith slowed in front of the drama room, feeling a little pang catch her heart. Her family loved her. They loved her dreams, her dramatic streak, and even her feet, ugly from years of dance. Still, she knew they worried about her. The baby. The one most likely to turn out wild.
And they hated Cameron.
Funny thing was, she was starting to see why. Every time they went out now, his hands got a little more aggressive, and he couldn’t understand why she was reluctant to go past second base after dating for six months.
She didn’t have the heart to tell him it was because she was waiting until she really fell in love…and that she didn’t love him.
God, that was going to be a horrific conversation, wasn’t it?
“Faith! Wait up, you long-legged gazelle!” Violet Moore dashed after her, cursing the fact—loudly—that she was five three and friends with a girl who was five nine. “George Washington on a pogo stick, you walk fast.”
She chuckled. Violet’s ponytail was coming lose from its elastic and her face was red. “How long have you been trying to catch me?”
“Since you left the office!” Her best friend paused to suck down air. “I wanted to make sure you can still meet after school to get ready for the party.”
“Yep. I’ll be there at three thirty.”
“Good, because I’m seeing my hair stylist at five.”
Faith’s eyes widened. “You’re really going to do it?”
Violet swung her ponytail. “Hell yassss. Tell your mom we’ll send her the hair for the foundation.”
“Sweet!” Faith grinned. “I can’t wait to see you with short hair. It’ll match your height.”
“Aw, shut up, Amazon.” But she smiled. The smile faded fast, though. “Great. Asshat at eleven o’clock.”
“Yeah. I’m going to blaze before I say something that’ll land me in jail.” Violet gave her arm a squeeze. “You need to turf him. And soon.”
“I know.” She sighed and turned. Cameron was muscling his way past a group of freshmen to get to her. “I’ll…I’ll do it after the party.”
“Good girl. Later!”
Violet left a vapor trail, racing away before Cameron reached Faith. “Why’d she run off?”
“Class.” Faith hid a cringe. “She was asking me to help set up for the party.”
“Getting the weekend started right!” he crowed, throwing a possessive arm across her shoulders and pulling her against his side. “You’ll be ready at eight, right?”
“Yeah.” Her heart sank. “I’ll be ready.”
There are several prizes to win! Here’s what’s up for grabs! $25 Amazon gift card, a paperback copy of Defying Gravity, and bookmarks from Finding Perfect, Defying Gravity, and The Bad Boy Bargain (US ONLY). Enter now to win! The giveaway ends November 25, 2016.
About the Author
Kendra C. Highley lives in north Texas with her husband and two children. She also serves as staff to four self-important and high-powered cats. This, according to the cats, is her most important job. She believes in everyday magic, extraordinary love stories, and the restorative powers of dark chocolate.
Blog Tour Schedule
The tour has many stops on November 14 – 25. Visit the schedule here!