cover image The Love Wager

The Love Wager

Lynn Painter. Berkley, $17 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-43728-5

Painter follows up Mr. Wrong Number with an equally cute friends to lovers romance. Jack Marshall has a crisis about his love life after the playboy uncle he’s always idolized dies alone, leading Jack to cling to his own toxic relationship. That plan blows up in his face at the wedding of his sister, Olivia, to his best friend, Colin—the protagonists of the previous book—where Jack gets dumped and winds up hooking up with the bartender, Hallie Piper, instead. For Hallie, drunkenly hooking up with a stranger in the middle of her shift is rock bottom, but Jack turns out to be a kind and supportive confidant. The two of them make a bet: the first one to get their lives in order and find true love wins. Wing-manning for each other over a series of disastrous dates brings them closer—so close that when Hallie needs a date for her own sister’s wedding, Jack steps in to play her fake boyfriend. Though Jack doesn’t feel quite as fleshed out as potty-mouthed spark plug Hallie, their equally filthy sense of humor makes their connection feel real and their game of constant one-upmanship is a lot of fun. Painter’s fans won’t be disappointed. Agent: Kim Lionetti, Bookends. (Mar.)