cover image Bet on It

Bet on It

Jodie Slaughter. Griffin, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-82182-9

This sexy, warmhearted rom-com from Slaughter (To Be Alone with You) makes space for two lovable but struggling characters to work through their issues both separately and together. Aja Owens could not be more mortified by her first meeting with hottie Walker Abbott, who happens upon her mid–panic attack in the frozen food aisle of a Piggly Wiggly in Greenbelt, S.C. She comforts herself by thinking she’ll never have to see him again—until she learns that he’s the estranged grandson of her elderly bingo buddy in town to care for his grandma following an accident. Walker and Aja find kindred spirits in each other and neither can resist their intense chemistry. But Walker’s memories of Greenbelt are all horrible, and he can’t bear to stay in town for long. In an attempt to keep a lid on their budding feelings, they make a casual sex pact to hook up only when one of them wins at bingo. Slaughter refreshingly balances steamy scenes with the unfolding drama surrounding Walker’s childhood trauma and Aja’s generalized anxiety, and the romance manages to be breezy and light without trivializing either protagonist’s struggles. It’s a fun but thoughtful gem. Agent: Kimberly Lionetti, BookEnds. (July)