“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.”
So first, an excerpt from The Bad Boy Bargain, then on to my review!
Click to expand 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?
– Review –
My first order of business, is to apologize profusely to Kendra and The team at Chapter by Chapter.
My review was supposed to go up the day after Thanksgiving. That didn’t happen for a multitude of reasons, but they all make me LAME.
The best I can hope for is that they’ll forgive me. Which by the way, I want to say that the following (glowing) review, hasn’t been written with butt-kissing intention. The book really was just that good.
On to the book! This book had me grinning. FINALLY a bad boy done right. There are several different kinds of bad boys in literature, all of them can be highly entertaining.
But one persistent trope, is the bad-boy-who-isn’t-bad-and-never-was type. Usually, when this trope comes up, the author builds a high level of tension based on another character’s concern for the bad boy. THEN, right at the end, they usually end up finding out that it was all just a rumor started by the tabloid, or his evil aunt betty or whatever.
And it makes the reader feel like a used tissue. None of what you emotionally went through was ‘real’.
This book does use the ‘bad-boy-who-isn’t-band-and-never-was type. HOWEVER, Bad Boy Bargain comes out with it right at the start. That this is a carefully built façade that’s spiraled out of control.
It uses the tension from maintaining the ruse, rather than trying to fight against it.
Another thing? Kyle’s character was totally refreshing. He’s rumored to be this legendary seducer, yet the thought of it makes his face red. He’s a virgin and he’d rather keep that secret. He’s refreshingly shy and inexperienced when it comes to girls. There’s a HILARIOUS come-to-Jesus moment (hint, he doesn’t go to Jesus, it’s his friend, a geek). He decides to confess his deception about being promiscuous. The way the geek responds was CLASSIC.
Also, KYLE LOVES GARDENING.
THIS IS AWESOME.
We have a bad-boy and a softie rolled all into one. YAH. This book comes off as genuine. Not flashy, or trying too hard. But not boring or digressive at all.
The only bit of criticism I had for it, was that mayyybe Kyle rambled a bit about his big ‘secret’. It kind of drove me nuts. Luckily the tension-to-gratification ratio evened out as it was sprinkled in with other plotlines.
I also ADORED the dichotomy between a dirt-loving boy, and a ballerina. The image evoked is that of warring cleanliness and grit.
But it was beautiful. Definitely one of my favorite reads last year. It had some laugh-out-loud moments, and I could ooze about it more, but I’ll spare you. XD
I’m definitely adding Kendra’s other works to my to-reads list. Like, Now.
*FTC Disclaimer – This book was given to me, by the publisher for the book tour, hosted by Chapter by Chapter. To see all their posts, reviews and interviews, click here.