The Offer by Karina Halle
on June 12th 2015
She thinks he's an arrogant playboy. He thinks she's an uptight prude. But he's about to make her an offer she can't refuse. Nicola Price used to have it all – a great career, the perfect boyfriend, an excessive shoe collection and an apartment in one of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods. But when she gets knocked up and her asshat boyfriend leaves her high and dry, Nicola’s perfectly crafted world comes tumbling down. And stays that way. Now, Nicola is the proud single mom to a five-year old daughter and living a giant lie. She can barely afford their ghetto apartment and all the men she dates run when they hear she comes with a child. She’s struggling and scared – and nowhere near where she thought she’d be at age thirty-one. Her saving grace comes in the form of a tall, handsome and wealthy Scotsman Bram McGregor, the older brother of her friend Linden. Bram understands a thing or two about pride, so when tragic circumstances place Nicola at rock bottom, he offers them a place to live in the apartment complex he owns. It’s pretty much the perfect deal, so as long as she doesn’t mind living beside Bram, a man that, despite his generosity, seems to antagonize her at every turn.But nothing in life is free and as Nicola gets her feet back on the ground, she discovers that the enigmatic playboy may end up costing her more than she thought. She might just lose her heart. Those McGregor brothers are nothing but trouble...
Although it can be read as a standalone, The Offer is a spin-off of Karina Halle’s popular The Pact. I was less than impressed with The Pact, but I wanted to give this book a chance because a romance about a single mom in her thirties sounded interesting. There aren’t nearly enough good love stories featuring characters thirty and older. Plus, the cover looks really cool. Sadly, I’m more enthusiastic about the cover than I am about the actual book. It really is so very pretty.
We were introduced to Nicola Price and Bram McGregor in The Pact. Nicola is Stephanie’s best friend and Bram is Linden’s brother. Nicola is raising her five-year-old daughter, Ava, alone after her baby daddy decided he couldn’t handle being a father anymore. Bram is known for being a carefree Scottish manwhore. He’s T-r-o-u-b-l-e. He tries to hook up with Nicola at Stephanie and Linden’s wedding but when she tells him she has to get home to her daughter he quickly finds someone else to shag… in the bushes… which Nicola sees. Ouch. Now Nicola wants nothing to do with Bram and she makes no effort to hide her disdain for him whenever they are around each other. Bram sees her as a challenge to be conquered.
Nicola is already struggling to make ends meet when she’s fired from her job. Circumstances become even more dire and Bram offers to let Nicola and Ava move into the apartment complex he owns. And here began my exercise in frustration. Nicola has no job, she can barely pay the rent in her crappy one bedroom ghetto apartment, and she has a child to support. Yet when Bram says she can stay in a two bedroom apartment in a nice part of town rent-free until she can find a job, she says she has to “think about it”? What the hell?!
She has a friend who owns a bar but she doesn’t want to ask him for a job because she’s too proud. Nicola also has a father who can help her financially but she refuses to ask for his assistance. Why? You guessed it. She’s too proud. I am a mom. I may be too proud to ask for help for myself but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for my kids, including swallowing my pride to ask a parent for help. When she decides to move into Bram’s vacant apartment, she’s barely gracious. She seems almost resentful of his generosity. I simply could not relate to this woman.
As for Bram, he makes this grand charitable gesture but spends most of the time being intentionally lewd and baiting Nicola at every turn. I couldn’t figure out where he was coming from and I wasn’t feeling the chemistry between the two of them. The writing didn’t help turn up the sexual heat.
I grab her roughly and with a grunt, flip her over my shoulder, like a caveman would, like a hunter would bring home a meal, and take her into the bedroom where I throw her on the bed.
Is this Animal Planet? Somehow Bram wins over the prickly Nicola but at times I felt like he suffered from multiple personality disorder. He could be so sweet one moment and an arrogant ass the next.
“There’s no time for foreplay,” I warn her gruffly as I get on the bed and crawl toward her, my thick shaft bobbing between us. “But I’ll get you wet all the same.”
Apparently Bram is secretly Captain of the S.S. Douche Canoe.
Did anything work? Well, when they finally get their act together the story is kind of sweet. I liked the little family memories they create. The Ikea story is freaking hilarious! While I never did care for Nicola I did eventually warm to Bram. My favorite character though, hands down, is Ava. That little girl stole my heart.
The basic structure for most romance novels is the same: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back, and they both live happily ever after. So I’m not spoiling anything when I say that I was just waiting for Bram to screw up. The unexpected plot twist was a nice touch; however, the easy way in which the conflict was resolved in a single chapter was unsatisfying. Like wanting a four-course dinner and getting some tapas instead.
Maybe it’s because I remember having my own heart broken but I like seeing a hero really have to grovel to get his woman back.
If you liked The Pact then you will probably enjoy this book. If you didn’t then you aren’t missing much by passing on it – just take a moment to admire the pretty cover.
Hey there! I’m quite passionate about romance books. And musical theatre. And bacon. I live in Maryland with my husband and three daughters. Visit me on Goodreads.
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