Title: A Betting Man (Men of Manhattan #1)
Author: Sandrine Gasq-Dion
Cover Artist: Unknown
Publisher: Skull Blaster Publishing
Buy Link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Length: 83 pages
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
A guest review by Lasha
Summary Review: A great plot that was marred by the fact one of the main characters was an unredeemable cad.
How bad could one harmless bet be? Kent Samson is about to find out. Raised in Alabama, Kent has hidden his past and now loves his life as a big time ad exec for a prestigious advertising company in New York. But when he makes a bet with his best friend, Blaine, Kent is thrown for a loop—for Kent has to make the next person to walk through the door fall in love with him.
Terry Barron is hiding out in New York. Raised in England in a wealthy family, Terry escapes to New York to avoid arranged marriages and the lifestyle he’s grown to hate. When he delivers a package to an advertising firm, he meets the unbelievably sexy Kent Samson. Suddenly, secrets and lies complicate everything and both men find themselves in uncharted waters. How will Terry feel when Kent is revealed as a betting man?
I was very interested in reading a book by Sandrine Gasq-Dion that did not feature shifters. A Betting Man is a contemporary m/m romance set in New York that features a rich, straight ad exec named Kent Samson who makes a bet with his best friend Blaine to seduce the next person who walks through the door. That person happens to be Terry Barron. A guy. What ensues is more like Freddie Prinze, Jr.’s plight in She’s All That, because as Kent falls for Terry, you know eventually the lie that brought them together is going to be found out.
This book features two new items: 1.) the opening of Wilde City Press and 2.) a different style of writing for Ms. Gasq-Dion. I am happy to say that the editing in this book was good, the cover gorgeous and I was very interested after reading the blurb. A great start for the new publishing company! As for the actual book, I’m sorry but I had a hard time rating it higher than 3 stars. Why? Well, I love the romcom trope of the ‘bet,’ but usually with that the character who is conning the other character has some sort of spark, a lovable quality to them that makes the audience overlook his obvious shortcomings in even agreeing to the bet. Unfortunately, Kent Samson is no Freddie Prinze, Jr. Now, I loved the other character, Terry, but I wanted him far, far away from Kent by the end of this book.
I just did not see any growth in Kent’s character from beginning to end to make me understand why Terry would forgive him once he found out about the bet. The redemption aspect, so important in this type of plot wasn’t there. For me, Kent was the same shallow guy who spewed this nonsense in the beginning of the book:
“I rinsed the shampoo from my hair and soaped up my cock. It was beautiful, so I’d been told. Many women had happily wrapped their lips around it. I smiled and rinsed off.”
Yeah, Kent’s a self-absorbed douchenozzle who loves himself to a degree I found nauseating, he treats women as objects — we won’t even get to the way women are portrayed in the book — and yet the reader is supposed to believe he’s a changed man by the end? Sorry, I wasn’t buying his change from straight man to well-adjusted gay man who comes out to his family and friends because he’s fallen in love with Terry. I love a good Gay For You plot as much as the next girl, but Kent’s transformation from frat-boy idiot to sincere partner wasn’t fully realized. It may have been that the book was too short and that part of the plot not given enough growth to fully turn Kent’s characterization around, I’m not sure. I just know I did not warm up to Kent at all in the book. Terry, I loved and thought the author did a great job with his characterization, but Kent was the sticking point for me.
Now, all is not lost. I really liked the chemistry between Kent’s friend, Blaine and Terry’s boss. Given the right plotline, I would totally read a sequel about them.
I had really mixed reactions to this book, which is why this review was difficult to write. I went back and forth between 2 and 3 stars, finally settling on three because I enjoyed Terry so much. Now, I do see a lot of growth in Ms. Gasq-Dion’s writing style and I like that she dipped her foot into a non-paranormal world. So, for fans who like her shifter books, GFY tropes or the movie She’s All That, you will probably enjoy this.