New Release Review Blog Tour & Giveaway:
Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon
BookCrushin is excited to help spread the word for the newly released contemporary romance, Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon! When I heard Chris Cannon had a new book, I sort of flipped out; my first thought was, “Wait, why isn’t she finishing her Going Down in Flames series? Grrr!” My second thought was, “Ooooh, Chris Cannon has a NEW BOOK! Why haven’t I read it yet?”
Blackmail Boyfriend by Chris Cannon
Sometimes, blackmail is the only weapon a girl has…
Haley Patterson has had a crush on golden boy Bryce Colton for ages. But then when she hears a rumor—Bryce is telling everyone that he hooked up with her. With Haley’s reputation taking a nosedive, she gives Bryce him a choice: be her boyfriend for a month for a month or face the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up withto show other guys that she’s dateable—despite her overprotective and very intimidating brothers.—or deal with the angry, cage-fighting boyfriend of the girl he actually did hook up with.
Bryce didn’t know the other Haley even had a boyfriend. He was just trying to get his ex off his back. And now doesn’t know what’s more unbelievable, not only is—that he’s he being blackmailed, or that he’s being blackmailed by an honor student. His little “hook up” was supposed to end his problems with girls, not create new ones. Not only that, but his new “girlfriend” has two overprotective brothers, three-legged dogs, her father mows grass at the country club, and she’s…well, difficult. And different.
Besides, everyone knows that perfect boys never fall for imperfect girls…Sometimes, giving in is all a boy can do…Can something so fake turn into something real?
“We need to talk.” Bryce gave an exaggerated sigh.
“Okay.” I opened my bag of chips.
“I’m sorry, but there’s someone else.”
He wanted to break up with me in the cafeteria? Fat chance. I leaned toward him and touched his arm in a girlfriend sort of way. “If you planned to stage a public breakup with me, you can forget it.”
Amusement showed in his hazel eyes. “Think you can stop me?”
“Yes. First, I’m going to appeal to your sense of decency. I’m not a hook-up kind of girl. Thanks to you, the entire school thinks I am.”
He snagged a chip and popped it in his mouth. “Do you even date?”
Ouch. It’s hard to have an active social life when you have two older brothers who chase everyone away, which is why I need you to stick around and stop that cycle.”
“Sucks to be you.” He stole another chip.
“If you don’t go along with Operation Boyfriend Bait, I’ll go with plan B.”
His brows came together. “Ratting me out to Denny?”
“After he pummels you into the ground, people will definitely believe you slept with his Haley and not me, so doesn’t it make more sense to play this my way? We both win.”
Jane came back and took her seat. “What did I miss?”
“He’s trying to break up with me. I gave him two options.”
“You or dismemberment by Denny?” she guessed.
“Exactly.” I crossed my arms over my chest. “What will it be?”
“I pretend to be your boyfriend for a week, and you keep your mouth shut.”
“Two months,” Jane chimed in.
Bryce grabbed another chip. “One week and you can keep the Homecoming tickets.”
“Five weeks and you can have the Homecoming tickets back,” I countered.
“Two weeks,” he said. “And I don’t want the Homecoming tickets.”
“Four weeks.” He reached for another chip and I smacked his hand.
His mouth dropped open, and then he laughed. “That was not good girlfriend behavior.”
I pulled the bag of chips closer. “Landing me in detention was not good boyfriend behavior.”
He grinned all-knowingly. “You didn’t mind at the time.”
My face heated. “Whatever. I want four weeks, the Homecoming tickets, and a double date with Jane and Nathan.”
“Thank you.” Jane bounced in her chair.
“Thought I’d share the wealth.” I smiled at Bryce. “And this should go without saying, but I expect you to play my monogamous boyfriend. When this is over, we’ll do a mutual breakup with no one to blame.”
He sat back and seemed to weigh his options. “Three weeks, keep the tickets, one double date, and a no-fault breakup. Deal?”
“What I needed was a guy who wouldn’t let my brothers intimidate him. A guy who was confident enough to stand up to them. At this point I didn’t even care if I liked the guy…”
Blackmail Boyfriend is the third book I’ve read by Chris Cannon, though this one features somewhat normal humans instead of shape-shifting, fire-breathing dragons. The main character of the story is Haley Patterson and, though the book’s synopsis begins by telling the reader that Haley has had a crush on Bryce “for ages,” that isn’t catalyst for the ensuing action.
Haley has two older brothers – two very intrusive, overprotective brothers – who refuse to let any boy get close to her. Haley has been trying to figure out how to prove to the male members of the school population that she is dateable despite her brothers’ best threats, and when she walks into school to a rumor that she hooked up with Bryce, she decides to take advantage of the situation. She gives Bryce an ultimatum: pretend to be her boyfriend for a few weeks or deal with the fallout from his lie. Bryce reluctantly accepts her deal and, voila!, Haley has an instant boyfriend.
Chris Cannon has a knack for imbuing her characters with equal parts sassy, smart, and kind, and I really adored Haley, who was all of these. She is loyal to her best friend, Jane; she is passionate about animals and volunteers at a local animal shelter; she is confident and self-possessed. And yes, she has had a crush on Bryce, and yes, she’d love a boyfriend, but these things doesn’t define her and she’s just fine on her own. Haley is also amazingly patient with her family; the men are gruff and interfering (it’s obvious that they do it out of love but, still…) and Haley’s mom becomes mysteriously withdrawn when Haley and Bryce begin fake dating. I would not have been half as tolerant as she were I teenager in that situation.
Bryce is a good guy; he is reserved and possesses perfect manners, which he employs even when he’d rather not. His life is far from the perfect façade which he feels forced to maintain, and he tries his hardest to keep people out. He is the perfect foil for Haley and they complement one another nicely. Bryce reminded me a bit of Jaxon from Ms. Cannon’s Going Down in Flames series (and I adore Jaxon).
Jane and Nathan were great supporting characters and provided levity and humor to balance Haley and Bryce. I would absolutely read a book involving them as the main characters (hint, hint!).
I had an easy time picturing the various locations described in the book; in fact, a few days after finishing Blackmail Boyfriend, my husband and I pulled into a parking lot so riddled with potholes that I thought I was going to fly out of our minivan, and I was immediately reminded of a scene from the book.
The story is sweet and funny, even when occasionally predictable. I wasn’t crazy about the last scene, simply because I wanted more details and it felt a little rushed, but that is a minor detail in the grand scheme of the book. It’s a fast read that will have you snorting, laughing, and smiling throughout.
Blackmail Boyfriend: 4/5 stars. Sweet, engaging, funny, and sarcastic.
I took a deep breath and focused on happy things like my dogs, chocolate chip cookies, running the jerk down with my car and then backing over him again. – Haley
Since this was my fake relationship, I chose to believe my smoking-hot pretend boyfriend was not a man-whore. Hey, it was my delusional world. Why not go for broke? – Haley
“If everyone committed random acts of cupcakes, the world would be a better place.” – Jane to Bryce
Somehow, I felt lighter. The weight of the world pressing down on me disappeared, all because a smart girl covered in shampoo and dog fur was laughing at me. – Bryce
Chris Cannon lives in Southern Illinois with her husband and her three dogs, Pete the shih tzu who sleeps on her desk while she writes, Molly the ever-shedding yellow lab, and Tyson the sandwich-stealing German Shepherd Beagle. She believes coffee is the Elixir of Life. Most evenings after work, you can find her sucking down caffeine and writing fire-breathing paranormal adventures or snarky romantic comedies.