ARC review: Bad Reputation by Nicole Edwards

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Tech executive Cassie and bad boy hockey star Chase have been best friends since their college days.  Just friends, thank you very much.  When Cassie is given the opportunity to deliver her company’s yearly keynote address in Las Vegas, she invites Chase along for the ride.  What happens Vegas stays in Vegas… sometimes, at least.

Let me be shameless for a second here and say that I only requested this ARC because of the cover model. I mean… whoever designed that cover – nice job. That was exactly how I pictured Chase throughout the book, and yeah, I can see why the fans can’t stay away.

Anyway. Moving on.

I think I might have actually started squealing when I found out that both characters attended my alma mater, UW-Madison! I’ve never read a book where the school was portrayed as anything other than the big, bad football rival, so this was a nice change of pace. The author got some points from me just for including that little piece of background information.

I really loved Chase, which is only partially due to his depiction on the cover. He has two dads, which I think is great. He has a hot temper on the ice but is actually super nice and friendly and good-natured off the ice.  Oh, and despite his celebrity status, he’s totally in love with his best friend.  Sounds like my kind of guy.

I could really take or leave Cassie.  She’s definitely not awful, as far as romance heroines go, but she was very frustrating. She was so adamant about not falling in love, especially with Chase, and not getting married and not making her mother’s mistakes, and what was even her problem with her mother to begin with? Like, sure, she seemed a little flighty and annoying, but I didn’t see anything in this book to back up Cassie’s level of disdain.

It was pretty obvious that Cassie and Chase were going to hook up once they got to Vegas, but I thought that aside from their hookup, much of what happened in Vegas was super out of character given everything we’d learned about Cassie. One night in Vegas and she becomes this irresponsible little girl who shirks all responsibility and starts doing things just for the fun of it? I mean, she never has fun back home. She spends the entire plane ride working. Am I really supposed to believe that she basically just forgot she was in Vegas on a work trip?  I’m not sure why this was necessary for the plot.

As an aside, though, speaking of the hookup – can we nix this whole “you don’t have to use a condom because I trust you” thing? It’s been showing up in just about every romance I’ve read this year, and I don’t care if you’ve been best friends for ten years, you’ve both had multiple partners. Even setting aside STDs, there’s a thing called pregnancy and if you’re forgetting that you have a job, I’m pretty sure you’ve been forgetting to take your pills.  I’ve never been to Vegas, but surely they sell condoms there.

Anyway, I liked the first half of this book a lot more than the second half, but it was still a solid three-star romance for me. Chase definitely carried the book more than Cassie did, but I liked him enough that it probably improved my rating. I’d be interested to read the future books in the Bad Boys of Sports series.  Maybe we’ll get Marky Mark and Natalie’s story?

Final rating: ★★★☆☆

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC!

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