Bad Bachelor is a contemporary romance with two main characters who are a lot like Transformers. Not in the sense that they are robots in disguise, but there is definitely more than meets the eye. There is some amazing banter and some fantastic sex scenes, though I had to overcome one major hurdle.
Darcy Greer is a goth librarian who is desperately trying to get more funding for her branch. Reed McMahon works in PR. His firm has selected him to do pro bono work to increase their image in the community, and Darcy’s library has been chosen as his client. However, Reed hates libraries, though that issue isn’t full addressed until the final pages of the story. If you read it, don’t focus so much on that issue like I did. Because it drove me to distraction.
The main source of conflict is that there’s a pesky new dating app on the market which allows women to rate bachelors, like a dating version of Yelp. Reed has been voted the #1 bad bachelor because he’s received so many terrible reviews from women. All of these reviews note that Reed is not the settling down kind and he’ll pull a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am on your ass. I don’t really see this as a bad thing because Reed seems pretty clear that commitment is something he’s not looking for when it comes to dating.
Darcy is trying to get back into the dating saddle and has been using the Bad Bachelors app to help her find a good guy. She’s obviously surprised when Reed walks into her library as the one to rehab the library’s image. She’s seen him on the app and she isn’t sure she can trust her reputation in the hands of a man who has trouble managing his own personal rep.
Here you have your standard trope of two prickly people who are forced to work together and I eat this shit up with a big ol’ spoon. And while I was all for the setup, it took many, many pages to settle into a good rhythm for one particular reason.
She positions herself and her hobbies in comparison with other women. She’s not into fashion. She prefers burgers over salads. She has tattoos and piercings! Here’s a passage that provides a great example of what I’m talking about:
Before the silence could stretch on too long, the first round of tasting plates arrived. Darcy’s brows rose as she picked up a small hors d’oeuvre with cheese, blackberry, and fresh dill on a skewer and popped it into her mouth. She twirled the empty stick.
“Do people really eat like this?” she asked, shaking her head. “God, no wonder all these rich women are so skinny. Give me a cheeseburger any day of the week.”
“You don’t pull any punches, do you?” Reed asked with a smirk, taking an hors d’oeuvre for himself. Truth be told, he’d have preferred a cheeseburger, too.
“I don’t care for BS.” She reached for another item from the tasting plate and instead of taking a delicate bite like most people would have, she shoved the whole thing into her mouth. “That’s just how I roll.”
I hate using the phrase “not like other girls,” but that’s the most succinct way I can describe the feeling I got from Darcy’s characterization. But women contain multitudes! We can love burgers and fancy finger foods! (Also, no one is going to be serving a greasy burger at a fancy gala. It’s just not practical.) One of my personal mottos is “Let people enjoy things.” I don’t need to shit on a food or hobby another woman enjoys. Something might not be for me and that’s okay. My burger is not going to taste any better because I insulted someone who really digs kale.
This happens with Darcy quite a bit through the first half of the book, but seems to ease up after that. Or perhaps I just stopped caring. That said, if this sort of thing makes you grit your teeth, tread lightly.
I did love the secondary cast of characters in the book. Both Reed and Darcy have a great group of friends and complicated family dynamics. Darcy in particular has a strained relationship with her mother. Darcy never knew her father and she’s always felt her mom was really hard on her growing up and still is now that she’s an adult. There’s a lovely come-to-Jesus moment between the two of them that made me cry. Same with Reed and his dad. Stefanie London does well capturing emotions that resonate and feel very human.
Aside from the characters, the best part was the sexytimes. There are only two sex scenes in the book, but they’re wonderful and I can remember both vividly. Don’t get me wrong; I have no problem reading some erotica, but I also love reading about intimate moments between a hero and heroine that really further their connection.
As a bonus, the scenes are incredibly charming and the banter left me grinning and rosy-cheeked. Darcy and Reed are great with communication and know that sex can be both personal and very awkward. Sometimes humor and light teasing can really ease the nerves.
There is a villain to this story and I was able to suss out who it was before the reveal. I have mixed feelings about it, but in a good way.
I feel for Reed on this because the app winds up putting his job in jeopardy, a job that he uses to care for his ill father and keep his dad from an assisted living facility.
As the next book is about Darcy’s other friend Remi (who is an Australian ballerina – hello!), I’m guessing the third book will feature Annie has the heroine. I really want to see how the author will redeem her in my eyes.
I’m all for this gray area when it comes to characters, but I recognize some readers may find her too villainous for their liking. Truthfully, I was just as relieved it wasn’t some vindictive ex-girlfriend of Reed’s trying to make trouble for him.
There is a moment during the climax of the romance where Reed turns into an asshole to push Darcy away, as romance heroes are wont to do. He throws it in her face that they travel in two different worlds and never the twain shall meet. This didn’t feel genuine to me as 1) Darcy has never been insecure about who she is with Reed and 2) Reed has shown Darcy his down-to-earth side that he typically masks with wealth and elitism. I will say, though, that this scene would be perfect in a romantic comedy. I was immediately reminded of the titular scene (that I can quote line by line) in She’s All That where Rachel Leigh Cook screams at Freddie Prinze Jr., “Am I bet? Am I fucking bet?”
London did a great job creating characters that I came to care about, despite some of the issues I had. I wish it didn’t take as long for me to reach extreme levels of reading enjoyment. The villain of the story complicates things and I really want to know how it’ll affect the friendships and romances in the next books.
Oh, and Reed showers Darcy in books that she loves, which is #RelationshipGoals for most of us.
It wasn’t a perfect read and I know I was coming off the high of The Kiss Quotient, but I’d compare this to a diamond in the rough. I had to overlook some imperfections to get to its goodness, but when it shines…boy, does it.