Checkmate by R.L. Mathewson (Neighbors From Hell #3)
Released: October 29, 2012
Reviewed by Mandi
Favorite Quote: “Oh my God!” a woman whispered loudly. “They’re going to do it on the front lawn!”
This past summer I read my first RL Mathewson book, Playing for Keeps. (and for $.99 it’s so worth it). I was on an airplane when I started it, and I was laughing so loud I had to keep putting my hand over my mouth so I didn’t disturb the person next to me. After reading poor reviews for the second book, I decided to wait for this one to come out. The first 30-40% of this book is slow and I feel like the author just tells us the same stuff over and over. But the second half of the book more than makes up for it, transforming the hero into an adorable romance hero.
Rory and Connor first met in preschool and they were each other’s nemesis from day one. Doing anything and everything they could to prank, anger and get the other one in trouble. As they grew up through school, their pranks got meaner and their hatred for each other grew stronger. Rory was raised by her dad with five older brothers. Her dad made them all work construction, no whining, no crying. Rory is tough. Really tough. She never cries, she just quietly gets revenge. The pranks they pull on each other are no joke with the outcome ending in jail, banned from stores, and sometimes hiding and running into Canada. For example, once in high school Connor took pictures of him spitting in Rory’s food for months, collecting all the pictures and then one day putting them in her locker so she could see what she has been eating for the past few weeks. Rory is never one to cry, she is one to retaliate and kick ass. I believe with this prank she kneed him in the balls and then shoved her spit lunch down his throat.
Hatred and love have a fine line between them and while Connor loves to get under Rory’s skin as much as possible, he loves her. He actually had planned to propose to her when he was 18 but events happened on her birthday that changed Connor’s status from being an annoying person to the man who ‘ruined her life forever’ (I’ll let you discover those events.)
So now Connor has settled, annoying Rory as an adult, buying the house right next door to her (which is only a few inches away from her house). When they both bid on a local construction project and the client decides to let their companies share the work, they know this can only mean trouble. There is no way they can work together amicably. But there is big money in this contract, so they decide to man up, and try to do it. I’m sure you can guess how it all turns out.
As I said earlier, the second half of this book is where the story really picks up. Connor teases Rory SO much it is just crazy. Constantly telling her she is a woman and doesn’t belong on a construction site. Constantly stealing her beloved hot cocoa. Just all around giving her a hard time.
She tried to climb off his lap, but of course he wouldn’t let her. Not when he was comfortable and well, that’s all that he really cared about, but apparently she couldn’t give a damn about his comfort. Kind of selfish of her, he thought as she went for his nipples. With a curse, he released his hold on her so that he could protect his poor nipples before the vicious woman could tear them off.
While Connor likes to pretend everything is about him, deep down Connor expects everyone to pamper and worship Rory. He takes great offense and runs off every man that tries to get near her. But it takes him time to stop the silliness and be sincere. And when he starts acting sincere, it’s so romantic.
When Rory gets seriously injured, Connor realizes there is more to their relationship than just games. He steps it up, but then has to convince Rory there is something romantic between them. For as silly as this book is, the author turns their relationship into a really sexy one. We get really hot and lengthy sex scenes in this one. They go from practically killing each other to literally kissing and making out for hours on end.
I loved their transformation from hating each other to loving each other. I laughed and by the end I swooned. I wish the first half had picked up the pace a little, but I still enjoyed this one. I’ll leave you with one last excerpt highlighting their funny banter:
.”You’re only here because of my generosity, Rory. Push me and you might just find yourself locked in the trunk of a car and on a ferry headed off to Nova Scotia…again,” he said softly, loving the way she practically shook with rage against him.
“I knew that was you, you bastard!” she snarled, looking torn between going for his nipples again or just outright killing him.
“You deserved it,” he felt obligated to remind her.
She scoffed. “I was twelve!”
“You superglued my shorts to my ass!”
The smile that teased her lips transformed her face from beautiful to breathtakingly beautiful in a matter of seconds. He was damn thankful that she didn’t know the effect that had on him or she’d do it to bring him to his knees and god help him, but he’d love every fucking second of it.