When college student Madi Ryan wins a contest she didn’t enter, she reluctantly accepts a weekend date with gorgeous singer/songwriter Jake Morgan. Determined to find something wrong with him, Madi sets out to prove he’s not all he appears to be.
Haunted by mistakes, Jake Morgan lives with a past that prevents him from having a future… until Madi Ryan walks into his life. As his walls and his rules slowly crumble around him, Madi makes him doubt everything he thought he knew. Her desire to find something wrong with him fuels his interest in her. It doesn’t hurt that she’s beautiful, feisty and keeps him guessing.
As the weekend turns into something more long term, Madi finds herself drawn into his world and his charm. From harmless flirting, to denied passion, no matter how much Jake tries to push her away, he ends up pulling her in. And as Madi tries to put him together, he unknowingly tears her apart.
Contests don’t always have a winner and a loser. Sometimes love takes all.
The Contest is a cute, flirty, quick read. It had me hooked from the beginning and I enjoyed every minute of it. Madi wins a contest to go on a date with a famous singer, Jake Morgan. At first she doesn't believe that she won. It takes some convincing by her friend Kendra before she actually believes she won the Jake Morgan contest, which Kendra entered for her. Madi likes to stick to what she's comfortable with and used to. Going to LA to meet a famous guy is WAY out of her range of comfort. However, her nervousness is unnecessary when she and Jake finally meet. They connect quickly and become fast friends.
Jake is hot and confident and an all around good guy. He does have some demons that he has a hard time letting go of, though. It's because of his past that he is constantly pushing Madi away even while he is being pulled to her. Though Jake and Madi are attracted to each other and eventually develop deep feelings, they are friends first. I loved the dynamic between these two. They are fun together. Jake has alpha tendencies, and Madi is quite sassy.
I only had one issue with this story, and it is how Madi reacted to something tragic that happened to her. I felt that the author gave her a pretty blase attitude about it. The event was pretty serious, and Madi seemed to recover a little too quickly, in my opinion. Regardless, it didn't hurt the story really. I was able to move on and get back to enjoying the story.
She paced the kitchen floor. Murphy looked up at her curiously. “Murphy, why is your daddy taking Christine Paul with him tonight? Does he like her?”
Murphy sat and stared at her, wagging his tail. Apparently he didn’t have an answer either. When Madi had heard Jake on the phone talking to her and laughing, she’d wanted to puke. Had she been wrong about him? She would have gone with him if he wanted her to, but he didn’t even ask. Against her better judgment, Madi had googled her. She was divorced and totally available. There were rumors online that she and Jake were dating. Madi had scoffed. He spent all his nights at work or with her. If he was dating anyone, her name was Madi Ryan.
Jake had been a perfect gentleman since the night of dinner with his parents. He had made no attempts to come too close and he almost seemed to run away whenever she touched him. Maybe the other night was a mistake. Maybe she was wrong to think things would work out between them. She could feel her blood boil when she thought of Christine Paul with her arm wrapped around Jake. Would Jake even come home tonight? Madi continued to pace until she heard Jake’s bedroom door open.
Madi gaped at him. She immediately felt wet just by looking at him. He was freaking gorgeous. He walked out of the room fixing his cufflinks. He was wearing the double-breasted black tux with a straight black tie and black vest underneath. It fit him like a glove. His hair was perfectly coiffed and he had shaved, but only enough to give him a sexy, dirty boy look. He smiled at Madi as he walked toward her and she almost passed out.
“Well, what do you think?”
“I thought you were going to dress up,” Madi said with a look of boredom.
Jake laughed and fiddled with his tie.
“Here, let me help you.” Madi came up to him and started to straighten his tie when she smelled him. Dear God in heaven… It took everything in her power to not fall at his feet, cling to his leg and beg him to stay home with her tonight.
Jake glared at her as she fixed his tie. “Something wrong, Madi?” he said with a smirk.
She rolled her eyes. “You know what’s wrong.”
“No, I don’t think I do.”
Madi sighed and patted his tie into place. “You look handsome, Jake, as usual.”
Jake furrowed his brows as he studied her briefly before a cocky smile crossed his lips. “So you think Christine will like it then?”
Did he really just say that to her? What the hell? Why would Madi worry if Christine thought he looked good? Screw Christine. She hated her. Madi put her hands on her hips as she spoke. “I don’t really know her taste, Jake. Why don’t you ask her if she thinks you’re lickable. I really don’t give a damn.”
Jake put his hands in the air and backed away from her. “Someone is feisty tonight!”
Madi turned away to hide her embarrassment. She took a steadying breath. She wanted to punch him. Then she wanted to grab him and stick her tongue down his throat. No, she wanted to kick him in the balls.
“Maybe you should get out tonight, Madi.” She turned to look at him. “You seem uptight, like you have a lot of built up tension. I know I can’t wait for a release.” Jake raised his eyebrows to her as he said it. What was he trying to imply?
Madi glared at him. He knew she was jealous and he was purposely rubbing it in. What a gigantic dick. She was pissed. The words came out of her mouth before she could stop them, “Fuck you, Jake.” She stomped off to her room and slammed the door. As she leaned against it, the regret crept in. She almost turned to apologize but then she felt the anger rise back to the surface. They most definitely were not dating. Let him go with Christine Paul. If that was the kind of woman he wanted then she hoped he screwed her until his dick fell off. Madi looked for her phone and realized it was on the kitchen counter. She was definitely not going back out to the kitchen with Jake still there. She leaned on the door and scooted to the floor.
There was a small part of her that wanted to cry, but a bigger part of her wanted to punch a hole in the wall. She looked up from the floor and saw the teddy bear Jake had sent to her in college poking his head out from the pillow. He was mocking her. She could hear him in his teddy bear voice: “You got a teddy bear but Christine gets his dick.” Madi got up and ran to the bear. She picked up the little shit and threw him up against the wall. Then she kicked him. He was still laughing at her so she picked him up and attempted to rip his head off. Damn her lack of strength! She opened up a drawer and shoved him inside under her panties. “No, you little fuck! You don’t deserve to be near my panties!” She picked him up and drop kicked him into the back of her closet. Then she closed the door and started to half laugh, half cry. Fuck Jake Morgan and all his games. Fuck this stupid contest and this stupid job. Fuck LA. Fuck, fuck, fuck!!!!
Madi heard the door close and felt relief mixed with intense pain. She opened the door and moped her way to the kitchen. She picked up her phone and called Kendra. No answer. She didn’t leave a message. She looked down at her phone and contemplated who she could call. She punched in a number.
“Hi sweetie! How are you tonight?”
What happens when you win a love you don’t think you deserve?
Long distance relationships are tough and there are two sides to every story. No one knows that better than Jake Morgan and Madi Ryan. It’s not just about falling in love; it’s about staying together when everything in the world wants to tear you apart.
When Madi’s attacker is released on bail, Jake decides he’ll to everything in his power to protect the woman he loves, even if that means keeping secrets. Strange emails and photos appear on Madi’s computer, warning her that Jake is not what he seems. Madi’s faith in him begins to waver, especially when Jake becomes linked to beautiful actress, Allison Gregory. Although he promises there is nothing between them, outside forces push Madi’s trust in him to the breaking point.
Jake is willing to move heaven and earth to prove to Madi just how much she means to him. But when everything in their lives comes crashing down, will Madi be able to trust her heart or will she lose the only man she’s ever really loved?
Can two people stay together when one of them is always waiting to lose?
Waiting to Lose is a great follow up to The Contest. It picks up right where book 1 left off, so be aware that you have to read it. These are not stand alone books. If you have not read The Contest, stop reading this review. It does contain slight spoilers.
In this book, Madi and Jake are together and going the long distance thing. He is still on tour and she is back to school. Their relationship is still a secret to the public to protect Madi's privacy. However, the tabloids have matched him up with an actress and someone is emailing Madi fake pictures to try to break them up. This isn't the only test that Madi and Jake go through. They are still dealing with the tragic event and the ripples of it that took place in book one.
I again enjoyed the dynamic between Jake and Madi. They are just really fun characters. The author did a great job creating realistic, relatable characters. The only character I didn't enjoy as much in this book as I did previously is Madi's best friend, Kendra. Honestly, I found her to be a bitch. After her past was revealed a bit and how she is a bit damaged, i still could not like her. She just rubbed me wrong in this book.
Kendra aside, I totally recommend this series. It's light, fun, flirty, and perfect for a lazy reading day.
A slow, devious grin crept across her lips, and Jake desperately needed to know her thoughts. “Mads, for the love of God, you need to tell me what’s going on in that head of yours.”
“Didn’t I just tell you that I wanted the steak?”
Jake’s mind raced back to Madi, standing in red garter belts, drunk out of her mind in his apartment in L.A. He remembered her telling him she’d always had the chicken salad because it was safe. Back then she’d also said she wanted the steak. She said he was the steak. “Are you hungry?” he asked, motioning toward the table.
Madi’s smile widened as she glanced over his shoulder at the table of food. “That’s not the steak I want.”
Jake closed his eyes and smiled, shaking his head. He opened them suddenly when he felt her fingers begin to unbutton his shirt. He followed her trembling hands with his eyes as they deftly stripped his chest. Madi took a deep breath, and Jake smirked as her eyes traveled the length of his torso. She flexed her hand over his pecs before circling the nipples on his chest and running her fingers through the small amount of hair there. She smiled and sucked in her lip as her hand gently examined each one of his stomach muscles. That same electricity they had between them before was present like another force in the room. Her touch sent shivers through him, directly to his manhood.
“You are a beautiful man, Jake Morgan.” She turned behind him, pulling his shirt down his arms. She skimmed her fingers over him, kissing his shoulders.
“I assume you’re satisfied with the cut of your steak?” he asked with a mischievous tone as her hand reached around him and squeezed his stomach. Her tongue and lips kissed the area between his shoulder blades. He could feel a smile in her kiss. Jake closed his eyes and tried to remember to breathe. His mind went back to the morning he awoke with her hand on his stomach. He remembered her saying how tight it felt and how she had wanted to touch him. He also remembered her bare legs wrapped in the covers. He felt a twitch in his pants. They were suddenly becoming a little too tight.
He almost said something, but he couldn’t focus on anything but the way her touch made him feel. He’d denied himself her for so long. He silently promised himself that he would never take a single kiss from her for granted. She continued to press her lips to his back as her hands made their way down to his belt. She quickly unfastened it, undid the button of his jeans, and gently pulled his zipper down. Jake could feel the effect she was having on him and wondered how long he’d be able to stand still. Her hand reached inside his boxer briefs and found him. He couldn’t help the sharp intake of air that left his mouth at the feel of her hands on him. She stood there for a few moments with her lips on his back and her hands knowingly stroking him from behind, as if she could read his inner thoughts and desires. Before he knew it, Madi turned and was on her knees in front of him. “Jesus... Madi…” He could barely get her name out as he panted.
“I… want… the… steak. This piece of steak.”