Note: This ARC was provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.
“I don’t understand.” She gripped his wrists, her fingers digging painfully into his skin. “You’re seducing me and giving me closure?”“I define our relationship as before the accident. Because after? After, we were nothing, we were too broken, too damaged. There was never an after. Only a before. I’m giving us the after. And I’m giving you the choice you never had.”A tear slid down her cheek, colliding with his hand. “And if I walk away in the end?”His heart twisted inside his chest. “Then that’s your choice. But now, at least you have one.”
Brand and Nikki Wellington were both twenty-one and in love and ready to fight their love and the family they were going to have. But a devastating loss made even more traumatizing by an accident that leads to Nikki losing most of her eyesight tore them apart. Thoughtless words caused by two tragedies led to hurtful actions and four years of very separate lives. But two scheming senior citizens—one of whom happens to be Brant’s grandfather, Charles Wellington; the other, Nadine Titus, the owner of the resort Nikki works at—hope a bit of matchmaking and meddling will lead these two erstwhile lovers to realize that they’re far better together than they ever were apart. And with a little help from Brant’s brothers, Brock and Bentley, the staff of the resort, and one unlikely ally in the form of Nikki’s best friend, Cole Masters, who’s had feelings for her for nearly as long as he’s known her, maybe love gets a second shot.
The Bachelor Contract is the third novel in Rachel Van Dyken’s the Bachelors of Arizona series featuring the three Wellington brothers. This is also the spin-off of the author’s The Bet series, which had the Titus brothers, Travis and Jake, and Jace Brevik. With the eldest Wellington, Brock, and one-half of the twins, Bentley, finding love, all that’s left is Brant, but he already found love a few years back, but promptly let it go when he chose to walk away from his marriage to Nikki. His story is the one with the most angst when compared to the first two, The Bachelor Auction and The Playboy Bachelor. There’s a lot of anger and hostility between Brant and Nikki as well as unresolved issues, hurt, and wariness, all of which were not brought about by the usual jealousy factor. Brant has drowned himself in alcohol and meaningless romps while Nikki learned to live with the loss of her eyesight and their baby that never came to term.
It would be reaaally easy to look between these exes and lay the blame solely at the feet of Brant. However, I’m one of those annoying people who happens to believe that it takes two to make a marriage and two to ultimately break it. What I’m basically saying is that both Brant and Nikki made missteps that led to the demise of their marriage. Yes, Nikki clearly learned how to manage her grief far better than Brant did, but these two lacked communication and assumptions were made. Last I checked, neither one of them were mind readers, so how could they have known what the other one was truly thinking and feeling prior to the break-up? However, it was as clear as day that underneath all the feelings of abandonment and disappointment was the very love that became the foundation of their marriage. They didn’t need to fall back in love with each other; they needed to close one painful chapter in order to open a far better one.
As has been par for the course for this series, here’s a healthy dose of humor courtesy of a supporting cast that almost always threatened to steal the spotlight from Brant and Nikki. Charles was, at his very core, a grandfather who loved his grandsons and was willing to pull strings for the simple want of them finding love and happiness. On the other hand, the puppet master was none other than Nadine, who was in a class all her own—think evil genius level here, and I say that with exasperated affection. Brant’s brothers and their significant others, plus the resort staff were fonts of wisdom as well as silliness and comic relief. One standout peripheral character was Cole, who I am hoping and wishing and praying gets his own happily-ever-after. All this plus two stubborn but sweet main characters headlining this fab second-chance love story courtesy of Van Dyken’s great writing made The Bachelor Contract a five-plus-starred winner.
Read my reviews for the Bachelors of Arizona series:
The Bachelor Auction (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
The Playboy Bachelor (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
The Bachelor Contract (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 28 November 2017
Date Read: 26 November 2017
Learn more about Rachel Van Dyken.