Pay Up by Kaily Hart
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Length: Short Story (73 pgs)
Other: M/F, Voyeurism
Rating: 4.5 cherries
Reviewed by Anemone
Neighbor. Friend. Lover.
At least that’s what Carly Wagner wanted Rio Reyes to be. She’d settled for two out of three for almost a year and it just wasn’t enough. Not anymore. When Rio proposes a bet—of the sexual variety—she knows it’s out of character and he’s not really serious, yet she can’t resist. The payoff could mean finally getting her hands on the gorgeous firefighter she’s drooled over since she moved in next door.
The timing had never seemed right for him and Carly, but that hadn’t stopped Rio from imagining wild and wicked things about her. It had been a joke—sort of—but Rio’s shocked when she takes him up on the dumbass bet. Now he’s in a world of hurt, because regardless of who wins, he might be crossing a line he never thought he would, and jeopardizing a friendship that means more to him than anything.
There is something sexy as heck about firefighters and Rio Reyes is no different. He's buff and an all American stud, and Carly has been dreaming about her best friend, Rio for a while now. This becomes especially hard since she has been able to hear every time he brings home a woman and all she can think is it should be her there, in his bed, making him groan like that.
Even though the fire and chemistry is there, both are too chicken to do anything about it until a bet is placed and the battle lines are drawn. The sexual tension burns hotter and hotter as jealousy builds on Rio's side and Carly is scared she has ruined the friendship for good.
Ms. Hart's writing is superb, perfectly planned and executed with a beautiful style. My only issue is with the bet. Considering the title and what seemed would be the theme of the book, the story took an unexpected turn and the bet suddenly became superfluous, making it little more than a cool title.
But then I wasn't reading the book for the title. The sex scenes were scorching hot, and slightly angsty. Rio even made me want to slap some sense into him and show him that what he wanted was right in front of him, but all that did was show me how real the characters were to me. With a HFN ending and a true hero that puts his life on the line every day, Ms. Hart brings us a cleverly spun story. I can't wait for her next release!