Spencer Crowe finally got into the science living and learning housing at school, only to find himself annoyed day and night by the loud and rowdy fraternity next door. Even worse, the frat guys keep parking in Spencer’s spot. When he is exhausted and running late for work, finding someone once again has taken his space, Spencer loses it, taking at our his ire on the latest offender, Cory Ingram. Cory is wealthy and attractive and popular and seems to have everything and Spencer lets him hear all his frustration and fury.
Cory can understand why Spencer is annoyed, but he isn’t sure he is deserving of the full force of Spencer’s anger for his one-time offense. Cory feels bad enough, however, to try to make things right, but Spencer won’t hear of it. And yes, Cory probably shouldn’t find Spencer’s anger charming. And he definitely shouldn’t agree to a casual bet that he can find a way to win Spencer over. But Cory loves a challenge and he finds Spencer so appealing, despite the fact that Spencer is mad at him.
Part of Spencer wants nothing to do with Cory… but a larger part can’t help but enjoy being around him. And when Spencer realizes that he can see right into Cory’s window from his room, he gets enough of an eyeful to find Cory even more alluring. Despite his attempts to put up walls between them, it doesn’t take long before Spencer is falling for Cory’s charm. The guys begin to hook up and hang out, and Spencer starts to realize there is much more to Cory than he once thought. In fact, there may just be something real growing between them. But Cory’s careless bet may derail everything.
Bet You is the fourth installment of the multi-author Franklin U collection. The books are intended to stand alone, and while there is a brief cameo or two from series characters in this story, you can easily start here. Neve Wilder is so good at new adult books and this one is no exception. There is a fun, sort of enemies-to-lovers vibe between Spencer and Cory as they get off on the wrong foot at first meeting. While Spencer wants to be annoyed with Cory, once he cools down, he can’t help but find Cory charming. And Cory is surprised that while his bedroom is usually a revolving door of hookups, he actually really likes Spencer as potentially something more serious. I think Wilder gets the right tone here as while Cory is pushy about trying to win Spencer over, as readers we can see that Spencer is charmed despite himself and is into it all, even as he sometimes wishes he wasn’t. We also see that Cory is very careful to monitor Spencer, making sure he doesn’t go too far and that Spencer is enjoying it all. Basically, after their initial blow up, both guys are having fun with one another, despite any front Spencer may put up. Cory is sweet and a much better guy than Spencer initially gives him credit for and they are fun and sexy together.
The “bet I can get him into bed” trope isn’t always my favorite, to be honest, but I think Wilder handles that well. While Cory does technically bet his friends he can seduce Spencer, it is more a moment of excited boasting than a real bet, and Cory never thinks of it again for pretty much the entire book. So I never had a sense that Cory was playing Spencer, or just befriending him to win. The bet is sort of a non-issue until things blow up. And, of course they do. I appreciated that Cory recognizes that he has messed up and he gives Spencer space. He wants to talk to Spencer, to prove he really cares about him, to make him listen. But he steps back, tries to apologize, and then give Spencer room to make his own decision with being pushy or pestering, which is something I really appreciated.
If you enjoy new adult stories, I think you will find a lot to like here. There is a sweetness underlying the dynamic between Cory and Spencer, and a sense of each one supporting and encouraging the other. As I said, Neve Wilder does so well with this type of story, and this is no exception. I found it a lot of fun and a nice addition to the Franklin U world.