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New Release Review: EVEN THE SCORE by Kate Meader (Tall, Dark, and Texan #1)

I <3 fake engagement stories!

A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

He’ll make her an offer she can’t refuse…

Actress Tess McKenzie is performing in the Tenth Circle of Showbiz Hell-dinner theater. All she really wants is to start a theater of her own. Then Tess receives an offer she can’t refuse. She’ll get her funding…if she pretends to be the fiancée to her nemesis, Texan property tycoon Hunter Dade. If she’s going to pull this off, she’ll need all the luck she can get.Break a leg, indeed.

On the verge of a big business deal, Hunter needs to hire a fiancée. He hasn’t quite forgiven Tess for ruining his wedding, but when their chemistry goes from combative to straight-up lust, the “no sex” clause in their mutually beneficial arrangement is tested. Which is a serious problem, because if Tess isn’t careful, she’ll go from breaking a leg to breaking her heart…



Holy Channy Taytay…the man put the awe in awesome.

I was so excited to see that Kate Meader had a new series–Tall, Dark, and Texan–and even more excited to get a chance to read it 🙂

Ms. Meader starts this series off with a bang–Tess and Hunter’s story has both a fake engagement and an enemies-to-lovers vibe…bonus! The two can’t exactly claim a meet-cute (though they make a few fake ones up as part of their cover), since shortly after meeting him for the first time Tess plays an instrumental role in stopping Hunter’s wedding to her best friend Jenna.

Understandably, Hunter was a bit miffed about it.

Jump into the future, and their paths cross again–this time Hunter gets the bright idea that he will Even the Score (see what we did there?) by hiring the “Hollywood Princess” to play his fiancee for a weekend to help him close an important business deal. Tess, feeling not a little guilty over her role in ending his marriage before it began and desperate for cash, agrees.

Aaaand…you know where this is going to go, right? 😉

Fortunately, the journey there is a whole lot of steamy, sexy fun. Hunter and Tess have undeniable chemistry, and Ms. Meader’s trademark banter is here in spades.

“Are you worried I’ll turn into mush and fall for you? Because newsflash, your penis is nowhere near that powerful.”

(Ahem…all evidence to the contrary, Tess.) The sex scenes might make you feel the need to turn up the A/C, and the hero might have you contemplating a geographic move to see if you can find your own tall, dark Texan.

Overall, it’s a great series start.

It does have a bit of an angstier feel than the other books I’ve read by Ms. Meader, since both Tess and Hunter are operating under some pretty heavy-duty sources of internal conflict. More than once I wished for the ability to sit down with one or both of them and explain just how wrong their perceptions of the situation were.

That, or smack them upside the head until they got those ridiculous notions out of their heads. One or the other.

After a heart-wrenching fake/real breakup, their reconciliation was pretty quick and mostly painless–but also adorable and heavy on the happy feels, leaving me more than content with how their story played out.

Not to mention anxious for more from this series! Hunter does have two hunky and single business partners, after all…

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.




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About the author:

Kate writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines who can match their men quip for quip. Her latest series, Hot in Chicago, features firefighting foster siblings. With tattoos.

Kate on Goodreads


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