Release Date: February 23rd, 2021
But there’s one problem, and it’s not her lactose intolerance.
The brooding farmhand has inherited exactly fifty percent of Brent Farm, and he’s so convinced the city girl can’t work the land, he bets she can’t save it in a summer.
Determined to prove him wrong, Olivia accepts what might be the dumbest wager of her life.
His strategy to win seems simple: follow her around, shirtlessly distracting her between bouts of relentless taunting. And it’s effective—if his dark eyes and rare smiles aren’t enough to sidetrack her, the sweaty, rolling topography of the manbeast’s body would do the trick.
What they don’t know: they’ll have to weather more than each other.
Mysterious circumstances throw the farm into disarray, and with the dairy farm in danger, Olivia and Jake have to work together. But when they do, there’s more to fear than either of them imagined.
Because now their hearts are on the line, and the farm won’t be the only casualty if they fail.
You know that when you read a Staci Hart book, you are guaranteed a really good love story. But more than just love, Staci pours so much time and effort into her settings, the supporting characters, and the relationship between every single character. And with Bet The Farm, she went above and beyond. I’ve been a Staci Hart fan since forever, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve read one of her books and I feel like this was a great way for me to get back into the zone. And I am absolutely in love with this story, the farm setting and Olivia and Jake.
Bet The Farm is an enemies to lovers second chance romance in a small town. Also, there’s some of that forced proximity that is always so fantastic. Olivia Brent returns to the farm where she was partly raised after the death of her grandfather and there’s just a lot to unpack for her. She’s got to get used to the idea of being back in a place that holds so many memories, but also deal with being someone who has to take over the family business. And then of course there’s Jake Milovic. The boy that got away, the boy that her grandfather took under his wing, practically raised and has been running Brent Farm for years.
“Her emotions were big and loud and subject to change without notice. Mine were quiet and simmering and stewed until they boiled over.”
The book starts all warm and fuzzy, but then with a single reading of a will, everything changes. They go from being two people who want another chance to two people who are trying their best not to kill each other. And I love how Staci makes that happen. You think it’s going to be great and she rips the rug out from under you. And my god, the anger Jake holds onto is so intense. I’m always afraid that the enemies part is going to tire me and the anger and rage is going to be over the top, but Staci found a way to make it so relatable and uncomplicated. Jake’s been running the farm for years and he knows his way around the place, the animals and he doesn’t need someone else coming in to mess it all up. And Olivia is all the things that he wants to avoid, which only makes him angrier and the two of them fight more.
These characters are so incredible. I love how happy and positive Olivia is, and how she sees the bright side in everything. She refuses to let the lack of money or the hint of a rival farm trying to buy them out bring her down. Olivia is going to use her learnings in New York and she’s going to change the farm for the better, even if Jake is completely against everything she wants to do. And even when Jake keeps knocking her down, telling her she’ll never stay and she’ll never be able to bring the farm back. Olivia is so incredible and I love her go-getter attitude and her drive to make sense of the world. She’s in pain, just like Jake, but instead of just wallowing and being angry, she’s pushing herself to be better and do more and I absolutely loved that about her. Also, all that pink! It’s such a happy colour and always looked like a girlie colour, but I love how pink is her war colour and when she’s wearing pink, she’s going to make something out of nothing.
And Jake, good god. Seeing him through Olivia’s eyes is certainly bound to make you love him just on sight alone. He is sexy, he is tall and broody and he’s a damn great character. I love that his rage and anger stems from sadness and mourning, but also from his obvious love for Olivia. He’s stubborn as heck and I loved that Olivia is the one that introduces him to new things. His feelings for Olivia are so big and gah, it’s so beautiful. I love seeing female characters through the eyes of male characters, especially ones like Jake because in every thought, you can see just how much he’s drawn to her and her pink rain boots.
“I don’t hate you, Olivia. You drive me crazy, but I don’t hate you. I’ve wanted you since I first met you.”
Like I mentioned before, the transition from friends to enemies to lovers is so beautiful. They’re both so incredibly loyal to the farm and to Olivia’s grandfather and both of them want to save the farm, but obviously they’re going about it differently. And as you can imagine, there are other factors in play as well, other things that can shake things up for them, but it’s mostly their history and their shared love for the man they lost that brings them back together. And boy oh boy, when they are back together, it is scorching.
The chemistry is insane. Olivia makes the first move, which is an absolute bonus in my eyes. And she makes Jake see all the reasons why they should be together and then, boom! It’s magic. Staci Hart writes great sex. The feelings, the emotions, the sensations, the intensity, it’s all so great and I love how invested you get into their physical relationship. Almost as much as you were hooked onto their emotional relationship.
Bet The Farm is a story that I would recommend everybody read, because it will change your life. And if you’ve never read Staci Hart before, this is a great place to start!
Thanks to Staci Hart for generously providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.