REVIEW: The Schemer by Avery Flynn
Tyler Jacobson has a plan for everything—except how to handle his completely annoying, utterly frustrating, and totally sexy upstairs neighbor. He couldn’t care less if Everly Ribinski thinks he’s equally irritating—until he discovers she’s the only one who can help him land a business deal that will finally make him feel like he’s more than just a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Color him shocked when Everly refuses to help, insisting she should have run him over in the parking garage when she had the chance. Harsh. But possibly deserved. Tyler may have spent the last few months reveling in annoying the fiery gallery owner with a dark past, but he’s got secret leverage she can’t refuse.
If only they could stop trying to one-up each other long enough to realize the pranks are nothing more than foreplay. Of course, he figures it out quicker. He’s smart like that. Too bad Everly wants nothing to do with him. Or does she? Wait. What is she up to now?
For a man who’s always scheming, the best-laid plans never felt so good falling apart…
Dear Ms, Flynn,
I kind of requested this one on a whim and after reading the blurb for The Charmer (A Hot Romantic Comedy) (Harbor City) the book in the series before this. Even though this book doesn’t feature her, I kind of liked the idea of a world with an myrmecologist in it. Anyway, I decided that a hero and heroine who one-up each other sounded good too.
Tyler has worked hard to put his working class/abusive family roots behind him. Everly keeps hers firmly with her despite now moving in the same chic circles of Harbor City. Tyler puts his foot in his mouth when they first meet, then sticks the other one in then seems to take one out and stick it back in … their first encounter is not a meet cute due to some serious jet lag on his part. Their next few meetings aren’t much better as Tyler is one of the few human beings who can’t boil water without a disaster ensuing. That “can’t fail food” pasta is beyond him and his idea of using ketchup as pasta sauce is cringe worthy to me much less Everly. She’s not impressed by his food failures which have caused the fire department to be called out numerous times.
But there is serious sizzling going on between the two of them and Tyler is not one to turn his back on sizzle especially when the other half of the reaction lives above him. Everly has some impressive “take no shit” creds and makes Tyler work for anything he can get from her which causes him to need to employ his coin flipping skills whenever he needs to get an advantage in their situations. Still Everly resists though Tyler won’t acknowledge the lengths to which he goes to impress her – even with their verbal sparing – are extreme.
But Everly is Tyler’s key to getting an “in” to try and work a business deal that has most businessmen salivating while thinking of the potential profits. If Tyler has to bring a secret weapon in the person of uber rich society doyenne Helene Carlyle to help him, he will. The Carlyles have been friends since his childhood when he met Helene’s son in school and she loves to match make. She isn’t so sure of Everly’s dear friend, the Italian multimillionaire art collector/hotel owner whom Tyler needs to schmooze. Alberto spots love too and not just between Everly and Tyler. Will widow Helene keep shooting him down? And can Tyler pull his head out of his ass long enough to realize that he’s been sabotaging his own life in an effort to outrun his past? If he doesn’t, it might cost him the woman whom all his friends agree is perfect to bust his chops and keep him straight.
This story is sexy with great verbal contests between two characters who aren’t afraid to say what they think. Their conversations have some intelligence to go with the feisty and are fairly evenly matched. There’s a lot of internal thoughts from both Everly and Tyler that are fun to listen too. Tyler can be a bit macho at times. I liked that Everly adores her sky high heels but never uses her femininity to win an argument. The secondary romance between Helene and Alberto isn’t played for “silver-haired folks” laughs.
There is a secondary bitch character who spreads venom with a broad brush and though she gets a spectacular comeuppance, I was mystified at how she buffaloed so many intelligent people. Oh well, plot needs must. The final conflict between Tyler and Everly is pertinent and packs a punch. Tyler’s change of heart was a bit fast and his first attempt at winning Everly back couldn’t have been more of a gut punch to her if he’d tried. After what she had told him about her past, I was astonished that he could botch it so badly. His next try was of course much more on the mark but it felt more like Everly’s hormones forgave him first rather than her heart. B