Series: Bad Bachelors #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 7, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Wes Evans, son of Broadway royalty, just wants to achieve something without riding on his family's coattails. Too bad the whole world is talking about his sex life after the notorious Bad Bachelors app dubs him "The Anaconda." But when he sees a talented ballet dancer, he knows she is exactly what he needs to make his show a success.
Remi Drysdale only had one thought when she fled Australia for New York--never mix business with pleasure again. Ever. She gets the perfect chance to reclaim her career when a handsome stranger asks her to audition for his show. Remi promises herself not to tangle with the guy who holds her career in his hands...no matter how enticing his reviews are on the Bad Bachelors app...
Bad Reputation is the second book in Stefanie London’s Bad Bachelor series, and she does a really good job here of continuing the over-arching storyline regarding the Bad Bachelors app, while giving us a fully-realized story for Wes and Remi.
The world of ballet is steeped in tradition, so when someone like Wes Evans announces he’s going to turn it on its head and develop an entirely new style of the dance, reactions are mixed. His family is deeply entrenched in the dance world, and they’re the first to denounce his new venture and refuse to help. None of this deters him, in fact it just makes him dig in deeper and become even more determined to make it work. The one thing he needs is the perfect lead ballerina. He thought he’d found her, but his mother managed to torpedo that deal, so now he’s back to searching. Until he finds Remi Drysdale. (And you’ll have to read this book to get her full name, and it’s completely worth it)
Complicating all of this is the Bad Bachelors dating app. Unlike the hero of the first book, Bad Bachelor, Wes is getting almost unanimously positive reviews, but they’re all centered around the size of his cock. After some photos of him on vacation surfaced, he was nicknamed The Anaconda and his business was splashed all over the internet. As traditional and stuffy as ballet is, potential investors are wary of getting involved with a show with Wes at the helm, despite the fact that none of this is his fault.
Remi is interested in the opportunity Wes is presenting her, but she’s also interested in Wes himself, and she knows she’s going to have to make a decision. A disastrous situation in her Australian home had sent her to New York to pursue her ballet dreams, but once she got there, several setbacks sent her reeling, and they’ve been put on hold for a while. Wes’s offer will put her back in the world she craves, but she’s not going to combine business and pleasure, so she has to make a decision.
The chemistry between Remi and Wes was palpable, and it was clear that it would only be a matter of time before they gave in to what they both so clearly wanted. And once they do, it was so good. I appreciate a couple that knows they want to be together and tries to make it happen, without all of the angst and internal drama that marks other types of relationships.
That doesn’t mean they’re perfect, however. Professional jealousy from other dancers puts Wes into a really tough spot, and he dealt with it exactly wrong. He’s lucky Remi got over it. Remi, for her own part, also made a few decisions I didn’t really understand, but it clearly worked out in the end, and they do get their HEA.
Mild spoilers from this and the first book to follow:
The biggest problem I have with this book is Annie, Remi’s good friend, and the creator of the Bad Bachelors app. I know she’s the heroine of the last book in the series, and Stefanie London has done such a good job of making me dislike her that I really don’t know how that one is going to go. I understand her intention in creating the Bad Bachelors app. I really do. And she’s obviously right about how terribly women are treated online and how easy it is to fall into a trap, falling for some man’s bullshit and risking not only your heart, but your actual physical safety. She’s right about all of that. But this… this is not the way to fix it. She completely lost me when Remi went to her, laid out the damage this was doing to her life and Wes’s life and career, and Annie refused to change the app or take down any of the reviews. Her reasoning, which basically boiled down to, “I can’t prove there are any lies here, so it stays up”, is exactly what’s wrong with the worst of the moderating that happens online right now. It’s how Jack Dorsey allows the bullshit violent threats and the worst of the misogynistic rants to stay up on Twitter. It’s how anti-vax videos, pages, and posts are allowed to thrive. When Remi went to her about the reviews that were up on the site, she wasn’t even talking about the Anaconda posts. Someone had posted something that could potentially destroy Wes’s fledgling show, his reputation, and his chances to find investors, while also wrecking Remi’s reputation and career chances, and Annie refused to do anything about it. “Technically, these aren’t lies, so I can’t change it.” It was such a shitty, shitty thing to do. And I don’t even mean just her refusal to take down that specific post. She was right, if she suddenly starts taking down valid reviews, it would undermine the entire app, and specifically taking down that review could even help people figure out who she is, which she’s trying to avoid at all costs. But her complete lack of empathy, the fact that she is shown, in no uncertain terms, in plain, “this is destroying lives” language, exactly how her app is wrecking lives, and she gave zero fucks about it, is what makes her irredeemable to me. Especially since that specific review wasn’t actually a review about dating Wes, which is the one rule of the app. That should have been enough to allow Annie to remove it, but she didn’t seem to care about that, either.
I love this series, and I’m absolutely going to read the 3rd book in the series. And I don’t love that I’m going in already pre-disposed to dislike the heroine. But I really need to see how this ends. And, hey, I didn’t think I was going to like Portia very much by the end of A Princess in Theory, and A Duke by Default ended up being one of my favorite books in recent years. If anyone besides Alyssa Cole can bring a character back around for me, it’s probably Stefanie London, so when Bad Influence comes out next week, I am all over it. This series has given me a lot to think about regarding what we do online and how people are treated and our responsibilities to ourselves and each other. And, frankly, it’s made even more pissed off at Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg and the rest of the men (it’s mostly men) who have appointed themselves to be sole judge and jury in how that plays out online.