It’s winner takes all as two rivals square off to win a new RV. But as the contest heats up, so does their attraction and it’s not long before love is on the line in book two of Shirley Jump’s Mercy, Indiana series.
Claire Richards will stop at nothing to get to California and give her dad his dying wish, including compete against her sworn enemy to win the perfect getaway vehicle—an RV. Maybe competing for the same RV wouldn’t be so bad, except the contest pits twenty strangers against each other inside the vehicle…and the last person standing wins.
Mark is desperate to save his brother’s business and help him get on track again. His plan is to win the RV, then sell it for quick cash before his brother loses everything. Mark is prepared to use every tool in his arsenal to get what he wants—charm, logic, stubbornness. But before long he realizes he has a weak spot: Claire. Suddenly winning doesn’t seem like everything.
If Claire loses, she also loses her chance to make amends with her father. Mark loses, his brother pays the price. Someone has to win—but will winning cost them their forever together?
Finalist, Booksellers’ Best Awards for Best Traditional Romance of 2003
“The Bachelor’s Dare could actually be titled: Survivor In An RV. That’s the wildly funny premise behind this wonderful romance from author Shirley Jump.
“Mark Dole and Claire Richards haven’t seen each other in years until they both decide to compete with some of small town Mercy’s finest citizens to outstay each other in an RV in order to win it. The last time Mark and Claire saw each other was on a high school date gone terribly wrong. Add that to the fact that they both have very good reasons for wanting the RV and it’s a mixture for trouble.” –Nancy E. Gibson, Word Museum
“Claire has decided it is time to leave town. She is going to change her life and move to California. Since she is limited on cash the best way to do that seems to be entering a win a RV contest. She figures she can stay on the RV the longest, win the contest and get out of town. Claire didn’t figure on Mark Dole wanting the RV too. Or what he was going to make her feel. Things are heating up between them and between the 18 other guests on the RV. What they need is a strategy.
“Mark Dole has made lots of mistakes in his life. He has decided it is time to grow up and get his life on track. After making some mistakes that have affected others beside himself, he wants the RV to make good on some promises he has made. Problem is now he is here and close to Claire, he isn’t so sure what to do or what he wants. This whole RV contest isn’t looking as good as a future with Claire. Can he change her mind about him, while they plot to get the other 18 guests off the RV?
“This was a witty outrageous story from the first word until the last word. I read it quickly in one sitting. I felt the heat between Mark and Claire from the beginning not to mention the bodies that were jammed packed into the RV. Close quarters can make people do strange things.
“This is a tale of two people trying to change and restart life after some mistakes. You will find yourself caught up in their quest to improve their lives and themselves while they quickly start eliminating the competition. Shirley Jump has outdone herself with this sexy romantic tale.” — Tasha Lewis
“Come on out and sign-up for the “Survive and Drive” contest at Mercy Mall and win a forty-five-foot RV. The first twenty contestants to arrive on the contest date, can compete. Not interested in being locked up with twenty other humans in a forty-five-foot tin box and one bathroom?
“Well, Claire Richards isand she gave up her job, and closed out her bank accountto prove it. What would cause a twenty-eight year old hair-dresser to throw caution to the wind, and give up everything she’s ever known, just for a chance to win an RV?
“And she is not alone. Along with the other nineteen contestants, her old flame and town hero, Mark Dole shows up. One interview with a pesky TV reporter proves Mark is trying to live down the title of hero. But why would a handsome, charmer-just back from a California career as a software programmer-waste his time trying to win a home on wheels? Claire’s not sure, but her childhood nemesis’s presence makes her wish she could run away. All through childhood and high school, she and Mark mixed it up like oil and water. How can she stand to be closed up with him in the RV?
“Can’t you just imagine going to the mall and peeking in the windows at the contestants? You have to read the book to appreciate the large cast of characters, and their reasons for trying to win a ride out-of-town. The wacky group will have you wondering who you are really pulling for. This book is fun, but you can expect to shed some tears as you enjoy the story of one small town USA.” — Carol Hutchens, CataRomance Reviewer
“If you’ve ever had a history with someone of the opposite sex and caught yourself wondering, “what if…” in the back of your mind, then boy are you in for some spicy ammo. In The Bachelor’s Dare (available December 2003) by Shirley Jump, the wonderful sequel to The Virgin’s Proposal, Katie Dole’s older brother Mark asks that very question, and the possibilities rock his already unstable world.
“Hers too. Claire Richards wasn’t looking for a relationship, friendship or any other “ship” when she climbed on board the RV for the “Survive and Drive” competition. She was on a mission, and had no idea that her stay on a stationary vehicle would be carrying her into uncharted territory. She was confident and secure in her knowledge of Mark. After twenty years she was sure that she knew what made him tick, and delighted in the fact that she could use that information to her advantage. But will he live up to her expectations? Who needs reality television when The Bachelor’s Dare is available? Shirley Jump will have you handing over the remote willingly.
“The Bachelor’s Dare is full of humor, heart, several surprises, and did I mention chemistry? What a smorgasbord! As the story unfolds, Shirley Jump’s cast of characters morph before your very eyes; obstacles get blown right to bits, and tension builds so slow and hot that you’d swear you could see the pages smoldering. Get ready to scorch your fingers as you blaze through this page turner.
“The Bachelor’s Dare, Ms. Jump’s second book in the series is every bit as good as her first, and makes you want to beg her for just a hint at Luke’s story, Mark’s twin. Thus far Mercy, Indiana has been a very good spot for the Dole family, despite banana suits and mobile living accommodations. Heaven only knows what Shirley Jump has in store for us in her third book The Daddy’s Promise, due to be released in June 2004. I can’t wait, as the late Marvin Gaye sang, “Mercy, mercy, me!” — Kim Green-Spangler,Just Write 4U
“Clearly, I need to visit Mercy, Indiana. Shirley Jump’s series follows the travails and romances of the occupants of this tiny Midwest town, which harbors more than its share of gorgeous young women and too-hot-to-touch guys.
“In Jump’s first novel, The Virgin’s Proposal, rich, successful, hunky Matt Webster roars back to Mercy after a long absence and sweeps poor dumped-at-the-altar-but-beautiful Katie Dole to finally-wedded bliss. Matt alone merits a visit, but in The Bachelor’s Dare we meet Katie Dole’s brother, studly-playboy-with-a-good-heart Mark. And it seems more attractive Dole brothers wait in the wings to make us pant for future installments.
“Disappointed-in-love-and-abused-by-men Claire Richards wants nothing to do with Mark Dole when they find themselves competing in the same Survivor-inspired contest to win an RV. Claire and Mark grew up together with no love lost between them, or so Claire believes. She focuses her efforts on winning the behemoth and driving it straight out of town. Mark carries a shameful secret and a burning desire to make it right. He also harbors a long-smoldering attraction to Claire.
“Sexual tension abounds as Claire and Mark take up residence in the RV along with 18 other contestants. Claire distrusts men in general and Mark in particular due to his well-earned playboy reputation. His constant innuendo annoys her, yet she feels drawn to his considerable charms. Little does she know, Mark wishes to leave his checkered past behind him and settle down with the stunning Claire. Mark’s fumbling efforts to win the icy Claire as well as the RV takes the usual two-steps-forward-one-step-back course of romance novels everywhere.
“The trick to writing a good category romance aside from creating characters who are so attractive that we love them, but not so perfect that we hate them is writing outstanding dialogue. Every glimmer of emotion, both overt and suppressed, must be expressed through the characters’ words. Jump uses dialogue to tell us of Claire’s heartaches, her ambivalence about Mercy, and her gnawing need for a new connection. Mark’s talks with Claire and letters to his brother speak of his desire to actually become the man he only appears to be. Their words never come across as contrived or implausible.
“The other trick to drawing the romance reader into the story is making it sexy. Jump’s characters crackle with so much energy that the reader feels she may need to take a cold shower if they don’t get together soon. Alas, the Silhouette romances contain no consummation scene, so we must be satisfied with the thunderous violin music we hear when our protagonists verge on happily-ever-after. If you dig that kind of pay-off, The Bachelor’s Dare will leave you smiling. And wanting to visit Mercy, Indiana.” — Jodi Forschmiedt, Crescent Blues</a
The Bachelor’s Dare
To the survivor goes…the RV?
That’s what Claire Richards was banking on when she entered the “Survive and Drive” contest at the local mall. The forty-five-foot home on wheels was her ticket out of Mercy, Indiana. But first she had to beat out a bunch of other contestants, including Mark Dole, her gorgeous childhood nemesis. The question was, could she survive living in such tight quarters with the irresistible playboy?
Let the games begin! Mark had his own reasons for making this unconventional road trip. But the sexy hairdresser wasn’t playing fair. The longer he was cooped up with Claire, the more Mark believed they could both be winners in the game of love….