If you want to read about a knight-in-shining armor type hero, a kind and handsome man with sparkling bright teeth who always says the perfect thing and rescues his damsel in distress to save the day -- then don't read this book. Seriously!
Why? Because RL Mathewson tosses that cliche stereotypical romance formula out the window! What you get in the Neighbor From Hell series is a very different kind of hero: a hot guy with (most likely) food in his teeth, who says some of the most obnoxious stuff, and is very likely to be the person stressing out the damsel - not the one rescuing her! These stories are a riot! And best of all, she makes me a believer in these heroes. Oh yes, I love this series.
Rory and Connor have been at each others throats since childhood, and are the bane to each others existence. School administrators separated their classes, stores and restaurants have either banned them or wont allow them in together, and they've even spent time in jail a time or two when their feuding goes too far. Their reputation around town is notorious. But they are also very much alike, so if only they'd quit fighting long enough to recognize it they might finally see what is fueling all those sparks between them.
In CHECKMATE Connor and Rory are bidding on the same construction project, and find themselves having to work together. Connor and Rory soon battle for control, and working together turns out just as expected - a disaster!
Connor and Rory are also - you guessed it - next door neighbors. While Connor may tell everyone he bought the house next to Rory because he planned to fix it up and sell it, and tormenting her is a nice bonus, the truth is he can't be away from her. He has secretly protected her over the years from awful boyfriends, and the event in Canada (I wont spoil it!) reveals much about his true feelings.
Rory is just as attracted to Connor, but she tells herself it is only a physical attraction since he is such a hot guy. Nothing will come of it. But when Connor blackmails Rory into pretending to be his doting, loving girlfriend (who must hang on his every word!) in order for her to get control of a special project he snagged from her, the game is ON. And both plan to win what they want.
The chemistry between Connor and Rory heat up to SMOKING. I really enjoyed these enemies-to-lovers. And we get to see our favorite Bradfords too!! Jason and Trevor, and their wives, make several appearances. Turns out Rory is cousins to the Bradford clan.
The story has an emotional punch too. As expected it is hilarious, steamy and frustrating (in a good way!), but the story includes a secondary character struggling. It had me crying at one point, and I didn't see that coming.
Rory has five older brothers, all single, who work for her on the construction crew. I assume these guys may be heroes in later books, hard to say. We meet a few new Bradfords too (including twins!). I wasn't all the impressed with Rory's brothers, they were all interchangeable mean bullies, IMO. Maybe they can be redeemed, but there was one scene toward the end that made me really not like them. SPOILER: Two brothers hold someone down by the arms, while a third brother punches on him. That kind of fighting is just cowardly and dirty, so I was not liking them at all by that point.
The ending is very typical Mathewson, and I was hooting and laughing my way through this entire book. There were some moments at the end where I wish certain things might have happened a bit differently, and some things said differently, but they are my own nits. CHECKMATE was another great over-the-top romance farce by RL Mathewson. It kept me laughing, and I can't wait to read what's next in this series.