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There’s nothing worse than living next door to your childhood nemesis, except maybe being forced to share your dream project with him, being blackmailed into going along with something that was just wrong on so many levels, and having your hot cocoa stolen by the person that drove you to drink it in the first place.

As long as she has plenty of hot cocoa, a pair of pliers on hand and is able to resist Connor O’Neil's bad boy charm then Rory James should be able to make it through this project with her sanity intact. If not...

She’d probably face a few more nights in jail, have a few more restraining orders slapped against her and lose her heart to the man that ruined her life.

350 pages, ebook

First published October 29, 2012

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About the author

R.L. Mathewson

68 books15.1k followers
New York Times Bestselling author, R.L. Mathewson was born in Massachusetts. She’s known for her humor, quick wit and ability to write relatable characters. She currently has several paranormal and contemporary romance series published including the Neighbor from Hell series.

Growing up, R.L. Mathewson was a painfully shy bookworm. After high school she attended college, worked as a bellhop, fast food cook, and a museum worker until she decided to take an EMT course. Working as an EMT helped her get over her shyness as well as left her with some fond memories and some rather disturbing ones that from time to time show up in one of her books.

Today, R.L. Mathewson is the single mother of two children that keep her on her toes. She has a bit of a romance novel addiction as well as a major hot chocolate addiction and on a perfect day, she combines the two.

In 2019/2020, R.L. Mathewson will be publishing Devastated, the first Anger Management novel, Tall, Dark & Furious, the 6th installment to the Pyte/Sentinel series, Irresistible, the long anticipated novel for the Neighbor from Hell Series as well as many more books throughout the year, paranormals, contemporaries, and YAs.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,327 reviews
Profile Image for ♡Karlyn P♡.
605 reviews1,210 followers
September 10, 2016

Yes!!! Another Neighbor From Hell!!

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:

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.

Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,954 followers
December 10, 2012
Check out my collective review with friends for tREEoLA here!

A Story of Hot Chocolate

You can drink it in your car
You can drink it at a bar
You can drink it in a chair
You don't even have to share
You can have it with some cream
It is sure to make you gleam
You can smell it from afar
Be sure to store it in a jar
But for the love of all that's holy
Don't you dare steal it from Rory

Believe it or not, that was an actual summary of the book. I think I read more about one woman's love of hot chocolate/cocoa than I did anything else. I should have thought to look up how many times the word cocoa was used.

Checkmate was decent enough, but I didn't feel the same magical spark that I experienced while reading the first Neighbor From Hell installment. All of the same components were there...we had humor, torture, sexual tension, etc. For all of that, I did enjoy the story. Maybe I just fell in love with Jason and Hayley's personalities from the first book so much more. Connor from this book did win me over in the end after I found out why he did some of the things that he did, but wow, he sure came across as annoyingly chauvinistic for a while. It does count with me that the person changed eventually, so I'm not knocking him...I just didn't warm up to him as easily as I did with Jason because Jason had that fun and crazy vibe which Connor was lacking.

Story wise, we had a little hiccup going on between the 20-40% mark. It took me well over a week to get the motivation to delve back into the story after it stalled out. However, I am glad that I did. Once the chemistry kicked in, I truly enjoyed the rest of my time reading.

Strong points :

Humor - I laughed at some of the stunts Connor pulled when he was terrorizing Rory.

Sexual tension - I never thought I'd enjoy reading so many kissing scenes back-to-back. For some reason, it never got repetitive to me. I found the lead-up to the actual sex scenes to be just as fun as anything else.

Weak points :

The construction story was boring - I would have preferred another vehicle to bring these two together.

The hot cocoa ridiculousness - This should have been mentioned no more than 5 times max. This habit of Rory's was a setup for something that came later in the story, but I still would have gotten what Connor was trying to do, even with far fewer mentions of cocoa.

There were a few minor spelling issues...but only a few.

Overall, this was still a fun and sexy read There was nothing new or ground-breaking going on, but I'd rank this just slightly above average for a contemporary romance.
Profile Image for peachygirl.
267 reviews647 followers
June 13, 2020
This is by far the best neighbor couple in the series and Connor is definitely my favorite Neighbor from hell!
Connor and Rory were bizarrely funny and ridiculously silly, yet so damn perfect together. And at times, real mushy.
Every single one of their fights was hilarious and the paybacks were certainly inventive.
The story behind Connor's tattoo and Rory's 18th birthday fiasco gave me palpitations (in an incredibly good way!!). This guy is a big softie when it comes to Rory. Makes me wonder why he kept pissing her off over the years. Men.🤦
He does come across as a jerk at times, especially while plotting to run Rory out of business and poaching her brothers, but he was just sooooo cute that I couldn't stay mad at him. And he does make up for that.
Binge reading this series makes me wonder what I did in my previous lives to end up with unbelievably cranky middle aged jerks as neighbors. If there's a particular locality packed with guys like Connor and Jason, please do let me know xD
Profile Image for Vi.
132 reviews
October 31, 2012
Connor the hero, was a bully. Right from a kid pulling on Rory, the h's pigtails until the current time. He laced her food with laxatives when they were a teenager! He routinely steals her hot cocoa in the morning because *she* likes it. WTH?! Seriously, his bullying over 20+ years is painful to read. I can't imagine why or how Rory and her family and any SANE person put up with it. Underneath, it was love? Oh please, time honored excuse doesn't make it right. She should have gotten a restraining order on him! Connor himself acknowledges this and I think it's supposed to connect us to the hero?Connor almost crossed into stalker territory a number of times. And then blackmail trope.

So, I think the author maybe tried to take a number of tropes and work it differently. But she failed. Spectacularly. The tomboyish daughter with over-protective 5 older brothers vying for approval and love from her father (but who thinks the world revolves around her) fails. The tomboyish h is yearning for someone to treat her as a girl and only Connor sees it. The blackmail trope where the hero has a nefarious intention behind also didn't work. Connor recovers well before their "bargain end-date" and voids their supposed agreement without revealing his intentions. And when this intention becomes clear in the last chapter, we are supposed to see the trust etc between them. But no, it was very clumsy execution that I didn't really see the point in that chapter. In fact, I felt that the author lost track of the motives halfway into the book. Everything meandered and towards the end, most of the situation was fairly pointless. Seriously, if the characters talked, it would have solved most of the problems.

At the end, it was Connor who let the book. The author took him too far a bully that it was really hard for her to convince me that Connor and Rory belonged. Even though in the book, Rory is shown to be fighting back, I can't think of her except as a victim. 3 days into them "going-out" he manages to make her bail on her customary night out with her brothers which he has been going regularly for the past 10 years. That screams controlling to me. So yeah, at the end, I felt for Rory so much.
Profile Image for Catarina.
896 reviews1,967 followers
January 9, 2015
4 Checkmate Stars.

Connor and Rory know each other since kinds and hate each other pretty much around that time. Creating hell between them and around them for years, everyone just tend to kept them apart. (Expect that for some reason they always end up together in the same place.)
Now, as two responsible adults (ah ah ah), they’re not only are working together but they also are living next door to each other.
And now they’re about to find out, that there’s a very thin line between love and hate.


I love this series. I always know that when in need of a good laugh, these books will do the trick. They are completely hilarious, absolutely steamy and sweetly romantic. Not to mention very good written in a completely addictive way.
What more can we ask?


Rating: 4 Stars.
Characters Development: I loved Connor, he was sweet, hilarious and his feelings for Rory were pretty obvious since the beginning. I also liked Rory, despite being stubborn as all hell, I loved her sassiness. The best part however? The Bradford family. This family is completely nuts!
Steam: Hot.
Sensible Subjects:
Love Triangle:
Profile Image for Aestas Book Blog.
1,059 reviews74.8k followers
November 7, 2012
Just like with the first two, this book is another gem of a fluff read. A lighthearted, sexy, hilarious, over-the-top frenemies-to-lovers story. Pure fun!

Teasing, banter, a cocoa addiction, a bad boy, a tough girl and some seriously crazy pranks involving super glued boxer shorts, three week old fermented yogurt, laxatives, being hog tied with medical tape, being chained to a toilet, many purple nurples…. the list goes on to ‘fun’ that landed them more than a few overnight jail time and bans from stores :P

Guys, don’t take this book seriously, just enjoy the ride :->

Ever since preschool Connor has been certain that Rory “had been put on this earth solely for him to torture and torture her he did.” He would tease her mercilessless and she’s give back every bit as good as she got. As they grew older, the severity and frequence of their pranks grew until pretty much everyone in the town knew to duck for cover when they were breathing the same air.

“She’d been the prettiest little girl that he’d ever seen and he just had to push her and pull on her pigtails.”

Now, twenty-five years since they first met in preschool, their two rival construction companies have been hired to do a joint project much to the disgruntlement of both Rory and Connor, and are they are forced not only to work together but to collaborate on the job, the constant close quarters lead them to explore if maybe there is something other than just the intense desire to torture each other between them.

“As long as I’m stuck with you on this project and you try to get in my way, anything goes,” she said…
“Is that a fact?” he demanded evenly.
“Yes,” she practically hissed as her eyes narrowed no his.
You’re only here because of my generosity, Rory. Push me and you might just find yourself locked in the trunk of a car and on a ferry headed off to Nova Scotia… again,” he said softly, loving the way she practically shook with rage against him.
“I knew that was you, you bastard!” she snarled…
“You deserved it,” he felt obligated to remind her.

Oh Connor *shakes head* … lol, I had to laugh at his antics. He was just such a lovable asshat. On one had it was totally cute that he secretly cared for her, but when you got inside his head, I just couldn’t wait for the next time Rory would kick his ass.

But I loved that no matter what Connor did, Rory never gave him the satisfaction of ‘winning’ and always stood up for herself. Oh, and lets not forget that she’s got five hot older brothers watching her back too (hmmm… *wonders about future books*)

And I was not expecting the HOTNESS from this book! Their first love scene took up 4% of my kindle!! Whew *fans self*

“Oh my God!” A woman whispered loudly. “They’re going to do it on the front lawn!”

And in case you are missing those yummy, always-hungry Bradford men from the first two books, fear not! Both Jason and Trevor have absolutely hilarious cameos that had me laughing myself silly! Love those guys so much <3

“Tell me that you didn’t break the ban, Rory. Tell me that there aren’t two Bradfords beating the shit out of each other over the last slice of cheese in my kitchen,” he pleaded, already knowing and dreading the answer.”

I did like also that as strange as their relationship was, when the inevitable ‘something’ came between them, it was dealt with rationally and functionally instead of the usual freak out and stupidity that often plagues novels.

And despite the craziness of the story, I did love that there was a touch of sweet heart warming backstory that came out that gave a whole new insight into Connor. It was

“When this project was over, he was keeping her, deal or no deal. She belonged with him…This morning he had a taste of what it could be like between them and he’d have to be out of his fucking mind to give that up.”

I can’t wait for more from this series!!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a massive craving for some hot cocoa :D


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Profile Image for Sheryl C. Nash.
1,714 reviews430 followers
October 30, 2012
Full Review Up Now!

So... what book would make me go into full meltdown mode? This book! When i found out at the beginning of this year that R.L. was writing the third book in the Neighbor from Hell series, i died. Then when i read the teasers and realised that it featured my FAVORITE TROPE IN THE WHOLE WORLD; enemies-to-lovers, i died all over again... it wasn't pretty i tell 'ya.

Rory and Connor... what a KICK-ASS h and H!!! I LOVED reading about their early fights; you could already see what a spunk Rory was going to be and what a swoony dreamboat bastard (<---my words :))Connor was turning out to be! And then... here they are all grown up and still sparring with each other... it was like verbal foreplay... WHOA!!! HOT!!!

But the BEST MOMENT for me in this book, was when Connor laid it ALL out on the line to Rory... OMG, can you say "SWEETHEART, i just wanna hug you, and kiss you and love you???!!!" Cause THAT'S what I wanted to say to Connor....

A THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE AND SQUEALY READ!!! (yes, because, i squealed QUITE a few times... hmmm.. probably during those ULTRA HOT SEX SCENES; that Connor... such a pleaser 0_o!!!) If you liked the first 2 books in the series, then you can bet your hot cocoa that will LOVE Checkmate!!!
Profile Image for Mary Beth.
110 reviews34 followers
October 31, 2012
RL Mathewson gave us another wonderful adventure in the Neighbors from Hell series. I loved Rory and Conner, they were both sexy and hilarious. I enjoyed the cameos from the Bradfords, and all their antics. I miss them already.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
374 reviews570 followers
September 5, 2013


Love should be fun.

And that is exactly what this book is. LOVE and FUN.

Big Girls Don't Cry They Get Even Necklace

Ever since they were little, Rory and Connor have hated each with a vengeance. The pranks and fights were never-ending. There was always a constant battle between the two of them, so much so that the whole town knew to stay away from them. If they walked into a room together, people would flee. But they can’t seem to stay away from each other because they secretly love to torture the other.

They say there’s a fine line between love and hate…

Love Hate

He might be a life ruining bastard, but he was a hot life ruining bastard and her poor neglected body didn’t realize that it should hate him as much as her heart and brain did.

My Connor:

Reynaldo Gianecchini (Brazil - actor)

It figured that the one man that treated her like a woman was the one that made her wish she was a man so that she could kick his ass.

My Rory:


Finally, they are forced to work together on a project, and as you can guess, the sparks start to fly. Of course, the pranks keeps going, which makes for a hilarious book!!!

Their relationship is perfect because they started off as frenemies (friends/enemies). Love/hate relationships are the best. It means there’s PASSION.

“As long as you remember that I hate you,” Rory mumbled against his lips.
“I’ll remember,” he promised.
“And you hate me,” she reminded him as she continued to caress his lips with light, teasing kisses that had his arms tightening around her and his body trembling with the need to consumer her.
“With a passon.”

Lots of cute ideas for couple's pictures :)


I love me some drama in books, but I really don’t care for it in real life. So this book is perfect for a light-hearted feel-good laugh-your-ass-off love and fun.

Best part of my day

Love Bakes Good Cakes: Drink Coffee or Hot Cocoa printable (8x10)

Loved that ending!!! It was one of my favorite and most memorable parts of the book!!!

Profile Image for Alexis *Reality Bites*.
757 reviews3,660 followers
March 9, 2015
This book is rated 'G' for Good!
Genre: Adult Romance-Comedy

 photo checkmate cover pic_zpss6ztqqec.jpg

Rory James and Connor O'Neil have been against each other ever since grade school. Connor was a bully and his number one target...you guessed it, Rory. Making her cry became a game to him because she never would. Rory is tough. And Connor, if not careful could very well be the one crying.

Total fun read! A little over the top at times but overall a good read!

Profile Image for Runell.
979 reviews70 followers
March 14, 2017
To say that I was disappointed with this book would be my first understatement of 2014.

After having read the first two books, which I absolutely loved, I was sure that Checkmate would be the same.

It wasn't. At all.

To say that Connor and Rory annoyed the ever-loving shit out of me would be my second understatement of 2014. Connor, to me, was a chauvinistic ass. Yes, I understand that the entire time he was in love with Rory and that he didn't want her to get hurt and that he wanted everyone to treat her like the woman she is and not just like one of the guys, but damn it all to hell, when did "fetching his drinks, being at his beck and call" become two of the qualifications of being a woman? Last time I checked, even though I don't "fetch" any man his drink like a dog "fetching" a stick, nor am I at at any man's "beck and call" like I don't have anything better to do in any given day of my life, I still have the parts that make me a woman. Huh. It must be a medical miracle.

Oh, Connor, you poor misguided fool.

Now, I like hot chocolate. In fact, I love it (I don't drink coffee, so there you go). However, after having the word "cocoa" mentioned in some fashion because Rory is such a "little addict" over a hundred times (oh yeah, I did a search on the word and it popped up over a hundred times), all I wanted to do was say:

I get that Connor and Rory's antics were supposed to be funny--The key word there? Supposed. What they actually were? Annoying and juvenile. I didn't laugh a single time until I hit the 64% mark and Jason and Trevor, the characters from the previous two books whom I absolutely loved, made an appearance. Then, I laughed, and laughed hard, which is what I should have been doing the entire time over the course of me reading this book.

And then when Connor comes up with his master plan to snatch Rory's brothers away from her and run her out of business, but then in the process ends up realizing that those feelings that he had thought he had gotten over when he was a teenager and that he still really loved her? Yeah, that's when the book took a sharp turn from silly to outright asinine.

I can see why so many people loved this book, honestly I can, so I will concede to the idea that maybe it was just me.

Profile Image for Georgia ♥ .
420 reviews1,118 followers
August 17, 2013
What happens when two childhood nemeses have to work together and decide to torment one other in a whole new way?

Another Winner for R.L.Mathewson!!!

Connor O'Neil and Rory James' unique life story started in preschool and for 25 years they live to make each other's life hell. From stolen food to flat tires and superglued pants to shop bans they are notorious for their dislike and causing mental breakdowns to everyone standing in their way. So it is only hate right? Noway, sistahs.......

"But I'd take you because you're the best part of my day, Rory. Always have been and always will be." Connor O'Neil.

In a great twist, which nearly took me unaware, we learn that Connor was always there for Rory. From scaring off bad boyfriends and taking care of her, to saving her from assault, confronting her gun-wielding father to ask for his blessing and working his ass off to buy her a diamond wedding ring. The last 3 when he was only 18 years old!

When he revealed what his LRJ tattoo meant, I admit to swooning...

If that wasn't enough we have a surprise visit from The Bradfords!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jason, Trevor and family are delicious and funny as ever. I absolutely love them and they can eat my potpourri anytime. Please please come!! My uncle owns an
and I guarantee you, I won't let him ban you!!!!

A minor dislike: I didn't particularly liked Rory and that's why I can't claim that I really really (6 stars) loved this book. Her character was a little flat and thickheaded. Don't get me wrong she was really nice and sweet but I didn't get her feelings as loud as Connor's.

If you haven't read any of R.L.Mathewson's books, don't hesitate and waste any more time!!! START IMMEDIATELY!!!
Profile Image for Val ⚓️ Shameless Handmaiden ⚓️.
1,828 reviews29.1k followers
December 23, 2013
I enjoyed the first two in this series, but Mathewson lost me on this one with the behavior of Connor, Rory, and the whole town really. I am all for over the top behavior and cliches (I am a romance fan after all), however, I just don't buy that two people would act this way--and more startlingly-- that an entire town would simply accept two people acting this way.

Profile Image for Syndi.
2,902 reviews635 followers
August 18, 2019
By the third book,i am already bored with this series. The cute, immature, funny banter becomes a spinning cycle. I just can't...

Its so boring. Nothing is new. Characters acting like immature adult. Boring story line and i can almost guess the conversation. The plot is also confusing. Its like topping a plot into a plot and into a plot. And it becomes too much.

2 stars
Profile Image for Anna (Bobs Her Hair).
909 reviews194 followers
December 20, 2012
2.5...Over the Top Humor with Belly Laughs and Belly Flops (Ouch!)

I wanted to love this story. Really! Some scenes had me grinning and laughing through childhood enemies, Connor and Rory, tumultous relationship. The story hit its stride once their arrangement began, and I was able to let go of my intense dislike of sexist Connor. The Bradfords (from previous Neighbors from Hells books) made their appearance and wore out their welcome. I laughed in their stories; I didn't need a refresher, and wanted the focus on the couple. While the ending fulfilled my romantic bone, there were too many misses and near-DNFs for me to overcome.
Profile Image for Karla.
986 reviews1,094 followers
December 10, 2013

3 Stars! Didn't live up to the first 2 in the series!

I love this series, but this book didn't quite work for me like Playing for Keeps and Perfection did! It got stuck at one point and didn't go anywhere. Yes, it was funny at times, but where the other two books moved forward at a nice pace, this went round and round. Maybe it was because Connor and Rory were childhood nemesis and getting to their relationship seemed endless to me, lots of reminiscing. I also thought some of their revenge tactics were over the top, and bordered on mean. On the plus side, Jason and Trevor made an appearance...love those Bradfords! It was also a fairly steamy read, something the author is good a writing, she doesn't skim on the heat.

Overall, some fun, but a little boring! Even though this one was a little off for me, I'm looking forward to reading, Truce: The Historic Neighbor from Hell, the fourth book in the series and a historical!
Profile Image for Naksed.
2,987 reviews
Shelved as 'dnf'
January 4, 2016
I am ambivalent towards "bully romances" because I was victimized by a bully or two in childhood, and that stuff really leaves indelible marks on you even when you leave it far, far, behind, and also I don't like the message it gives to young girls, that the big fat jerk abusing you really really really deep down actually likes you, so it's on you that he is acting this way.

Some bully romances that dealt with the topic realistically and sensitively, and showcased true remorse and a fair bit of groveling from the former bully, I have enjoyed, true. Nevertheless, this trope is certainly not my favorite when it comes to romances.

In Checkmate, at least in the first half of it before I DNF, though both protags engage in this sick game of one-upping each other, it is very clear that the male character has always been and continues to be the instigator. Not only that but he actually enjoys the hell out of it and even justifies it because in his view, he is not inflicting permanent damage and he is actually "saving" her from would-be boyfriends who are not worthy of her. This delusional crap started with him when they were in preschool and has continued to escalate in their thirties. Two professional business owners are playing rough pranks on each other, being disrespectful, mean, and physically inappropriate while tackling an important project? And their friends and families standing by doing nothing, not to mention an entire town that uses their feud as entertainment?

It was just too over the top and implausible for me to suspend my disbelief. Plus it seemed like a lame copy of that French film Jeux d'enfants, starring Marion Cotillard, where the couple similarly engage in progressively more outlandish and violent pranks from the time they are children to their inevitable demise as adults. I disliked that film for its cruelty and darkness and I did not like it reinvented in a supposedly fluffy American romance book either. Just could not stomach the horrible male protagonist who sounds more like a deranged, dangerous stalker and an annoying heroine who spends more time making hot chocolate than an houseful of Santa's elves.
Profile Image for Camille.
1,607 reviews53 followers
November 3, 2012
DNF @ 22%


This is The Worst approximation of writing!

Seriously, this reads as if it has been written by a nine year old uninterested and unskilled in composition.

And the story itself is stupid. Very.
Profile Image for A_Ryan.
605 reviews176 followers
April 26, 2021


Synopsis: Enemies since the age of five, when he first pushed her off the swing and pulled on her pigtails, Connor and Rory have become notorious for their passionate antics throughout their local town. But a new business deal has forced them to work side by side, and now the power plays, mind games and the constant bickering only add fuel to the growing fire between them and their unavoidable pull towards each other.

Best Bit: I loved the two main characters! Connor is certainly one of my favourite heroes... I especially love how he deludes himself with his dream of having Rory one day becoming HIS secretary, (bringing him coffee in tight fitting clothes). His daydreams are seriously hilarious. And so much more enjoyable to read because it's obvious that he loves Rory so much and in reality he is just putty in her hands.

Rory is one tough and independent heroine though, and had spent her life as 'just one of the boys' (thanks in large part to growing up with five older brothers) but Connor still sees her as "feminine" and when he's not totally "ruining her life", he treats her like a real lady (...he also beats the crap out of anyone and everyone who doesn't treat her with total respect...but he does it all without her even knowing.)

Also, RL Mathewson's writing is easy, no-nonsense and dripping with humour on every page. R.L Mathewson inserts some of the best humour into her books, and I think she had some great fun thinking up of all the wonderful pranks Rory and Connor played on each other over the years. Each one was funnier than the last! I loved the prologue, which outlines a lot of the pranks that take place throughout their childhood, adolescence and college; and later the moments when they are forced to share a pizza (by which I mean they're unable to allow eachother even one slice of pizza-glory and keep grabbing the one slice off one another mid-bite), or when they enter a restaurant (from which they've been banned due to previous antics) while everyone stops and stares and updates their twitter feed, or when the cousins arrive like food-craving zombies. .. all these moments (and more) were slightly ridiculous but utterly entertaining!!

Worst bit: I totally love this series and have bought all the books. I'm about to start on her historical romance...and can't wait. However, the writing style is simple, and the editing is poor, but the story (and the fun) more than make up for it!

Recommended for: Lovers of enemies-to-lovers romance. This one is totally fun and very low on the angst. A bonus for fans of the series are the cameo appearances by Jason & Haley (from #1) and Trevor and Zoe (from #2) but you don't need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one.
Profile Image for Kennedy.
301 reviews17 followers
November 23, 2012
I am so addicted to the Bradfords and how funny their food obsession is that I'm having a hard time not being disappointed in knowing who the main characters are in this novel. I'm still very excited for it to come out and to read it but please, please let it be as funny and if you possibly can please bring back the Bradfords! I miss them. In the meantime I will need to read more Mathewson books to see if I enjoy them as much as I have this series. If you are deciding whether to jump in or not, jump in already.

Ok, so the Bradford’s are in this book but it’s not quite the same for me and not as funny. I didn’t have any moments where I laughed out loud. That being said, I still enjoyed the book. I like the way that Mathewson writes and the characters she creates. You have to love all of the handsome, big, strong, protective, useful, reliable and yet annoying male characters she has running around everywhere. And I like the way they fall in love. It reminds me of the werewolves imprinting in Twilight – once they are in love they have eyes only for the one girl and would do anything for her. It’s fictional of course, but still fun. We meet Connor and Rory in this story. They have known each other since kindergarten and spend time every day making each other’s lives beyond difficult. They have competing businesses and even live right next door to each other. Connor has known for awhile that he is in love with Rory but believes that he lost his chance at being hers awhile ago so his mission is to constantly annoy her, yet if anyone else is anything less than perfect to her he has something to say (or do) about it. While working on a project together Conner proposes a deal where Rory is supposed to pretend to be his loving girlfriend in exchange for building a set of attic suites that she dreamed up for the current remodel. They fall in love and end up together which is exactly the way I like it. The path is fun with just enough minor twists and turns and some interesting stops along the way. Thrown into the mix is Conner’s high school friend who is battling leukemia yet doesn’t want anyone to know and doesn’t want the required treatment. Rory ends up secretly donating bone marrow that helps him to recover. The actual love story and how the characters interact is much like the previous two in the series but I still enjoy the story and will continue to seek out the author.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Elisa ♡.
652 reviews1 follower
December 18, 2021

if you want the ''pulled your pigtails because i love'' trope, this is your book.
one thing i see when people read enemies to lovers is that they complain that the heroine lets the hero do all the bad stuff to her and she never gets a backbone, but this one? she gives as good as she gets.
since they were kids they've been pulling pranks on each other, but we all know that the line between hate and love is super thin.

now they are older and they have to work together, he proposes that he will use her project if she fake dates him for 5 months. I'm not big on the fake date trope, but this one...where was the fake part?

i know I'm gushing over this book, but just one more thing, when he was eighteen he asked her father if he could marry her!!! (if that doesn't make you want to read this, idk what will)
Profile Image for AJ.
2,871 reviews932 followers
November 8, 2014
God, I love this series! I love it when you can pick up a book and, before you even open it, know what you can expect, and know that it’s going to be a great read. The Neighbour from Hell books are like that - fun, light, swoony and sexy, and utterly, utterly hilarious!

Rory and Connor are absolutely dynamite! They live to torment each other. Ever since preschool they have been at each other with pranks, jokes, teasing and embarrassing the hell out of each other. Their antics have resulted in jail stays, restaurant and grocery store bans, and a situation where whenever they are in the same room, people run and hide. Little titbits of their childhood together and all of the things they did to each other are revealed throughout the story, and it’s absolutely freaking hilarious!

Now they are all grown up, both of them strong, confident and stubborn, and still torturing each other – sometimes it's hilarious, sometimes it's totally cringe worthy (but mostly it's hilarious).

“All that mattered was that he could look forward to aggravating the piss out of Rory each and every night.”

But when they are forced to work together, things, unsurprisingly, start to change and the fire between them becomes something completely different as they find themselves overwhelmingly attracted to each other. The two of them fight their attraction so hard, and watching them try to rationalise it is so freaking funny. But when they eventually cave… HOLY FREAKING HOTNESS, these two have some SERIOUS chemistry! My kindle was steaming!

But it’s not all sex, there is some very deep emotion going on too, and watching Rory and Connor come to realise their feelings, and then seeing Connor, in particular, just go with it and put himself out there, was brilliant. I will admit that Connor’s motives for his ‘big plan’ were pretty deplorable, but I totally forgave him while watching him come to realise exactly what Rory meant to him. And from that point on the poor girl had no chance, because he was never going to let her go! And through it all he treated her like a Princess – something she had never experienced before, and I loved him for it! And damn, the man can bring the swoon!

“I want you, Rory,” he said against her lips. “Forever.”
“I want you too, Connor,” ...
“You’ve got me”

And when we are given even more insight into their past history, and realise exactly what had been going on, and for how long, and how much of an impact these two have unknowingly had over each other’s lives for all of these years, it makes their coming together even sweeter!

In other happy news - Jason and Trevor are back (Rory is a cousin to the Bradford family) – and starving of course, and they are just as fantastic as always. I was laughing pretty much from the moment they appeared on the page. God, I love those boys!

“Oh my God! Stop eating that!”
“Your trail mix tastes funny,” Trevor said with a cringe.
“That wasn’t trail mix, you bastard! That was potpourri!”
“Well, that explains a lot,” he said, giving her a sheepish smile as he returned the large wooden bowl back to the side table. She didn’t need to look to know that he’d already eaten half the bowl of potpourri. She didn’t even bother asking him what the hell was wrong with him since she knew the answer.
The man was a Bradford.
Enough said.

And when you add into the mix Rory’s five gorgeously protective older brothers, and the entire Bradford clan at a family reunion, that’s a lot of Alpha male roaming around! And their reactions to the unfolding romance are priceless.

I loved both Rory and Connor, and their story. I hope that R.L. Mathewson continues on with this series, because these books are just pure win :)
Profile Image for Ian.
1,349 reviews188 followers
November 19, 2012
Rory and Connor have been the bitterest of enemies since pre-school, and when their respective building companies are awarded a joint contract to renovate a hotel sparks start flying.
...he had to touch her, had to kiss her and he did just that.
"Ow!" he winced, stepping away from Rory as he rubbed the back of his head where it suddenly throbbed. He looked over his shoulder and found all five of her brothers watching them with innocent doe-like expressions on their faces.
"It was a squirrel," Craig said somehow keeping a straight face.
"Vicious little bastards," Bryce added solemnly.
"You should really be careful," Johnny added before mouthing "bitch."

R.L. Mathewson writes books that I love reading. Her Neighbor From Hell books are whacky and completely off the wall funny, and Checkmate is the best yet.
Profile Image for Milica's Bookshelf.
767 reviews201 followers
May 19, 2016
"Checkmate" je jako zabavna knjiga, kao što sam i očekivala. Često sam se smejala.
Rory je jaka žena i ne trpi nikakva sra*a od Connora otkad su bili deca. Sad su oboje odrasli i imaju zabrane od skoro svakog javnog mesta zbog njihovog međusobnog prepucavanja. Kad spominjem zabrane, braća Bredford i njihove žene su se vratili! :)

Connor: "Push me and you might just find yourself locked in the trunk of a car and on a ferry headed off to Nova Scotia. . . again" he said softly loving the way she practically shook with rage against him.
"I knew that was you, you bastard" She snarled, looking torn between going for his nipples again or just out right killing him.
"You deserved it", he felt obligated to remind her.
She scoffed. "I was twelve!"
"You super glued my shorts to my ass!"
The smile that teased her lips transformed her face from beautiful to breathtakingly beautiful in a matter of seconds. . .
She chuckled softly as she moved to put a little space between them. "I actually forgot about that".
Profile Image for Christy.
3,817 reviews32.4k followers
July 6, 2020
I love the neighbor from hell series! This book was no exception. Rory and Connor were hilarious and so sweet! Great read!
Profile Image for Sofia Lazaridou.
2,734 reviews135 followers
November 26, 2019
He never gave up this easily,never. Not even when they were fourteen and she may have pantsed him in front of the entire school one afternoon and he may have broken his arm in an attempt to pull her out of the air duct where she might have been hiding.He simply waited until the cast was dry and his mother was looking the other way before he snuck out of the exam room at the clinic over on Chestnut and made his way to the waiting room where he knew her father would make her wait so that she could give him the customary muttered"sorry."

As soon as Connor stepped into the waiting room she knew that she was in deep shit. She'd barely turned to run and hide when he clamped his good hand around her wrist and dragged her kicking and screaming into the staff kitchenette where he found a strawberry yogurt three years past its expiration date in the back of the fridge. For the next ten minutes he sat on her back while he forced her to eat the brown concoction and even when the doctor, three nurses and his mother tried to drag him off of her,he still managed to shove a large spoonful of the fuzzy gunk into her mouth.

That's pretty much how life was for Connor and Rory. Connor made her life a living hell and she always paid him back. That's been happening for 25 years and got them banned from 57 places(see their first "date"). It's is one of the things I liked the most in this book.

LRJRemember that.Connor has it as a tattoo and there is a lot of history behind these letters.Still I won't spoil the meaning of the 3 letters.

“My baking isn’t that bad!” Zoe argued.
“Sweetie," Rory said, pausing in her search to reach over and give Zoe’s hand a quick squeeze,“there isn’t a Bradford alive that will willingly touch your baked goods.”
“I overheard Jason and Trevor telling everyone that you baked my cupcakes so that they wouldn’t have to share,”Haley added softly as she took Zoe’s other hand into hers.“Not one single Bradford will touch them.In fact,they actually demanded that everything the guys claimed that you baked be taken away and given its own section.”

If the book was a TV show it would be like: Starring Connor O’Neil and Rory James. Special guest stars Jason,Hayley, Trevor and Zoe plus for a quick appearance the newborn (they get born in the book) twins of Trevor and Zoe. I don't think I would have given 5 stars if at least one character of them wasn't in this book.She didn’t even bother asking him what the hell was wrong with him since she knew the answer. The man was a Bradford.Enough said.Plus I missed Jason and Trevor's Bradford appetite. Did you know that if a Bradford showed his pretty face at the city when our couple lives they would get to spend a night in jail, pay 2,000$ and do community service? Here are some quotes about that appetite;

Even though he’d never met them before,he knew that they were Bradfords.The tales of the other side of Rory’s family were well known.They were often used to scare little children into behaving.If they didn’t,they knew the Bradfords would come and eat them.

You are only allowed to hit each sample cart ten times and that’s it.”
“You bitch!” Trevor and Jason gasped in outrage.Ignoring them,she continued.“And while we’re at it,let’s get to the other rules.”
“Rules?”Trevor repeated slowly,his eyes narrowing to slits on her.
“You are not allowed to eat in any of the restaurants in town or within twenty miles of the town unless I am there with you.”At that announcement,Jason’s eyes narrowed on her,too.“Also,you are not to buy anything that requires you to show your driver’s license.If you hit the grocery store,you’re each limited to one carriage full.You can order in,but you’re only allowed to order enough for six people.”
“I’ve always hated you,”Jason bit out in a huff as he turned his back on her and headed for the double doors of the warehouse.
“Ditto"Trevor said.

"Tell me that you didn’t break the ban,Rory.Tell me that there aren’t two Bradfords beating the shit out of each other over the last slice of cheese in my kitchen"

“That wasn’t trail mix, you bastard!That was potpourri!

As much as she'd love to dismiss the possibility,and she would have if it had been anyone else,but this was a Bradford that she was dealing with here so she had to ask,"You didn't eat my box of baking soda,did you?"

Closing (not that I said much)I liked this book but less than the first two. In some parts is better but it lacks in others. Connor and Rory are different than the other 2 couples. The book made me laugh and left me wanting for a 4th book.

"I probably should remind you that your brothers said that they wouldn't bail you out of jail again for the next three years after what happened the last time and that if you kill him then you'll probably lose this contract"
Profile Image for Vintage.
2,394 reviews444 followers
June 21, 2017
It is really hard for me to believe that this was written by the same author as Playing for Keeps. PfK's was charming and lighthearted with a sweet romance between two quirky and original characters.

The two major characters here were, for me at least, unlikeable, strident and too forced. Okay, the author makes her point that they have been each other's nemesis since they were 5, but Mathewson just went over the top in their antics and how often they were banned. Pulling her pigtails, supergluing his shorts, broken arms, disrupted health class, he gets her truck towed from her own driveway, she chains him to his bed and that's just the tip of the iceberg. We get it already!!! The hero is the primary instigator, but

Present day they are working on the same construction project, and the hero wants the heroine to leave the premises or go get him coffee as there is no way she can handle the job. One of her five huge brothers that could/will beat him up must be in charge as she as a mere woman could never be in charge. He doesn't just say or think it once or twice, but he plots to steal her brothers away to work for him and shut her construction company down. Her over-protective brothers.

I think R.L. Mathewson was trying for madcap and crazy, but all I read was crazy. I was very disappointed as I loved "Playing for Keeps".
October 1, 2019
4 enemies-to-lovers done right stars

So far, this 3rd book of the series is my favorite. Book 1 was good but had too much unnecessary angst (porridge was too hot); Book 2 had some whiny mcs (too cold); but this one has baby bear written all over it. Though this is part of a series and some characters recur, it may be preferred but is not necessary to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one.

Rory James refers to her neighbor and life long nemesis Connor O'Neil as "life-ruiner." Every problem she has traces back to that jerk who has pulled her pigtails since day 1 on the playground, landed her in detention throughout school, and had her banned from many restaurants and stores in their small town for years. But don't feel badly for her because she has given as good as she has gotten as Connor was in detention with her, is also banned from many establishments, and was once her cellmate in prison (an event alluded to a couple of times as the reason for Rory's life-ruinage, but isn't fully explained until much later into the story). The a-hole even bought the house next to hers just to continue his daily torments! And now, as she is running late, guess who steals the parking spot she has been patiently waiting on with her turn signal flashing and then tells her he's happy to move it --- after his meeting! Rory is already infuriated... imagine her reaction when the construction and renovation project they both put bids in on has had its timeline significantly shortened so the client asks them BOTH to work on it in order to get it completed in time!! Impossible. No way the two who cannot be in each other's presence can go 1 minute without pranking the other can possibly work together on a career-making deal like this one.

While Rory believes Connor to be her life ruiner, Connor finds Rory to be the best part of his day. He has even "saved" her a few times (without her knowing, of course!) when he felt her 5 older brothers weren't doing their job effectively in protecting her. He loves that she never backs down from him, doesn't cry "like a girl," and gives as good as she gets. And the fact that she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen doesn't hurt either. But he knows that she doesn't feel anything for him, so there isn't any chance for the two of them to have a future. Although... what if he can get her to play along as his doting gf by promising her something she can't resist: her dream renovation? Maybe he can have his cake and eat it too. But what happens when they realize that their tempers aren't the only thing that goes "boom" in each other's presence? Is there any way a "temporary" deal can be made permanent?

What I liked:
--- Very little unnecessary angst (and when there was some, it was resolved quickly)
--- Likeable main characters with humorous interactions
--- Revisiting some of the characters from earlier books (the James and Bradford families are cousins)
--- Steamy goodness

What I didn't like as much:
--- There was some childish stuff happening when they were supposedly adults, and a time or two it seemed to go too far
--- Seemed silly that

Overall, a good read with likeable main characters, an interesting plot, steamy goodness, and a low reading on the relationship angst aspect!

Plot --- 4/5
Main Characters --- 4/5
Supporting Cast --- 4/5
Steam Level* --- 3.5/5
Violence --- some (there is a description of something that happened in the past, but not graphic)
Language --- they're on a construction site, so curse words happen
POV --- 3rd

*Note that steam level is not a rating so much as a how hot was it: 0/5 - clean; 1/5 - mild; 2/5 - sensual but nothing descriptive; 3/5 - now we're getting somewhere; 4/5 - yes please! ; 5/5 - they did EVERYTHING in this one, y'all
Profile Image for JoJo - JJJ (Jo Anna) Janesko.
341 reviews188 followers
November 7, 2012
I really wish this book would have been a five star read for me like the other two books in this series. The book had so much promise however it just didn't do it for me. It started off very rocky and then finally towards the end I found myself loving it. Just not the best combination. I really wish this would have been better for me. It is a good book and I would recommend it to those who have read the series however I would suggest you stop what you are reading just to start this book. I love this author and have read everything she has written. I will continue to be a big fan and read any additional books she publishes. I am a huge fan.
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