hard feelingsRating: 4.5 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novel

Rylan Williams hates having to speak at conferences, and when he sees a hot guy in the front row sleeping through his presentation, it just adds to an already stressful experience.  Things get even worse when Rylan gets stuck in the elevator with Miller Jones, the sleeper from earlier.  Miller is friendly and pleasant, but his easy banter just makes the more socially awkward Rylan dislike him all the more.  The attraction is still there, however, and somehow the bickering turns into a quick, hate-fueled elevator blow job and then some steamy hate sex back in Miller’s hotel room after their rescue.

When Miller turns up at Rylan’s office a while later, Rylan is stunned to realize his new contractor and office mate is the same guy from the conference.  Hot sex not withstanding, Rylan hated Miller then and he still hates him now.  Everything about Miller annoys Rylan, from the way he eats, to the music he listens to, to the way he constantly argues with Rylan about their project.  Yet despite their mutual dislike for one another, the attraction between the guys is still strong. When the combination of work stress and sexual tension makes the guys succumb to one another once again, they decide to strike a deal for some casual sex with no strings attached.

As Miller and Rylan continue to spend their days together working and many nights having sex, Rylan realizes he may not quite hate Miller anymore.  They are still not friends, but can he really hate a guy he somehow has ended up hanging around with so much?  Soon, the not-hate has started to turn into actual like, and before Rylan knows it, into real romantic feelings for Miller.  But Miller and Rylan had agreed from the start that this was to be nothing more than sex. Rylan has no idea how things got so out of hand, but after a history of falling for unobtainable guys, he knows his heart is going to be broken if he doesn’t end things with Miller soon.  Somehow things have gotten totally out of control and what started as casual has turned into love.

I am a huge fan of enemies to lovers stories and this one is just so much fun.  What I particularly loved here is that this isn’t just two guys who hate one another and slowly begin to find common ground  and then a relationship. No, Miller and Rylan hate each WHILE they are having a relationship. These guys are all about the hate sex, and it is hot and aggressive and oh so intense. I loved watching these guys give in to their need for one another, even while they hate each other (or at least think they do).

The authors really do a nice job here of slowly building the relationship between Miller and Rylan.  They genuinely do hate one another, at least at the start.  And we follow along as bit by bit they find some common ground, then a tentative friendship, and soon a genuine affection and ultimately love for one another.  Rylan is our POV character and I loved the slow realization he comes to that he maybe doesn’t hate Miller anymore, and eventually (and terrifyingly), that he really cares for him.  It is so well done and the authors get the pacing just right here, giving us a slow build while still moving the relationship forward throughout the book.

At its heart this is a really simple story and the book focuses almost exclusively on Miller and Rylan and the transition in their relationship.  I think what makes it work is that these are two really interesting characters, especially Rylan.  Rylan is definitely a classic introvert. He can only be with people for short periods without just draining himself.  At the same time, Rylan is warm and caring.  He has a few good friends and a close relationship with his family. He dotes on his sisters and his nephew in particular.  In addition to his need for some isolation, Rylan is also a creature of habit. He has a rotating two week dinner schedule.  He likes to have set activities for each day of the week.  Rylan is a pretty rigid guy and he needs to have things a certain way. And of course, Miller totally upends that. Miller is friendly and outgoing and a little bit chaotic, and everything about him makes Rylan crazy. Until it doesn’t. Suddenly Rylan realizes he may not like being around crowds, but he does like it when Miller comes over. And maybe he doesn’t mind so much when Miller disrupts his schedule.  I loved how Miller and Rylan’s very distinct personalities somehow work together, and keep a book with a fairly simple plot interesting and fun.

So yep, I really liked this one.  It could have been a very routine enemies to lovers story, but somehow these authors really elevated it to a book that I just couldn’t put down. I loved Miller and Rylan and thought they were such interesting characters.  I had so much fun with all their hate sex that somehow turns into something more.  So a really fun story and one I greatly enjoyed.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

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