Jake’s life has not been the easiest. With his dad in prison for corporate theft brought about by a gambling addiction, and living on a shoestring budget in order to put himself through college, Jake’s world consists of school, work, and his best friend, Marri. When his mom died when he was very young, Jake depended on his dad to be by his side; unfortunately, that all ended with his arrest Jake’s senior year in high school. Since Jake had already been in the foster system before, he wasn’t surprised, just terribly hurt and disappointed. His job at donut shop might not be the best, but it keeps food on the table and pays the rent on his cockroach-infested apartment. When a strange, but undeniably handsome, man comes into the shop requesting a bucket of oil, Jake doesn’t hesitate to hand it over, even though it’s not allowed. The action causes Jake to lose his job, but then the stranger returns—with a job offer that frightens the cautious Jake, but intrigues him as well.
Archer Ferraro is the personification of karma—a task he takes very seriously. Ever since he made sure the loser who was dating his mother got what was coming to him after he starting abusing her, Archer decided to make it his life’s work to mete out payback to those who chose to hurt the innocent. He never resorts to violence, but he definitely skirts the law more than he should. But having a best friend on the police force and a lawyer for a brother sees Archer sailing by without much of a problem. When he discovers his latest job causes the shy, but very sweet, guy at the donut ship to be fired, he decides to set things right by offering him a job doing his computer research. It helps that Jake is so darn cute and pings every one of Archer’s protector vibes. Now the two men dance around each other, trying to come to terms with their attraction, something Archer is certain of and Jake is frightened by.
Este Holland’s book, Karma’s a Bit*h, is one humorous, sweet, crazy moment after another. Holland creates fully fleshed out characters who might be a bit over the top when it comes to moving quickly relationship-wise, but are so incredibly entertaining that I easily looked past that to the marvelous unfolding story. Jake is so buttoned up for such a young man, but when we are made privy to his past, it is truly understandable and realistic as to why he doesn’t date much or have but one close friend, the zany Marri. Archer is like a tornado that picks Jake up and spins him around until he is both confused and intoxicated by the guy. I love their feisty interactions; they are funny and sexy and reveal much about who both men are and what makes them tick.
I think the best part of this novel has to be the way in which Jake comes out of his shell, emboldened by Archer’s seeming lack of fear or hesitancy. Archer is calculating when it comes to his job, but where Jake is concerned, he finds himself flinging all that caution to the wind and going for it. I love that there is basically no angst relationship-wise in this novel. Archer sums it up when he mentions that communication between them is essential and that’s exactly how it all plays out. Yes, there is fear and doubt—from both of them—but there is also determination to overcome it and make being together work.
Some may feel like Karma’s a Bit*h falls under the insta-love trope, but I would beg to differ. Yes, the emotions fly fast and furious and, yes, there is a drunken declaration of love that is rapidly followed up by the real thing, but still it all felt right to me, not rushed or unbelievable. I so enjoy how Archer and Jake move from hesitant work partners, to friends, to lovers and more during this novel; for me, the timing is spot on.
Karma’s a Bit*h is a fun, sexy romance that puts author Este Holland on my auto-by list, for sure. I would love to see Phen and Greg’s story, even though there is no indication this is potentially a series in the making. I thoroughly enjoyed this one and highly recommend it to you.