Harrison is only participating in the bachelor auction because his best friend put him up to it. When he meets the man with his winning bid, Harrison is irritated. Fletcher is antagonistic to be sure, and despite their instant attraction, Harrison is glad when he’s able to walk away. And extra glad he won’t have to see Fletcher again.
After moving to Stillwater with his daughter and ex-wife, Harrison is doing his best to settle into the slower pace. The last thing he expects is to find out that the father of one of his daughter’s new friends is none other than Fletcher. Fletcher, for his part, is thrilled to see Harrison again, as he hasn’t been able to get Harrison completely off his mind. But just like the first time they met, the two men butt heads and things don’t go well, even as they are both conscripted to organize and run the upcoming Spring Fair at the elementary school.
Every time their paths cross, there is a push and pull between the two men. The attraction is there, but Fletcher and Harrison also can’t seem to help sniping at each other. But the more time they spend together, they are able to find more peace with one another. Until a moment when their attraction takes over and they kiss. Things soften between them, and an event turned date leads to a weekend together.
Both men are falling fast, but Harrison is aware that his need to swoop in and fix things can drive a wedge between them. And with Fletcher dealing with issues with his ex and the mother of his child, things are sometimes fraught between Fletcher and Harrison. Miscommunication and outside forces threaten to drive them apart. But their love is strong, and they just need to figure out how to find the common ground.
Antagonist is the first book in a new series by a new-to-me author, and I was intrigued by the blurb enough to pick it up. However, I finished this book with definite mixed feelings about the story and the narrative style as a whole. While some parts worked for me, others didn’t and while I liked it, I didn’t love it.
This story is told in alternative first person present POVs. While the POVs weren’t wholly distinguishable from each other, for the most part, this worked well. It really gives the reader an in depth look into the MCs’ thought process, and for me, helped me to like Fletcher more. Parts of Fletcher’s personality were irritating to me personally, and I didn’t find them as amusing as I believe the author intended. His snark and nicknames didn’t work for me, and there were times I found him rather annoying. That being said, having chapters from his POV went a long way to endearing him to me. After his first few chapters, I liked him a lot better than I did at the start.
What is clear is that both MCs love their kids and will do anything for them, are good parents, and have big hearts. Once they finally get past the sniping, they settle into a good relationship, and their chemistry works. I liked that even though there was miscommunication and assumptions, it was natural and didn’t last too long between them before they talked it out. In the final third of the book, I was really invested in the storyline and in the romance.
However, this book was not without its problems for me. The big one is that in the beginning, I certainly did not feel the chemistry between the MCs. The crankiness between them, the sniping, and the sass felt contrived. Both men seemed to go from zero to sixty in their words, when their personalities and thought processes didn’t seem to match. It didn’t work for me and seemed just to be a plot device to lean into the enemies to lovers trope. But they also weren’t even enemies, they just got on each other’s nerves, so this left a lot to be desired for me.
I also found the narrative to be a little simplistic at times and the dialogue choppy and uneven at certain points. Eventually, I noticed it less and I’m not sure whether that was because I got used to the style or because it evened out. Either way, it didn’t always work for me and brought down my enjoyment of the story.
Overall, this book had elements I really enjoyed and others that left me wanting. And I’m not sure if I’ll be continuing with the series. But if you’re a fan of this author, like small town romances, and/or single dads, then you might want to check this one out.