⭐️⭐️⭐️ This one hurts

I wish I knew how much I was going to love the second half of this book when I was reading the first, because I had already disconnected from the story by the time I got there. Kristen Callihan is one of my favorite authors and enemies to lovers is my absolute favorite trope, so this SHOULD’VE been a homerun for me, but… it just wasn’t. The writing is fantastic, the relationship develops into something truly beautiful, and the slow burn was tortuously perfect, but the history these two share is where the problems lie. We’ll get into that in a minute.

The story follows Macon and Delilah, two people who grew up together and whose hate for each other strongly mirrors love. Macon wasn’t the nicest person back in high school, and his cruelty left permanent marks on Delilah… and that’s not even taking into account his relationship with her sister. When Delilah’s sister unknowingly reunites them years later, it’s obvious that there are still plenty of feelings between them, good and bad.

Callihan is a skilled writer, so there is a LOT that I loved about this, from the great dialogue to the chemistry that ignites between these two later on. It’s definitely a tension-filled read, and that made the back half so engrossing. I could feel the emotion and was pulled back into a story that I had, sadly, become disconnected from. My problem is just how long it took for things to turn a corner. This borders on a bully romance, with a very messy history involving Macon dating Delilah’s sister for years. Though there’s no love lost between Macon and Delilah’s sister, she remains a huge presence in their relationship throughout the course of the book. I could MAYBE get over a hero having dated the heroine’s sister (and have, plenty of times), but this time it just came up so frequently that it got in the way. I also LOVE enemies to lovers but don’t tolerate bully romances well, so I wish we had seen some of the good times sooner. I’ve got extremely complicated feelings about this book, and I think that if I reread it knowing how much I would love Delilah and Macon as a couple later on, it would be a completely different experience. But I’m not sure that my rating would change. I’ll be buying whatever Callihan writes next – that was never in question – but I’m going to have to stew on this one a while longer to see how I truly feel about it.

Kindle Edition: https://amzn.to/3dp4IT2

Amazon Paperback: https://amzn.to/2WEVNXq

Audiobook: https://amzn.to/2QCkO1G


BLURB:

From New York Times bestselling author Kristen Callihan comes a smart, emotional contemporary romance about finding love with the most unlikely of people.

As kids, they hated each other. Macon Saint was beautiful, but despite his name, Delilah knew he was the devil. That he dated her slightly evil sister, Samantha, was no picnic either. When they broke up, it was a dream come true: Delilah never had to see him again.

Ten years later, her old enemy sends a text.

Delilah’s sister has stolen a valuable heirloom from Macon, now a rising Hollywood star, and he intends to collect his due. One problem: Sam has skipped town.

Sparks still sizzle between Macon and Delilah, only this heat feels alarmingly like unwanted attraction. But Delilah is desperate to keep her weak-hearted mother from learning of her sister’s theft. So she proposes a deal: she’ll pay off the debt by being Macon’s personal chef and assistant.

It’s a recipe for disaster, but Macon can’t stop himself from accepting. Even though Delilah clearly hates him, there’s something about her that feels like home. Besides, they’re no longer kids, and what once was a bitter rivalry has the potential to be something sweeter. Something like forever.

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