Disclaimer: I am friends with the author; however, I purchased this ebook at full price.
I’m generally not a fan of the “enemies to lovers” or “gay for you” tropes in romance novels, so this book did not initially appeal to my taste. Except Bauer has repeatedly proven what an excellent author she is, so I finally checked it out. And promptly devoured it in a single evening. Bauer embraces the tropes mentioned above so that both main characters are quite obvious about what’s going on in the rocky road toward a relationship. It’s just meta enough to be delightful rather than awkward or obnoxious.
Donovan and Sam’s external subplots of a fresh divorce and awkward homecoming to homophobic parents, respectively, are familiar tales. However, Bauer’s fresh and personality-infused narrative voice elevates what could be more fictional tropes to heart-wrenching realism. I appreciate romance arcs in which I care about each hero as an individual rather than just as a couple, especially when that character development ends up bringing them closer as a couple in a way that does nothing to diminish that these are two independent characters who could also stand on their own. (But they’re so much better together.)
I laughed out loud multiple times while reading this book. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a solid romance story featuring characters who don’t appear to be a great match, lots of sexiness, and ridiculous outfits. Sam and Donovan are characters I might even want to be friends with in real life. I would even overlook Sam’s preference for IPAs, even though it’s a really gross beer.