This post includes reviews of the books in the Enemies series:
- A New Enemy (#1)
- I’m Not Your Enemy (#2)
A New Enemy (Book 1)
I’m sure other readers might complain about how Dee sometimes breaks her stories into shorter books. While I might be tempted to add to those complaints because I want nothing more than as many of Dee’s amazing words as possible, I understand and respect her creative choices about using point of view effectively to build intense relationship arcs. In particular, this novella is not a true romance in that it does not end on that “happily ever after” (or even “happily for now”) moment. However, it does work as an amazing setup for what is sure to be an intense second-chance/enemies-to-lovers romance in the conclusion of this duology.
We return to one of my favorite fictional towns, Camassia Cove, to meet Sebastian and his small found family. That family has the potential to grow by one when his best friend’s brother comes to town and then pretty quickly finds his way into Sebastian’s bed. Except Sebastian is reluctant to catch feelings, and Blake doesn’t have an agenda so much as all the adults in this situation prioritize a child with developmental issues – even when it might mean the detriment of their personal happiness. The fallout of Blake’s actions could easily be the end of the story, but Dee immediately dangles the sequel for us, which will be sure to include the promised actual happily ever after. I’m interested in figuring out how she manages it between two strong, independent characters and a country between them.
So, my heart aches for Dee and the lower ratings received by this intense, sexy novella. I hope potential readers consider it more as an extended prologue than an unfinished romance. After all, we don’t often get all of the background context to many second-chance romance arcs in single novels. We get the complete story between Sebastian and Blake this time (even separated into two shorter books), and I’m already more than hooked.
I’m Not Your Enemy (Book 2)
I come back to Dee’s books time and again because she is so amazing at writing characters. Blake shines off the page with the intensity of his personality, both the good and the bad. Where we left him at the end of the previous book, it would have been so easy to blame him for breaking Sebastian’s heart (even if Sebastian won’t acknowledge that’s what happened). But Dee drops us into a scenario where we immediately feel for Blake’s circumstances with his family so that we can both sympathize with him as a character and still blame him a little bit for what he did to Sebastian. After all, it’s not fair to expect someone who’s never had a relationship to necessarily recognize the emotions Sebastian inspired with him, even if I also laughed with Blake’s siblings when he described them.
My biggest “complaint” about this book is that we never return to Sebastian’s perspective on things once Blake returns to Camassia Cove. However, Dee still does an excellent job of showing how Sebastian feels about this particular turn to events even from the outside. From the first book’s events, I’d hoped that this would be an amazing “enemies-to-lovers” story because we have that prior knowledge of their initial “friends-to-lovers” journey. Dee more than satisfies on all fronts as the inevitable hate sex turns into more meaningful confrontations that show both men that there’s real hope for their happily ever after.
The secondary theme and conflict of this book is family, as Sebastian and Blake both work out how they fit into the extended family they’ve created in Washington. At the same time, Blake finally coming out to his parents is an important through-line for this book, with an arc just as satisfying as that of the primary romance plot.
As a bonus, the heat between Sebastian and Blake is off the charts and even more intense than in the previous book (which I’m not sure I thought possible). Dee has proven once again that she is adept at combining character and story. I’d read anything she produces at this point, but I’m certainly not complaining about the steamy bits she also provides her readers. As a treat.