Twins Blake and Bianca Dunlap have always been there for each other, ready to lend support and make sacrifices. Blake can’t imagine a bigger sacrifice than getting along with Bianca’s fiancé, Matt. However, Matt turns out to be more than the meathead Blake had dismissed him as, but Matt’s best friend, Ryan Everett, is a different story. Ryan seems intent on being an insufferable jerk as often as possible. The fact that Blake is undeniably attracted to Ryan only makes the whole situation more annoying.
Since they’ll all be stuck together for the long haul, Blake is determined to make nice. Unfortunately he overshoots, and he and Ryan end up on much friendlier terms than Blake intended. While he and Ryan agree there’s no harm in having a strings-free fling, that changes when Matt and Bianca find out about it. As more complications arise, Blake and Ryan become more determined to do what it takes to avoid letting them down. But the only way to ensure getting through a joyous wedding and avoid the questions neither of them want to answer is to convince everyone it’s something more.
Blake and Ryan meet because Ryan is Blake’s twin sister’s fiancé. They immediately rub sparks off one another and sorta, kinda hate each other and at the same time want to f*ck.
So… they enter into a hate-sex sort of scenario, with neither of them really admitting that beyond the chemistry there might be a bit of something more substantial.
The premise is that at first they really DON’T like each other. Really. Blake is a pretentious prig and Ryan is a cavalier goof. Opposites attract and all that, so they are attracted to each other sexually but not emotionally.
Once they discover/admit this attraction, they want to hide it from their friend/sister because they fear/know that when it ends it will be messy if sides have to be chosen.
But… the family finds out so they admit to a “real” but fake relationship so that they family is comforted … but in fact they are still just messing around… Sound confusing … it sorta is.
And along the way, between the hating and the sexing and the pretending… they end up really caring about each other up to and including loving each other.
But… they still can’t communicate this to one another for various reasons and that keeps them apart for a bit… and then there is a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING which leads to a blow out fight which leads to… you get the idea.
So, don’t get me wrong, I actually loved much about this book… the writing is excellent and the wit exceptional (I laughed out loud in places) and the development of the characters is great. But there are a few things that would need to happen to make this a GREAT book.
First: Some major editing. It’s a LONG book that doesn’t need to be. Some have called this a “slow burn” but it isn’t , not really. They get together early on and then waffle about with the “I hate myself for wanting him but I can’t help myself”, guilt ridden booty calls for way too long. Then, once they are “fake-together”, they waffle about their “I love him but I can’t tell him or he’ll freak out” way too long. And the end… well, that’s another story.
Second: I loved the MCs and many of the secondary characters. They were funny and added to the story and added a lot of realism. I loved the exes and how they contributed to the story and the friend and the family, all shaped our MCs really nicely for us. Showing, not telling. But the MC’s lives were confusing to me. At one point Ryan is worried that Blake will judge him for not having a college degree when Blake himself is a nanny. And where does all the money come from? I kept expecting someone to have a trust fund because no one seems to work. And Blake has an interest in teaching Cello lessons but never plays or even listens to that sort of music. Given how long the story is, these kinds of details became more obvious.
Third: The BIG MISUNDERSTANDING leading to reconciliation. What should have happened is this: the big misunderstanding, the laughing and crying and forgiving, the making up and the “I love yous”. Instead we had to insert yet another bout of waffling and indecision that was patently not needed. When they do finally get things together it is rushed and unsatisfying after the pages and pages of waffling. I really wanted to finally see Ryan and Blake expose themselves and show their FEELINGS to one another and make me believe in their happy ending. Though I thought the epilogue was terribly witty and somewhat fitting for the characters, it did not satisfy my romantic heart, or make me believe in the final outcome. At some point the jokes and the insecurities should be laid to rest and the real emotions get their page time.
Overall, I believe this is the first full length novel for this author. As such, I think it is a wonderful start. I would definitely look for her again. However, I would recommend some serious editing in the future, as I think that simply shortening this would have remedied a lot of my “issues”.
Michael Ferrualo did an excellent job with this. He was believable and did a wonderful job with all the emotion. I really enjoyed listening to this and thought it added to the overall enjoyment of the book immensely.
4.5 of 5 hearts