Hurts to Love You
Series: Forbidden Hearts #3
Release date: March 27th 2018
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Being bad never felt so good, in the third novel in Alisha Rai’s sexy Forbidden Hearts series!
Well-behaved women don’t lust after men who love to misbehave.
Heiress Evangeline Chandler knows how to keep a secret . . . like her life-long crush on the tattooed hottie who just happens to be her big brother’s friend. She’s a Chandler, after all, and Chandlers don’t hook up with the help. Then again, they also don’t disobey their fathers and quit their respectable jobs, so good-girl rules may no longer apply.
Gabriel Hunter hides the pain of his past behind a smile, but he can’t hide his sudden attraction to his friend’s sheltered little sister. Eve is far too sweet to accept anything less than forever and there’s no chance of a future between the son of a housekeeper and the town’s resident princess.
When a wedding party forces Eve and Gabe into tight quarters, keeping their hands off each other will be as hard as keeping their clothes on. The need that draws them together is stronger than the forces that should shove them apart . . . but their sparks may not survive the explosion when long-buried secrets are finally unearthed.
The Faerie Queen’s review
Of course I go ahead and do the smart thing… I read the last book in a trilogy first.
I mean, look, I know, it doesn’t really matter. It’s a romance series. But guys, I actually seriously enjoyed this, and I wish I’d been along for the ride from the very beginning. Because if I go back now, I will have to endure this book’s main characters as they were before I’ve seen their growth, and it’ll frustrate me. I suppose, on the other hand, I’ll know things work out. Oh well, it’ll be worth it. This is my first book by Alisha Rai, and I doubt it’ll be my last. (I definitely need to read the second book about Jackson, because he is a serious introvert, like me. I liked seeing how Eve accepted his need for solitude and no small talk, and how she explained this to others without treating it like some kind of weird issue.)
Alisha ticks all the right boxes. Her characters are unique and likeable, the chemistry is there in force, everyone is a feminist, and the drama is just interesting enough without being eyeroll-worthy.
I was invested in Eve and Gabe’s relationship very early on. Both had some serious parental issues that they let get in their way. I liked that they each had to deal with their own problems, and they supported each other without trying to fix things for the other person. Eve was such a smart young woman, but she lacked confidence, and she couldn’t handle rejection, so she avoided putting herself out there. It was scary relatable, and the way she described her experience and her attempts to overcome this were actually inspirational for me. Gabe was similarly closed off, a loveable guy on the surface, but he kept people at arm’s length because he felt like he could never really belong thanks to a big secret he protected. Together, and with the help of their friends and family, they were able to work through these things and find comfort in each other.
It wasn’t just comfort. Oh no. There was clear attraction from the beginning. Eve was scared of rejection, and Gabe didn’t want to make things messy, but these couldn’t stop the two from falling into each other’s arms thanks to some forced proximity. One thing I really liked was how Eve was able to say “penis” and “vagina” very directly. I mean, if you can’t talk about penises and vaginas, should you be having sex? And somehow Gabe was able to pull off being very respectful of all women (not just Eve) while also getting quite dirty in bed, especially with his sexual “close captioning”. (I love dirty talking, people.) I think the only weird thing for me was their age gap, as my last relationship was with a guy five years older than me, and that was already too much for me to handle.
They weren’t the only great characters. There was a nice dynamic between them and the rest of the Chandler/Kane cast, even when things weren’t gelling well. In the end, aside from one idiot, everyone supported and cared for each other, going beyond blood ties and disagreements. It was made even better by how diverse everyone was. Many of the characters were mixed race, and Gabe’s adoptive family were African American. This acknowledgement of different races and cultures all getting on in one big happy “family” was so refreshing to see, and also a lot more reflective of today’s world. I was particularly excited about Gabe’s sister being a black woman crushing it in the tech startup world. I do love seeing my fellow techie ladies in books!
Even though there was a lot of emotional baggage and some family drama to sort out, this wasn’t an angsty book. It was sexy and sweet and funny, with lots of fistpump moments. Alisha’s way of writing read smoothly, and she injected humour and personality and even life advice easily into the story. Here are just a few little bits that I highlighted on my Kindle while reading.
He stumbled, but before he could fall, she was at his side, her body propped up under his. “I can help you.”
“No, you’re not.”
Yes, he was. He was a man. A manly man! He could work a grill and chop firewood.
(For the record, he was drunk at the time, and he does quickly realise that he’s talking nonsense to himself.)
Lust and desire had hit him instantly, but he was a grown-ass man, and he tamped it down.
Let that be a lesson to all you men who try to blame your appalling behaviour on women!
“Do you know what your mother used to say? Leave me enough room to eat and dance.”
Eve’s mom clearly had the right idea about food. We should all make sure we dress with enough leeway for some good food and dancing!
To really top it all off, this book came complete with an adorable small child and his puppy. Kareem had such a great young personality, and I felt immediately attached to the dog, eventually named R2. Man, that dog’s name… Kareem kept changing it every five seconds, and I could do nothing but mentally laugh.
This should be a 5-star book, and I think it will be for a lot of people. I honestly want to give it 5 stars because everything was written so well. For some reason, it didn’t hit me quite hard enough though, and I don’t know if this is because I’m feeling a bit dead inside at the moment or the book and I genuinely didn’t click 100%. (It’s probably the former; I am a teeny bit of a mess right now.)
“No one knows.”
His tone was bleak, the words tripping over each other.
“No one will,” she whispered, though that wasn’t her place to promise. “I’ll keep it a secret.” His laugh was a harsh bark. “What am I supposed to do? Just trust you?”
Yes.” The adrenaline in her blood spiked, and she leaned in closer, driven to comfort and consume him. “I’m very good at secrets.”
He shook his head. “You don’t— ”
She had no idea what he was going to say, because she settled her lips over his. It was a ridiculous urge, born of panic and desperation and a deep-seated drive to calm him. Their lips fit together perfectly, and she moved them over his, tasting the faint hint of mint in his mouth.
Finally. Finally. Now she knew what kissing would feel like.
He froze for a second, but then a growl came from deep in his chest. He tightened his hold on her, crushed her close, and kissed her back.
Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 4/9/2017 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.