I am so enamoured with this book, I wish I could have kept reading it over and over again. A perfect Romantic Comedy in my eyes, this story hooked me in from the start, and by the end of the first chapter, I was willing to forfeit food and sleep in favour of just one more page. Sally Thorne’s prose is so confident and engaging—outmatched only by her clever dialogues and measured pace—that it is hard for me to believe this is a debut novel. Cover to cover, this was by far one of the most enjoyable and charming books I’ve read this year—funny, romantic, sensual, and even deeply touching at times, this delicious enemies-to-lovers romance became instantly a top favourite of mine.
I lock my screen and watch with interest as Joshua does the same. We are aligned like chess players. We fold our hands… We act like normal colleagues who don’t want to swirl their hands in each other’s blood.
This is the story of Lucy Hutton, a twenty-eight-year-old executive assistant to the CEO of a publishing house, and a pint-sized dynamo of positivity and effervescence, whose life changes dramatically when a company merger forces her to share an office with a man who hates her—her new nemesis, the bane of her existence, her daily nuisance—Joshua Templeman. Her opposite in every single way, Lucy’s lively and approachable personality stands in stark contrast to Josh’s perpetual air of indifference and disdain, turning their every working day into a battle of wills.
Joshua is like a mirror that shows me the bad parts of myself.
Every day, Lucy is reminded of her shortcomings, Josh’s snide remarks relentlessly clawing at her every insecurity and bringing out the worst in her, thus pushing the very possibility of a friendship between them further off the table. And even though the banter between them never fails to entertain and draw a laugh, we become increasingly aware of how deeply affected our heroine is by the peculiar level of derision shown to her by a man who seems to dislike her for no apparent reason at all.
“I’m so lonely sometimes I could cry. I lost my best friend. I spend all my time with a huge frightening man who wants to kill me, and he’s probably my only friend now, even though he doesn’t want to be. And it breaks my heart.”
An unexpected opportunity for promotion puts them suddenly in direct competition with one another, a change of hierarchy also signalling a likely end to the war between them, but with the clock ticking away as they both sprint to one-up one another, their dynamic abruptly changes when Lucy discovers just how fine a line there is between love and hate. Or how hard it is to resist a man who seems determined to possess her.
“What’s with the weird eyes? Relax.”
“I was thinking how big you are.”
I look at our joined hands. He carefully strokes the length of my palm with his thumb. When we look at each other again, his eyes are a little darker.
“I’ll fit you just right.”
What starts as a hilarious all-out war between two ‘mortal enemies’, quickly explodes into a sensual feast of red-hot ‘almosts’—every kiss, every lick, every sensual caress between them adding to the agony of delightful anticipation and slowly building up to what neither of their hearts can eventually deny. But with a fast-approaching wind of change threatening to sweep away all that has changed between them, Lucy and Josh must decide if one taste is all they will ever get.
I’d have to be a thousand years old to forget the way he kisses me.
Ticking off all the major components of a well-loved enemies-to-lovers trope, Ms Thorne’s writes a sprightly, character-driven story that is impossible to put down, but the way she leisurely exploits the tension between her two leads to ratchet the sexual suspense, all the while adding more and more complex facets to the characters, is a sight to see. I loved this book a ridiculous amount, will recommend it to anyone willing to listen, and already cannot wait for this author’s next writing endeavour.
“When you get so little of someone, you take what you can get.”