A romantic and super-steamy celebrity romance that is enemies-to-lovers with a fake relationship set-up. So many of my favourite tropes in the one book, and all with the touch of Karina Halle magic. I loved it!
This book is a standalone, but it does follow on from Before I Ever Met You. Just be aware that there are character crossovers and this book contains some spoilers for the first book, so if you’re planning on reading that one I recommend doing it first.
Alyssa and Emmett meet at the wedding of mutual friends (see note above about the previous book) where they are both in the wedding party. Emmett is a former teen television star who is making a comeback as a guest star on a hit series. With his good looks, charm and celebrity, he has no trouble getting women, and with his first glance at Alyssa, he’s hooked. Alyssa has no time for the famously womanising bad boy and she brushes him off, which of course only makes her even more appealing, and it doesn’t take long for that smooth charm – and a healthy amount of alcohol – to work in Emmett’s favour, and the two of them act on all of their sizzling chemistry with a seriously hot encounter.
Neither expect to see the other again, but when photos emerge of the two of them together it sparks a media frenzy with the press praising Emmett for finally settling down with a ‘normal’ girl. Desperate to take advantage of the positive publicity, Emmett and his publicist ask Alyssa to step in as his fake girlfriend for the next few months to boost his poor public image, and with the right incentive, she agrees. So, cue the public outings and PDA moments as Alyssa and Emmett find themselves all up in each other’s lives – bickering the whole time. But real feelings begin to develop as they get to know each other, and they soon find themselves wondering how much of what is between them is pretend, and how much is all too real?
This is such a fun story. Alyssa is a strong and feisty heroine who isn’t Emmett’s biggest fan (despite her mad attraction to him), so there is lots of banter and arguing. But there is a wonderful sense of easiness between them. Their openness and honesty with each other takes them by surprise, and their move to friendship and then more is natural, heartfelt, and so gorgeous.
“There’s only passion here. Only truth. Only you and me.”
And also incredibly hot! The chemistry between Emmett and Alyssa is fantastic and the sexy time is seriously steamy, but there is a lot of heart to their story too. Alyssa has dreams that she hasn’t shared with anybody, and Emmett’s background is heartbreaking and has left its mark on him, and watching them expose those secrets with each other was gorgeous and showed the changing nature of their relationship. And I loved watching them fall for each other.
A pause. I can tell she’s biting on her lip “Is this real?”
I close my eyes and hold her tight. “It’s always real,” I tell her.
There is some drama, but on the whole this is a pretty low-angst read that is lots of fun with a great relationship dynamic and a steamy, emotional love story. I loved it.
P.S. I listened to this as an audiobook and must admit that I struggled with some of the narration. Paul Woodson narrates well, but he kinda sounds like Nathan Lane which kinda killed the dirty talk for me, but it was still an enjoyable listen.
For more awesome reads, check out our Karina Halle Author Spotlight