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    REVIEW: Future Ex Enemy by Kate Hawthorne & E.M. Denning

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    Future: Future Ex Enemy – Kate Hawthorne & E.M. Denning

    If there’s one thing David Cranston hates, it’s Luis Montgomery.

    When he finds out they’ve both been invited to participate in a floral contest that could make or break both of their careers, David dives in, ready to win. But there’s only one problem, and there’s only one bed.

    David and Luis are forced together and tension isn’t the only thing running hot between the two of them. David realizes he wants to come out on top…in more ways than one.

    A drunken night and a hungover morning leave both men regretting actions that found them a little bit too close. Unfortunately, they keep getting closer, and closer, until the lines between hate and desire blur into something far more complicated than either of them bargained for.

    Back home, Luis and David struggle to make sense of their feelings, and Luis has to face some hard truths. He thought he hated David and his roses and his baby’s breath and his lemon verbena lotion, but he was so wrong.

    Because if there’s one thing Luis Montgomery loves, it’s David Cranston.

    That brilliant title and that perfectly written blurb! I had to read it of course.

    Future Ex Enemy is the third book of Kate Hawthorne & E.M. Denning’s Future series. I haven’t read the first two books but now I had to get my hands on them too. The characters there made appearances here and I’d love to know them better.

    The MCs for book 3 are two rival florists with opposing aesthetics and strong opinions. David Cranston is a traditionalist, a zealous proponent of roses and baby’s breaths. Luis Montgomery bucks tradition and is avant garde enough to use funeral flowers like lilies as wedding decor. Their animosity towards each other started the first time they met. David was being an asshole to Luis when the younger man applied for a job at his shop. The older man had his reasons which was later revealed in the book.

    A wedding from a rich, influential family had the two of them working together. Then a floral arrangement contest pitted the two florists against one another. They were taken out of state for the contest and had to share a room. Putting two men who hated each other so much and wanted to fuck each other so badly in the same bed? Fire and gasoline.

    I love enemies-to-lovers stories and I love it even more when the characters really hated each other. It makes the eventual transition to lovers that much more squee-stastic. The authors did a good job showing the antagonistic relationship and the inevitable shift of feelings between the two florists. They genuinely liked pissing each other off while throwing off USTs like fireworks. There’s an 8tracks playlist entitled “Don’t look at my fucking boner when we fight” <– that’s David and Luis right there.

    This is a highly recommended book if you’re into the trope or simply want to enjoy a story about two men who were passionate about flowers and each other. I live for the fights, the tension, the zingers, the coming together, the HEA. Also, I will not look at lemon verbena lotions the same way again.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Hatefuck
    Artist: The Bravery
    Album: Stir the Blood

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    REVIEW: Heated Rivalry by Rachel Reid

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    Game Changers: Heated Rivalry – Rachel Reid

    Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

    Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

    Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

    As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

    This book is what every sports romance fan dreams of and more!!!

    Heated Rivalry is the second book of the Game Changers series and can be read as a standalone. Admittedly, the super generic cover did nothing to encourage me and I put off reading this for a while. Tsk! Should have read it sooner. I haven’t read the first book but the blurb for book two grabbed my attention as I am on the look out for a true enemies-to-lovers story. Some of the ones I’ve read lacked intensity or don’t even hate each other at all. This one promised to be intense!

    And it was!

    You can see from the list above that the enemies as lovers, opposite attracts, sports rivals combination mean all kinds of fun, fun dynamics. From the get go, you can feel the super fierce competitive spirit between the two players, each trying to be number one at everything from first draft to Rookie of the Year to the Stanley Cup, to the Olympics to Cosmopolitan’s hottest hockey player. The smacktalk pops up every chance they get. It continues in the bedroom and long after they exchanged L-words. I would gladly read, or better yet, watch an entire series of just Shane and Ilya trying to get one over the other.

    He wanted to kiss Rozanov and maybe also punch him for being such an arrogant fucking prick. And he hated himself for wanting any of this. But not enough to stop. Never enough to stop.

    I totally relish the crazy, crazy combination of their animosity and the magnetic pull that drew Shane and Ilya together. Their inner turmoils and character progressions were portrayed beautifully. Their chemistry was fireworks!!! My favorite part was that even in the moment of truth, their confessions were so true to their characters.

    “Yes. Listen. These women, they are so sexy and fun, but is no matter. I cannot stop thinking about this short fucking hockey player with these stupid freckles and a weak backhand.”

    “A weak backhand?” Shane couldn’t stop smiling.

    “Yes. And he is just so boring and he drives a terrible car and…that is my problem. All of these beautiful women and I am always wishing they were him.”

    LOVE IT!!! ♡(─‿‿─)♡

    This one is right in the kokoro:

    “…And I want to learn Russian. I wasn’t kidding about that.”

    “I’ll teach you.”

    Shane smiled so wide and bright, Ilya almost had to look away.

    “I should let you sleep,” Shane said.

    “Da. Yes. Okay.”

    And then… Shane kissed the tips of two fingers and reached out and touched them to the screen. And Ilya’s heart fucking stopped.

    Bam! My heart stopped too. Σ>―(〃°ω°〃)♡→

    The story covered the span of seven years or so starting from when they first met as rookies up to the present day when they started planning to come out as boyfriends. It documented each encounter and how they evolved from mere hook ups to something the two men can’t quite wrap their heads around. And all this time, they had to keep it a secret.

    Author, Rachel Reid, wisely kept game play to a minimum but successfully incorporated the sports in such a way you still felt the game. It was the ideal style for those like me, who had zero knowledge of the hockey. We can enjoy the story while not be overwhelmed with the sport.

    I never thought I would enjoy a sports romance book this much. I never even imagined giving one 5 stars but Heated Rivalry took my frosty view of sports-rom and set it on fire! I even googled hockey players and OMG, they’re cute! I’m so into this series now.

    Absolutely recommended for when you’re into stories of people who are so wrong yet feel so right for each other.

    5 Stars – absolutely perfect

    Soundtrack: Nicotine
    Artist: Panic! At The Disco
    Album: Too Weird To Die Too Rare To live

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    Fence #3 – C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

    As Nicholas works to become a better fencer, Seiji takes an unexpected interest in his journey.

    Getting really good and getting really queer. Hints of Nicolas’ parentage, OTPs and cannons, crash course on fencing and of course, cliffhangers.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Competition
    Artist: Matt Pond PA
    Album: Measure

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37554812-fence-3)

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    Fence #2 – C.S. Pacat & Johanna the Mad

    As Seiji and Nicholas struggle with their living arrangement, the competition heats up.

    I’m feeling the heat! Lovely meeting the rest of this wonderfully diverse gang.

    4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits

    Soundtrack: Campus
    Artist: Vampire Weekend
    Album: Vampire Weekend

    (source: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36501268-fence-2)