Series: Birthday Dare #2
Published by Entangled: Brazen on January 5th 2015
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There's nothing personal stylist Tabitha Drake loves more than pissing off Andrew Bode. He's uptight, he refuses to agree with her on anything, and she loathes the hideous brown suits and red power ties he wears. The man even hates ice cream. How can her best friend work for a man who hates ice cream? But the absolute worst thing about Drew? He's sexy as hell, and she's totally and ridiculously attracted to him.
Andrew Bode, CEO of the Bode-Wynn military contracting firm, is convinced he and Tab will never get along. Unfortunately, the infuriating—and sinfully tempting—stylist is his ticket to a major account. The only way to get what he wants is to agree to Tab's terms: a style makeover. However, Drew has a few terms of his own, most of which involve her naked in his bed. But neither of them are prepared when their lust-fueled hostility turns into something altogether unexpected...
I’d assumed the enemies to lovers trope would have made this book a fun, rollicking ride and Tabitha and Andrew certainly seemed to be the couple to get me high on this favourite trope. Tight and fully buttoned up – with so many delicious control issues to explore, Andrew could have been the perfect male specimen to unravel, both in the bedroom and out of it. Tabitha’s own past could have made her a model of psychiatrists and profilers and her own control issues were just screaming to be dealt with.
The reality, as I dug in, was a painful kick in the arse because none of the above happened enough for me to get a good grip on the characters at all. I see the exteriors very well – lacquered over and shiny, but not enough of the shit that both Andrew and Tabitha deal with and how both come to a sufficient understanding of themselves and each other. There wasn’t sufficient build-up and exploding tension that tend to make this enemies-lovers trope so enjoyable and the constant snarky sniping simply needed to give way later in the book – which I thought it didn’t do so enough.
The writing and the voice here also feel incredibly different from the first book and while I did like some witty turn-of-phrases, the narrative appeared disjointed when it came to the progression of time – as well as their relationship. I did feel that tighter editing (lengthening the dialogue as they hashed out their pasts for instance, and cutting out some superfluous bits) would have made the story flow more smoothly.