Filthy Rich, Book 2
Review of Filthy Rich, Book 1
Heat Factor: Fire. Fuego. אש. 🔥.
Character Chemistry: Emotionally complicated hate sex.
Plot: “My first love destroyed me and I hate him now. But I must have a fake relationship with him for the paparazzi in order to save my kingdom. What could go wrong?”
Overall: I couldn’t put it down.
I stayed up past my bedtime two nights in a row reading Hate Crush. This book is about…opening a winery. There are some suspense elements (mysterious vandalism, a weird backstory with Aish’s dead best friend), but I was primarily motivated by the way the emotional drama was playing out.
Night number 1: WILL THEY SAVE THEY GRAPES??!?!?!?! And then I realized I was only halfway through the book and definitely needed to go to sleep.
Night number 2: OH SHIT, THINGS JUST GOT REAL!
Princess Sofia has a well-earned reputation as a party girl, but when it comes to wine, she knows her shit. So it’s extremely frustrating that, now that she’s opening a winery which she hopes will revitalize the economy of her struggling micro-nation, no one will take her seriously.
Enter Aish. Aish is a washed-up rock star who, in a drunken stupor at Coachella, reveals that his first hit was written about Sofia, who he briefly dated ten years ago. Now, for some mysterious reason, everyone is interested in Sofia’s new winery, especially if Aish might be there. So Aish and Sofia (or, rather, their managers and publicists) decide that faking a reunion relationship would be a mutually beneficial arrangement.
Aish is all for this. He thinks of his break up with Sofia as the biggest mistake of his life and has been pining for her for years. Note: Aish is a selfish man-child who has some serious growing up to do. Sofia’s experience of their break up, on the other hand, was extremely traumatic, and she feels nothing but loathing for Aish. As you might imagine, this puts a serious damper on the warm welcome Aish was expecting.
This second chance romance has all the trope hallmarks that Erin hates: both a character dreaming about his long-lost-love who got away and a character who has declared that love is dead because of a bad first experience. So if you also hate this trope, this book might not be for you. But what Lopez does with these characters once they are forced to interact is pretty magical because she doesn’t make it easy for them.
Aish’s journey is especially well done. He initially thinks that he can just apologize and everything will be better, but here’s the reality: even though he’s sorry, it doesn’t mean that Sofia has to listen to what he has to say. She does not owe him another chance just because he feels regret for treating her badly. He can’t force his apologies on her. I really appreciated this because The Grovel is such a standard in romance novels – and as long as the apology is good enough, readers accept that the Groveler has learned their (let’s be real, usually his) lesson and is on their way to a beautiful HEA. If the Grovelee doesn’t want to hear it, too bad! Nothing can impede the path to a good Grovel, much less a person (let’s be real, usually a woman) who is fed up with your shit and doesn’t owe it to you to listen.
Even if we don’t get a Grovel in this book, we do get excellent character growth and really really hot sex – but the sex comes with lots of complicated emotions, so not all of the sex is particularly nice. It is accompanied by lots of filthy dirty talk, so if dirty talk is not your bag, you might want to give this one a pass.
The one niggle I had about this book was that the villainy made no sense. For example, Juan Carlos Pascual leads a consortium of local winemakers who undermine Sofia at every turn – because she’s competition? Because of misogyny? If there’s increased demand for local wine, won’t everyone benefit? I don’t know, his response to the whole situation just seemed way overboard. The big boss villain, whose villainy is exposed at the end, not only has opaque motivations, but is also cartoonishly evil.
However, even the crazy villain drama did not distract me from focusing on Aish and Sofia for long. If you are looking for a very sexy, very dramatic, very thoughtful second chance romance, look no further.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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