Review: Stronger Than Passion by Katherine McIntyre (2022)

Chesapeake Days, Book #2

Review of Chesapeake Days, Book #1

Heat Factor: 🍆🍆🍆

Character Chemistry: Let’s just say that I completely understand the bickering as a love language

Plot: Hudson and Nico hate each other’s guts and own rival restaurants, which makes it really challenging when they have to work together on a food and drinks collab for the hometown summer festival

Overall: If you’re at all interested in a charming small town romance between antagonistically rival restaurateurs who are positively thirsty for each other, look no further

Ah, the classic case of protagonists thinking they know exactly who the other person is and being completely wrong about it. 

Nico and Hudson got off on the wrong foot when Hudson first opened his posh restaurant in Chesapeake City after dropping out of med school. After about a year of antipathy and avoidance, Nico and Hudson are offered the job of catering the Chesapeake Days festival…but they have to do it together. With neither man willing to turn down a lucrative offer, Nico and Hudson are forced to work together. And with working together comes getting to know each other. And with getting to know each other comes understanding each other. And with understanding each other, the hatred just peters out.

The overall tone of this book is roughly similar to sitting out on a waterside restaurant deck, enjoying a delicious meal and a cold beer. It’s easy. It’s smooth. It feels good, and it’s satisfying. The pacing is not fast, but there’s enough tension to keep the pages turning. I was a little concerned when Nico and Hudson stopped hating each other before the 25% mark (I’ve been burned by no tension enemies to lovers before), but they managed to keep up enough will-they-won’t-they should-they-shouldn’t-they angst until they finally couldn’t keep their hands off each other anymore. 

Hudson has a fierce independent streak because he’s spent his whole life both being the family disappointment and trying to prove he’s good enough to be noticed. Nico is relationship-phobic because he’s traumatized by the death of his father. Both men are really struggling to let each other in while also desperately needing that kind of unconditional love and support. And I have to say, I was really frustrated with the dark moment while it was happening, but a fight where people react really emotionally before going to their separate corners and realizing that they made some reactive mistakes and should probably have done things differently is actually really good. It’s also an opportunity to see people making pretty normal mistakes, processing them, and then working things out in a way that speaks to the characters but doesn’t call for the drama of a grand gesture. Which I love because not only does it speak to me, but also grand gestures are the absolute worst.

So if you’ve got an evening of sitting in your hammock, enjoying the summer breeze planned, you might really like to take this book with you.

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.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Looking for something similar?

Bickering as a love language

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Other books by Katherine McIntyre

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