Recommended Read, Review

Review: Enemies with Benefits by Roxie Noir (2019)

Loveless Brothers, Book #1

Review of Loveless Brothers, Book #3

Heat Factor: Once they get going, boy do they go

Character Chemistry: That thing where they argue all the time but their competition also pushes them both to do and be better

Plot: “I definitely don’t think he’s attractive.”

“I definitely don’t want to kiss her.”

“We’re definitely not having sex.”

“He’s definitely not my boyfriend.”

“I’m definitely not in love with her.”

“Nope. Definitely not.”

Overall: Did I immediately read Book #2 in the series? Yes, yes I did.

Violet and Eli have known each other—and been in competition with each other—since they were kids. Mainly this competition seems to have been academic, and as a fellow hyper-competitive nerd who was really good at taking tests, I can frankly relate to this energy. This rivalry was accompanied by occasional moments of pure meanness (some of the things that they recall saying to each other are pretty brutal). Now, after about a decade of not seeing each other, they’re both back in their hometown, working for the same fancy wedding venue. And since their boss is literally the worst, they are competing again, this time for “Employee of the Season,” which comes with a $20,000 bonus. (This does not seem like a good way to encourage employees to collaborate and support one another.) However, since they’re competitive but not monsters, they find themselves working together when the sabotage starts.

Here’s what’s so great about this book: The banter is really top-notch. Violet and Eli have off-the-charts chemistry, even when they ostensibly hate each other. Maybe especially when they hate each other. I don’t know how to quantify it, but every time I was reading scenes where they were interacting, or even talking or thinking about each other, I was like, “Yup definitely, A+.” Here they are agreeing to a benefits-only relationship after their first night together:

I look at her. She looks back, clearly determined not to look at my dick, tenting up the bed sheets like there’s a circus in there as my capacity for talking gets shorter and shorter. 

“All right, Violet, let me get this straight,” I say, slowly, letting my eyes trail down her body. “You want to bang me like a screen door—” 

“Oh, my God,” she mutters. 

“— and then kick me out, and I don’t have to take you to dinner and a movie or anything?” 


The twinge digs a little deeper, and I continue to ignore it. 

“You’re not gonna be mad if I don’t get you flowers on your birthday, or Valentine’s day,” I say. 

Violet just snorts. 

“You’re not gonna pester me to meet my family?” 

“Eli, I already know your family,” she points out. “They’re all much nicer than you.” 

I slide one arm underneath her, grab her by the waist, and pull her in toward myself as she yelps. 

“There’s gotta be some catch,” I say, pulling her onto my chest. 

She just laughs. 

“We don’t even have to talk,” she says.

Eli knows saying he’ll “bang her like a screen door” will get a rise out of her. Violet knows that telling Eli his family is nicer than he is won’t actually hurt his feelings. They laugh together. And of course, there’s the telltale twinge in Eli’s chest that reinforces to the reader that this is real. 

The supporting cast is also great. Eli has a ton of brothers, but Noir wisely focuses in on only two of them, so while we meet a lot of people, only a handful get a lot of page time. So it doesn’t get into the zone of too many supporting characters that I find tedious, because I just can’t care about that many people at one time. This works well to set up the series and give Eli and Violet some depth, as they now have some space to show more sides of their personality when they’re not at each others’ throats. Plus: more banter opportunities. The scene where Eli’s two brothers absolutely roast him for thinking he and Violet were having a month-long secret relationship when they live in a small town and 1) his truck is parked at her house every night and 2) he says hi to her next-door neighbor every morning is one of the best pieces of comedy in a romance I’ve read in a while. Noir *clearly* knows romance and romance tropes and plays with those tropes to great effect here. 

If you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy with a ton of heart, I absolutely recommend this one. Just don’t blame me if you binge the whole series.

Buy Now: Amazon | Bookshop

Looking for something similar?

That good ol’ enemies to lovers energy

Small town romances

Secret relationships never stay secret for long

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