Loveless Brothers, Book #1
Review of Loveless Brothers, Book #3
Heat Factor: If this book is on fire, why’s it so wet
Character Chemistry: Listen, there’s a razor thin line between knowing exactly how to torment someone and knowing how to…torment them…and this book walks it perfectly.
Plot: Violet is abandoned at a restaurant on a terrible date only to discover the head chef is her childhood arch nemesis, Eli. Eli has traveled the world and recently moved home to accept a new job…where Violet works. They’re both on the line for a competitive $20k bonus, so needless to say, things get interesting.
Overall: This is a review revisited confirming—and elaborating on—everything Holly said in her glowing review.
I purposely waited to re-read Holly’s review of this book until I’d finished it because I thought it would be more fun that way (one of the few perks of being unable to remember anything I’ve read). It was.
Because I agreed with Holly so much I was almost nodding my head off of my neck. This book has INCREDIBLE banter. Here’s why it’s so good:
Sexy banter has to do two things, in my opinion (and my literary opinions are gold, unlike my fashion sense)—it has to be witty, and it has to be insightful in such a way that it reveals intimacy. Often in “enemies” books, we see comments that are intentionally needling (sort of in the “he pulls your pigtails because he likes you!” way we’ve all annoyingly heard) and then an unexpected physical response, in either party. (“I love the way her eyes flash when I get her mad” or “He’s so annoying, why do I want him to kiss me?”) But when it’s done really well, like Holly said, the characters know exactly when to push and pull. They know what topics are too far, and when a good tease can pull the other person out of a melancholy or worry. This knowledge is intimate, and it demonstrates that the characters care enough to pay attention—and they care about how their comments impact the other person.
Additionally, this is the first book in a series and it features a family of brothers finding love. I was delighted to see some brotherly/familial bantering as well, and in the same vein. While they know exactly when to push, they don’t push too far, and they support each other no matter what. There’s one scene when Eli’s brother can tell he’s really upset about how things are going with Violet, so he invites Eli down to the kitchen in the middle of the night and listens to him vent, and then they have a big hug. Readers, the degree to which my heart melted is hard to describe. I did not know I had a huge soft spot for men who have loving, healthy relationships with brothers and friends, but boy howdy do I. There’s nothing more wonderful than seeing men represented as human beings with complex and tender hearts.
Will I be reading the next book? I absolutely will. The plot was dialed in, there were multiple sources of tension. The characters had strong independent development arcs, and their relationship was incredibly satisfying to watch. If the other brothers have half the wit and romance in their books, I’ll be a happy reader indeed.
Read on for Holly’s original review! And stay tuned…for the rest of the week, all of our reviews will be of books called Enemies with Benefits.
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.
Looking for something similar?
That good ol’ enemies to lovers energy
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