One Of The Best Romances Of The Year: Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai

Posted July 20, 2017 by Nick/ 34 Comments

One Of The Best Romances Of The Year: Hate To Want You by Alisha RaiHate to Want You (Forbidden Hearts, #1)
by Alisha Rai
Series: Forbidden Hearts
Release Date: July 25th 2017
Published by Avon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Buy on AmazonBuy on B&N

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

four-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

One night. No one will know.

That was the deal. Every year, Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler would share one perfect night of illicit pleasure. The forbidden hours let them forget the tragedy that haunted their pasts-and the last names that made them enemies.

Until the night she didn’t show up.

Now Nicholas has an empire to run. He doesn’t have time for distractions and Livvy’s sudden reappearance in town is a major distraction. She’s the one woman he shouldn’t want…so why can’t he forget how right she feels in his bed?

Livvy didn’t come home for Nicholas, but fate seems determined to remind her of his presence–and their past. Although the passion between them might have once run hot and deep, not even love can overcome the scandal that divided their families.

Being together might be against all the rules…but being apart is impossible.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


Add to Goodreads

Alisha Rai’s Hate To Want You was everything that I wanted it to be and more, beautifully melding together some of my favorite romance tropes: forbidden love, second chance romance and hate to love. Could there be a more perfect combination? I don’t think so. I’ve been wanting to read this book ever since I read the PW sales deal alert, and you bet that I picked it up mere minutes after it went up on Edelweiss. This may only be my first book by Alisha Rai, but I’m down for more sexy books by her.

First things first, there is a lot of angst in Hate To Want You and normally, I’m one to shy away from that, but it’s written in a very addicting way here. Rai makes you feel all the pain that Livvy and Nicholas have gone through and I could not get enough. Both of them were terrific as characters. Livvy is sexy, feisty and one kickass lady. I had a serious crush on her. Nicholas is a little quieter, more serious, and loyal to a fault. SWOON! Together, they were even better. Both of them have had to go through a lot of familial responsibilities to shoulder, but years ago they found solace with each other. An unfortunate coup on the part of Nicholas’ father creates a rift between the two families and separates the couple, with Livvy moving out of town. But every year, for Livvy’s birthday, they meet for one night of passion. Except Livvy’s back in town and is messing with Nicholas’ head and heart again.

I loved loved loved the connection between Livvy and Nicholas. They had so much palpable chemistry together, but I loved even more the depth of their relationship. The flashback scenes of the two were especially romantic, achy and swoony. Years later, their chemistry was still potent and explosive as ever, despite the animosity between them. I get a little light-headed just thinking about these. I shipped them so damn much. Hate To Want You had plenty of sexy times scenes, more than I’m normally used to in a romance novel, but I felt like they all added something to the story, most of the time, depicting just how complementary they were as a couple.

Besides the smoking hot romance, I loved the family dynamics and secondary characters in Hate To Want You. Livvy and Nicholas’ families are crucial elements to the book, which I loved. We get to see a lot of their dynamics with Livvy and Nicholas. I was especially intrigued by Livvy’s mom, who I thought was intense and very much multi-layered. Nicholas’ grandfather was also my favorite. He quite possibly shipped Livvy and Nicholas more than I did. Then, there was Livvy’s best friend and widowed sister-in-law, Sadia, who was also pretty amazing with how cool and supportive she was of Livvy. Her book with Livvy’s estranged brother is next and I can’t wait. I NEED to know what’s going on between them because there’s definitely a story there. Finally, I want to point out the diversity in the book: the author herself is a POC, Livvy and her family are of Japanese descent and there’s even a bisexual character. All great stuff!

If you can’t tell, I was enamored by Hate To Want You. It hit all the right notes for me, and has definitely got me super interested in Alisha Rai’s writing and backlist. After how good this was, you bet that I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in the Forbidden Hearts series. If it’s anything like Hate To Want, it will be epic.

Excerpt

*WARNING: NSFW*

Despite her ridiculous schoolgirl outfit, she wasn’t the girl she’d been when she left town. Her hair, her clothes, even her attitude was subtly different. He’d watched every change happen over the past decade in a time-lapse video. There was nothing he didn’t like about the differences in her now.
Dangerous.
Right. Right. This was about sex. Nothing else.
She headed down the walkway, the flickering streetlamp in the parking lot burnishing her hair with red and black. She didn’t wobble a bit on her pencil-thin heels, reassuring him that though she’d been in a bar, she wasn’t anywhere near intoxicated.
He got out of the car, taking care to pull his collar up and lower his head, feeling ridiculous as he did so. He was a grown man. Who cared if he had sex with another consenting adult?
Lots of people, starting with his father, but he wasn’t going to think about them right now.
His strides were longer than hers. Her heels and skirt made it difficult for her to do more than mince. He made it to the door a second after she got it open, and followed her in, kicking the door shut behind him. She stripped off her light fall jacket and tossed it on the floor. “Liv—” was all he had a chance to say before she was in his arms, shoving him back.
It was dark, the only light coming in from the crack between the dingy curtains. Her lips pressed against his, and he inhaled the scent of her, each drugging kiss making his head spin. She crawled up him like he was a pole, her arms and legs clutching for balance.
It took him only a second. One second of having those red lips devouring his hungrily, one second of that hot sinner’s body pressing against his own, and all semblance of rational thought flew out of his brain.
Who cared about tomorrow? He was too enflamed to wonder about anything but the here and now. Too excited to even consider this a bad idea. He kissed her back as if he would die if he didn’t get her mouth, licking and sucking and memorizing the very taste of her. He slid his hands over her ass, gripped her luscious cheeks tight, and spun her around, pushing her up against the door.
He ripped his lips away, holding her from him when she might have forced her way back. “How do you want it?” he growled. He had an inkling, from the signals she was broadcasting, but it had been a while since he’d had to read those signals.
“Hard . . .” She scraped her nails over the back of his neck. “Use me. Make me feel it tomorrow.”
The wild look in her eyes was sharper than he’d ever seen it, and it ramped up his own lust. He dragged his hand over her ass, rubbing the fabric against her bottom. “This outfit is indecent.”
Her lids dropped to half-mast, and she arched her back. “You don’t like my clothes? I’m heartbroken.”
“You look like a schoolgirl.”
She tightened her legs around his waist, rubbing up on him. Her heat and wetness was obvious, even through the twin barriers of her underwear and his pants. “A naughty one? Who needs to be punished?”
He should feel ridiculous, but instead his body hardened more, blood engorging his dick. “So naughty.” His hand slipped up her leg to her hip and the strip of fabric there. He used his other hand to arch her back farther, feathering his fingers up her spine. “I could see your ass while you were walking outside.” He traced his hand around the waistband at her back and clenched the fabric in his wrist, pulling the bikini and her tights taut, digging into the folds of her pussy. Her eyes widened.
He tightened his grip. “Were you purposefully strutting around in this skirt, your ass hanging out of it?”
“N-no.”
“You’re lying. Do you know what I do to liars?”
Her nails dug into his skin. “Tell me you spank them.”
A red haze swam in front of his eyes, and he pushed her legs down so she was standing. Then he grabbed her by the waist and spun her around to face the door.
He grasped her by the hips and pulled her to stand with her back in an arch, then flipped up that ridiculous plaid skirt. It took him a second to lower her tights to her thighs. Her red panties barely covered the curves of her ass, making him growl. He didn’t know what bar she’d been in, but he imagined her seated in some dingy smoke-filled dive, anonymous bastards salivating over her tight body. Fuck, all it would have taken was one shimmy, and everyone could have gotten a free show, these tempting round globes exposed but for the silly scraps of fabric she’d put over them.
You have no right to be jealous.
He palmed her cheeks, rubbing his thumbs over the plump flesh. “Do you know how badly I wanted to pull you onto my lap and flip this skirt up the second I saw you?”
“To fuck me or to spank me?”
“Both.”
She arched her back more, her ass wriggling. He didn’t think, merely lifted his hand and smacked one full cheek, his rational, caring side standing far apart and watching in horror. He’d never spanked a woman before. As scrappy as Livvy was, he hadn’t thought she’d like this.
Her moan suggested otherwise.
He got it. He got the appeal of this, with Livvy bent over in front of him, legs spread, skirt lifted, red panties exposed, and the hot flesh of her ass filling his hand. He slapped her other cheek, and she moaned again, louder. Hell. He could see the appeal of literally doing anything with Livvy, to be honest.
“Was that okay?” he had the semblance of mind to ask her.
Her hands had braced against the door, and her fingers curled in. She nodded, her red-streaked hair rippling over her back.
His next tap was harder. “You’ve been so bad, Livvy. Tempting all those men tonight. Tempting me.” He smacked her again. “You’ve never stopped tempting me.”
She whimpered. “I’ll stop.”
“We both know that’s impossible.” He squeezed her left cheek, dropping to his knees behind her. With his teeth, he carefully lowered the panties over her ass to meet the rolled-up waistband of her tights. He stayed there, luxuriating in her body as he pressed soft kisses over each cheek, punctuating each tender touch with a slap of his hand.
When she was rocking back against his mouth, he pulled away. He came to his feet. Unable to take his gaze off her tight body, he walked backward until his knees hit the cheap bed. Nicholas slid down to sit on the floor, his back supported by the bed. The sliver of streetlight illuminating the room highlighted her sweet, reddened buttocks. He tore at his jeans, growling when his hand met his throbbing cock. He needed to jerk off or get in her pussy. Something. Anything. Literally whatever would relieve this ache as soon as possible.
She peeked under her arm and straightened, skirt dropping down to cover her bottom.
A crime, covering that butt.
Livvy stripped off her tights and panties and then turned to face him. “Nicholas?”
He ran his hand down his cock once, then twice when he noted the hunger in her gaze as she watched him fondle himself. He grazed the tip, and his body jerked. “Take off your clothes. Shirt first.”
“Do I have to?” Her breathless question was pseudo-innocent.
“Unless you want to be punished.” How he’d punish her, he wasn’t sure. More spanking? Licking her until she wept with the need to orgasm? Fucking her until she screamed?
These didn’t sound like terrible punishments for either of them.
Her fingers fumbled with the buttons of her shirt, and she undid them one by one, so slowly he knew it was a tease. He tightened his hand on his cock, because he knew if he didn’t, he’d demand she come over here so he could rip the offending material right off her.
She stripped it off her shoulders, leaving her in her bra, her toned belly inviting his lips.
“Now the bra.”
She unsnapped the front snap and drew both cups of red lace away from her breasts. They were perky and lifted on their own, the small handfuls the perfect fit for his palm. Her brown nipples were tight and pointed, giving away her excitement. Her breasts rose and fell, her gaze locked on his hand. He made his pulls slower and more explicit, both to give her a show and to make sure he didn’t blow too quickly.
Her hand dropped to the waistband of her skirt, shoving it down, leaving her completely naked. She licked her lips, making the remnants of her lipstick shiny and vibrant. He imagined those lips wrapped tight around his cock, him whispering, Suck me, while guiding her head over his lap.
He shook his head, trying to shake the filthy image from his brain, and released his cock. “Come here.”
She walked over. Her hand unselfconsciously slid over her belly and pussy. She was wet and hot and plump, nearly hairless, save for a small landing strip. The pot of gold tattooed at her hip was a dark shadow. “Closer.”

Giveaway

Prizes:

  • An AVON Romance Print Prize Pack


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you a fan of angsty romances? What are some of your favorites?
Let me know in the comments below!

Follow Us:

Follow

Nick

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


  • This sounds SO amazing. This review convinced me! It has all the tropes I like, plus I like the diversity, and sizzling romance? I’m sold.

    • Yeah, you’re going to love this one, Marianne!!

  • I’m so glad you loved this. I heard Alisha Rai talking about it on one of the Smart Podcasts Trashy Books podcast episodes. It’s definitely not for me, though. I hate angsty stories, and I’m not a fan of second chance romances either. Also, the premise just doesn’t appeal to me.

    But YAY for finding something you love. I think it’s so interesting how we all have such different loves and hates in romances. It’s why the genre is so huge and varied.

    • We can’t all enjoy the same things!

  • Ari

    I’ve been waiting to hear your thoughts about this one Nick and now I can’t wait to read it!! I read the excerpt and I already know that reading this on my morning commute is gonna be fun times, haha. 😏🔥

    • You’re going to love this one, Ari! I can’t wait for you to read it. 🙂 It will make for an interesting commute read for sure! 😉

  • kindlemom1

    I’ve seen other really good ratings for this elsewhere as well Nick. So glad you found a sizzling read for summer. 😉

  • Ahhhh, this sounds like a great read. Thanks for the review Nick. This is going to the top of my TBR pile since I got an ARC for it. Ooh…I’m excited to read it!

    • It’s so great, Rowena! I hope you love it!

  • Wow, this sounds amazing, and that excerpt….. This is definitely going on my wish list. 🙂

    Jenea’s Book Obsession

    • HOT right? 😉 I hope you enjoy!!

  • Ohhh amazing! Want it now

    • Yes you need it!

  • I bought another book by this author because I saw a lot of raving for her romance. It’s pretty dom/sub heavy but I’m only on page like 5. This sonds like everything I love though!

    • I’m not usually into dom/sub books either. This one doesn’t have one of those, so definitely go for it!

  • Jasprit

    Thank you so much Nick for putting this book on my radar, as if it hadn’t been for your teasing review, I probably wouldn’t have considered giving this book a go. I have to agree with all the points you’ve made, Rai just did an amazing job with this book, I loved Nicholas and Livvy’s relationship, but also the family dynamics, just like you I’m proper excited about diving into the next book! Lovely review!

    • I’m so happy you picked it up, Jasprit! The family dynamics were definitely done well! I can’t wait to read the next book. I have my fingers crossed it will go up on EW soon since it releases in November.

  • Mmmm, I’ve been looking for a smoking hot, angsty, addictive read and this sounds like a good option!

    • Then this is right up your alley!

  • sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books

    I just heard about this one a few days ago and instantly added it to my TBR! I love smoking hot romances, angst, and good family dynamics so it is one for me! 🙂

    • YES! I hope you love it, Sara!

  • Lisa Filipe

    Thank you for sharing your lovely review!

  • OMG NICK YOU’VE HYPED THIS SO MUCH AND I CANNOT WAIT *screams into the abyss* I’ve read some lf Rai’s backlist romances and they were WooHOO definitely steamy and romantic. This one sounds very much the same! FORBIDDEN LOVE A N D SECOND CHANCE YESSS haha. And that excerpt is FIREE. Awesome review, I’m definitely reading this the first chance I get when it come so out next week.

    – Aila @ One way or An Author

    • I can’t wait for you to read it, Aila. I have a feeling you’re going to devour it! 🙂

  • Hmm this is the first I have seen this one. I am all about an addicting book. Great review!!

    • I know! It deserves way more hype!

  • oh I gotta try out this author especially in seeing how much you have enjoyed this one. I always love seeing depth in a romance, its not as common as I like to see. So you can be sure that I will be picking this one up soon.

    • EEP! This is right up your alley! You’ve got to try it out! 🙂

  • A Novel Glimpse

    Wow!That’s some high praise you’re dishing out here! I have seen this book around, but it hadn’t sparked my interest until now!

    • It’s so good, Deanna! You would LOVE it!

  • THIS BOOK. Honestly, Alisha Rai is a goddess (her other books are just as sexy, FYI). I don’t know how she did it, but from the very first page my heart was aching for Livvy and Nicholas. Together as a couple and also separately, as individuals. You know? I loved that they were so fully realized. And the fact that Livvy is the kind of woman I would’ve had a crush on in grad school doesn’t hurt, either. LOL.

    I’m dying for the rest of the series, tbh. Eve really intrigued me, and so did Jackson (what is his deal???). Avon is really killing it these days, and I’m impressed by their push to offer bigger and better contracts to writers of colour. More PoC in romance, please!

  • I’ve read nothing by Alisha Rai but I first about this book when she was doing a Smart Bitches podcast and I knew then I wanted to read but then I saw you rave about it a while back and so I’ve got it all preordered and I cannot wait for it to be delivered to my Kindle. I’m so glad to hear it ticked all the boxes for you so I will be reading this as soon as I can, you do not even know how excited I am.