Between Love and Loathing by Shain Rose Book Review
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Fake dating my enemy so I can design my dream bakery should be easy … as long as I don’t fall in love with him.
Dominic Hardy might be an award-winning architectural engineer with fancy degrees and considerable accolades, but he doesn’t know a thing about baking.
He doesn’t even like sugar.
So when my late stepfather’s will states that Dominic Hardy is set to inherit the Pacific Coast Resort he’d painstakingly designed, as long as my bakery can be plopped in the middle of it, it’s no surprise he balks.
And my jaw drops when another stipulation requires us to mutually approve plans for my bakery’s design.
His stuffy taste will never mix with my whimsical vibe.
But then Dominic comes to me with a proposal I can’t refuse. He’ll give me everything I want in my bakery as long as I agree to one thing:
Fake date him for five months.
Keep his ex away by pretending we’re in love.
Smile and stare into his piercing green eyes at a gala or two.
Maybe share a kiss.
Five months of acting in love when I really loathe him and his filthy mouth.
Even when he’s using it on me.
This should be a cakewalk.
Except there’s a fine line between love and loathing, and I think I’ve made the colossal mistake of blurring it.
Here is the potentially sensitive content that I observe, while reading this book:
- Abusive Relationship (not main characters)
- Child Abuse (off page)
- Chronic illness/disease
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!
Between Love and Loathing is an angsty romance story that takes place in a resort that’s being remodeled in Los Angeles. We have our two main characters, Dom and Clara, who are opposites in almost every way. Dom is very much so “The Boss”—he is in charge of everything. It’s his way or no way at all. And we have Clara, who is very accommodating and is always trying to do what’s best for the other person, sometimes even to her own detriment. When Clara‘s father passes away, his will states that she will be given a bakery in the resort that Dom is in charge of renovating. As a stipulation, Dom and Clara have to work together to create a harmonious design before Clara can receive her part of the inheritance left to her. As you can imagine, this sets us up for some of the best banter and angst as they both push and pull to get what they want. Dom is all about black and white and he really doesn’t want to budge on that idea whatsoever. Clara is just bursting with color in every part of her life and wants to add as much of it as she can into her bakery, which is very much so her passion. These two agree to fake date each other with each getting a little bit of something out of the deal: Clara gets to make some major decisions that she wants for her bakery without having Dom approve or deny, and Dom gets to have a fake girlfriend to protect him from an annoying ex that is trying to damage the image he has and also the image that his business has. So we see these opposites be pushed even closer to each other and that forced proximity—kicked the heat way up! It was deliciously spicy, and I absolutely ate this one up!
This book was a slower burn than I have read from Shain Rose. But this book did not lack the spice. Let me tell you it was flaming hot, smoking hot! But we don’t see our couple really come together until a little bit later on in the story, which I actually really loved for this couple. The tension was amazing but the trust that was built between these two, that was earned, was so worth the wait! Because Dom!!!! I called dibs! I already called dibs before they did hook up but like, seriously, called dibs on Dom.
I enjoyed Between Love and Loathing for so many different reasons, but I highly recommend this story to you if you enjoy fake dating, if you enjoy angst, and if you enjoy MMCs who challenge their FMC to be the very best version of themselves!
This book has many open door scenes with explicit language throughout the story.
Female Main Character
Clara Milton AKA Cupcake AKA Little Fighter
Clara‘s journey in this book was one that I absolutely enjoyed. She is so sweet and her compassion was one of my favorite parts of her personality. It made me so upset to see people take advantage of the love that she has. Her struggles with her family are something that I can very much relate to, and I was just screaming happy for her that she was able to escape that toxic environment and those toxic people and find people that really had her back and supported her. She goes from being sort of a pushover and letting everyone walk over her and her life to being a BOSS ass businesswoman who stands up for what she wants and her vision for her bakery. The growth was extremely satisfying!!! Every time that she makes a decision to go against the desires that Dom, and other entities in his team, have for her bakery it just made me so happy!
Male Main Character
Dominic Hardy AKA Mr. Hardy AKA Dom
I really liked Dom’s character! I just love a bossy man. I also love an extremely possessive and protective man and Dom is absolutely that. We see him be sort of indifferent towards Clara but the longer that he spends around her he can’t help but be caught in the effervescence that is Miss Clara Milton. What started off as fake dating completely fell apart because this man could not help himself when it came to her! We see him lose his mind over her and with everything that’s happening with this reopening, he still manages to put Clara first and foremost. I loved how Dom pushes Clara to “own it“ and stand up for herself. I love to see the empowerment even if Dom was a little unconventional in his approach lol He believed in her and her food. He was working overtime to prevent anything from harming her and their potential success.
Genre & Tropes
- Boss x Employee
- Enemies to lovers
- Close Proximity
- He falls first
- Opposites Attract
- Grumpy x Sunshine
“Clara Milton was lethally beautiful. No doubt about it. Stunning with high cheekbones, smooth skin, and big green eyes, she appeared out of place and vulnerable without anyone by her side.”
“If you change my design, you insult my bakery. And I am my bakery.”
“Then own it and fight for it.”
“You enjoy challenging me, don’t you? You know I’m always able to do what they say I can’t, right?
“When I said I wanted to taste you, I didn’t mean your neck, baby. Or these fuckable lips… I meant I wanted to taste you here.”
“You are as sweet as your cupcakes, huh?… Sweet and Spicy just might be a fitting name for this bakery. Fuck, you taste good.”
“Sometimes mending things with certain people means you break yourself.”
“I saw that little fighter in her, and it turned me on the more I thought about it.”
“without the makeup, I see the imperfections that make you perfect… With nothing to define you, you’re just like everyone else, Clara. Your freckles, the way you blush, the way your lashes are a hint of red is what defines you. You’re painting over a perfect canvas.”
“Are you going to deprive your girlfriend?”
“You going to take it all, baby?”
“I don’t know if I can take all of you.”
“You’ll take all of me, baby. You’ll learn.”
“Good girl. Such a pretty fucking mouth.”
“Dominic, you get me all the time.”
“And still, I want more of you, Clara.”
“I need to know I tried my best anyway. If it’s a failure, I want it to be my failure and no one else’s… Because at least it’s my own then, right? And have you ever heard of someone successful not having any failures? If I don’t make it here, I’ll learn from it and make it somewhere else.”
“But I only want dessert, Clara. And all you have to do is sit on my face to serve it to me.”
Check out Between Love and Loathing on Amazon here.