I Can't Quit You, Babe

Review: Hate To Want You by Alisha Rai.

Alisha Rai is one of our go to authors for spectacular romances. I literally pre-order her books on Amazon THE DAY that button shows up. So, obviously, I was more than happy to get my hands on book one of her new The Forbidden Hearts series, Hate To Want You. (I seriously cannot thank her enough for letting me read this early. It made my year!) 

One night. No one will know.

Those were the rules.

You guys, it is so.fucking.good. This book yanked me out of a horrible reading and reviewing slump! I couldn't put the book down, thought about it ALL day when I had to step away from it, and couldn't stop rereading bits once I was done with it. And that cover. That cover is so beautiful it hurts!
Legit heart eyes for that cover.
There are some books too good for me to even think about adding spoilers to the review, in fact, I just want to shout "READ IT! READ IT, PLEASE! YOU WILL LOVE IT SO MUCH!" and not say anything, because it's just that good. But, apparently, that doesn't actually count as a review (or so I've been told) so here we are.

Click through to read more.

Hate To Want You is about Livvy Kane and Nicholas Chandler. Young lovers who seemed destined to be together and get their perfect, fairy tale romance. That is, until their families, once so close, were torn apart by tragedy, bitterness, and greed. It's the story of what happens when you're meant to be together, and life decides it's going to poop all over that for you, because, well, c'est la vie.

From page one, it's absolutely crystal clear that their chemistry is undeniable, electrifying, that they understand all too well the reasons they can't be together, that they clearly don't hate each other, and that, that right there is the problem. It would be so much simpler if they got together once a year for a hate fuck. But that's not what it is. There's so much more to their decade long liaison. It's brimming with so many things. Emotions they will not, and cannot, explore or voice. Obligations, loyalties they dare not betray. Misunderstandings so deeply embedded in their heads, that they can't find a way to move past them. They're sinking in quicksand, and though Livvy tries to grab onto something to pull herself out, to change things one year, all it takes is being back in town and one look at Nicholas to slip right back in.

Their relationship is agonizingly beautiful and compelling, and so wonderfully real. You will feel Nicholas's angst from literally the first page. It is absolutely riveting. His craving for Livvy beats his sweet tooth hands down. The rigid control he practices when it comes to all aspects of his life is continuously tested when it comes to her. She is his kryptonite.
Electricity zipped through him, the rush of fierce blood pumping in his veins a foreign and heady sensation. Sugar rushes had nothing on this. She always made him feel alive in a way no one else did. Like he was a wind-up man resting in a case, waiting for her to apply the key.
And gorgeous, brave Livvy, who justifiably still feels the sting from Nicholas's rejection all those years ago. Who is dealing with personal issues that have nothing to do with Nicholas, as well as all the feelings he ignites. From the get go, you'll be praying for the stars to align just so for these lovers, who deserve to be happy together after years of prioritizing everything but their hearts when it comes to each other. 
The first couple of years, she’d read the text that brought him to her and cry, clutching her 
phone to her chest, aching over the empty space in the bed.

As she grew older, the tears had come less and less, but she’d never been able to stop herself from rereading that single message time and again.
She’d also never been able to stop the aching.
Needless to say, the chemistry between them is Alisha Rai at her very best. Their encounters are explosive, and the flames practically leap off the page even when they're trying their hardest to resist each other's pull. It's absolutely spell binding to read. And phew! Oh-so-very-hot. 
He swallowed, then slowly worked his tie free. He dropped it onto the bed and quickly stripped off his shirt and pants, preening only a little when she ran her hungry gaze over him. He donned a condom and then grabbed the tie and crawled up her body, her smooth legs grazing his hairier ones.

“Can I tie you up, Livvy?”
Her eyes widened. “Uh, with the tie?”
“Yes, yes, yes.” She nodded for emphasis. “A million times yes.”
Well, that confirmed his suspicion she had some sort of weird fetish with his ties. He bit the inside of his cheek and raised her hands above her head. Then he looped the tie around both wrists and tied it in a knot. She tested the material, her expression growing more heated as she realized she was caught. “Boy Scout.”
He ran his lips down the inside of her arm, making her shiver. “Good with knots. Always prepared.”
She arched up, and he controlled her easily, placing a hand on her hip. “Be patient,” he whispered.

My absolute favorite thing about this book was that there is so much more going on than their fantastic romance. It's a very compelling tale of family, greed, tragedy, finding yourself, reconnecting with family members and friends, learning to cope with depression on your own, and a whole lot more. But add the absolutely heart wrenching romance to it, and it's just the perfect story. I could literally have read chapters upon chapters of all of them just chatting and resolving or awkwardly dancing around their issues. Alisha Rai has a gift when it comes to writing characters you NEED to know more about. The side characters are just as well rounded and interesting as the main characters. And it's rare to read romances where the main emotional connection is not just between the romantic leads. The familial ties and friendships in this book tugged on my heartstrings just as much as the angst between Livvy and Nicholas. I adored the quiet strength of Livvy's bond with Sadia, her unmistakable connection with Jackson, the support and comfort Aunt Maile provided, things that time and distance would never wear away. 
“I didn’t mean you’re here physically. Being able to see you like this, for a day or a week or a month, is great, but I meant you’re here.” She indicated her heart. “I’m always in your pocket and you’re always in mine, aren’t you?”

Livvy swallowed around the lump in her throat.
I love that the families in these stories don't have to be those perfect, snow-white sitcom families that get along annoyingly well regardless of what's happening. A little too Stepford Wives like if you ask me. Families can be messy, painful, a little broken, a little torn, sometimes cruel, sometimes indifferent, and still be family. Hell, it can be a work in progress for all your lifetimes. And just because you don't share breakfast cereal commercial closeness with each and every member, doesn't mean you aren't loved. Family means so many different things to so many people, and even if you don't have a Brady Bunch tribe on your side 24/7, there are people who truly will be there for every up and down. A sibling, a grandparent, an aunt. Someone. These people are irreplaceable for what they bring into your life, and when that light is gone, your life is just a little duller, a little less warm, but you were better for having had them in your life for as long as you did. Nicholas's grandfather, Eve, Livvy's aunt, her sister-in-law/best friend, Jackson, they're anchors to their pasts, true, but also something worth having in their futures. And I loved every single moment on page where they come to that realization while being able to mourn those they lost when their young hearts were broken and strengthening their relationships with those around them now.

I cried because I was moved, because I was happy,  because I was sad, because my heart broke, and sometimes because I just felt all too keenly what Livvy felt on page. There is just so much for you as a reader to connect with in this story. It's perfect. Absolutely perfect. Livvy is kind, brave, fierce, wonderful. And so much more. I was rooting for her from the first page, but the more I read the more I wanted her to have every happiness she so clearly deserved in life. Nicholas was everything I love in Rai male leads. And really, the person he was with Livvy, free of his duties and his father, was impossible not to fall for. I also totally ended up fantasizing about his ties just as much as Livvy. No regrets.

Alisha Rai's books and characters are just so unbelievably REAL. They're living, breathing, feeling people to you when you're reading their stories. And it's an indescribable experience. They leave you happy, and weepy, sometimes angry, occasionally frustrated, but always believing in love. In all it's forms. That it's worth fighting for, crying for, living for. But also knowing that working on it is important, and it doesn't conquer all things simply because it is. These are some of the only stories where I believe these couples will be together in some world, somewhere, after the wonderful declarations of love, post angst, long after I've turned the last page. Because they've learned to deal with the prickles and thorns that might accompany life and love and everything in between. 

I'm just going to sit here, useless, until the next book is in my hands. I NEED to read about Jackson. About Sadia. (Check out the GORGEOUS cover and blurb for their book, Wrong To Need You here. You guys, I'm so frustrated I have to wait to read this. It's going to kill me.) Maybe we'll see more Gabe? All I know is, I want more. 

This Wench Rates this:

Trust me, pre-order it now. Here are the links. RUN!
Barnes And Noble.


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