The Rivals by Vi Keeland

 

 

“I know I love you because my family would disown me for falling in love with you. And that doesn’t scare me half as much as you leaving this room without believing that my heart belongs to you more than it’s ever belonged to anyone.”

If you love enemies-to-lovers romance stories then this is definitely a book you’ll want to try!

Honestly in the first quarter of the book it was almost even leaned a little too far towards the “enemies” side for my usual reading taste but once the backstories began to be revealed I really began to care for these characters and really enjoyed seeing their unlikely romance develop throughout the book.

“There’s not much to tell. Her name is Sophia, and she’s basically my enemy.”

“So, you’re telling me you’re sleeping with the enemy, like the movie?”
I laughed. “A different kind of enemy. Basically, my family and her family hate each other.”
“But you two get along?”
I shook my head. “Not exactly. Most of the time, she’s about five seconds away from kicking me in the balls.”
His bushy brows dipped down. “I’m confused. So, you’re not sleeping with this girl?”
“No, I am.”
“But she wants to kick you in the balls?”
I smiled. “She does.”

This was a fast-paced read with compelling characters, an intriguing plot, HOT sexy romance, and a wonderfully heart-warming ending. I read it in one sitting and would definitely recommend it to anyone who loves reading about rival characters who start the story hating each other but then end up falling deeply in love!The feud between Weston Lockwood and me started at the altar.

Only neither of us attended the wedding, and the nuptials happened decades before either of us was born.

Our grandfathers had been best friends and business partners, at least up until my grandfather’s wedding day—when his bride-to-be blurted out she couldn’t marry him because she was also in love with Weston‘s grandfather.

The two men spent years fighting over Grace Copeland, who also happened to be their third business partner.? But in the end, neither man could steal half of her heart away from the other.

Eventually, they all went their separate ways. Our grandfathers married other women, and the two men became one of the biggest business rivals in history.

Our fathers continued the family tradition of feuding. And then Weston and I did, too.

For the most part, we kept as much distance as possible.

Until the day the woman who started the feud died—and unexpectedly left one of the most valuable hotels in the world to our grandfathers to share.

Now I’m stuck in a hotel with the man I was born to hate, trying to unravel the mess our families inherited.

As usual, it didn’t take long for us to be at each other’s throats.

Weston Lockwood was everything I hated: tall, smart, cocky, and too gorgeous for his own good.? We were fire and ice.

But that shouldn’t be an issue. Our families were used to being at war. There was just one minor problem, though. Every time Weston and I fought, we somehow wound up in I’ll be honest, some of the BS this guy pulled in the beginning of the book really rubbed me the wrong way and I felt like he took things a bit too far. Like I was genuinely cringing with almost every interaction with him for the first couple chapters of the book and wasn’t even sure if I’d end up reviewing this book until about a third or halfway in when some of the backstories began to be revealed and we started to see the real person behind the asshole facade.“I don’t know how to do nice, Soph,” he whispered in my ear.

His backstory was truly awful – I guessed the situation fairly early on but it didn’t make it less bad. One thing in particular made me feel forgiving towards his character’s behavior in a way I probably otherwise would not have been and that was that he saw himself as the bad guy of his own story so the way he acted became like a self fulfilling prophecy. He felt like he was the bad guy, so he acted the part. But deep down he was a good guy who’d just been through some pretty fucked up stuff. It didn’t excuse his behavior, but it did explain it.“When I’d left Sophia’s room, I’d felt conflicted. I didn’t want her to think I was a good man, only to feel like she’s had the rug pulled out from under her when she got to know me better and realized I wasn’t.”

I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first half. But in fairness, I also think that readers who generally love the enemies-to-lovers trope would love this whole book more than me because overall it’s actually one of my least favorite tropes. I chose to read this book because I’ve enjoyed this author’s writing for many years and loved many of her books so what drew me to this book was the author, not the story line initially.

That said, the way this story played out in the end was really well done. The characters came full circle, there was a lot of healing, and I was truly happy to see them find a way to follow their hearts and fall in love against all odds.“I’m sorry I judged you for so many years without ever getting to know you. Underneath the asshole exterior you wear so proudly is a really beautiful man.”

If you’re a fan of enemies-to-lovers romance, then you should definitely give this book a shot! And if you’re new to this author, I’ve loved so many of her books over the years and some of my other favorite stand alones by her are these books: Egomaniac, Beautiful Mistake, Sex Not Love, We Shouldn’t, and Inappropriate.