The night Claudia walks into his bar, both his life and his perspective are forever changed. She’s feisty, strong, independent and everything he never knew he needed. She’s also everything he never knew he wanted, and now he’s torn.
Will Frank follow his heart, or will guilt and obligation continue to rule his life? Choices aren’t always easy, especially when you’re a man, and Frank’s indecision may cost him more than he’s willing to lose.
Before I say a word, can I just say how much I love this cover? The model’s expression fits Frank to a tee. Also, keep reading for an excerpt!
Soul Mates are what’s on the drink menu in J. Sterling’s newest, Guy Hater. Insta-love isn’t always my favorite, but I do believe in the power of soul mates and it’s obvious that Frank and Claudia are meant to be together. Getting there, though isn’t going to be easy.
For a very long time, Guy Hater is two separate stories. With Frank in a ten-year old, dead-end relationship he’s just not available when he and Claudia lock eyes for the first time. He’s let obligation and a promise to keep him from being truly happy, something he realizes when he meets Claudia. Claudia, on the other hand is very available. Not only that, she’s happy in her job and in her life. But, she does have some issues that need to be dealt with and it’s their meeting that sets both of these characters on a life changing path.
It was a little frustrating that Claudia and Frank spend so much time apart in Guy Hater. While their meeting is a catalyst for both of them to face things they needed to fix, these were things that they had to do on their own, especially in Frank’s case.
Frank is a great guy that was sort of unattractive for a good part of the book because he wouldn’t take control of his life. I love it when a character grows within a book, recognizing something within them that needs to change. Unfortunately, Frank knew what he needed to do, he just wouldn’t step up, making his character static for a little too long. There’s a lot of introspection on his part that I felt would’ve been better served in developing his relationship with Claudia, which heavily relied on the “we’re soul mates” concept. That said, I could empathize with what he was going through and his situation felt true (though maybe not for a guy who’s headlining a romance novel). When Frank finally grabs the reigns of his life, he really stood out.
Claudia is very engaging. A Colombian immigrant, she’s feisty and funny and falls for Frank almost right away. But, she’s never really gotten over her father cheating on her mother and then leaving them both, something that doesn’t come to the surface until she learns that the guy she’s falling for has a girlfriend. I loved how she handles herself after the revelation that Frank isn’t who she thought he was. She’s honest with herself every step of the way and I loved how real it felt.
When these two finally get together (and it’s late in the book, they don’t kiss until the 85% mark) they’re absolutely adorable and their connection shines through. The supporting cast is engaging as well. Guy Hater is book two in Sterling’s Fisher Brothers series, so many of the characters will be familiar to readers (though, it’s totally a standalone). Frank’s brothers are often times hilarious and always a great support system for him. My favorite secondary character is Claudia’s roommate, Brittney, who is crazy and smart and a great friend to Claudia.
3 Stars for Guy Hater. Heat level: 3
I received a copy of this book from InkSlingerPR in exchange for honest feedback.
Guy Hater was published in October 2017 by the author.
“Hey, brother, who are these beautiful ladies?” I called out as I made my way over to Ryan.
He shot me a surprised look before it morphed into a grin. I had never asked Ryan who he was talking to before, had never attempted to be charming at the bar. I wasn’t sure what qualities I might have gotten from our parents, but charm certainly wasn’t among them. No, all the charming genes were divvied up between Nick and Ryan.
“This is Britney and her roommate, Claudia . . . like cloud-ee-ah. Not like clawed-ee-ah.”
I watched as she smiled again, pissed off that it wasn’t me who was making her do it. “It’s nice to meet you both. Thanks for coming in. Is it your first time?”
I tried to make eye contact with Britney to include her in the conversation, but I couldn’t stop looking at Claudia. It wasn’t so much the rich coffee-bean color of her eyes as the way she was looking at me with them. Maybe she was thinking I was a psychopath, while I was hoping she liked what she saw.
“I’ve been here before, but it is Claudia’s first visit,” Britney said, but Claudia and I were still looking at each other without a word, not acknowledging that anyone else was in the room.
I blinked and gave Claudia a brief smile before looking away, confused about what was happening to my body and running through my head. I wasn’t available and had no right to act like I was, but this woman had me twisted up with just a look. That kind of thing didn’t happen to me. I wasn’t Ryan, the hopeless romantic looking to find his Cinderella.
“I hope you ladies have a nice time. Next round’s on me,” I said before walking away.
I had to get away, had to get some distance from this girl. My heart needed to stop pounding like a wild gorilla inside my chest.
Ryan chased me down as I hurried back toward the office. “What the hell was that?”
“I have no fucking idea,” I said before slamming the door in his face, willing him to keep his ass outside.