Author: Nicole Dykes
Heat: 4 Flames
Rating: 4.5 Hearts
Synopsis via GoodReads:
Life has been easy for me. Top of my class. Star quarterback of the football team. Every guy wants to be my friend, and every girl wants to date me.
Yeah, life is pretty sweet.
Except it’s not.
It’s all fake. School comes too easy for me, and I’m bored. Football isn’t fun anymore. The guys I hang out with aren’t really my friends.
And the girls? I don’t want to date them.
The only one I want to date . . . He’s a little bit . . . hostile.
Life has never been easy for me. A foster kid, lucky enough to be adopted as a teen but who still can’t find a way to be happy.
I have two best friends who are amazing and supportive, and yet, I can’t bring myself to tell them my biggest secret.
Parents who pay for a private school a kid like me could never have dreamed of . . . that I hate.
It feels all wrong when it should feel right.
And I guess . . . that’s made me nothing but . . . hostile.
Review: I’ve read several good books lately. I went through such a dry spell of rating mostly 3s for a long time. Which means I still liked them, but they didn’t “wow” me. This one was SO, SO close. I loved this one, so it’s definitely a 4, but measuring it against my other recent 5 stars, it’s not quite the same as Heated Rivalry and Where There’s a Way. Only by the very slightest margin though. It was tough. I bought a physical copy of this one, so I did indeed love it. It’s a great first love type of romance.
This has elements of an enemies to lovers, but it’s more of a grumpy/sunshine romance that’s set in a wealthy private high school between a somewhat social outcast/artist and the school’s quarterback/prom king. Rhett plays the part of grumpy so well in the beginning. It’s cute as hell when he wavers a bit. I love this trope because it’s so endearing to see the grumpy one warm under the other’s brightness. Grayson is a sweet and patient guy that just continues to pursue Rhett despite his attempts to push him away.
I enjoyed the secondary characters as well. Rhett has two ‘adopted’ siblings that he was with in foster care who were adopted by his foster parents as well so they could all stay together. His parents, Rhys & Blair, are from another one of Ms. Dykes’ books, Clarity, if you would like to read more about them after this one. I really liked Blair as a character, very warm and caring. She’s the type of person that you’re going to end up liking her in the end, whether you want to or not. Rhys was of a similar background to his kids, so he relates to them well even if he’s the more silent/stoic type.
The beginning of this one is pretty angsty, so I thought I was in for a rough read at first, but it does turn a bit once our sunshine, Grayson, enters the story.
There’s no denying my insane attraction to this painfully elusive, beautiful boy. And no part of me wants to fight it. […] My heart actually aches for him, and I’m starting to realize there’s so much more to the beautiful, broken boy who seems so bored with life as he sketches in his notebook during class. He’s hurt. From a deep-seated pain going back to his childhood, one that I can’t even begin to fathom.
They complement each other well. Something that catches Rhett by surprise one day while he’s in art class because his teacher has noticed it too, using their styles of drawing as an example.
“It’s the perfect contrast, Rhett. Both are beautiful in their own way. Both are bold and strong.”
It’s a sweet sight to see Rhett begin to fall for Grayson. Someone who has such difficulty trusting and allowing anyone into his circle. He has also struggled with defining his sexuality for a long time, believing himself to be broken because he didn’t seem to be attracted to anyone. Until he met and got to know Grayson.
His smile warms me in places I didn’t even know existed.
– Happy Sigh –
I really enjoyed this one. If you like first love stories, the angst, the pain, the love and intense emotions that come with them, I think you’ll enjoy it.
Purchase Links | Author’s Website (signed copies available) | Amazon
This title is also part of the Kindle Unlimited library.