Hate Notes by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward
Narrated by Sebastian York and Lynn Barrington
Standalone Contemporary Romance
I haven’t read a lot of Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward but I know how beloved they are, and I have loved the few I read, so I went into Hate Notes (currently free in KU for both Kindle and audio or $1.99 Audible upgrade) with high expectations for a RomCom but got so much more. While there were absolutely some funny moments, this was a pretty emotional read as well.
Charlotte is having a really bad time of it. Catching her fiancé cheating at the office left her broken up and jobless. In need of money, she goes to sell her wedding dress, but can only get store credit. When she eyes a beautiful gown, she not only falls for the gown, but for the man who pinned the most romantic note ever inside of it. Curious to know more, Charlotte did some research and located the real estate executive responsible for the note, and arranged for a showing of a fancy apartment she could never afford.
“Such an asshole. A gorgeous, arrogant asshole who looked just as good going as he did coming.”
Reed was a total dick. So bad, he made the fun and vivacious Charlotte run crying to the bathroom where she met a lovely older woman who offered her a job. When she found out the job is at Reed’s company, the banter began.
“I wanted to taste her lips and suck away that sour look on her face, yet I knew that if there was one set of lips on this earth forbidden to me, it was Charlotte Darling’s. She wasn’t just a pretty face and a hot body. She was someone who wanted inside my soul, and that was never going to happen.”
Reed was so closed off. He fought his feelings for Charlotte every step of the way. She was the aggressor in the relationship, and we don’t learn why until towards the end of the book. Until then, I admit, I started to just not like Reed,
“You want to feel me for one night? I’ll make you feel me for days.”
Though there were a lot of familiar tropes, especially the enemies-to-lovers office trope, but there was a very very unique twist that I related to on a very personal level, and I loved that the story dealt with that.
Once we got to know Reed’s motivations, I started to like him and Charlotte together. But he held back most of the book.
“I know with one hundred percent certainty that I am not the right man for you. You’re a dreamer, Charlotte. The biggest dreamer of them all. And you deserve to be with someone who won’t ever hold you back in life.”
Just when things got good, the book ended. Don’t get me wrong, it was good the whole time, but I felt like we waited the whole book for them to get their shit together, and once they did, it was over. I would have loved to see them enjoy each other for a bit!
“Love wasn’t about a beautiful dress, a note, or even poignant words. It was about being with someone through thick and thin, about seeing them through not only the best moments of life but also the worst.”
- I loved Charlotte.
- Air typing is my new favorite thing.
- Banter always wins me over.
- There was way more than a rom-com here, there was some serious emotions.
- Wonderful supporting characters.
- The Dual POV really added to this story and saved me from disliking Reed too much to come back from.
- It took a very long time to really like the hero.
- She chased him a little too much for my liking.
- A very slow burn then a too-quick end. I would have liked more happy together time.
Not Sure How I Felt:
- The epilogue kind of ruined the end for me a bit, yet at the same time, it worked for the story. I just didn’t like how it made me feel.
Sebastian York worked great for this, and Lynn Barrington was new to me I think, but I loved her performance.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.25 stars, 3.5 Heat, 5 Narration