Release Date: Aug 4, 2020
Series: Want You
Heat Level: Hot
Publisher: Penguin Group
Want You to Want Me by Lorelei James is the second installation in James’ Want You series and can be read as a stand-alone. It follows ex-hockey pro Gabriella (Gabi) Welk and future Lund Industries CEO Nolan Lund in their slow burn enemies to lovers romance. This was my first novel by James and I can attest that it can really be read as a stand-alone, I could follow along with the story and all of the characters right from the start and didn’t feel like I was missing any background information.
Gabi spent her whole youth and young adulthood chasing hockey championships and is now working several jobs to get by, one of which is a hockey coach at a local rink teaching the next generation to skate. Meanwhile, Nolan is trying to shake off his previous playboy reputation and is struggling to be taken more seriously now that he has been named the next CEO of his family’s company. Instead of going out and partying after work, Nolan has started to go to his brother’s hockey rink to watch his niece skate, if he happens to annoy his frenemy Gabi as she coaches that’s all the better…two birds and one stone right? Gabi and Nolan have a weird relationship from the start, they both acknowledge that the other is very attractive but they cannot help but snipe at each other whenever they are together.
It’s during one of these hockey rink visits when Nolan overhears Gabi being dumped by her boyfriend for her younger sister. He takes pity on Gabi and agrees to be her designated driver and she goes to drown her sorrows at a local dive bar. Gabi was slowly starting to think that she was wrong about Nolan and that he does care about others, maybe even cares about her, when she overhears him saying some hurtful words about her. Gabi withdraws from Nolan again and they continue for a bit with their witty and sometimes hurtful banter towards each other. It’s not until they connect again at a family party where they decide to trade favours that their change from enemies to lovers really starts.
I really liked this book. The slow pace of this relationship was so realistic and both Gabi and Nolan have their own well developed personalities and I was happy to see that neither of them really dimmed their own light for the other. I loved reading how their hurtful banter changed to flirty banter back and forth and I enjoyed tagging along as they really get to know each other on a deeper level. The reason I gave it 3.5 stars instead of 4 was because until the family get together the book was really slow, I found that I was forcing myself to turn the pages. There was such good character development that I knew it would get better but I was so bored waiting for it to happen. Luckily, it did get better and I am so glad I stuck it out through those first few chapters.
I highly recommend this book for those who like a good enemies to lovers romance that is realistic with great character development.