Alisha Rai has been writing for quite a while. She’s gained a following in the erotic romance sub genre for creating complicated characters. She also flips the script on occasion and has written a female, billionaire CEO who romances a blue collar man. She’s comfortable with bi characters. She writes good emotional longing as well as good physical fulfillment. Hate to Want You is Rai’s first mainstream publication. She hasn’t toned down the sex much, but there is more plot.
Nicholas and Olivia were childhood sweethearts. Their grandfathers had been childhood friends, separated when Livvy’s grandfather was sent to a Internment camp during WWII. After the war, the boys reconnected, moved East and started a grocery store business together. They each married, raised their families together and grew wealthy together. A little more than 10 years ago, the relationship between their families fractured when Livvy’s father and Nicholas’ mother died together in a car wreck. More bad things happened and as a part of the fall out, Nicholas broke up with Livvy and Livvy left town.
Livvy and Nicholas have maintained a one night a year sexual relationship until this year when Livvy didn’t text. Now Livvy is back in town and they have to face the damage they’ve done to each other and themselves. Can they build a healthy relationship in the wreckage?
I appreciate that Rai really gets into the obstacles that Nicholas and Livvy face. They have to heal themselves before they can heal each other, and they have to choose to put their own health and happiness first before there is room for another person in their life. I thought this was a strong start to the series and I am heartened by Malin’s review of the next book.