I’m pretty sure I picked up Love Her or Lose Her (2020) by Tessa Bailey because I needed another audiobook for my work commute. I’ve always thought romances were easy to follow, even with driving distractions. And Love Her or Lose Her looked interesting. I found out after I finished, that this is Book 2 of 3 of the “hot and hammered” series. I’m not sure I was looking for “hot and hammered,” but it does explain all of the sex. Sometimes, this book teetered on the edge of erotica instead of romance, which isn’t a bad thing. It was just unexpected.
Rosie and Dominic Vega have been together for ten years. They were high school sweethearts, and they love each other dearly. But ever since Dominic has come back from the war, he’s been distant. Rosie feels like she’s on her own. She’s unhappy in her job and in her relationship, and finally it’s too much. She’s dreamed for years of starting her own restaurant, but is nowhere closer to it and Dominic doesn’t seem to have any interest in her or her dreams. She tells Dominic that she’s leaving him and goes to live with a friend.
Dominic is shocked and hurt. He knows that Rosie is the love of his life, and he’ll do anything to get her back. So when Rosie asks if he’ll do a “marriage boot camp” with her, he immediately agrees. It seems that the main problem with their marriage is a drastic lack of communication. Dominic never tells Rosie what he’s thinking or doing. In fact, he barely even talks to her. They have steamy, scheduled sex once a week and are otherwise almost strangers.
Dominic opens up a little bit with their unconventional therapy, but the two really can’t keep their hands off each other. Dominic doesn’t want them to have sex until Rosie comes back home, but it doesn’t stop them from getting close. The sexual tension is palpable.
This book sometimes felt like a fairy tale for old married couples. Sure, it seems like the relationship is dead–except for their sex life. But deep down Dominic thinks about Rosie constantly and would do anything for her. Apparently after all the guys he met in the army, Dominic decided he wasn’t good enough for Rosie. He bought a house for her (without telling her). He also went out of his way constantly to help her, but usually in secret, so Rosie wouldn’t know. She only started picking up on it at the end. He was both too good to be true and pretty frustrating.
On the whole, I found this book well written and it kept my interest. I could relate to Rosie, and there were some fun scenes, but I don’t think I liked it enough to explore the other “hot and hammered” books in this series.
cbr15bingo: “Sex” for some surprisingly graphic sex scenes–sometimes in public.