Rai, Alisha. Hate to Want You. New York: Avon Books, 2017.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062566737 | 371 pages | Contemporary Romance
Alisha Rai is an author I had heard a lot about, but was hesitant to try, due to her books being classified as erotic romance, and while I understand there’s a distinction between that and erotica, I still worried about the amount of sex and the ratio of sex/plot. But the emphasis on the plot and characters in many reviews I read inspired me to take a chance.
And I am incredibly glad I did. I loved the development of the relationship between Nicholas and Livvy, and how they went from childhood friends to illicit lovers. While books with casual sex are still a hit-or-miss with me, I found I loved the depth of their relationship, and how it was about much more than just the sex between them, but about the fact that they really did want to be together, but the enmity between their families (a la Romeo and Juliet) made that pretty much impossible.
The familial relationships between the characters are also a highlight. While there are so many characters I sometimes wished there was a family tree or character guide, I did still find most of the major characters who I knew would get their own books memorable. I loved the evolution of Eve’s character, due to her being so close with her Nicholas, and how she goes from telling Livvy to stay away from him because she thinks it’s in his best interest and that’s what their father demands to siding with him and wanting to atone for her behavior toward Livvy at the end. Sadia also intrigued me, because of the cultural difference between her background and that of Livvy’s family, and, having read the blurb to her book, I can’t wait to see what happens next for her.
I would recommend this to fans of romance that’s on the very-steamy-to-erotic end of the spectrum, especially if they are interested in stories about people of color. Rai creates these diverse characters with such heart and authenticity, and I can’t wait to read more from her.