Dusty’s immediately likeable. Reserved and quiet, she’s away at college for the first time. She just wants to study marine biology but things are off to a rocky start when she discovers the “quiet” room she rented is actually in a party house. Her roommates are a mixed bag, a couple okay, a couple of mean girls. Soon tragedy strikes, turning her life upside-down in every way.
Stone and Dusty grew up as neighbors and the best of friends. Their relationship got increasingly complicated and fractured as they grew up. Bad blood between their families cemented the divide and the two became enemies. Stone is the last person Dusty wants in her life but he’s the only person there when things hit an all-time low. He doesn’t particularly want to help her, but she has no one and he can’t turn his back. She doesn’t want his help but needs it, which just makes her resent him even more.
Dusty is extremely bitter toward her former friend, with good reason, but Stone doesn’t seem to resent her in kind. He slowly realizes that he misses his old friend and she learns to forgive him to some extent. Attraction blooms, it only creates more problems for them. It’s painful to watch them want to get along but be unable to because it’s so real. That’s something we’ve all seen (or experienced).
The complexities of her and Stone is practically the least of her worries. She has baggage from her past and is struggling with the fall-out from the most recent trauma, which includes physical problems and sensitive family issues. Still, she’s trying to figure things out with Stone and dealing with difficult housemates while juggling school. She suffers from panic attacks and other physical manifestations of the various traumas she’s suffered so she’s socially withdrawn, but slowly allows others in.
“Grief is a right bastard. Sneaks up on you, blasts you, hits you, pounds you, leaves you wrecked. There’s a moment of peace. You never know how long it could last. Minutes. Hours. Days. You’re starting to believe you can ‘do this’ and the bastard comes back, knocks you over with a battering ram.”
No matter how tough things get, Dusty is determined to prove to herself that she can stand on her own. It isn’t easy but she makes friends, excels at work and conquers her biggest fears. Each accomplishment reinforces her strength and determination so she can do more. Her friends are the truest kind, rallying around Dusty and celebrating her every step of her journey. Her other relationships are an integral part of this story, so the romance is almost secondary.
This isn’t their story like most romances. This is Dusty’s story and he’s just one part of it. There are a few chapters from Stone’s POV later in the book but the story is almost completely from Dusty’s POV and while that’s usually disappointing in a romance, it works well here because we didn’t need to be in his head to make sense of things.
“I love you and I want you to let me love you and I want to make you mine. My woman. Just mine. All mine. I don’t care what you want. I can’t let you be someone else’s. Mine, babe. Mine.”
This is a sad story and an emotional read at times but ultimately has one of the happiest endings I’ve ever read, simply because she’s accomplished so much and transformed her life to such an incredible degree. The epilogue was fun and heartwarming but the extra epilogue was even better. Enemies is a new favorite and I’ll read it again.
Enemies on Amazon
Stone Reeves was my neighbor, and I’ve hated him since sixth grade.
Gorgeous and charismatic, he became the town’s football god, while I became the town’s invisible girl.
He went to a Division 1 school for football, while my father was fired by his father.
His team won the National Championship, while my mother died the same day.
He was a first round pick for the NFL . . .
. . . while I made the worst decision of my life.
Now I’m in Texas trying to pick up the pieces of my life.
But, Stone is here.
Stone is everywhere.
It doesn’t matter that disaster has struck my life again.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the one trying to console me.
It doesn’t matter that he’s the nation’s newest football obsession.
Because for me, he always has been and always will be my enemy.
** Enemies is a 100k enemies-to-lovers football romance standalone!