REVIEW: Enemies like You (Enemies with benefits #1) by Annika Martin,Joanna Chambers
They’re dangerous men. Absolute enemies. And totally hot for each other.
Will has never met anyone like Kit. He’s arrogant. Gorgeous. Lethal. The most expensive bodyguard money can buy. And Will can’t seem to resist him. A simple command in Kit’s cut-glass accent makes Will want things he’s never wanted, do things he’s never done. Their red-hot chemistry is off the charts. Just one problem: Will has vowed to kill the billionaire that Kit is hell-bent on protecting. And Kit has secrets, too—his own reasons for sacrificing his soul, piece by painful piece, to keep one of the worst men on earth alive. This is a stand-alone hot contemporary M/M bodyguard/spy romance.
Dear Joanna Chambers and Annika Martin,
ARC of your book landed in my lap at DA. I did not request the book, but when I saw that it was a “from enemies to lovers” contemporary and that Joanna Chambers was one of the authors, I was too intrigued to refuse it.
I am not quite sure how to grade this one, to be honest, but first and foremost here are the couple of things authors tell us in the beginning and readers should definitely know. The book is written from dual POVs, so we get to hear from both Will and Kit. Since Kit is British and Will is an American, the book is written using both British and American spelling and usage. It did not bother me, but beware if it does bother you.
What did bother me a little bit was the book being written in the present tense. I am now much more used to the books written in the present tense than I was before I started reading the m/m genre, and there have quite a few books written that way that I’ve really enjoyed. While I did not hate the use of the present tense in this story, it did feel a little awkward to me. Opinions may differ, of course.
I am also a little bit torn on what I should consider spoilers for the purposes of this review. Of course whatever in the blurb is always a fair game to me, but the blurb tells you almost nothing, so readers, I am asking you to be prepared to learn a little bit more than the blurb discusses. I am not going to do any major reveals, but I do not see how I can discuss the book without talking a little bit more about who Kit really was, especially since it is revealed early in the book.
If you have been reading my reviews, then you know I enjoy stories where the characters like their jobs and perform them in a believable way. There are exceptions to every rule of course, but more often than not I tend to like characters who are competent in their chosen profession.
I have to tell you right away – please don’t look for believable spies in this book. This warning comes with the huge caveat that I am as civilian as they come, but when a spy comes to kill a target and ends up having sex with the bodyguard … Well, you get the picture. Oh, and conversely, the bodyguard who decides to save the killer of the man he is supposedly protecting… I hope you see what I mean.
However I honestly did not think that the story even tried to portray competent spies – not least because Will, the American, is not really a spy. He is former military on a revenge mission to kill the Russian billionaire Kit is supposedly protecting, and because of that mission Will has temporarily aligned himself with CIA. What can I say, you are either able to suspend disbelief or you don’t. I have to admit that I had to give myself a pep talk after a very hot sex encounter between Will and Kit in the beginning of the story, but then it got a little bit easier.
Oh, Will’s second attempt to kill Polzin also ends up in him having very hot sex with Kit in a completely different venue. If you think he does not make a very competent killer, you would be correct, but he surely tried, poor guy.
In any event, of course it turns out that Kit is not really protecting Polzin. Kit is a British agent and is only protecting Polzin till he finds a certain file with very important information. After that he would be very happy to kill him himself, but before that he can’t allow Will to do it.
Will learns this information about Kit just before the midpoint of the book, and the dynamic between them changes because now they can actually find a way to work together.
Please trust me on this, there is a whole lot of information I am not giving you here (as I said before I did not feel revealing Kit’s real occupation was too spoilerish) and this makes writing this review pretty hard because I cannot talk much about the plot.
So what did I like about this book besides extremely hot sex? I liked how the powerful emotional connection between the characters sort of sneaked up on me, especially since it all started from pure lust, because the guys literally knew nothing about each other when they first met. I thought it was interesting how the writers managed it. I really liked both characters despite the issues I had with them working for spy agencies. Kit was not really a spy either (read the book to find out what I mean J). Will never thought he was suited for spy work and they eventually just clicked.
Also, where the adventure plot was concerned, the authors managed to surprise me in a major way, and even if it was totally over the top it was enjoyable.
As an aside, it was a bonus for me as a Russian speaker to find that a couple of Russian pet names were not only not overused but perfectly used as well.
I read the free prologue Enemies With Benefits and it was a bit too intense and cartoon spy for me, but I did like the distinct POV of the Brit and the American (and I agree about the clunkiness of present tense narration, especially in first person). Alternating POV is so common now in m/m and NA but there’s often not much differentiation between the voices of the two characters.
I loved (LOVED) the free novella–which turned out to be the first 8 chapters of this book. Although that annoyed me a little, I let it go because a. Joanna Chambers and b. that novella had really impressed me. Even with all its OTTness.
In some ways, this book is the equivalent of a popcorn summer blockbuster flick.
Sadly for me, I hated this book. Aside from Kit (would legit read lots of stories about him), nearly everything about this novel was a reading turn-off. IIRC, I gave it 1star on GR. :(
Oceanjasper – yes! Cartoon spy is the descriptor I was looking for. Thank you :). I completely agree that very often two changing POV are hard to distinguish in mm and this one was nicely different that way.
Ariadna, I am sorry you didn’t like the book at all. As you can see I had some issues but it was much higher than a one star read for me. Oh well, I hope your next read will be better for you :).
Thanks for your review, particularly the heads-up on present tense. I can’t fathom why authors use it; to my ear it makes everything sound like it was written by an angsty teen in Fiction 101. Automatic do-not-buy for me. A shame, because this looks like a fun book.
Eh, what can we do? Sometimes books get wonky. :-/
Thank you for the good luck wishes. I had an OK read with the book after this one (The Soldier’s Scoundrel by Cat Sebastian) and got OBSESSED with the next reads (Tamryn Eradani’s ongoing MM short story series Daniel and Ryan.) So I’ll say things broke even
@Ariadna: I enjoyed Cat Sebastian too :). Never read Tamryn Eradani, but glad it worked for you :).
@Donna: Glad to help. I am actually looking at my review and realizing that I misspoke. I meant to say that I am now much more used to first person POV and there had been quite a few books written that way that I enjoyed. As a rule, present tense still grates on me more often than not and there had been very few books I enjoyed written in present tense.
I have to say I have not had such an abundance of spam posts on any other review of mine . I do wonder now where it was linked to ? So weird .