Title: Hate Story
Author: Nicole Williams
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: 23rd December, 2016
Nina can’t let herself fall in love with the man she’s going to marry. Both of them have experienced the sting and sham of love and have no intentions of falling victim to it twice. Love is expensive—hate is free.
Three years. A million dollars. A solution to both of their problems. They planned it all, from the story of their first meeting to the date of their divorce. Nothing could go wrong.
But what they didn’t consider was chemistry, and Nina and Max have no shortage of it. After too many near-kisses, Nina convinces herself that hating Max is better than loving him, and the more she gets to know this soon-to-be-husband of hers, the more she discovers just how very much she truly, madly, and deeply . . . hates him.
This isn’t a love story. This is the other kind.
“Okay. So how do you think this is going?” Max tipped the broom handle between us. “You and me?”
My forehead pinched together. “You and me the plan? Or you and me the surprise?”
Max’s brow answered my question.
“And this topic is what you consider not-so-deep?” I nudged him and moved to finish stocking syrups.
“All I’m looking for is a simple estimation. Since we were just talking about school, give us a grade for how you think this is going.”
“A grade? Like A, B, C, D, F?”
“Exactly like that.”
I shook my head. “Did you have a rough day at work today? Lose an Olympic-size swimming pool of money or something? Are you needing your daily ego stroking to come from somewhere else today?” When I glanced back at him, I found Max leaning into the door he’d relocked, arms crossed and waiting.
“Our relationship is unique,” he said. “Intricate. I’m asking not because I need my ego stroked, but because I care. If I need to make some changes, I’m willing to. Anything you need, whatever you want, that’s what I’ll give you. But first, I have to know how I’m doing.”
If a man could get a woman pregnant from a piercing stare and a collection of words, I’d just gotten myself good and knocked up. With twins.
“You know how it’s going,” I said, trying to focus on the syrups instead of what—or who—I wanted to focus on.
“I know how I think it’s going. I’d like to know how you think it’s going.”
My mouth went a little dry. Having these kinds of talks was hard for anyone—they were next to impossible for me. “Well, you haven’t gone and confessed your undying love or scared the hell out of me by asking me to be your baby mama, so you’re keeping your promise to take it nice and slow.” When he gave a mini bow, I rolled my eyes. “Not to mention you aren’t too shabby in the sack, you don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and you share the remote well.”
Max’s face went flat. “Not too shabby?”
“Oh, please. You know how good you are. Stop fishing for compliments.” A flush crept up my neck as I thought of the most recent evidence to support that theory.
A slow, crooked smile spread across his face. “I want a grade.”
“Like comprehensive? Or broken down by category?” I was stalling, and Max knew I was stalling.
“You’re making this way too difficult,” he grumbled.
“An A minus,” I said abruptly. “I’d give you an A minus.”
“Why not an A plus?”
I kept my head turned so he couldn’t see my smile. Only Max Sturm would be outraged by an A minus. “Because there’s always room for improvement. And I wouldn’t want it to go to your head, that’s why not an A plus.”
The door creaked when he shoved off of it. He made no move to tame the way he was checking me out, leaning into the counter as I organized the syrups. “Something’s definitely going to my head.”
My gaze roamed his zipper region. “I was talking about the one north of your neck.”
“And I’m talking about the one at the end of my dick. My, at present, hard dick, thanks to you.” He came up behind me, fitting himself against my backside as his hands moved around to work on my jeans.
“Max,” I protested, my eyes closing a second later when his dick nuzzled deeper into my backside.
“Nina. I’m taking your body. Here. Now.” His chest pressed into my back as he lowered my zipper. “Accept that so we can move on to the next part.”
Kindle Friends Forever 5 ★ Review by Sharon Thérèse
The premise of this story is not new one. Nonetheless; Ms Williams managed to make this read especially hateful, downright lovable and totally unputdownable. I had no option but to put life on hold and do an all-nighter! So be warned; if you start reading it at stupid o’clock like me, you’ll most likely have to pay for the consequences the next day! This author never ceases to astound me with her writings. Her protagonists’ personalities and woeful stories quite honestly played havoc with my imagination. She made them come alive in such a way that at times I felt like I was intruding on their most personal space. In fact, talk about babbling to myself isn’t in it! If I gave advice to one, the other was getting a good talking to and vice versa! And did either of them listen to me? Nope!
“Better to worry too much and be pleasantly surprised than worry too little and get taken advantage of.”
As Nina Burton’s story panned out, she effortlessly got under my skin and I soon understood the predicament she was in. Solution’s seed was sown by Kate, her sassy and open-minded bestie who at all times, was in the background and had her back. I actually felt what Nina was about to do arguably debatable. Feasible, definitely. Morally correct…you’ll have to make your own minds up! Yet like Kate, I still thought if no-one was going to get hurt, this short-longish project of sorts might just work out regardless of Nina shying away from any kind of emotional relationship.
“You are clueless.”
“Yeah, and I’d like to remain clueless when it comes to that part of his anatomy, so scoot…”
Observing this young woman give as good as she gets and come over so strong blew the socks off me! Her dry wit creased me up and her no-nonsense fighter attitude I adored. However, as she’d willing stepped out of her comfort zone, the way she handled her emotions annoyed me a tad. Her consuming fears were like blinkers. She couldn’t see further than her nose when the man who inadvertently wiggled his way into her life consumed her. Always a lover of Shakespearean scenarios, tragedy seemed to be too close to home for my comfort.
“This isn’t an act. Maybe it was in the beginning. Maybe I wish it still were. But this—it’s not an act.”
Why then, did I support the heroine and blast the hero out of the astrosphere when his proposition was the perfect package? Probably because said package was indecently his to start with. Although my pain for Nina was fraught; in contrast, Max brought out even more conflicting feeling in me. Re: Hate Story! I truly wanted to give Nina a good wake up call, too. I found her icy attitude towards him incomprehensible seeing as he tried so hard to make things work under such unusual circumstances. I knew her trust issues were justifiable. Hurtful events going back as far as she remembers became my present torment and hers. . . they were always hers. Saying that, her future worries stem from this and are the crux of the matter. In her book, getting close to anyone was a no-no. Will that solid wall she’d carefully built around her heart protect her from Maximilian Hans Xavier Sturm?
“I’m good with my hands. I’ve got references should you need them”
“I’m sure the only reference who’d give a glowing recommendation is the region below your belt.”
Was making a deal with the devilishly gorgeous Max who wears a suit like his second skin, selling her soul? In my book, yes! He’s drop-dead yummy gals. . . but, and the huge but is how long it takes Nina to realise what she’d actually let herself in for. Believe me, all my feelings cried out aloud in that one unlawful clause written in ink that has a sell by date making me want to curl up and die. Signing on the dotted line was easy to envisage, difficult to fathom. . . do they abide by it or keep their promises?
“Is your silence a sign of agreement, disagreement, or indecision?”
Maximillian Hans Xavier Sturm. It’s been a long while since I have been able to invest in such a character as is him. He has personal reasons for his actions. Neither he nor I ever expected an outcome that would floor both of us. While writing this review, I sobbed my heart out. His stance regarding the situation Nina and himself were in was of his own doing. Only throughout the story did I see him grow and bend beyond my wishes showing me his true facets. In fact, I really hope the author doesn’t mind but I have to speak to him in first person. “Max, you did good. Your patience was your virtue.” Saying that, I lost my patience with Nina whilst she battled with her emotions.
“But one day at a time, okay? Don’t rush this. Don’t rush us.”
I really don’t want you to take these words of mine lightly. This heartfelt standalone is worthy of reading. The storyline was above my expectations, the secondary character development, par excellent. Family conflicts come to a head giving this read the spice I yearned for. As you might have observed in this review, I haven’t mentioned the bedroom scenes. I was actually prepared to give them second place since this story is so much more than this. Despite trying to ignore them, I simply couldn’t. Aptly woven into two beautiful characters’ to and fro, come and go or make it and break it, these precious moments grazed my thoughts just enough to make me smile. Conclusion, Max and Nina made me believe life’s struggles are worth it. And Nina’s secret is safe with me. Bravo Ms Williams!
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of contemporary and young adult romance, including the Crash and Lost & Found series. Her books have been published by HarperTeen and Simon & Schuster in both domestic and foreign markets, while she continues to self-publish additional titles. She is working on a new YA series with Crown Books (a division of Random House) as well. She loves romance, from the sweet to the steamy, and writes stories about characters in search of their happily even after. She grew up surrounded by books and plans on writing until the day she dies, even if it’s just for her own personal enjoyment. She still buys paperbacks because she’s all nostalgic like that, but her kindle never goes neglected for too long. When not writing, she spends her time with her husband and daughter, and whatever time’s left over she’s forced to fit too many hobbies into too little time.
Nicole is represented by Jane Dystel, of Dystel and Goderich Literary Agency