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.
5 ‘Do you love me?’ Stars!
ARC provided by the author via Ardent Prose PR in exchange for an honest review.
It’s always the best feeling when you discover a new author and it clicks instantly with you. I’ve had the pleasure of discovering Nicole Williams this year. This is my third book by hers and I am 100% sure I will continue reading her works because I have fallen in love with her emotional love stories. And Hate Story is no exception!
Hate Story is a standalone novel and it tells the story of Nina Burton and Max Sturm. Nina is in need of money because she is about to lose the only place that feels like home to her. Max is a German businessman who loves the United States and needs his visa to stay in what he also considers his home. It all starts when Nina hears of Max’s top secret ad that offers one million dollars for three years of marriage. Neither of them expects what happens next: they fall in love.
This was a story of a storm—the storm that eviscerated everything in my whole entire world.
This wasn’t the story of how I grew to love him—it’s the account of how I came to hate him.
I just ADORED this book. I can definitely assure Hate Story is my favorite work by Nicole Williams! She presents a wonderful love story that starts with hate and evolves to an extremely emotional roller coaster. Both MCs are not very open to feelings getting in the mix: Max has been burned by love before and Nina is afraid of commitment because of her family situation. They definitely do not expect the sparks that start flying from their very first meeting!
I needed to let her hate me. A lot. She needed to despise me or else I’d fuck this up. She needed to hate me for this marriage to work.
We were marrying each other—that was the plan. Desire, attraction, and love were not part of that plan.
Max does whatever he can to make Nina hate him but every time gets more difficult for both of them to ignore what they feel for each other. Hate Story moves from hate to the sweetest, hottest and most emotional love story! Max and Nina have off-the-charts chemistry, in and out of the sheets! But I can I just say that the BEST thing on this book is Max himself? This man was ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. Yes, he does not make the best impression at the beginning but after he falls in love? He made me fall for him SO HARD.
“Liebling, if you think the size of a diamond has to do with compensating for a certain piece of the male anatomy…” Max’s voice dipped a few notes lower as he slid closer. “You’d be getting a fleck of a diamond only visible under a magnifying glass.”
Nina was my sanctuary as much as she was my war zone. Peace and solace one moment, explosions and massacre the next.
As I said, the interactions between the MCs could not be better. Max fights with all his heart to get what he wants: Nina’s body, heart and soul. Now, here is what enters what is the only thing that annoyed me a little about Hate Story: Nina herself. I totally get why she feels afraid of commitment and I love how strong she is but sometimes I did not like how she behaved towards Max. Max gives his everything to her the instant he realizes he is in love but Nina is so afraid to love him back that her behavior changes towards the ending. I just wanted to comfort Max so much!
“Nina?” His voice stopped me. When I turned around, I found him facing me, his forehead lined. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
“Yeah,” I answered, walking away. “You can keep your promise to not fall in love with me.”
Besides that, Hate Story was absolutely perfect for me! Max and Nina finally get their HEA and it was so beautiful. I feel like Max was the soul of this book and I loved every single second of it especially because of him. Nicole gave us lots of marvelous moments in this novel and the most adorable ending!
“I will always do what’s best for you, even if it means you wind up hating me. Because that’s how much I love you,” I said.
Therefore, my rating for Hate Story is 5 STARS because I loved every word and every feeling I got while reading this book! Nicole is so good with very-emotional love stories and this was no exception! I can’t wait to see what is next because I will definitely read it! If you haven’t read anything by hers or you have enjoyed any of her works before, be sure to check out this book, I highly recommend it!
He hadn’t stopped smiling at me, and it wasn’t the friendly kind of smile. It was the kind that made it seem like he was in on some secret I wasn’t privy to. The kind of smile that made me feel like I was being trifled with and made the punch line of a hundred jokes I had yet to hear.
I wanted to wipe the cocky smile off his face, but that would have required touching him and even I wasn’t gutsy enough for that. A woman did not touch a guy like him unless she wanted him to be her undoing. Nope. You didn’t play with fire. You didn’t touch it. You didn’t even come close.
Fire. That was all I saw when I looked at him. I was playing with it by agreeing to this kind of arrangement with him.
Even the way he lounged in the chair was smug. Like it was his throne and he was just waiting for minions to come bow before him.
“You’re younger than I thought you’d be.” He broke the silence first.
Though it was faint, I could just make out an accent. It was European, but I couldn’t nail down the country. To look at the bastard, you’d think he was Scandinavian—blond hair, blue eyes, commanding frame—but his accent was too sharp to hail from the land of Vikings.
I was tempted to glare at the tipped smile aimed at me, but I didn’t want to lead him to the impression I cared. I gave him my version of the same smile, abandoning my “no expectations” policy for the prospect of pissing him off. “You’re older than I thought you’d be.”
His smile shifted into the realm of a smirk, like he knew I was lying. So yeah, maybe I was lying about thinking he was older, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of confirming his silent accusation. He was older than me, but not by much. He might have been closing in on thirty, but he wasn’t past it.
He leaned forward in the chair. When his gaze circled my face to my fiery red hair, his brow elevated. Yes, I am the stereotype. Be warned.
I stiffened. He was fucking with me now. I’d already agreed to marry him. How much more did he think he could screw me over?
I gave him a cursory glance and kept the unaffected look on my face. “Uglier.”
He cocked a brow like he knew better. “And the personality of ten women rolled into one.”
His head shook once. “Intrigued.”
His eyes investigated me again. It felt intrusive, definitely not cursory. “Impressed.”
“As impressed by me as the woman in heat who was just mauling you over by the bar?”
“You mean the woman who gave me this?” He pulled something out of the inside pocket of his suit jacket and set it on the small table between us.
It was a hotel card key. With a lipstick kiss pressed into it.
“Classy place, this five-star hotel.” I glanced back at the woman at the bar. She was still there, watching him as though he was the height of the male species. “Did you tell her the reason you were here?”
His attention stayed on me. “Yes, I told her I was here to meet the woman I was going to marry.”
My stomach wrung. This was the man I was going to marry.
“And she didn’t ask for her room key back?” I asked.
“She didn’t give it to me until right after I mentioned that.” His stare was intense. Too intense. I felt like every secret—every piece of who I was—was strewn out on that table for him to see. “Women love a man who isn’t afraid of commitment. It’s like an aphrodisiac.”
“You know what else women like?” I didn’t pause for an answer because I guessed he didn’t have a clue. “A man who’s humble.”
He fought a smile and leaned back in his chair when a server approached with a couple of drinks on a tray. “No, they like to think they do, but they don’t.” His head shook authoritatively. “They like the cocky bastard who goes after what he wants and doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Because the server was shielding some of me from his view, I allowed myself to shift. I was getting fired up, and if he kept saying the same kinds of things with the same kinds of looks on his face, that drink was going to wind up in his face.
That was when I noticed what the server had set in front of me. A tumbler with something amber in color. The same thing she was setting in front of him. Although from the curve of her smile, she was offering to give him a blow job on the side, compliments of the house.
“What is this?” I asked. Him. Her. Whoever wanted to answer.
“Scotch,” he answered, ignoring the server lingering between us.
My nose curled at the drink.
“I don’t care if it came from the fountain of youth. I won’t drink it.”
His forehead creased with what appeared to be irritation, but I couldn’t be sure. Maybe it was confusion, like he couldn’t decide what to make of me. “You would have me believe you wouldn’t take a sip of that if you knew it would give you eternal life?” When I shook my head, his head tipped. “Why?”
“Because I value my free will far more than long life.” I pushed the drink away until it clinked against his. “I’d rather live one day free than an eternity in a cage.”
He was quiet for a moment. The server stayed between us, staring at him, waiting.
“Then why are you here?” he asked me finally.
I leaned forward and hoped my stare was as powerful as his. “Because free will is expensive.”
Nicole Williams is the New York Times and USATODAY 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.