Sweethand by N.G. Peltier
Rating: 3.5 Stars
After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.
When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.
When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster. - TheStoryGraph
I'm glad I picked up this enemies-to-lovers island romance! This trope isn't my favorite one, but I believe Peltier did a great job making sure the friction made sense and had roots in the main character's backstory. Her pacing helped with the development of tension between Keiran and Cherisse and made their connection more lovable. Similar to Where The Rhythm Takes You by Sarah Dass, another author from Trinidad and Tobago, the main character is wary of dating musicians due to her own history with one. This idea is understandable but I'm glad that there was a voice of reason in each book because it seems like this generalization was just used as a way to create a rift between the couples for the sake of the plot. I have nothing against this.
Oftentimes, in enemies-to-lovers romances, I feel like the characters don't spend much time showing their dislike for one another before jumping into the sexy time. I'm glad Peltier paced it well so that their "hate sex" felt more real and made more sense. However, the sex scenes were quite tame. This is great for folx who prefer their romance books lightly spiced.
There were a couple plot points that I wish Peltier had explored:
Cherisse's friend Remi had feelings for her, but nothing came of that.
Cherisse never addressed her mother's thoughts and feelings on Keiran.
Since this book appears to be the first in the Island Bites series, I'll wait for all of that.