Goodreads: Love at First Spite
Genres: Romance; Contemporary; Fiction; Women’s Fiction; New Adult
Publication date: January 4, 2022
They say living well is the best revenge. But sometimes, spreading the misery seems a whole lot more satisfying. That’s interior designer Dani Porter’s justification for buying the vacant lot next to her ex-fiancé’s house…the house they were supposed to live in together, before he cheated on her with their Realtor. Dani plans to build a vacation rental that will a) mess with his view and his peace of mind and b) prove that Dani is not someone to be stepped on. Welcome to project Spite House.
That plan quickly becomes complicated when Dani is forced to team up with Wyatt Montego, the handsome, haughty architect at her firm, and the only person available to draw up blueprints. Wyatt is terse and stern, the kind of man who eats his sandwich with a knife and fork. But as they spend time together on- and off-site, Dani glimpses something deeper beneath that hard veneer, something surprising, vulnerable, and real. And the closer she gets to her goal, the more she wonders if winning revenge could mean losing something infinitely sweeter…
My white dress trails me as we make our way across the small clearing to where the others are waiting. The heavy fabric rustles against the ground, a few leaves catching in the hem, but I ignore them, concentrating instead on what’s ahead. All eyes are on me.
“Are you sure?” my cousin Mia asks at my elbow. My partner in crime.
I glance her way. I’m nervous, but I don’t want to be, and the simmering excitement in her expression reassures me. This is the right choice.
“Hundred percent,” I say.
She smiles and squeezes my hand. “You’ll rick this, I know it.” She lets go and steps away to assume her position with a wink. “See you on the other side.”
Then it begins.Chapter One
What can I say? I’m a petty person (when it’s called for). The petty part of me loved what Dani did in order to get back at her cheating ex. Of course I know that being petty isn’t going to fix everything, but we can have fun being petty. Hell, we can have fun reading about someone else being petty.
Don’t get me wrong, Dani is much more than just petty in this story. She’s hurt and angry. She feels unworthy, like all of the changes she’s made over the last 9 or so months have been for naught. But she’s also strong and powerful. She’s not going to sit there and take it. She knows she has worth, even if she doesn’t feel like it all the time.
But most importantly, Dani has a great support system. She’s got her best friend, Mia. She’s got her amazing landlady, Iris. She’s even got her colleagues on her side (even if she doesn’t always know it).
What Dani really needs in this story is to work through her feelings, to get Sam out of her mind completely. If that takes building a Spite House with the hot architect at her firm, I say go for it. If it takes slowly realizing you’ve got a great thing in front of your face, then that’s what it takes.
When the cold, arrogant man turns out to be compassionate and caring, it’s no wonder Dani realizes she might like him as more than a coworker. When Wyatt agrees to help her with her spite house – for a fair exchange of work, of course – it’s the perfect excuse for them to get closer.
This workplace romance is sweet and steamy in all the right places. From colleagues to friends to lovers, this romance has a nice slow burn quality to it that had me flying through the pages wanting more. With a nice touch of revenge thrown into this plot, it was the perfect romance to feed my single soul.
Even knowing that this story was going to follow a typical romance novel arching plot, Wyatt managed to surprise me. I expected him to be caring and so much friendlier than Dani thought him to be. I expected him to have layers. Heck, I even expected him to be secretly into Dani when he was so kind at finding out she’d called off the wedding.
What I didn’t expect was how troubled his own past was. I can’t imagine being diagnosed with a chronic condition and having that being the reason that my partner leaves me. If someone were to tell me they were leaving me because I was “holding them back”, I’d hope that my response would be good riddance. However, knowing myself, I’m so much more likely to shut down the way Wyatt did. To close myself off and give the world the cold shoulder.
Dani might have been attractive to Wyatt, but I don’t think he expected how much she’d jive with his personality. Sure he was happy to agree to the “with benefits” deal they decided on while building the Spite House. And of course he was willing to put up with her klutziness and boisterous attitude. I still doubt that he was expecting everything that comes with being with Dani.
Of course, I wish Dani had opened up to him way before she did. I mean, did she really think that Wyatt wasn’t going to realize they were building this little Airbnb right beside her ex’s house? Wyatt made it clear he remembered Dani’s douche of an ex from a company party, there’s no way he’s going to forget the guy after finding out he cheated on Dani a few weeks before their wedding. The guys lives right next door to the land they’re building on – of course he’s going to spot Dani’s ex at some point.
If anything, this just goes to show how amazing of a person Wyatt truly is. He was patient with Dani, waiting for her to open up to him. Waiting for her to explain, in her own time, why they were building beside Sam’s house. He didn’t force her or ask any leading questions. Even after his last relationship ended so horrifically, he was willing to respect Dani and her own emotional fragility, to give her time to process and decide on her own terms when she wanted to bring the truth up to him.
Unfortunately, Dani did not play that well at all. She should have been more honest with Wyatt, of course. But she also should have been more honest with herself. Sure she was scarred by her recent breakup and being a domestic doormat. But Wyatt had given her no inclination that he was going to treat her that way. She was projecting her own hurt feelings about Sam on to Wyatt, not looking at him as his own person. And because of that, she wasn’t able to see her building feelings for the man until it was almost too late.
I’m glad that Wyatt turned out to be such an amazing person, that he was willing to give a relationship with Dani a real chance if she were to have him again. He didn’t place work over her, even though he knew his last relationship made things at work messy for a while. I wish I had a Wyatt in my life – someone mature enough to help me see when I’m being a child, but also compassionate enough not to rub it in.
Part of the conflict in this story has to stem from Dani moving on too quickly. Of course she didn’t mean to fall for a guy so soon after her heart was broken. But even just getting back into things so soon – creating this “with benefits” situation with Wyatt – was incredibly quick of her. She didn’t really give herself time to heal and get over the abuse Sam was heaping on her.
While I might be done reading this story, the story certainly isn’t done with me just yet. I know that this is one where there characters will stick with me for a while. I know that I’ll find myself weeks from now wondering what’s going on with Dani and Wyatt. What next great adventure they’re going to go on together. (Okay, maybe not a “great” adventure. Maybe just… to the dog park with their own pup. Where they can eat sandwiches with a fork and knife.)