Review by Gabrielle

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Behind us the party continues, but somehow, we’ve vortexed far away. It’s just him and me. The tick of his jaw, the blink of my eye, the scratch of his nails against his stubble, the parting of my lips…

Funny, sexy and sweet, Love At First Spite is a worthwhile read from debut author Anna E. Collins.

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… 

This book has hands down one of the best opening scenes I have read in quite a while. It is imaginative, surprising and hilarious. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but trust me when I say I was hooked right from the very start.

You are going to love all the characters in this book. Dani is instantly lovable as the main character. She is smart, fun and I found it easy to develop empathy for her situation. Wyatt is a truly swoon worthy love interest with lots of depth. The chemistry between Dani and Wyatt is well constructed and believable. There are also excellent secondary characters in Dani’s ‘ride or die’ best friend and cousin Mia and well dressed and eccentric landlady Iris. You will love hating her ex Sam. Bonus points for two wonderful dog characters in Iris’ Great Danes Cairo and Cesar.

I was a little skeptical about the revenge theme of this book. I’m just not a vengeful person I guess. I don’t tend to hold grudges and am a bit more of a ‘live and let live’ type of person, but I found myself loving it in this book. Anna doesn’t take this aspect too far and personally I appreciated that. The hijinks the ladies get up to in order to annoy Dani’s ex, Sam, are genuinely clever and they are so much fun to read. Dani, Mia and Iris make excellent co-conspirators and I loved the sisterhood aspect of the book. 

If you like design, or watching HGTV, you will love those aspects of this book as well. Anna did a great job of putting in enough detail to make Dani and Wyatt’s jobs and construction of the house believable and enjoyable for the reader to follow along as the house comes together.

There are definitely some spicy scenes in this book and I found them to be very well done. I enjoyed that there was a real tenderness to them in addition to the spice, it was a nice foil to the revenge plot and outward grumpiness of Wyatt. Anna made some solid choices in the writing of these scenes that added a lot to the book in terms of balance and making the reader believe in the chemistry between Dani and Wyatt.

Anna may be a debut author, but nothing about this book feels like a debut. Overall a great read and I can’t wait to see what Anna writes next.

Thanks to Harper Collins Canada for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.