Note: This ARC was provided by Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept in exchange for an honest review.
“You should come with a warning label,” he murmured, pulling her to him. “Or at least an instruction manual.” She started to step back, but he didn’t let her. “I’m not seeing anyone else, Taylor. I couldn’t even if I wanted to. You consume me.”“Yeah?” She stepped closer, ran a hand over his shirt.“Yeah.” His mouth dropped to hers for a kiss. He tasted like coffee and promise.
I Knew You Were Trouble was a deliciously fabulous enemies-to-lovers romance and a fine addition to bestselling author Lauren Layne's Oxford series. This was a romantic comedy filled with snark and sarcasm and some sexual innuendo--both the thinly veiled and more blatant variety--thrown in. And yes, the romance and comedy were superb, as I've come to expect in both this series and the writing genius behind it. The main characters, freelance writer, aspiring author, and bartender Nick Ballantine and Taylor Carr, one of Oxford magazine's advertising executives. From the moment they meet, sparks fly, and not necessarily the good kind. It's hate at first sight...or maybe more of hate after a couple of minutes in each other's presence. They trade barbs and insults, and interestingly enough, all of that is as entertaining as when they ply their patented brand of flirtation and innuendo.
Nick Ballantine doesn't work at the offices of Oxford on a regular basis, and yet his occasional presence still manages to tick off Taylor Carr. Okay, maybe it tickles her fancy as well, but her dislike for the man who doesn't seem to have a problem to tell her like it is overshadows whatever effect he may have on her womanly senses and libido. It shouldn't matter, not with Taylor in a secure relationship with her boyfriend, who's all set to move in with her...until he doesn't and decides to put a halt to their plans with a letter. But this is all temporary as far as Taylor is concerned. Her is-he-or-isn't-he boyfriend will come back to her when he realizes the error of his ways. But his avoidance soon makes Taylor realize just how wrong she is. Nick has known all along Taylor was too good for her ex, and maybe if she sees that as well, Nick'll finally get his chance to show her who the right man is for her--HIM.
I loved, loved, LOVED the back and forth between Nick and Taylor. He gave as good as he got and so did she. They were brutally honest with each other, and that lack of BS was exactly what Taylor needed but didn't realize it right away. I could see they were so meant to be together, so you can imagine my frustration since it felt like it took forever for them to get with the program, especially Taylor! Can I just say that I wanted to stand up and applaud the manner in which Nick wanted to handle the potential shift in their relationship from frenemies to lovers? It showed his respect for her and himself. He never coddled her but did offer comfort whenever she needed it. That was the thing with him--it was as if he knew her better than anyone else in the world and all he did was observe her. If you're familiar with the Sun Tzu quote about knowing your enemy, you will get how it was apt for these two.
Over the span of four books, this series has become a favorite for me. I have yet to get around to reading the series it was originally spun off from, Stiletto, but I'm hoping to get to those before the year end...or before the fifth book in Oxford is released. Yep, I've got a feeling there's at least one more book in the offing, thanks to two supporting characters, Hunter Cross and Brit Robbins, who are best friends that could very well be perfect for each other. Then there's also Jessica Hayes who so deserves to be with a guy who deserves someone as nice as her. So, I've got my fingers crossed we haven't seen the last of the Oxford crew, but whoever gets their story told next will be faced with a bar set REALLY high, not just by I Knew You Were Trouble but the three other novels in the series. Nick and Taylor left me smiley and satisfied as well as wanting even more Oxford goodness. This favorite gets five-plus stars. ♥
Read my reviews for the Oxford series:
Irresistibly Yours (book one) - five stars - My Review
I Wish You Were Mine (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
Someone Like You (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review
I Knew You Were Trouble (book four) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)