I've loved romance novels since...like forever. I read across most subgenres of romance. I also write fantasy/paranormal and new adult romance.
I bought this book off some reviews on twitter. The tropes are enemies to lovers, best friend's older brother, and a bit of a road romance. But half-way through, the book lost me. There was a surprise biker gang, including a half-day's ride, all kinds of weird ideas about mental health treatment and privacy, as well as a heaping dose of income-shaming (SES-shaming?) that both the hero and the best friend do to the heroine. Normally, I would have just DNF'd, but after that, I wanted to finish to see if it redeemed itself. *grumbles
I think part of what didn't work for me--aside from the MC insertion which felt odd--was the premise. Bethany, the best friend, decides to voluntarily enter rehab for drinking but doesn't want her brother Bram to know. Not only would this never work--esp since she's on his health insurance and he'd get the EOBs pretty quickly for a program like that--it made no sense for her or Aspen, the heroine, not to tell him. Recovery is a positive step, often taken because people are scared but wanting to get better. Bethany's decision also came on the heels of an abusive relationship and a really bad bender. None of this should be something someone goes through without the support of their friend(s) and family. Even though Bram is presented as a stern older brother, he's incredibly supportive of his sister. I never bought into the idea that he would somehow be mad at her for seeking help. So, to me, it set up a big secret that didn't need to be kept. If anything, it made Aspen come across as enabling--which was a theme for her.
The positives: the forced-proximity road trip of Bram and Aspen had a good set-up. Lots of bickering and shifting power dynamics. My total catnip. I also liked Bram. He was stern but protective and caring. The smexy scenes were pretty hot. Some of them were definitely hate-sex, which I appreciate the difficulty in pulling off.
The negatives: after about the middle of the book, things went off the rails (see above) and the plot felt a bit disjointed. Aspen keeps the big secret but Bethany is still really mad at her. Wha? There was a magical fix (hint: it's Bram) for all of Aspen's and her mother's financial woes or any other problems. Yes, that's the allure of a billionaire romance, but ultimately, it was just too much. Too many things thrown into the mix. I wanted Aspen to save herself or just stand on her own two feet more.
This book is definitely one of those where your mileage may vary. I am bummed it didn't work for me.