Armas, Elena. The Spanish Love Deception. Atria, 2022. ISBN 9781668003275 $16.99.
Catalina needs a date to her sister’s wedding. In Spain. And her ex and his fiance are attending. Desperate for a date, the least-likely prospect ever–her annoying, humorless, cold, (handsome) colleague Aaron–volunteers to go with her. They’ve rubbed each other the wrong way since his first week at InTech, the engineering consulting company they both work for. She says no, but… then she’s is voluntold to put on a full day fair for prospective clients (since women know all about party planning and socializing, ugh, misogyny) and Aaron doesn’t come to her defense in a meeting. He DOES step up to help her plan the event though, and after a bout of stubbornness, she accepts his offer. In return for being her date to her sister’s wedding, she agrees to accompany him to a social engagement, which turns out to be a bachelor auction to raise money for an animal charity. Then they’re off to northern Spain, where there is #JustOne!Bed, a Wedding Cup to compete for in the bachelor/bachelorette party games, and much drinking. They present a united front that fools her ex, her family, and themselves. The physicality of their relationship is sultry, slow and sexy.
Enemies to lovers works best for me when the characters are not out and out mean to one another. There is snarky banter and bad feelings but it turns out these two have just been misunderstanding one another from their first meeting. Lina’s attraction is slow growing and confusing, made more complicated by Aaron’s recent promotion.
I loved the Spanish phrases sprinkled throughout (generally easy to decipher in context when left untranslated) and Spanish cultural and geographical details, deftly defined within the structure of the narrative. Also we get a hint of Lina’s coworkers crush on her cousin (a teaser for Rosie and Lucas’s story takes place in The American Roommate Experiment).
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #TheSpanishLoveDeception from #NetGalley.