Once upon a time, I loved him.
He broke me and he didn’t even know it.
I ran from him.
He didn’t chase me.
He never needed to, because he knew I’d come back.
He was right.
Death brought me home to him.
Drop dead gorgeous and filthy-mouthed with a smile that turns saints to sinners.
A casanova to his core.
My ex-best friend.
And the bad boy whose reputation precedes him—the same reputation I’m tasked with turning to gold… Or so they think.
Revenge is a dish best served cold, after all… (Goodreads)
When I was given the opportunity to read an ARC of Emma Hart’s latest novel, I jumped it the chance. In the past, she has always been a reliable source for a romance book that is smart, sexy and full of (pardon the pun) heart. Casanova is no different, but when reading this, I recognised the fact that Emma has grown and matured as a writer to the point that she more than sits comfortably with the likes of Day, James and Young. She has developed her own voice and style that makes her distinctive in this ever expanding genre.
The book centers around the complicated love/hate relationship between Lani and Brett. There is no meet cute and there is no growing attraction. The fact the attraction already exists as both characters have such deep feelings between the two of them. There is clearly history and unresolved issues between the two of them and Lani returning to town is only the beginning to the two of them working through their past.
This is a romance book and the outcome is almost certain. As the author told me herself, “it is not the destination, but the journey that is important” and the journey contained in this book is one roller coaster of a ride. By seeing this from both Lani and Brett’s view point, the story is more rounded. That’s not to say that Brett’s image as this pompous playboy isn’t partially true, but without his parts you wouldn’t’ get to see the man beneath the mask. With each chapter another piece of the puzzle fits and I couldn’t help but see why so many women fell for him.
As for Lani, I felt a kinship with her. Ok, she and I live very different lives and have very different backgrounds, but I empathised with her as the geek girl. Though she grows into her own skin and morphs into this smart and sassy woman. She is no longer the woman that Brett remembers and gives as good as she gets. She is more than a match for him and time and time again she has a rebuttle for his quips and remarks.
There is a lot of playing chicken between the two characters. You read with bated breath, waiting to see who will back down first. It is very quick fire and is so very natural. You can imagine two people interacting like this in real life. It can be difficult to pull off, yet Hart does it with such ease.
Finishing this book, I was left happy and satisfied with the ending. What was even more satisfying was the fact that there is going to be another book in the series on Raven, the smart mouthed bar owner in the book. Whatever bar this is based on, I want to know where it is so I can visit her real life counterpart.
Casanova shows just how far Hart has come as an author and one who I think has further to go. It is a smart, sexy read that never once talks down to the reader. This is the perfect read for the cold winter nights, with a hotter than hell lead that can more than compete the Alpha males of Grey and Cross.
Now the countdown begins for Mixed Up, the next book in the series. Until then, I have enough books in her back catalogue to keep me going. Whether I will meet another Brett is a different question.