I’m just chugging through my insanely long (and ever growing) TBR list. Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey was just recently released and I was really excited to read this one! I loved Fix Her Up, and this is the next standalone in that series. I could already feel the tension between Rosie and Dominic in that book, and now their tumultuous marriage is center stage in Love Her or Lose Her.
As mentioned in past reviews (pretty sure it was The Bromance Book Club) second chance romance is my ultimate favorite trope. Not only are Rosie and Dominic married already, but they were middle school sweethearts. Oh yeah, I may have swooned at that tidbit. I adore couples that have known each other for a long time – the intimacy in that knowledge… yeah that’s my catnip.
Anyway, after years spent together, Rosie feels their marriage has hit a wall, and it’s impossible to get around. They don’t fight, but they don’t really communicate either. The only thing they have going for them is a super hot attraction for each other, which means some super hot acts in the bedroom. Unfortunately that’s not enough for Rosie anymore and she wants a divorce. Dominic doesn’t want to leave his wife and demands a second chance. They come to a compromise – they’ll go to couple’s therapy bootcamp. It’s a little outrageous, but if Dominic isn’t willing to put in this effort, then maybe they have diverged in some way.
I really loved their marriage counselor. Not only was he a little hippy-dippy and provided some lightness to this angsty book, but I loved the points he made on how both Rosie and Dominic could be better spouses. He made them seem so organic – some times it comes off as trying to hard to me. Not the case for this book. There was also a moment where Rosie and Dominic discussed what they really appreciated about each other, and one of the things was untangling headphones and putting extra pens in backpacks. They’re such small, innocuous tasks, but I just thought it was so sweet to see the little ways they showed that they were thinking of each other. It made it seem really genuine, and not just cliche “small acts of love.”
Throughout the book, Dominic is afraid to show his emotions to Rosie, and everyone else – he’s determined to keep a stiff upper lip. He’s really pressed about this by several characters quite a bit and I really liked seeing this reminder that men can be emotional and sensitive too. They don’t have to be an impenetrable wall and neither does Dominic. And on a similar note, I loved how assertive Rosie could get. At first, she seemed tentative to rock the boat with her and Dominic, but as she went to therapy and became closer to the other women in the book, she learned to be more confident, to stand on her own two feet. Her ultimate goal was to own a restaurant, and watching make such big strides was really awesome to read.
The only parts I didn’t love all that much – Dominic’s nickname for Rosie. As much as I loved their intimacy, I still got cringe-y every time the audiobook narrator said “honey girl” in her fake Bronx accent. I was not about it. Also towards the end of the book, the communication problem really came to a head for the main characters, but I kind of felt like the whole thing was rushed. There were lots of feelings and while yes, the characters are entitled to feel someway. But the rapid pace between all the emotions made it come across as overreactions which just made it a little hard to root for someone by the end.
Tessa Bailey is the queen of the sexy scenes and this book is no exception. Despite the communication issues that Rosie and Dominic struggle through, they have super hot chemistry. When they are together, there’s lots of dirty talk and sexiness. I did a lot of fanning my face.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Rosie and Dominic did a lot of learning and growing throughout their story, and it made their romance sweeter at the end. They were stronger for their struggle and I really loved reading their journey together. Definitely recommend!