Review: “What I Like About You” by Claire Hastings

Series: Indigo Royal Resort, #3

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: January 25th, 2021

Add to Goodreads | Amazon.in (Available on KU)

Dalton “Tripp” Sutherland fully realizes just how badly he screwed up ten years ago, resulting in the loss of the best friend he ever had – the incomparable Zara Wellington. From the outside looking in, it may appear that he’s living his best life, spending his days sailing and being the resort playboy, but deep down he’s still haunted by the unforgivable words he uttered that night in high school. If only he had a chance to prove to her that he didn’t mean what he’d said.

Life for Zara Wellington is pretty amazing. As creator and lady-boss behind the top beauty blog on the internet, she gets to travel the world trying out new spas and is even on the verge of having her journalistic dreams come true. Even though she still carries around her life-long insecurities about her weight, it’s rare that she ever thinks about that night she overheard the unimaginable come from the only person she thought ever really cared for her – her best friend Tripp.

But when Zara shows up at the Indigo Royal Resort to review the brand new Cherish Spa, the two come face to face for the first time in ten years. Can they manage to get past everything that night from all those years ago and the painful feelings that still linger, or is the damage done forever?

 

“Not a day goes by that I don’t wish that I had been a better man, your man, long before that moment.”

I’d like to start by saying that if I could, I would love to spend forever at Indigo Royal Resort. Given that there are two books before this one, featuring characters more invested in the resort itself, I know that I’m going to love it even more when I do get around to reading them. The entire resort is themed around music – for those like me who haven’t read the first two books – and every building, room and space is named after a song. That in itself makes Indigo Royal a fun place to be. Add to that a collection of interesting characters and you have yourself a treat!

What I Like About You is a second chance, best friends to enemies to lovers romance that will take you on a fantastical ride. Tripp Sutherland and Zara Wellington were best friends growing up – their moms were friends and their dads were friends – and when everyone else teased and mocked Zara for being too chubby or fat, Tripp stood by her side and stayed her friend forever. Both of them come from money, but Tripp wanted nothing to do with the family business after his mother died and his father married his nanny. And Zara started her own business, being a badass lady boss and working as an influencer and enjoying her business and her life.

“You used to tell me that without the darkness, we’d never see the stars. We’ve been surrounded by darkness for a long time, how about we go searching for those stars?”

Till they both reconnect at Indigo Royal where Tripp (who is mostly known as Dalton) works and Zara has been invited to check out and review their spa facilities. And after everything that went down, it’s the last place Zara wants to be, especially since being around Tripp still makes her feel less than herself.

I love Zara so much! She’s a plus size woman who has pushed past haters and cruel people to focus on building a brand and a name for herself. As a kid, she always felt like she wasn’t enough and her size was always an issue, but as an adult, she’s all kinds of badass and a true hero. She also loves with her whole heart and soul, which is why Dalton’s betrayal hurt her so much and why seeing him again infuriates her beyond belief. Much like Zara, at first, I wasn’t sure about my feelings about (adult) Dalton. He’s charming, sexy and handsome and all those other things that make you swoon, but he’d done enough damage to Zara’s soul to make me question whether he was worthy. Oh but the man convinces you that’s worth it and makes you literally swoon with the things he does and says. He’s not without fault, because he keeps making silly mistakes and blunders, but he’s always ready to learn from that and pick himself up to fix what he’s done. 

“I didn’t know how to tell you then, but you were my world. I know I kept you hidden, and I shouldn’t have.”

The chemistry between these characters is unreal! Obviously they’ve got all these years of history between them that charges the scenes they’re in, but it’s so much more than that. They’re super hot together and I love how easily they flow into that kind of relationship. But it’s so much more than that, they connect on a different level also. With all that they know about each other, the years they’ve spent as friends and then apart really reflects in the relationship they’re trying to build. Zara rightfully doesn’t trust Dalton just yet, but she gives him a little bit every single time and I love how she makes him work for it.

And while Zara and Dalton are carrying the story, it’s also about the other characters. Seriously, I need to read the other books because getting a hint of those relationships definitely made me greedy for more. I wasn’t prepared for how much I’d want those characters, but I do now! Every single supporting character has so much to offer and a great part to play in this story. They’re all supportive and helpful in the relationship, but also the dynamics are definitely worth talking about.

If you’re looking for a fun holiday romance featuring a beautiful, badass and smart woman, then this is it for you. Zara Wellington is seriously reason enough to drop everything and read this book, because she is brilliant!

Thanks to Claire Hastings and Wildfire Marketing Solutions for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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