Buttoned-up botanist Stefan Albemarle has felt like an outsider his whole life. As a result, he mostly keeps to himself—makes it easier not to notice that no matter how he tries, people think he’s a know-it-all and a snob.
Freewheeling urban gardener Milo Rios has worked hard to get where he is, and he’s passionate about his job at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. He can get along with almost anyone, but no one has ever made him care enough to stick around.
When Stefan and Milo meet on Milo’s tour of the Botanic Garden, it’s hatred at first clash. But hatred quickly turns to lust as Milo shows Stefan how exquisite it can feel to lose the control he’s clung to for so long. As Stefan’s mask begins to slip, Milo sees a deep vulnerability in the prim academic. Once he’s experienced Milo’s world, Stefan can admit that he wants more from life than professional success. If they can work together, Stefan and Milo just might be able to cultivate the future they both yearn for.
I actually have several favourite tropes, but enemies to lovers moves from 1st to 2nd depending on my mood! Natural Enemies came to my attention because a friend read it, and said it was lovely. I had resisted read Roan Parrish’s work because one of her earlier books really did not work for me. But as second chances is also one of my favorite tropes it seemed churlish not to try again.
This book knocked me out, I haven’t read a romance in a while that made me feel so happy.
Stefan is locked within himself, his own rules and the expectations of his family have kept him firmly focused on his academic achievements. And as a person of color (POC) who is different he has never felt included, so he puts on his armour (work clothes) and protects himself by being just so. His romantic life is nonexistent
Milo appears to be totally opposite, he’s free, open and honest. But Milo’s freedom in a way is just another way of avoiding getting hurt. He nurtures friends like he nurtures plants, but his romantic liaisons are short. Milo likes to fix things (and this does include people)
At novella length you would think that the story would be truncated , but that’s not what I read, Stefan and Milo appear to be so different yet their shared love of plants, and quite soon a fierce attraction bring them together. As Milo treats Stefan like a plant that needs love and space to grow Stafn starts to blossom, and we see him becoming the man that we all really hoped he would be. However what I liked the most about this novella was that Parrish gave Milo growth as well, it’s obvious that Stefan needs to break free of his prissy self dictated rules, but Milo needed to recognise that looking after people doesn’t mean trying to love their life for them.
Warm, satisfying and a book where what the main characters do is just as interesting as how they live, I so enjoyed this, the epilogue was sweet, and I would love to know what happens next.
You can buy a copy here.