A heart-wrenching and heartwarming enemies-to-lovers romance that will make you believe in fated soul mates.
One night in a random bar and both their lives change forever. He’s the biggest jerk she’s ever met. She’s sunshine and all the good things about life. He’s a pessimist but sees it as being a realist. She always gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and looks at the bright side of life. She’s the light to his dark.
You never know the pain that someone else is going through. Astaire knew that better than anyone. Even after all she has lost, she still believes in love and kindness. So when she sees a stranger that she believes is suffering, she reaches out. And so their story begins.
Bennett is a man who lashes out first because he expects the worst, which is exactly what he does when he meets Astaire. Coming from the family he has you can understand. Astaire is not deterred and refuses to be cruel like him. However, as much as he doesn’t want her in his life, he can’t stop thinking about her.
He’s a very wealthy business owner dealing with his own baggage. She’s a kindergarten teacher trying to make the most of life. An unexpected meeting changes everything. Their lives are intersected in more ways than they realize. Sometimes fate knows better than we do.
This is an emotional enemies-to-lovers, fated love story. Bennett doesn’t believe in that stuff or even marriage, but Astaire is about to change his life for the better. He is about to be schooled on all matters of the heart. They have amazing chemistry and a connection that’s unavoidable. He never expected her, but he’s never letting her go. Love is messy, but it’s worth it. Together they’ll both find the family they deserve.
This book is.... pretty fantastic. I always enjoy Winter Renshaw’s writing but this is without a doubt the best I’ve read from her. The first half of the book is a tension-filled mix of contrasts, punctuated by the most effective use of dual perspective I can remember.
Bennett is cold, cruel, pessimistic, engages in countless casual affairs, and has the kind of life many would envy. Astaire is warm, kind, optimistic, grieving the loss of her fiancé, and brought herself up from nothing. Together they make absolutely no sense, but a chance encounter causes their lives to intersect, entwine, and become so entangled there’s no going back.
I won’t be sharing any details about the plot on this one, but I will say that you really shouldn’t start it before bed. I started this after dinner, found my eyes still glued to the screen at 2 in the morning, and reluctantly forced myself to finish after some sleep. I won’t say that it’s a flawless read but there was definitely VERY little that I didn’t like about the book. I basically devoured it from page one. So, well done, Winter, well done. Can’t wait to see what this author comes up with next. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC (then purchased it for my collection) and am voluntarily leaving a review of this engrossing, emotional read.
On a dark, rainy night, Astaire goes to meet a blind date. She was set up by a co-worker. After a stop to make herself presentable after the rain, she sits at the bar waiting for her date. All she knows is his name, he has dark hair, and is over 6 ft. Not altogether down with this after a long day, but she tries anyway. And a case of mistaken identity leads to Bennett and Astaire's first encounter.
And it is far from pleasant. Their chemistry sizzles.
Except Bennett is a cold, cold man. He trusts no one.
And prefers no one know he's actually a decent guy. Although he doesn't think so. He just secretly tries to make up for the karmic evil he feels his family has imparted upon the world.
Astaire on the other hand is a kindergarten teacher. And, despite the tragedies and experiences in her life, she still tries to be a good person. Even to a cold, rude stranger.
No one expects the twists and turns their lives take. They certainly don't expect to discover all the things that link them to each other.
I loved this one. All the angst I expect from a Winter book, some steam, some drama, and a HEA at the end of bumpy road.
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.
As I sit down to write this review, what do I say? Captivating, spellbinding, opposites attract. Beautiful gracious heroine who is kindness personified. Attractive, cruel hero who is heartless as he is handsome. Winter Renshaw had me hooked from the very first chapter.
The characters are so well developed. The plot is intricate. It is not a simple story but includes many subplots along the way. Through it all, Astaire and Bennett learn all is not what it seems, and love can conquer all. It is a truly beautiful story of two souls meant to find each other.
In all honesty, I have been a Winter Renshaw fan for years and most of the time, I buy her books without reading the description because I know I will enjoy them. But this one is different. This one, without a doubt, is OUTSTANDING! This one is her best yet!
You must buy it! You will not be disappointed! Not one bit!
Alistaire Carraro, twenty-six, cannot say no to anything or anyone, so she finds herself on a blind date in a suburban Chicago bar despite the fact that she isn't ready to move on. One year ago exactly, her fiance Trevor was killed in an accident, and she just isn't ready think about what comes next. Tragedy and hardship has followed her for her entire life. Nevertheless, she always looks for the positive in people and situations, so despite her reservations she puts on her happy face.
Growing up, Alistaire never knew her father and had a mother that gave her up to the state. By the time she was fourteen, she had been in thirteen foster homes. The best thing that happened to her was Linda, who adopted and saved her. Linda showed her what love and family mean. She taught Alistaire that the past doesn't dictate the future and gave her the tools she needed to be successful in life. But Linda died several years later, during Alistaire's freshman year at Indiana State.
Fortunately she had met Trevor by then, the love of her life. His unending kindness and compassion made him perfectly compatible with her bright and optimistic personality. They both became teachers and moved to Worthington Heights, Illinois. Alistaire's job as a kindergarten teacher suits her perfectly, but without Trevor she is both alone and lonely. She craves affection as a result of her rough childhood.
Bennett Schoenbach, thirty, is a practical man. He doesn't care about much because caring leads to weakness, and weakness leads to self-destruction. Any sign of softness in the Schoenbach family is like suicide. The Schoenbach name is like royalty in Chicago. Bennett's mother thrives on her social standing; she cares more about that than she ever did about being a mother. His sister Larissa never stood a chance.
Some call Bennett cruel, arrogant, heartless - but he doesn't care. He assumed ownership of the Schoenbach Corporation when his father died five years ago. It hasn't escaped him that half his employees despise him. He doesn't care, but he isn't a monster. He helps out occasionally with college money, mortgages, new cars, etc. - but he only does it anonymously. He doesn't need thanks.
Bennett loves Greek philosophy, which may play a part in why he finds it so entertaining to rile people up and watch them squirm. He always gets the last word in, and nothing is more thrilling than an angry romp. He doesn't do relationships and doesn't believe in marriage. It is one and done for him.
Anger brews and insults fly when Bennett and Alistaire meet at Ophelia's, a local bar. Yet underneath their frustration, an instant attraction draws them to one another. They are opposites, so they have a difficult journey. Miscommunication and misunderstanding threaten every step forward. Despite their very different backgrounds, both Bennett and Alistaire suffer from childhood neglect. Their responses are entirely opposite, though. Bennett internalizes his darkness which explodes from time to time, while Alistaire maintains an angelic outlook that helps her through tough times. Coincidence play a role in this story, and several matters arise that test the new couple's strength. They eventually earn a beautiful HEA.
Bennett and Alistaire's beautiful and angsty journey is about two very lonely souls finding solace in one another despite their very different personalities. It is a story about childhood neglect and refining family. It is very well-written. The plot is somewhat complex. The characters are well-defined and feel real. The banter between Bennett and Alistaire is fabulous! The POV alternates between Bennett and Alistaire. I rate this book five stars.
I received a free copy of this book and am voluntarily leaving a review.
Winter Renshaw writes damaged heroes with a flavour all of her own. It doesn’t matter how many books she writes about deep and profound men who haven’t experienced the best things in life like love, and a loving family, I can never get enough of her books. Bennett Schoenbach is one such man. Born into Chicago Royalty, the family seems perfect, but, as we get to know him, we realise that all he knows is to expect the worst in human behaviour. And the stormy evening that they initially meet in Ophelia’s Bar, happens to be one of poignant sadness for both him and Astaire. He’s avoiding a meeting, and she’s on a blind date, and she inadvertently interrupts his morbid thoughts when she attempts to ask an innocent question. He sees, and instantly judges her approach as predatory, dismissing her in the most vicious and verbally cruel way possible. In her typical upbeat way, she attempts to repay his cruelty with a kindness.
Astaire Carraro spent a significant number of years in the foster system until she was adopted at 14 and shown unconditional love from an amazing woman. Even though Astaire lost her adoptive mother at a young age, their time together built valuable memories and taught her that love and forgiveness can be freeing. That you are not the sum of your childhood experiences.
When Astaire and Bennett clash and crash together, the dynamics makes for great reading. Ms Winter has made their story beautiful AND heart-breaking, and, the fateful tie between them both broke, and warmed my heart in more ways than one. Fate and coincidence in romances are another area that I have found I love very much.
This right here is a book about how love changes your life, and how forgiveness changes your entire outlook. For me personally, I believe that forgiveness is for the person who has been wronged. It gives those who have hurt you, no power over the past, and shows that the past in no way defines who you are now. In, The Cruellest Stranger, Winter Renshaw cements not only my beliefs, but my love for this book and my love for her writing in general. I also cruelly enjoyed the comeuppance that came to those who deserved it. I just love when Karma comes back and bites nastiness on the @rse!!!
Ms Renshaw is an auto-one click author for me, and one whose books I will always highly recommend. And, this book deserves 5 Stars 💔💖💔
After having read just the first few pages, I was completely hooked. I stayed up all night to finish this novel - because I just couldn't put it down. A heartwarming story wherein characters were believable and flawed and wonderful.
Astaire a pre-school teacher who grew up in a not so ideal environment but it didn't make her hard or jaded. She has this positive attitude and chooses to see the good in people. So, meeting Bennett is really a challenge to her personality.
Bennett the arrogant, dark and brooding businessman. His attitude comes from how he was brought up by his so-called family. I really didn't like Bennett very much he's just so mean to Astaire. But as the author expertly added depth and dimension to his character, Bennett really grew on me.
I thoroughly enjoy how it all started with Astaire and Bennett. Scenes are funny, sweet, romantic, sexy and infuriating when they are together. As the story progresses, there's a twist that will make the plot more captivating. The Cruelest Stranger is everything I want in an enemy to lovers trope. Ms. Renshaw nailed this book, in my opinion. A must-read!
As beautiful as Alistaire is on the outside it pales in comparison to her inner beauty. She has a painful past and has experienced more loss than anyone should have to but each time life knocks her down she picks herself up and regains her optimistic and happy outlook towards life and love.
Bennett is jaded, bitter and ruthless and due to his past has built walls around his heart that are impenetrable. Not only does he not allow anyone close, but he is rude and scathing to everyone that crosses his path.
Whether their first meeting was chance or fate it left both of them with an impression. They are about to realize that appearances can be deceiving and only if they are truly willing to open their hearts and pasts to each other will they truly heal.
The characters have so much depth, the chemistry between them intense but it is the emotional pull of the story that you will remember.
Oh my gosh, it's always a joy to read one of Ms. Renshaw's stories. She never disappoints. Clearly, this is my new favorite book by her. A story of two people who happen to meet and quickly become adversaries. Both have suffered tremendous amount of pain and loss and have more in common then they initially think. From the beginning, of this beautifully told tale, I was mesmerized by the author's words.
Bennett Schoenbach is soured by life and his attitude demonstrates his bitterness. He has no faith in the human race and trusts no one. He has every reason for his bitterness, too. He childhood was void of any affection and love, not to mention his lifespan is being ripped from him in adulthood by a serious health condition. While, Astaire Carraro has a strong belief in people that stems from two loving individuals that left strong imprints on her soul. Although, she too, had a rough beginning in life, she has always pushed through and powered forward with a positive attitude guided by memories of those whom she exchanged loving feelings with. Their story evolves through Bennett's high-handed tactics and Astaire's compassionate mannerisms. Somewhere in the middle, a most special and endearing little five year old girl seals the deal for their happily ever after.
This story was very special to me on so many levels. I most highly recommend this novel, as it transcends a strong message of hope, good will and the beauty of life.
Astaire and Bennett met in a bar on a rainy night. Astaire is a kindergarten teacher waiting to meet a blind date on the one-year anniversary of her fiance's death. Bennett is a successful entrepreneur who needed to get a drink before making arrangements for his sister's memorial service. Their initial interaction was contentious, to say the least, yet the two of them kept running into each other.
As Astaire and Bennett got to know each other, they realized they are more connected than either one of them could have imagined. Their relationship is an emotional roller coaster as they try to figure out how to trust each other and grow beyond their own emotional wounds and scars.
I absolutely loved the connection between Astaire and Bennett. They put in the effort and time to get the HEA they both deserved. This is the first book I've read by Winter Renshaw and I was thoroughly impressed. I was engrossed in this book from the first page.