Review: Bad at Love by Karina Halle

Format: E-Book
Read with: Kindle Paperwhite
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Metal Blonde Books
Hero: Lazarus Scott
Heroine: Marina Owens
Sensuality: 3.5
Date of Publication: November 14, 2017
Started On: May 29, 2020
Finished On: June 06, 2020

Bad at Love is my second read from Karina Halle and features the most favorite trope of mine when it comes to romancelandia, i.e. friends to lovers. The story begins four years prior to the time in which the main events take place, depicting that fateful night when Marina Owens meets the sinfully sexy and broody Lazarus Scott. Lazarus being the half brother of one of her closest friends does not stop Marina from being smitten by him that very night. However, nothing comes of it and time passes by, with the two becoming good friends, until the present day, where things are about to change dramatically for the both of them.

Marina at 25 years is the owner of her own business and successful in her own right, making a name for herself in beekeeper circles. Where she feels inadequate emerges when it comes to dealing with the opposite sex in terms of romantic entanglements. When she confides in Lazarus of her most recent debacle, he comes up with the craziest idea that she has heard from him – they date each other for a little while, each to guide the other on where they are going wrong when it comes to relationships.

30 year old Lazarus has a different problem altogether when it comes to the women in his life; let it never be said that he is a man-whore. He is known as the serial monogamist, who just never finds it in himself to carry on with any relationship for more than a couple of months at best. So, with the best of intentions, laying out ground rules to guide them, thus embarks Lazarus and Marina on uncharted waters when it comes to their friendship.

For two people who are so in tune with one another with banked fires of desire between them, it is inevitable that the floodgates would burst open given half the chance. And as things heat up between the two, both of them are forced to make the hard choices; should they risk their friendship and go all in, no holds barred towards something which could end up destroying the very fabric of their existing camaraderie and closeness, or should they take a chance on what could end up being the love of a lifetime?

I loved both Marina and Lazarus to bits! Marina was such a wonderful, wonderful heroine. I love heroines who are true to their characters, who aren’t fussy, who are just honest about where they are coming from, and their emotions. To me, that sounds like a character who is grounded, someone who I can totally get on board with.

The most refreshing aspect of the novel itself for me was how honest Marina was about her feelings; she just puts herself out there and tells it all without resorting to qualms and tactics that would have just prolonged the inevitable. She was ready to face the heartache or come what may even if Lazarus were not meet her half way. She just embraced the fact that she loves Lazarus and loves him like crazy, and is brave enough to understand what her friend Naomi tells her; that Marina’s insight into who Lazarus is and how he loves, is in fact colored by how Marina views the word and love in general.

Lazarus, oh my Lazarus! He is one of those accented, British heroes that we all love to love. Sexy, sinfully good looking, and extraordinary in the sack (and he knows it), there is nothing like a confident hero who can make a girl lose her mind in the bedroom and then some. The dark and edgy bits to him just complements perfectly with who Marina is, and I believe that is one of the reasons why they gel so well together.

I loved how Lazarus was really sweet to Marina where it counted, and understood the pains of his childhood having marked him in a way that makes it difficult for him to see beyond the scars that haunt him. I loved the fact that in Marina, he found someone worthy, someone with whom he can find solace on the darker days and take comfort in the fact that she would have his back, no matter what.

Definitely recommended for all romance lovers who adore the friends to lovers trope. And of course fans of good contemporary romances in general! I loved how heartwarming and endearing this was all around.

Final Verdict: In Bad at Love, Ms. Halle brings together two characters whose timing was never right, whose love when allowed to blossom, shines ever so bright.

Favorite Quotes

His tongue slides into my mouth, slow, almost painfully slow, this teasing drag along the edge of my tongue that makes my skin run hot and tight. A desperate urge rises up from inside me, the steel of his tongue ring cool and sleek.
Fuck.
This is happening.
And it’s still happening.
Like any new dance, it starts off tentative, wary, and then morphs, his mouth growing hungrier, our tongues sliding in and out with building urgency. Laz presses his hips into mine and I can feel how hard he is.
For me. All for me.

I don’t know how long our eyes are locked like this. Our bodies are locked like this. Our hearts are locked like this. An eternity passes where all our unsaid words are passed between us like prayers.
“Sweet girl,” he whispers to me seconds before his mouth crushes mine.
I groan against his lips, his mouth hot and wet and hungry. This is a deep kiss, the kind of kiss you shouldn’t have on a public dance floor. It’s pulled out from a wild and charged place far inside me, a place I’ve always kept the bars on, keeping back my primal instincts like you would predators in a zoo.

“Fuck,” he groans. “Your cunt feels better than it tastes.”
“You have a dirty mouth,” I manage to say.
“You have no idea,” he says roughly, his lips capturing mine in a deliriously slow kiss that matches the deliriously slow way he’s thrusting into me.
Everything feels like bliss, the pain now melting into something that makes me wild and thrilled. I dig my hands into his back, my nails leaving marks and our kiss gets messier, teeth, lips, tongue, mouths completely missing each other.
I’m starving for him, starving for years, going mad.

“Laz,” I moan but it sounds more like a whimper, like he needs to put me out of this sweet sweet misery.
“I want you to come,” he hisses, his fingers razing my clit until I’m almost bursting at the seams. “Open your eyes.”
They fly open and I’m looking up at him in wild awe, stark determination on his brow, a side of Laz I’ve never seen, a side I want to keep seeing forever. I want him undone, I want to render him powerless, I want to see what I can do to him, how much ecstasy I can bring him.

Tears rush to my eyes and I grab onto the tight, sweaty planes of his back as I’m liquefied beneath him. I hold him like I’ll never let him go, I’ll never let go because I’m not sure I’ll exist if I do. I’m just stardust now.
“Fuck, Marina,” he grunts roughly and then his head goes back, his throat exposed, neck muscles corded as he pushes in deeper, deeper. The sounds coming out of his mouth as he shudders into me will be forever burned in my heart. The feel of him, the look of him, feral and somehow tamed now.

“Fuck!” she yelps, “Oh god. Oh god, Laz. Laz.” Her voice trails off into moans that shake me to my core. She’s so fucking beautiful like this, her body trembling beneath me, throbbing against my tongue. She’s becoming undone.
But I’m not done yet.
I’m only getting started.
With borderline desperation, I grab the base of my cock and straighten up, gripping her hips, the covers falling back behind me. Sitting back on my knees, I thrust into her, barely able to control myself.
She feels so good. A silky, tight fist that won’t let go.

If she’s losing her mind, so am I. I’m no longer myself. Just an animal. I piston myself into her, over and over again, the headboard slamming against the wall. I can see us in the reflection of the painting above the bed, me fucking her raw, deep from behind, my muscles flexing as I push in, fast, hard, our skin blistering from such wild need.
My fingers work her clit, harder, faster, so slick and messy, slipping and sliding against her. Then she’s coming, and her pulse on her throat is racing into my palm. She cries out again, loud, frenzied, like she’s being obliterated in the most perverse way.

Then the kiss deepens, a slow, hard pull that reaches deep inside me, feeding the hunger. Our mouths, lips, and tongues dance like savages with each other, violent and ravenous andwild.
He suddenly grabs my waist and hoists me up a few inches, positioning his cock just so before lowering me. I gasp at the intrusion, my body so fucking ready yet so unprepared that I have to remember to breathe. If it wanted a break after New York, it’s not getting one.
“Fuck me,” he mutters against my neck as he deliberately drives his cock upward and into me, my muscles expanding around him as much as they can. “So fucking good, Marina. You feel so fucking good.”

One of his hands is lost in my hair, tugging on it the way I like, and I let out a breathless gasp from the sweet pain. The other is lifting up the hem of my dress, pulling it up around my waist. I’ve stopped wearing underwear these days and he lets out a deep moan that I feel vibrate through me as he explores me with his fingers.
“No knickers,” he murmurs. “Good girl.” He sticks three of his large, long fingers inside me and I clench around them, begging for more.
“Hurry up and fuck me,” I tell him.
He laughs, low and rich, reaching down to lift me up so my legs are wrapped around his waist.

We are joined as one and the more he thrusts in, deeper, deeper, the warmer he feels, like a fire that can’t be held back much longer. A trickle of sweat rolls down his brow and his eyes pinch shut as he starts to climax, his mouth going for the crook of my neck where he bites and sucks and licks as he pounds me, losing control.
“Fuck, Marina, oh fuck,” he hisses, inhaling sharply. “I’m coming. I’m coming.”
Before I even have a chance to try and catch up, he lets go of my waist and strokes my clit with his free hand.
Boom goes the dynamite.

He gets to his feet, runs his slick hands down my spine and then grips my hips as he positions himself, and with one long, slow push he eases inside me. I’m so wet and ready that he glides right in. But oh, when he pulls back out, that slow drag and piercings hitting just the right spot, somehow, I’m groaning for him all over again.
“Don’t stop,” I hiss as he plunges back inside, deeper this time, coaxing another unrestrained noise out of my throat. “Never stop with me.”
“Fuck,” he swears, gravelly and low. “I’d do this until my dying day if you’d let me, Marina.”

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

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