Monday, May 8, 2023

Book Review: Hate Rinse Repeat

By Sara Steven

Maisy Moore is not looking forward to the holiday season. As owner of the only hair salon in Gamble, Alaska, she’ll be run off her feet helping her clients get dolled up for Christmas and New Years Eve parties. Parties she’ll never be invited to.

But that’s not the worst of it. As a single mom, she knows she still won’t be able to give her seven-year-old son, Jack, the kind of magical Christmas his classmates get. Telling him how much she loves him will only get a kid that age so far. If only she could give him what he really wants—to know who his dad is.

The last thing Maisy needs is for NHL star Chase Evans to come waltzing back into town like he’s God’s gift to women. But that’s exactly what Chase does.

After taking a crosscheck from behind, Chase’s season is over. Instead of scoring goals, he’s recovering from shoulder surgery, and according to his mother, there’s no better place to recover than home. Because let’s face it, basking in the glow of local adoration won’t be too bad. There are no fans quite like hometown fans.

The last thing Chase expects is to find Maisy Moore still single. He decides to see if maybe they could rekindle their brief romance that occurred the night of their ten-year high school reunion. But when he tries to talk to her, he discovers Maisy’s feelings of lust have turned to loathing. And he’s determined to find out why.

Will Maisy manage to keep the identity of her son a secret? Will there be a holiday miracle that will reunite two hard-headed lovers? Will the BOGO special on shampoo and conditioner be a hit? (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads.)

Chase has always been the one Maisy hates to love, and loves to hate. Their relationship spans decades, starting with what Maisy has always viewed as childhood torment and humiliation–yet, despite that, she developed a crush on him, culminating into one fateful night at their ten year high school reunion. Miscommunication, skewed views and several years later, the fact that his career in the NHL has kept him away from their small town of Gamble has always been seen as a big benefit to Maisy, never a hindrance. The further away, the better.

For Chase, it’s the opposite. His goal in life from day one has always been to support Maisy and make life easier for her, particularly during their youth, when she would get picked on by fellow students. The night of their reunion is a memory he brings up from time to time and thinks of fondly, with an air of “what if,” and “what would have happened had he never joined the NHL,” and it isn’t until that reality is challenged will he focus even more on the one who got away. 

Those opposing views made Hate, Rinse, Repeat an interesting experience! In the beginning, there is no love lost for Maisy, while for Chase, there is a chance for new beginnings. Somewhere along the way, after a major inciting incident that leaves Chase reeling, views flip, with Maisy wondering if she’ll ever receive his forgiveness, and Chase intent on blocking her from his heart. 

While I’ve never been in a situation exactly like this one, I know what it’s like to try to delicately balance what feels almost like a professional relationship with someone, particularly when someone else’s well-being is involved. Past feelings and hurts can often get in the way, and when wounds are fresh, it’s even harder to see clearly. There were times when Chase really irritated me, because I felt he would take things too far and purposely inflict pain, yet it was a very human reaction to being blindsided by someone you love. Maisy would often cower and there were moments I wished she would stand up for herself more, but when you hurt someone, sometimes you’re not really sure what the best steps are going forward. Plus, there is a lot of baggage from the past that feeds into everything.

I really loved the dialogue between characters. Maisy and Chase were so great with their snarky, sassy lines, along with other characters who provided a great supporting cast for two individuals who just can’t seem to get their sh&% together, but they want to, more than anything. It was at times funny, and charming, with an undercurrent of raw emotion due to the subject matter–when it comes to love, it can be messy and beautiful, depending on the moment. I rooted for a positive outcome, however that might look in the end, making this a definite five-star experience for me.

Thanks to Whitney Dineen for the book in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in this series:

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