Sunday, August 11, 2019

St-St-Stuffed (Enemies to Lovers #2) [Karl & Paul] by Anyta Sunday

At first glance, when I looked at the names of our MCs I didn't get it.. Though the title of the book and series SHOULD have clued me in... Though Paul and Karl have the briefest appearance in Shane and Trey's book their animosity was pronounced enough.. You might recall Paul being Shane's favorite kid in his after school job he and Trey shared. Also seeing Paul struggling with his speech was what made him think of studying speak therapy. He had a hard time seeing Paul being ridiculed by the other kids for his stutter - especially by Karl.. So here we are, years later, when both are nearing 28 meeting again and the situation couldn't be more awkward and also reversed. Kinda perfect :)

Karl Andrews dreams shattered to the ground when his family disowned him leaving him with NOTHING but his grandfathers' inheritance - a sleek Lamborghini. Though he could sell it and be well off, he can't do that. It's the only thing he has of the one family member who actually cared for him. So here he is, homeless, living in said car barely making enough money for food, unsuccessful in finding a job as a chef. Granted he isn't trained as one (as he hoped to be before everything crashed and burned when he lost his parents and his boyfriend Will all together) but cooking is his passion and he is damn good at it! Yet the only jobs he finds - and barely keeps - is serving food. Everything changes when he finds himself serving a salad to a familiar guy with big gray eyes.

Yep, he looses this job as well as he rushes after the guy, remembering now it's Paul, the kid he tormented at school for stuttering.. Feeling at a loss not knowing what to do he goes back to circling wanted adds in the newspaper.. When he sees a job as a "Girl Friday" he decides to give it a go (personally I had NO idea what that is!). Wanna guess who was the guy offering the job? Yep, said Paul with the beautiful big gray eyes who now runs a few hotels and needs someone to help him out with his 4 years old son Charlie (as well as take care of things around the house - cleaning, cooking etc). How hard can the job be? Considering the job also includes accommodation (and even a parking space for his beloved car..).

While Paul Hyte wasn't thrilled seeing Karl again, not to mention him applying for the job, he doesn't want to be "that guy", being mean to him when it's obvious how desperately Karl needs this opportunity. He accepts a three weeks trial and hopes for the best.. Karl is determined to show him just how much he won't regret it!

Though we only get Karl's POV (as we did in the previous installment as well), I think mostly, Paul's struggles are pretty apparent, even if not really from the start. Karl sees a slight interest from Paul's side but he isn't sure what to make of it. Though it's a bit awkward at first, they do find they enjoy each other's company every evening when Charlie it tucked in bed. Karl, being still a bit mischievous (yet, not mean!) really enjoys Charlie's company even if he is exhausted when the day comes to an end.  So ending the day with a beer in hand, just hanging out casually in the living room with Paul makes his days even better. He doesn't know anyone in the city, he doesn't have any friends and so it doesn't take long for him to truly be a part of this little family, especially when things start to change between him and Paul.

Yet even though Paul cares a lot about Karl he is more than reluctant to be open about their relationship. He isn't sure he is ready not only to be openly gay but also to put aside his late wife Laura. He loved her so much, he misses her, he also doesn't know how to even introduce the idea of him moving on - not even specifically with a man! - to his best friends as they were first Laura's friends, not to mention Charlie's grandparents (Laura's parents) who seem to keep bringing her up even more now than before. It's a difficult decision but one he needs to make if he wants Karl to stay. Karl loves Paul and Charlie dearly. He finally feels loved and accepted for who he is in this new family, but his heart won't be able to deal with another family casting him out...

This book was simply WONDERFUL. Paul's forgiveness (even if understandably reluctant at first) to give Karl a chance and later on seeing their relationship progressed was so beautiful and heartfelt. Especially them opening up to one another. They both dealt with an uneasy past. While Paul "had it all" - money, great job, cutest kid, friends and family who help him out when he needs - he WAS missing someone he could call his own. Someone to lean on and love with all of his heart. Karl was exactly that. I had a hard time imagining the mean Karl, the one we met was so very different but everything that happened to him shaped him into a better person for sure. Now when he is down, receiving help from the last person he would think would grant that makes him even more appreciative of how wonderful Paul really is. He was struggling. Stumbling and falling, insecure and lost but with Paul (and Charlie) by his side he was slowly finding his footing again.

LOVED IT and HIGHLY recommend this one!

Read on:
10-11 August 2019

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