Contemporary Romance

Review: Love Her or Lose Her – Tessa Bailey (Hot & Hammered #2)

Rating 4 Stars

What’s the book about?
Rosie and Dominic Vega are the perfect couple: high school sweethearts, best friends, madly in love. Well, they used to be anyway. Now Rosie’s lucky to get a caveman grunt from the ex-soldier every time she walks in the door. Dom is faithful and a great provider, but the man she fell in love with ten years ago is nowhere to be found. When her girlfriends encourage Rosie to demand more out of life and pursue her dream of opening a restaurant, she decides to demand more out of love, too. Three words: marriage boot camp.

Never in a million years did Rosie believe her stoic, too-manly-to-emote husband would actually agree to relationship rehab with a weed-smoking hippy. Dom talking about feelings? Sitting on pillows? Communing with nature? Learning love languages? Nope. But to her surprise, he’s all in, and it forces her to admit her own role in their cracked foundation. As they complete one ridiculous—yet surprisingly helpful—assignment after another, their remodeled relationship gets stronger than ever. Except just as they’re getting back on track, Rosie discovers Dom has a secret… and it could demolish everything.

My Review
I’m just going to put it out there: Love Her or Lose Her encompassed everything I love and essentially expect in a second chance romance.

You had:

  • Two genuine characters who still cared for each other deep down but somewhere along the way had lost touch with the other person and themselves.
  • Characters experiencing solid character growth and explored the concept of shared blame in the breakdown of their relationship.
  • A true love story from beginning to end, to new beginning again.

Love Her or Lose Her begins with Rosie working another long, mundane shift at the perfume counter with an awful, power-tripping boss when a male customer shows her a little attention and she comes to the realisation that she hasn’t been happy in her relationship with her husband Dominic in quite some time. Don’t worry though – there is absolutely no cheating in this story whatsoever. She makes it clear to said customer that she’s taken and not interested but goes home ready to pack her belongings and stay with a friend while she figures out her next step forward.

Sweet, reserved Dominic never realised how unhappy Rosie has been or even how far apart they had grown over the years. Her moving out is the wake up call he needs and since they still care for one another deeply, they decide to take a final chance on “extreme” couples counselling.

The couples counselling was hilarious. Their marriage counselor was the definition of a stereotypical “hippie”. Think: weed smoking, free love, crystals and dream-catchers hanging everywhere, incense burning… and the best thing that could have happened to help Rosie and Dom reconnect! The counselor really helped both characters understand what they individually needed from the relationship and how they could go about changing to rebuild their solid foundation.

As previously mentioned, what I loved about this was that Rosie and Dom truly learnt that a relationship is about the two people, blame can’t all be put on one person and that both people need to make an effort. Initially Rosie felt like Dom wasn’t doing his part (and Dom being the strong, silent and protective/provider type agreed with that assessment) but then she realised that she was being just as uncommunicative and unaffectionate towards Dom; and how could she expect more from him when she herself had given up? She had stopped doing and saying little things to show him she cared. She began to realise that while she preferred words over actions, wanting Dom to verbally express himself, Dom prefers actions over words and each time he warmed up her car in the mornings or paid the security guard to ensure she made it safely to her car after work was his way of providing and caring for her (despite their lack of communication at home). He wasn’t as indifferent towards her as she believed but instead he felt himself inadequate in providing for her.

Tessa Bailey did a fantastic job of exploring the concept of rebuilding a broken connection in a loving relationship and I genuinely enjoyed every minute of reading this story. This book featured two characters that were truly likeable and I spent the entire time rooting for their success as individuals and as a couple. It was also great revisiting the other characters as we see Georgie and Travis’ connection continue to flourish and get a taste of what’s to come for Bethany and Wes (I can’t wait for book 3)!

Now if only Tessa Bailey would provide Rosie’s delicious recipes… Especially for the empanadas or asado, yum!

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