Release Blitz ~ Ex-Rivals by Zoe Lee (Review + Excerpt + Giveaway)

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Release Blitz, Excerpt & Giveaway:
Ex-Rivals by Zoe Lee

Local Beats, Book 3

Julian Corelli
After fifteen years, I’m back in Chicago for a new job, with enough sass and charm to power the whole city. There are two million people here, and only one I never want to see again. Except who do I come face-to-face with on my very first night back? My ex-rival, my ex-classmate, my ex… nevermind.

Camdon Gaines
As if getting over a breakup isn’t bad enough, the worst person I’ve ever had the displeasure to know is at my favorite club on guys’ night, laughing with my best friends. He’s still the most infuriating man, but at least I faced him, lost my temper a little, and now it’s case closed.

Except now that we’ve crossed paths again, it’s like we’re cosmically handcuffed together. Everyone else thinks he’s the funniest, cleverest man in the city and they want to be his new bestie. But I know the real Julian and there’s no way I can ever trust him again after what he did to me—especially when he’s acting like I’m the one who ruined everything.

This is a 70k word enemies-to-lovers, second chance, slower burn romance with a guaranteed HEA. It’s the third book in the Local Beats series and can be read as a standalone, but is more fun if read in order.

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Chapter 1


“Hello, gorgeous,” the bartender cooed as I handed over my AmEex Black Card to start a tab.

He was gorgeous too, like a ballerina who could’ve been anywhere from mid-thirties like me to mid-fifties, with a vague accent I couldn’t place over the loud, thumping music in the club.

I leaned over the bar and he dipped his head, offering me his ear. “I’m in the mood for wine.”

“If you can wait, I’ve got something in the back to match your taste,” he answered.

“I’ll wait for you all night,” I replied, letting my chin skim his jaw.

He pulled back with a laugh, pressing the card into my fingers, and waggled a finger at me. “Darling, I’m one of the owners, and I’m very happy already. But aren’t you an angel. I might have a few favorite patrons here tonight who would be more than happy to meet you.”

No offense taken, I slid my card back into my wallet. “I am new in town.”

With a nod, he ducked under the bar’s pass through and went to get my wine, while I pivoted to perch an elbow on the bar and survey the thick crowd at Local Beats tonight.

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3.75 Stars

The third story of the Local Beats series features enemies to lovers, between two former rivals. I really enjoyed book one the most, and I felt a little lost with this current story. The beginning definitely reeled me in but the middle lagged and felt forced. The anger between the two men was off-the-charts and was uncomfortable at times. By the midway point, they could be together without verbally lashing out.
The crux of the story is a massive miscommunication coupled with warped perceptions. Camden is a lawyer that never has forgiven his first love for what he believed was a betrayal. Julian, a teacher, has come to Cam’s town to oversee a charity benefit that features a bachelor auction. While much more civil, Julian is filled with hurt over his version of Camden’s abandonment. Each feels the victim, and the wound has been festering way too long.
There is a large host of secondary characters, and at times I felt they took up too much of the story. I would have preferred less of everyone else and more time with the two men trying to navigate and merge their new feelings. It took me a little bit longer to bond with Camden as he shouts quite a bit in the story, which did not endear him to me at first. I did feel a stronger pull towards Julian and ached for his past.
It took a while before I felt a true connection between the two men and this was near the end. I suggest reading the first two stories before delving into Ex-Rivals. If you enjoy enemies to lover tropes this will be a book you should try. Happy reading!
* * * Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my1 reading pleasure, a review wasn’t a requirement. * * *

Enter the Giveaway:

To celebrate Zoe’s new release, we are giving you a chance to win your choice of any ebook from Zoe’s backlist! Three winners will be chosen!

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About the Author:

Zoe writes contemporary romances and believed everyone will get extraordinary love stories since before she ever fell in love. She lives with her family near the mountains in Colorado, where she writes while listening to music, never drinks coffee, reads books in one sitting, and watches too many movies and tv shows. She’s been writing since she was a kid, but luckily she knows how grown-ups work now. Mostly.

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