TI desperately, desperately wanted to like this book. I have been a Samantha Young fan for years, and I usually think her books are the perfect balance of emotion and romance. Unfortunately, I was about a hairsbreadth away from DNFing this book for the majority of it. Only my curiosity about how Caleb would be redeemed from his jerkface tendencies made me finish.
Fight or Flight is an enemies to lovers, hate at first sight, romance between Caleb, a surly Scot, and Ava, a polished and successful interior designer. Caleb and Ava meet while on two different flights on their way to Boston. They have explosive sexual chemistry, which they explore early and often, but clash personality wise. After a one night stand while traveling, Caleb and Ava meet up again in Boston and become friends with benefits, which is where their relationship stays for most of the story.
Let me start with the positives. The only love story I enjoyed in this book was Ava’s relationship with her best friend, Harper. Their steadfast support for each other in the face of true emotional turmoil brought tears to my eyes many times. I desperately want Harper to have her own story, preferably with a more palatable hero.
When I first started this book, I was a little turned off by Ava. She is a drop-dead gorgeous woman living in luxury with credit card debt because of her expensive shoe habit. She seemed a little self-absorbed and a lot pampered. Luckily, after I learned about everything she overcame with her emotionally abusive parents and crazy relationship history, combined with a passion for her job, I was entirely on her team by the end.
I also want to point out that this is a very well crafted story. Samantha Young is a veteran author, and it shows. There are many twists and turns throughout this book, most of which I didn’t see coming. The actual story never dragged and the only reason I was having a hard time finishing this book, is the hero.
Speaking of the hero, I will move on to the negatives. I disliked Caleb so much that I had to put the book down a few times. He was calculated, cold, and emotionally stunted. I am not talking about the sniping Ava and Caleb did while they were still enemies. I’m talking about the continual mixed signals he sent Ava and his constant hot/cold attitude while they were friends with benefits. Ava was continually making excuses for Caleb, including his deplorable manners with waitstaff. He refused to say “please” or “thank you” to servers because that’s just him and he’s grouchy ugh. Just no. Be polite.
Basically, this is how their relationship worked: Ava was expected to listen to Caleb complain about his work problems, divulge all her emotional baggage without anything in return, sleep with him at will, be exclusive without any other expectation of support, and anytime, ANYTIME, she brought up the fact that she wasn’t happy with this arrangement, Caleb reacted with anger and lashed out at her. God forbid she take away her smokin’ bod and hot sex.
By the end of the book, I was just hoping Ava would meet someone who would treat her with a little warmth. Leo seemed cool, I am sure he would have appreciated Ava. But no, we got a rushed HEA and barely any groveling. I might have bumped this up a half a star if the hero had been genuinely humbled. Unfortunately, he wasn’t, and I was left feeling cold.
I am in the minority with my feelings on this book. It totally worked for other people, and I truly hope it works for you. I just will never reread this book unless it’s to read the parts about Ava and Harper because girl power!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**