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After having read just the first few pages, I was completely hooked I stayed up all night to finish this novel because I just couldn t put it down A heartwarming story wherein characters were believable and flawed and wonderful Astaire a pre school teacher who grew up in a not so ideal environment but it didn t make her hard or jaded She has this positive attitude and chooses to see the good in people So, meeting Bennett is really a challenge to her personality.Bennett the arrogant, dark and brooding businessman His attitude comes from how he was brought up by his so called family I really didn t like Bennett very much he s just so mean to Astaire But as the author expertly added depth and dimension to his character, Bennett really grew on me.I thoroughly enjoy how it all started with Astaire and Bennett Scenes are funny, sweet, romantic, sexy and infuriating when they are together As the story progresses, there s a twist that will make the plot captivating The Cruelest Stranger is everything I want in an enemy to lovers trope Ms Renshaw nailed this book, in my opinion Note ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review Thank you All the angst I expect from a Winter book, some steam, some drama, and a HEAOn a dark, rainy night, Astaire goes to meet a blind date She was set up by a co worker After a stop to make herself presentable after the rain, she sits at the bar waiting for her date All she knows is his name, he has dark hair, and is over 6 ft Not altogether down with this after a long day, but she tries anyway And a case of mistaken identity leads to Bennett and Astaire s first encounter And it is far from pleasant Their chemistry sizzles Except Bennett is a cold, cold man He trusts no one And prefers no one know he s actually a decent guy Although he doesn t think so He just secretly tries to make up for the karmic evil he feels his family has imparted upon the world Astaire on the other hand is a kindergarten teacher And, despite the tragedies and experiences in her life, she still tries to be a good person Even to a cold, rude stranger.No one expects the twists and turns their lives take They certainly don t expect to discover all the things that link them to each other I loved this one All the angst I expect from a Winter book, some steam, some drama, and a HEA at the end of bumpy road I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review. I ve long been a fan of Winter Renshaw and consider her a hidden gem of an author and I would love to see other readers discover her.Astaire is a young woman grieving Her fianc died in a car crash way too soon And what makes it sadder is she grew up in foster care and has no family She does have a job she loves though, as a kindergarten teacher But it s time she starts to move on and she is waiting in a bar one wet and rainy night for a blind date She approaches a guy who she thinks might be her date, only to be blown away by his rudeness And he really is rude to her, a complete stranger But despite it, when she notices he left his umbrella behind she tries to return it until she finds him heading into a funeral parlor and what with the recent loss of her fiance, her heart softens until another interaction and meeting and each time he s just a cynical as ever But Astaire is nothing if not an optimist and she refuses to believe he s as mean as he comes across.Turns out he s both Bennett is both cruel and soft He was raised by a monster of a mother and an equally cruel and sadistic brother and he s had to cover himself in layer after layer of coldness in order to protect himself.But when a little girl is mysteriously thrust into his life, a little girl with close ties to Astaire, Bennet finally begins to let her in and she knows she s been right all along, there is something special about him Astaire is so good She hasn t let all the losses she s experienced harden her heart at all and she has so much to offer Bennett And though it takes a while, he sees how special she is And while at the start Bennett isn t the easiest hero to like, it isn t long before we readers see beneath his icy exterior to the caring man he is underneath and who he could have been all along given the right circumstances This is another book I m sure I ll read again As I said, she is an autobuy author and one I would love to see readers discover I ve read a number of her books now There was one I read a few years ago that I HATED and declared that was it, I was finished with this author But I m ever so glad I didn t listen to me because I was wrong So try her, try this one It s good.
Rain Brings New BeginningsA heart wrenching and heartwarming enemies to lovers romance that will make you believe in fated soul mates.One night in a random bar and both their lives change forever He s the biggest jerk she s ever met She s sunshine and all the good things about life He s a pessimist but sees it as being a realist She always gives everyone the benefit of the doubt and looks at the bright side of life She s the light to his dark.You never know the pain that someone else is going through Astaire knew that better than anyone Even after the all she has lost, she still believes in love and kindness So when she sees a stranger that she believes is suffering, she reaches out And so their story begins.Bennett is a man who lashes out first because he expects the worst, which is exactly what he does when he meets Astaire Coming from the family he has you can understand Astaire is not deterred and refuses to be cruel like him However, as much as he doesn t want her in his life, he can t stop thinking about her.He s a very wealthy business owner dealing with his own baggage She s a kindergarten teacher trying to make the most of life An unexpected meeting changes everything Their lives are intersected in ways than they realize Sometimes fate knows better than we do.This is an emotional enemies to lovers, fated love story Bennett doesn t believe in that stuff or even marriage, but Astaire is about to change his life for the better He is about to be schooled on all matters of the heart They have amazing chemistry and a connection that s unavoidable He never expected her, but he s never letting her go Love is messy, but it s worth it Together they ll both find the family they deserve. Looking for something angsty to read that will keep you entranced the entire time Then read The Cruelest Stranger by Winter Renshaw I read over 200 books a year and have read almost everything published by this author and in my opinion her latest release, The Cruelest Stranger, is her best work yet It s a suspenseful enemies to lovers drama with many, many layers that were interwoven perfectly I do believe people are a product of their upbringing and Bennett Schoenback is a prime example As CEO of his family s company, he is crass, cruel and heartless Just wait until you meet his reprehensible mother and brother It s a bit Beauty and the Beast and trust me, you will understand his broodiness and cynicism and will grow to love him as the story unfolds He meets Astaire, our sweet and optimistic heroine, by chance and does not make a great first impression Or second Or third Their relationship is serendipitous and takes a direction that neither would have ever imagined These complete opposites are drawn to one another, both physically and emotionally They need each other and I so admired Astaire s beautiful, kind soul and for taking a chance to help a stranger She is guarded and protective of her heart, yet her inner voice tells her to let him in.The two of them do not begin an immediate intimate relationship it is a slow burn of the best kind They take their time getting to know one another, trusting each other with their past, and leaning on each other in time of need And when they finally give into their desires, it is passionate and hot Astaire, a beloved kindergarten teacher, has not had it easy either, but remained honest, direct, positive, and nurturing even after all that she has been through I loved how she could be open minded and trust her heart and instincts while not being a pushover Everything is not always what it seems, and this book will captivate you page after page.Their relationship was often tumultuous and the Bennett let down his guard, the closer they became It was really beautiful watching their relationship grow and how they opened up their heart and home to Honor, a child who came into their lives unexpectedly Although errant behavior is never acceptable, the that is revealed about Bennett, the you will understand the choices he made He is not only a smart and successful business man, but very generous as well, often giving back anonymously to people in need He has been given a second chance at life and at love, and I loved the epilogue three years into the future where everything comes full circle and they live happily ever after Fabulous book Winter, I loved it In my opinion, this is my favorite WR book Bennett and Astaire had the worst accidental meet up She thought there was a possibility that he was her blind date, but Bennett is angry, exasperating, infuriating, standoffish, a big ole meanie to her, just by her trying to ask a question GAHHHHH, I felt my anger rise when that happened to her This guy, really But, when someone is that angry, there is a backstory there Astaire is wanting to find out, she always looks on the bright side of things There is something about Bennett where she just wants find out She s just intrigued, and there is something about her that he s curious about.These two somewhat become friends as they slowly tread lightly on their new fragile friendship Bennett grew up filthy rich, a family with mountains of baggage He is going through some rough times internally, but a surprise hits him, and he s going to do anything and everything to make it work I love seeing Bennett slowly break down his barriers to allow Astaire to help him and show him what real love is I love seeing this guy fall completely in love with people who are important to him This is definitely a book to be read I could not put this one down The writing was great, it flowed very seamlessly, and I really wanted epilogues Love Love Love Bennett Anyone who knows me knows that fictional mean boys make the world go round THE MEANER THE BETTER There is something about the spirited banter and the back and forth that has made me an addict For that reason I loved Bennett Schoenback from the get go He was cruel and heartless oh the ironywith a huge dose of cynical charm that I could not get enough of At first his connection with Astaire was tumultuous at best but after getting to know one another, a love story was born I thought this story was sexy, heartfelt, full of drama and emotional gut punches and I loved every minute of it What I especially loved about this story was the twists and surprises that added an edge to the story While some were obvious, others knocked me flat out I enjoyed The Cruelest Stranger so much because of these twist and turns Renshaw s story wouldn t be complete without the hot fiery chemistry between Bennett and Astaire and the nerve wracking climax This story was a win and I am so onboard for her next one Bravo 5 stars Ratula &Book ☘ The Cruelest Stranger ⇣ The First Time I Saw Him Was At A Bar Called Ophelia S On A Misty Thursday Night I Was There To Drown My Sorrows After A Trying Day, He Was There To Escape The Storm After A Brief Yet Incredibly Cruel Exchange, The Handsome Stranger Bolted Before I Had A Chance To Tell Him Off Incensed And Two Cocktails Deep, I Followed Him Out The Door, Determined To Give The Audacious Adonis A Piece Of My Mind Tearing After Him In Heels And Barely Able To Keep Up In The Freezing Rain, I Ended My Chase When I Realized Where He Was Going They Say Never To Judge Someone Unless You Know Their Story I Never Could Have Anticipated His And I Never Could Have Anticipated The Way Our Paths Would Cross Again Or That I Would One Day Find Myself Falling For A Man With A Hollow Cavity Where His Heart Should Be, A Man As Callous As He Was Beautiful, As Complicated As He Was Mesmeric They Say Never To Judge Someone Unless You Know Their Story This One S Ours The Cruelest Stranger is the first book by Winter Renshaw that I read, although I ve added some of her older books in my TBR list that I will read in the future because I really liked this one It didn t just have a hot guy on the cover, it also had a nice story that was my cup of tea because it s an enemies to lovers romance.The book tells the story of Astaire and Bennett, two people who couldn t be different if they tried Astaire is in a bar waiting for her blind date Thanks to the heavy rain, her clothes and everything is ruined, so she tries to fix her attire in the bathroom and misses the guy she has to meet But she does meet another man, that she mistakes for her blind date Bennett doesn t want anybody to bother him while he s drinking, and when Astaire is about to ask him if he s the man she s supposed to be meeting that night, he cuts her off with a venomous tone that chills her to the bone After he walks away and forgets his umbrella, Astaire, like the good woman she is, follows him to give it back despite his treatment She could have ignored the stranger that was cruel to her, but she didn t And this will change everything for both of them.Astaire was a special woman She s a kindergarten teacher and she is a simple and mature person who always tries to see the good in people and in life Speaking of which, life wasn t kind to her The blind date was a way for her to try to move on from the death of her fianc e who died a year before in an accident Nobody knows when it s the best moment to go on with their life after such a tragedy, but Astaire felt like it was time she tried to get in touch with people again, to try to find love again, despite she will always be attached to the fond memory of her boyfriend When Bennett treats her like crap, Astaire doesn t get mad because she assumes he s had a bad day and since she follows him to give him back the umbrella, she reinforces her assumptions and forgives him for replying her as if she did something bad to him in the bar It s what Astaire does later that starts a series of exchanges with Bennett and that keeps the line alive between them I liked that despite Bennett was truly an ass whenever he met Astaire because he also assumed something about her from their encounter , she stood her ground with kindness and always tried to be sincere with him despite he didn t believe her at first Like I said a while ago, Bennett was an ass ever since the first encounter with Astaire He basically assumes the worst scenario possible as the reason why she approached him at the bar, which is terrible, but at the same time I get where he s coming from Bennett is a private person and he grew up in a family of wolves his mother only cares about appearances and his older brother envies his success with women and with the family business he s managing This is why Bennett never shows his true feelings to anybody and questions everything and everyone In his life he s only dealt with greedy people who stopped at nothing to steal what he liked Bennett makes assumptions before even knowing people better because he wants to save himself from rejection and delusion Plus, he doesn t think he s worthy of being loved, since his so called family never showed affection towards him In the end, people will always want money and nobody wants to stick around to be with him He is annoyed by Astaire s messages and casual meetings because he thinks she s a fraud, but in the end he ll see that it was just a defense mechanism and that he just imagined that she could be doing that, but he realizes that Astaire is really like that and she s being honest with him Basically, Astaire will make him see that not everyone is bad and that if he wants, he can be happy.I would consider this story a slow burn, because the feelings between Astaire and Bennett grow chapter after chapter but not too soon There isn t insta love nor insta lust in this book, on the other hand, the thoughts of the characters are realistic and natural I don t know how to explain this unlike some books of this genre where both characters think omg he she is hot all the time, and say the usual lines during sex, this one showed that life isn t only made of sexual thoughts I mean, it didn t revolve everything around the budding romance between Astaire and Bennett but also around other aspects of daily life Their life was normal I mean, their actions and thoughts were normal in the way that seemed believable, not like those stories where it seems the characters only have one thing on their mind and it all comes down to that in the end.There isn t only romance in this book, but many other things that you ll discover chapter after chapter So my suggestion is read it and found out for yourself. Received ARC from BookSprout for Honest Review.I Give this Book a 3.5 5 Star Rating, Listing as 3.HEA Yes.Insta I would classify this as such, yes.Romance 3 5Heat 3 5, I m Just Gonna List is as 2.5 5Drama 3.5 5Suspense 3 5Spoiler in Review No Honestly, I m Forcing Myself To Avoid Adding Any.I Have to say this is a hard one to rate, cause when I finished book..I had to ask myself Did I Actually Enjoy The Book Well I Did and Didn t.The whole reasoning for him being labeled the Cruelest was just not really convincing and when you find out why he s the way he ismy reaction was REALLY How can I explain this the book just didn t fit the title and vice versa.The book to me is insta love, it is fast paced and to me things were too Convenient Coincidental.To me Bennett Astaire weren t a believable couple, it just seemed like a forced plot that would seem hot.It s not that I didn t Like Bennett cause I did, but the book just didn t convince me that he belong to Astaire and again Vice Versa.The book felt clogged and the time flow just felt wrong The fast pacing did damage to the book in my opinion, not only is it fast in the timing but the writing itself just felt awfully fast, like the book was just an inconvenience and just hurry up and get it over with.There are a few unresolved questions that should ve been answered, and some characters that should ve been important were weirdly resolved , even I m not sure if that s true or they just disappeared from the book like outta sight outta mind type of thing This would ve been better if it was a Duet rather just a single book I ve never been so confused about writing a review before, I m just gonna stay the book overall too me was justWeird.But I Liked the Book, let s just end this review with THAT Lol