Thursday, March 4, 2021

ARC Review: The Man Who Hated Ned O'Leary by K.A. Merikan

From the Blurb:
“Because you love me no matter how much you hate me.”

Seven years ago, Cole Flores was betrayed by the man he loved, and his very soul was left charred. He vowed that day that he would find Ned O’Leary and kill him, even if it was the last thing he did.

But Ned disappeared, and life went on.

Despite the flame of hate burning deep inside him, Cole’s hope to find Ned had dimmed. At least it left behind a lesson to never trust, never love, and never attach himself anywhere. That was the only way for a wanted man to stay off the noose in a world filled with liars and cheats.

Just when Cole stops looking for Ned though, he finds the deceptive bastard, and life turns on its head again. Their reunion goes nothing as planned, and unanswered questions rise to the surface, poisoning Cole’s mind with lust and longing that have never gone away.

Ned O’Leary is a traitor.
Ned O’Leary is a scumbag.
Ned O’Leary is everything Cole Flores craves.

Torn between love and revenge, lust and sanity, Cole has to find out if the bruised and battered heart of an outlaw can ever trust again, or if he’s bound to fulfill his promise and be Ned O’Leary’s doom.

Ky's rating:

"The Man Who Hated Ned O'Leary" is a deeply emotional story and a rare true enemies-to-lovers romance.

Cole's hate for Ned is palpable in this second part of the story. He really hates him and wants nothing to do with him. Deep in his heart, though, he's still the young man that fell in love with the farm boy. Who stole his horse to make him follow. Who claimed him in front of everyone. Who trusted him so much he was willing to do anything to be together.

His mind tells him that he hates Ned O'Leary with everything he has. That he wants to kill him for betraying him and lying to him. That he can move on and leave him behind once and for all.
But his heart is pulling him in the other direction. He can't deny how much he craves Ned. How much he wants to help him and make sure he's okay. How much he wants to love him.

Cole is struggling between love and hate and he tries to tip the scales toward the second one. But the heart wants what the heart wants and love is always more powerful than hate.
"You love me no matter how much you hate me!"
Ned shocked me and broke my heart at the beginning of the story. With how "The Man Who Loved Cole Flores" ended, I expected Cole to be struggling in his life, so the positions in which we find them seven years after the events of the first part were even more surprising.
"I took revenge to take the weight off my soul, but I ended up losing everything."
There's a lot of angst as Cole tries to deny his heart and listen to his mind. The love between those two was so great, so pure, so deep that no amount of distance and time could lessen it.

Once more K.A. Merikan managed to write a breathtaking story. The experience of being consumed by a book so completely that you forget the here and now is very rare but wonderful. It's been a while since I felt that way and I'm so happy that I got to experience it again with these two books.

I don't do a lot of re-reads, but even as I was reading the last chapters I was sure that I'll be picking this duology up again soon enough. Because once is never enough with Ned O'Leary and Cole Flores.

~ I read an ARC of this book. ~

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