Reviewed by Tori
Ben Hudson has had a thing for Nora Kirby for years but his actions every time he sees her leaves a lot to be desired. Their antagonistic relationship has spanned over a decade and doesn’t seem to be getting any better. When Ben overhears Nora planning a road trip to Mexico he bullies his way into the trip, knowing she just got off 12 hour shift and the potential for an accident is high.
Nora Kirby wishes Ben would go to hell and stay there. For as long as she can remember, he has had nothing but snide remarks and outright insults for her. When he blackmails his way into to accompany her on her trip to go pick up her sister, she is furious but resigned.
As Ben and Nora spend time together on the road, Nora sees a much different side to Ben. A much more attractive side that has her wishing for more once the trip is over. But Nora isn’t completely convinced Ben has changed his ways and isn’t willing to risk the pain if she’s proven right.
Ben wants more than just to spend a few hours with Nora. He wants forever but if she refuses to accept his new attitude and give him a chance then they are doomed.
Ensenada Escape is a sexy and humorous enemies to lovers romance that dissects a couple whose relationship is based purely on antagonism. Or so you think. As you spend more time with them, you realize that the antagonism on both ends comes from personal issues in their lives. The story line is written in an enjoyable conversational writing style that flows at an easy steady pace.
Nora Kirby is an RN and one of four siblings whose narcissistic mother did quite a number on them. Essentially raised by her oldest sister, Nora watched as her mother used extreme dramatics to manipulate everyone around her, including her own children. Now an adult, Nora has high expectations for her life and those who she chooses to let into it. Intelligent and loyal, Nora will do anything for someone she loves. After watching her mother’s relationships and the antics she engages in to hold her lovers tight, Nora doesn’t believe in true love and her greatest fear is becoming co-dependent on someone.
Ben Hudson, a divorce lawyer, grew up with the Kirby sisters though his childhood was much better. He has loved Nora since middle school but for a mishap caused Nora to dislike him and rather than try to amend that, Ben went to major extremes to get her to just notice him. He essentially acted like an idiot but once he was well on that path, he had no way of stopping himself. He regrets his actions but is clueless how to make amends.
Until the road trip.
The author does well in engaging in a slow steady pace that gives Nora and Ben plenty of time to come to terms with the changes to their relationship, the strong feelings that are building between them, and how it will eventually change them. I enjoyed the aspect of a road trip as it allowed them to peel back their many layers and give them the privacy to sort their feelings. I only wish it had taken a little longer for them to work past the antagonism.
Steamy sex scenes infiltrate the storyline, assuring us that at least in this aspect, they are extremely compatible. I enjoyed how free they were with one another and that there were no games or silly dramatics in the bedroom. Nora doesn’t make Ben jump through hoops in order to be with her and Ben does nothing to embarrass or make her feel uncomfortable. There was is a lot of dialogue and not as much action to balance with it. Nora and Ben do get caught in a rut where they rehash the same points over and over and I was ready for them to move along.
A personable cast of secondary characters help to round out the story with plenty of advice and suggestions to help Nora and Ben along on their journey. The story is rather predictable, this is romance after all, but Jordan puts her own stamp on it and allows it to flow at its own pace till the very end.
Ensenada Escape is a nice piece of escapism that gives you a few hours of downtime with a sweet couple and a steamy romance. Even though this is the sixth in the series, each one is all-inclusive and you are not required to read the others in order to enjoy this one.