Book Reviews

EWB (Enemies With Benefits) by N.R. Walker at BlueHeart Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / BDSM
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 09-November-2023

Book Blurb

I hate Valentine Tye.
I’ve hated him since we were ten years old. I hate everything he is, everything he stands for. Even the mention of his name gets my back up.
And when I see him?
My blood boils. My jaw clenches and my hands curl into fists. That’s how much I hate him.
I want to cause him pain. I want to hold him down and actually hurt him.
And if that’s not bad enough, that’s exactly what he wants me to do to him.

I know what people think of me. I know what they assume. They all think I’m some spoiled rich guy who’s had everything handed to him.
They don’t know me at all.
Behind my carefully constructed walls is an emptiness so dark it scares men away. I like pain. I like being used. For some messed up reason, it validates me. I don’t need love or affection or, hell forbid, emotional attachment.
What I need is a man who hates me, a man who despises me.
A man like Marshall Wise.
Because never in a million years would he ever feel anything for me.

Book Review

“The most dangerous leap is the leap to conclusions.” ~ Woodrow Kroll


For years, Marshall Wise, of 'EWB’ by N.R. Walker, has carried a grudge against Valentine Tye without considering whether it was valid. It was easier to hate Valentine than to try to understand him. When Marshall enters a sexual arrangement with Valentine, he glimpses the 'real' Valentine; Marshall realizes that it has been wrong to judge him so harshly.


Valentine's parents are cold and distant. Long ago, he gave up hope of having a "normal" life, resigning himself to bottle up his emotions so no one could hurt him like his father. Valentine is expected to take over the family business. Learning the ropes would be alright if he could ever please his father, who criticizes him at every turn. Valentine has learned to hide who he is or could be.


One night at a bar, Valentine "rescues" Marshall from two of his rugby teammates from beating him up by hiding Marshall in a stall until they are gone. Marshall is stunned when Valentine pleasures him, primarily because his body responds so vehemently. Even though they still proclaim their hate for each other, Valentine presents Marshall with an "indecent" proposal he cannot refuse: to come to his place twice a week and engage in rough sex.


Although it is not how Marshall typically behaves in bed, he gives Valentine all the roughness and humiliation he craves. However, as Marshall peels Valentine's layers back, he realizes he no longer hates Valentine and may love him. Still, their relationship is a dead end unless Valentine can give up his fear of being vulnerable.


The first part of the story moved me out of my comfort zone. I'm not into pain. But, as the tale continued, N.R. worked some authorial magic and transported me to a better place by delving into the characters more deeply, allowing me to empathize with Valentine and Marshall and even cheer for them. Thanks, N.R., for this intense and hopeful story.




DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was purchased by the reviewer.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 366 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 29-September-2023
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link