Hairpin Curves is a sweet and very sexy second-chance / enemies-to-lovers romance.
Megan, Scarlett and Juliet were the best of friends for the major part of their childhood. When Juliet moved to Québec, Megan and Scarlett stayed close… until they weren’t. A few years later, unaware her former best friends had a falling-out, Juliet invites them both to her wedding. In Québec. In February. Scarlett suggests they drive there together and, despite being terribly mad at her still, Megan agrees. She just lost her dead-end job, has no idea what she wants to do with herself and is coming to understand that playing it safe for all these years hasn’t made her either safe or happy. The idea of going out of Florida for the first time ever is irresistible, and Scarlett convinces her to make a whole trip out of it. Scarlett, whose crush on Megan never disappeared, is hoping to mend some fences on the way.
While Scarlett came out as bisexual very early in her life, Megan only realised in college that she, too, was attracted to women also. By then, they had lost touch, so Scarlett still believes Megan to be straight. A lot of what she thought she knew about Megan isn’t true, and they’ll both discover who the other has become in the few years since high school. Megan’s anger at Scarlett stems from nonsensical reasons, that have more to do with teenage angst than anything else.
The story starts too fast, as if the author wanted to lay the background as quickly as possible and be rid of it in order to get on with the real story ASAP. But once the road trip begins and the characters have no choice but to be themselves, put their guard down, they’re incredibly real. I’m not sure how to explain it, but I found this novel surprisingly moving. Something happened with these characters that touched me way deeper than I would expect from a Harlequin book, to be honest (I know, I’m a snob sometimes). I really liked how both characters slowly unveiled their true selves, which prove to be much more complex than what they show at the beginning of the book. Scarlett is not as free and comfortable with herself as she appears, Megan is not as bland as she lets the world believe.
Another excellent surprise of this book was how hot it is at times. The chemistry between Megan and Scarlett is fantastic, once they allow themselves to feel it. And while the romance itself would qualify as slow-burn, the relationship gets steamy early on.
My rating for this book wavered between 4* and 4.5* all along. I ultimately settled on 4* because both the beginning and the ending of the book feel a tad rushed. The author explains in the acknowledgements that she wrote this story during lockdown, so maybe that’s why. I did, however, enjoy it a lot, so 4* it is.