Review: The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary

The Worst Guy by Kate Canterbary
The Worst Guy
Kate Canterbary
Publisher: Vesper Press
Publication Date: December 28, 2021
Series or Standalone: Vital Signs #2
Links: Amazon Barnes & NobleGoodreadsStoryGraph
Rating:4 Stars


CW: Eating disorder; abandonment; strained parental relationship 

If you’re looking for a good hate-to-love, enemies-with-benefits, “good girl” filled romance that delivers on the sexiness and the emotions, look no further than The Worst Guy. I can understand why so many people have been talking about this book. This was my first Kate Canterbary book, but it won’t be my last.

Renowned trauma surgeon Sebastian Stremmel cannot deal with Sara Shapiro, the new reconstructive surgeon who is chirpy, cheerful goodness that he cannot escape as they work and live in the same building. No one gets under his skin quite like her. After a heated “debate” leaves an exam room in shambles, Sebastian and Sara end up in an 8-week hospital-mandated conflict resolution counseling session. Forced to fight fair in the counseling sessions, they play dirty when no one is looking. And as much as they cannot stand each other, they cannot help but act on the fiery chemistry between them. They both know it’s a mistake and promise they have gotten it out of their system and swear it will never happen again. But they’re wrong. 

This book delivers on the romance in so many ways. It’s an incredibly sexy story that delivers on the sex scenes, yet it’s not all about the sex as it also has the emotions to provide all the feels. Plus, I liked it focused on characters a little older than you traditionally find in romance (he’s 42 and she’s 39). The banter between Sebastian and Sara is off-the-charts amazing. It’s “I hate you, yet I want to rip your clothes off” levels of banter, which they do deliver on with the rip your clothes off part. And while I love the sexy times, I like my romance books to have an actual romance filled with emotions and feelings. Thankfully, this book has that as well. 

The depth of Sebastian’s feelings for Sara is just beyond. He falls so hard for her and always knows the most romantic thing to say – I swear I swooned. I was hooked on the progression of Sara and Sebastian’s relationship, and I literally cried because of how invested I was in their love story and these characters.

Sebastian fully captured my heart – where can I find my own Sebastian? He made me cry as all I wanted to do was hug him and make sure he got the love he deserved as he casts himself in the worst light (hence the title). As soon I discovered his disdain for Boston, and he went on a rant about living in New England (including how terrible our turkeys are), I was sold. He’s a gruff, no-nonsense type of guy who isn’t afraid to be a bit of a jerk, but he’s got a heart of gold beneath the surface. And when he falls, he falls HARD (even if he doesn’t want to acknowledge his feelings immediately). 

I appreciated that both Sebastian and Sara have a lot of depth and layers to their character; they’re both not exactly what they seem at first glance. Sara is not what I would consider a traditional “sunshine” type character, even if she presents physically like that with her cutesy medical t-shirts. She’s more of an introvert, mainly due to her issues regarding food as she works on recovering from an eating disorder and addressing her mental health. She also surprised me by being the one most hesitant about a relationship – I did not expect that from her initially.

Thank god this book was dual POV, as it worked perfectly for the story. I liked the choices Canterbary made with telling certain scenes from Sara’s perspective instead of Sebastian’s and vice versa, as it helped heighten the emotional tension in the story. You still get both sides and perspectives on a scene but having key moments play out from one point of view first really worked well here. 

The story dragged a little toward the middle, especially as this book is a little on the long side. I expected more from the ending, as things seemed to wrap up faster than I thought, given everything that happened in the story and how long it was. But I liked the story’s structure and found the mandatory therapy sessions an excellent way to force Sara and Sebastian together and push the plot forward. 

Overall, I enjoyed this story as it was the perfect mix of sexy and sweet that I’ve been craving. The banter and chemistry between Sebastian and Sara captured my attention from the very first page, and I couldn’t wait to see how their romance would unravel. If you’re in the mood for a contemporary romance that delivers the heat and the emotions, definitely pick up The Worst Guy. You won’t regret it. 

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