A Feeling-Filled Opposites Attract, Enemies to Lovers Romance!
The Bully Book Cover The Bully
Calamity Montana
Willa Nash
Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Romance Fiction
Devney Perry LLC
March 3, 2022
ebook, paperback, audiobook

Nellie Rivera is trading traffic for tranquility. When the quiet streets of small-town Montana beckon, she leaves Denver behind and moves to Calamity. It would be the perfect adventure if not for Cal Stark.

When her archnemesis dares to show his face one Saturday morning, declaring he is moving there too, she vows to make his life a misery. The town isn’t big enough for the both of them and besides . . .

She was here first.

Cal has been a thorn in her side since high school. He might have bullied her back then, but she’s not a modest teenager anymore and has learned a few plays of her own. If all goes to plan, she’ll run the former pro quarterback out of town within a month.

There’s only one problem. Cal has the same plan. He wants Calamity bad enough to pull out all the stops. And after one kiss, she realizes that he doesn’t play fair.

“Taunting her was like trash-talking the best lineman on a fourth-down conversion attempt. Either I’d find a way to get the ball down the field, or I’d get my ass sacked. Regardless, the game was a rush.”

Don’t let the title fool you. The Bully by Willa Nash is an enemies to lovers, opposites attract romance set in Calamity. Both Cal Stark and Nellie Rivera give as good as they get for decades. Told in the present tense but with flashbacks to high school, Cal and Nellie’s explosive relationship is the epitome of lashing out in order to hide their pain and deeper feelings.

Nellie and Cal’s relationship goes back to high school with Pierce (from The Brazen), and their tumultuous freshman year together at an exclusive private school in Colorado. Nellie is one of two students per grade who get chosen to attend with an academic scholarship. Whereas Cal comes from a wealthy family and is a rising football star to boot. You can see where there might be tension. The problem with teens though is that even at their most vulnerable, they are capable of such harm. And both Cal and Nellie let their insecurities get in the way of their feelings for each other.

“Cal was magic with a football in his hand. He had raw talent that was utterly beautiful to behold. And when he was playing, I always saw the boy who’d given me my first kiss.”

I loved getting to know Nellie and Cal via diary entries written by Nellie and then explained through Cal’s narrative. These two have a constant war of words and actions, each more explosive than the next. I admired how Cal’s walls were broken down by his cantankerous next door neighbor, and that Nellie had to break down her own walls of harsh judgement that she had built to protect herself from Cal.

The Bully could easily be a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but with a story that spans a much longer time frame. This isn’t a slowburn either. Cal and Nellie fulfill all their physical desires while trying to keep their hearts out of the way. Luckily for us, and for them too, they are unsuccessful. The ending of The Bully is poignant in a way that felt real and very right for the two characters and their families.

“But life’s not about what most people think. Life’s about finding the right people. The one’s who will take you at your worst, so you can give them your best.”

As always, Willa Nash teases what is yet to come with every release and I look forward to meeting the next couple to take Calamity by storm. The Bully is full of banter, laugh out loud situations, and so many feelings that I know there will be something for everyone to enjoy.