As the manager of Montreal’s most infamous dive bar, Monroe—and it’s just Monroe, thank you very much—is used to serving up her signature pearls of wisdom alongside an array of shots, pints, and pitchers. In fact, she thrives on it. Taverne Toulouse is a mighty ship, and she its fearless captain, trusted by patrons and bar staff alike to steer them through choppy waters.
If only she’d been given a little warning before a full-on tsunami swept in next door.
Julien Valois’ wining and dining empire is making waves. The next item on his agenda is opening a trendy lounge right next to Monroe’s beloved Taverne Toulouse—one that’s meant to run the dive bar out of business so he can buy up that property too.
His plans did not include falling for a five-foot-nothing brunette with an impressive vocabulary and an even more impressive ability to manhandle drunk frat boys twice her size.
They’re rivals in every sense of the word, but when Monroe and Julien are in a room together, the battle lines fade away. Their defences lower, their hearts get louder than their heads, and the burn between them goes down like just the right shot—intense, intoxicating, and able to sweep their priorities away with a single taste.
Until reality decides to slap up a big ‘For Sale’ sign and force them to remember those priorities all too clearly.
The Barflies series is a spin-off/companion of The Sherbrooke Station series so if you've read those you'll be familiar with some names and faces but you don't need to have any background knowledge to read and enjoy this.
I loved this book!
It was a perfect blend of sexy, sweet and fun with awesome characters and a relationship that made me swoon.
Monroe has worked at Tavern Toulouse since her student days. She loves her bar and her staff and her staff love her. However, the tavern has hit a rough patch and the owner is a dick so the threat of closure hangs over her head.
When the building next door is purchased and the new owner - Julien - begins to renovate it for his latest project - a wine bar - Monroe is under more pressure than ever.
So, naturally, Monroe does some under the radar snooping trying to ensure that the bar next door doesn't threaten Tavern Toulouse and that's where the tale of Monroe and Julien begins!
From this pov, you could say that The Bar Next Door is an enemies-to-lovers or a rivals-to-lovers but honestly? It's lacking the dislike and anger that those tropes tend to carry.
While Monroe is cautious of Julien she doesn't dislike him and Julien is smitten with Monroe from the get-go. The deceit of Monroe being the manager of Tavern Toulouse but not telling Julien doesn't go on for too long but their relationship doesn't change the fact that Julien's goals threaten everything Monroe has worked for and wants.
Monroe is such a lovable character. She's one of those people who gives and gives and gives and doesn't think to take for herself. Watching her learn to put herself first sometimes is a joy.
Julien is a wonderful, sexy, Frenchman who was born to privilege but that doesn't stop him working extremely hard to make it without resting on his family's laurels. However, this can make him extremely blinkered, especially when it comes to other people and their needs if those needs clash with those of his businesses.
Julien and Monroe are perfect for each other. Their relationship is almost effortless when the elephant in the room - aka rival bars - is ignored. When the situation inevitably implodes it's not packed with unnecessary drama or anger but resignation and sadness which made the resolution somewhat unexpected and incredibly sweet.
There was an honesty and purity to their relationship that you don't see too often and I adored every page of it.
The Bar Next Door is a perfect contemporary romance for when you're wanting low angst, good banter, and a beautiful connection.
I cannot wait to read more in this series!
My absolute favourite cover of this author's and a perfect fit for Monroe and Julian's story!