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The Better Bully

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Hang on a second. I never bullied anyone. I’m not that guy.
I was a star quarterback in high school with more friends than I could keep track of. With it being my senior year and college scouts already taking interest, I had a bright future.

Then this crazy redhead shows up ranting at me like I’m the filth of the earth…what right does she have? So naturally I had to defend myself. I may have gone a little overboard – but it was only to ensure she’d stay out of my way for good.

That was four years ago.

Now she shows up at Whitman U and I find myself going beyond my norm to keep her from dodging me at every turn.


The fresh start I was supposed to have by transferring to Whitman is starting to feel more like a big bag of dirt. And when things couldn’t get worse, I come face to face with an enemy of the past.

But it seems I’d fallen into some sort of alternate universe. Because instead of making my life hell, Reed Hayes had become my unforeseen protector in the havoc that has become my life.

Author’s note: This is an enemies to lovers sports romance.

252 pages, ebook

Published February 16, 2021

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Roxanne Tully

16 books132 followers

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5 stars
92 (31%)
4 stars
116 (39%)
3 stars
62 (21%)
2 stars
14 (4%)
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10 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 84 reviews
Profile Image for GimmeAllTheWerdssss.
548 reviews210 followers
March 23, 2021
So disappointed. I had high hopes...I was told there was a strong heroine and a alpha hero. Not sure what book I read because I got a martyr, I think I'm strong but I'm actually really weak heroine, and an asshole hero.

To sum it up -
Heroine defended her brother to Hero, Hero ostracized her from high school society
Heroine transfer to Hero's college after being humiliated by her football playing ex
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth with a lot of "I'm strong and I hate him" and "I'm sorry for how I behaved in high school but I'm not going to say those words I'm just going to think them and I'm still going to be an ass to her..."
Ignorant brother of heroine gets mad because he finally finds out what happen between H/h in high school, tell H to break it off with h.
H acts like an ass...again...and lets h think he broke up with her
H/h end up at same award banquet and HEA....no apology for what happened in high school or recently because "they don't need them...."

Profile Image for taylorpriziola.
316 reviews17 followers
March 24, 2021
3 stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Better Bully by Roxanne Tully was a enjoyable quick read. Not quite your typical bully romance more of an Enemies-to-Lovers with light bullying. This was a slow burn with a HEA

The story starts with a flashback on how Violet and Reed became enemies in High School that leads to them not liking each other in college. And how it affected their lives with what was said and done 4 years ago.

I liked how independent and headstrong Violet could be. She definitely had some insecurities, but was learning how to overcame them. She had a sass to her that I enjoyed throughout the book. Reed on the other hand was this arrogant and cocky alpha male, but with a kind heart that made him swoon worthy. His protective nature was heart warming…

I think what I liked the most was the character grow. The Author did a great job showing us how Violet and Reed matured after High School and how you can be forgiven for the bad decisions you make in life.
Profile Image for Kate ☕.
434 reviews
February 9, 2023

Another huge miss! Although, for a college romance it starts OK, it just isn't really a bully book too much. More enemies to lovers. The fist part could be 3 solid stars.

The second half of the book didn't make sense at all to me. The beef between the heroine and the Hero they used to have should just stay between them, and not drag her brother into the whole thing. He was so overprotective, even though he was apparently oblivious to the situation at high-school. The break-up didn't make any sense and the reconcilliation in the end was kind of cold.

The heroine was very annoying especially with not admitting she needed help on various occasions, and the Hero acted like an ass for bigger part of the book.

The author knows how to write, so it's a pity this one didn't work. ☹️

Some safety details for those interested:
H a manwhore, h not a virgin (mentiones of the past relationships), some mild OWD/OMD before the MCs are together.

Profile Image for Ghiselle James.
Author 8 books251 followers
April 12, 2021
...Didn’t want this to end

So happy I read this one! It was sweet and had some emotional parts that I wish was more explored with Reed and Violet...things in their separate lives I wish was confronted on a deeper level, because it really needed to be confronted.

I somehow loved what Violet and Reed had. It wasn’t necessarily bullying per se (or as I’ve come to like reading in my Bully romances) but there was something there I also wished she had explored with that...maybe more tension and angst. Still, there was something about both Reed and Violet that was worth rooting for.

I almost didn’t want this to end. When I saw how close I was coming to the end, I thought there’d be a part 2 and I was worried....but when it ended, I kinda wished there’d be a part 2 (just can’t please us readers, can you? 😅)

There were some grammatical errors that, coupled with the story development that I thought the story lacked a bit, made me give this a 4-star rating. Despite that, this is a story that I will remember for a long time and will still say I want more of. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Profile Image for Bibliobi.
25 reviews3 followers
February 17, 2021
Reed and Violet are main couple in the new book by the Roxanne Tully.
They are college students and old enemies, so be ready for chemistry of the charts. I said it many times and I'll say it again, Tully makes you feel like part of the story. Side characters are also great, Max is well in my head now. All in all, great read that made me lose myself until I finished the book and then I daydreamed for a while.
Profile Image for What Makes Patri.
298 reviews207 followers
February 17, 2021
The Better Bully is an easy to read enemies to lovers bully sports romance book.

This story was a bit different than my usual bully romance reads. The bullying was not as graphic and even though the author tells us the last year of high school was rough for our main character (Violet), we don't really "see" any of the bullying. By the time the "NOW" story starts following, the bullying is something in the past (when they were teenagers), yes, there's animosity between the characters, a lot of sarcastic banter between them, but none "hardcore bullying". I liked that this story is focused on "now that we are adults, things are different" to the point of Reed staying away because Violet would be more intriguing that he may have predicted.

I was a bit outraged (as much as Reed) that Violet started this whole thing because she was fiercely defending her older and nerdy brother and the brother LITERALLY WAS OBLYVIOUS to everything that was happening to Violet in high school.

Overall you have the perfect combination of topics to have an enjoyable romance: ex-drama, a past that might make the relationship complicated, the brother not liking the past and the relationship and situations forcing the 2 characters to interact all the time.

A few things that made this book enjoyable were:
1) The back and forth between Reed and Violet.
2) The different POVs. We get to see what's happening from Reed & Violet's POV and that adds a lot to the story.
3) The back story and the impact that is having in the "NOW" events.

So if you are looking for a light romance read with a bit of bullying with an enemies to lovers trope, I recommend THE BETTER BULLY.
Profile Image for Michelle.
469 reviews5 followers
February 20, 2021
The Better Bully is a bit different to other bully romances I’ve read before, which was quite refreshing. It’s an enemies to lovers romance with a bully element but not as full on as I’ve read previously read.
Violet moved school due to the bullying she sustained in her last year but we don’t get much of that in the story, the readers are just aware it happened.
The story mostly focuses on when Violet and Reed end up at the same college, they are more mature and bullying is a thing of the past. Definitely still enemies though and I can’t resist a good enemies to lovers romance.

I loved Reed! He is your typical alpha college jock but it’s mostly a front he puts on to hide the pressures of home life and the way he feels he needs to protect his sister. He is actually very sweet, especially with Violet. I fully agreed with his annoyance of how oblivious Max was to what went on with Violet during high school.

Violet doesn’t have the best home life either, she is pressured by her parents who clearly favour her brother Max and do their best to belittle Violet, another thing Max seems to be aware of but acts oblivious.
She is emotionally strong, fierce and knows how to stand up for herself. I loved the back and forth between her and Reed and the way she denied him at every turn. They eventually got their HEA though.

A sweet enemies to lovers Romance, that has an entertaining story to keep the reader glued to the pages. I’m excited to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Emma Lou.
212 reviews2 followers
February 12, 2021
I received an ARC of The Better Bully, and I loved reading this story. Rox Tully has made a lovely combination of bully, brothers best friend, enemies to lovers, sports and young adult tropes.

For a bully romance, the underlying story and connection between the lead characters was surprisingly sweet! Reed isn't your traditional bully which made it refreshing to read, so if you're new to the whole bully romance genre scene then this is a great read to ease you into it as there aren't really any triggers to worry about.

Reed is a great MC, he obvisually has all the traits that us sport romance lovers swoon over, he's gorgeous, arrogant, with a killer smirk and wink, the popular quarter and as expected has all the ladies wanting him. But surprisingly he's got a very troubled side to him, which he masks with self-preservation and over confidence. He knows who doesn't want to be, but gets so focused on what he doesn't want he doesn't realise what he does until its almost too late.

Violet is a little firecracker! One of the more emotionally strong FMC I've come across in this these types of romance novels. She takes the burden of rejection and isolation in order for others to flourish and achieve the heights they're meant to. She stays true to herself and doesn't back down, doesn't need anyone to rescue her or sweep her off her feet. And keeps fighting tooth and nail for as long as she can!

If I was going to sum up some key words for Vi and Reed, they would be avoidance, invisibility, indenial, grudge, feud, redemption, undeniable love.

This is a standalone sports romance, being released on 16th February! If you love this genre of romance then you'll definitely want to read this charming book!
Profile Image for Bookiechick  Reviews.
663 reviews14 followers
February 15, 2021
Actual rating 4.5
I believe this is the first Roxanne Tully book I have read and I must say I’m now curious for more.
I enjoyed this. I was a bit wary it was going to be fluff but the characters really make it unique. The characters had an interesting dynamic which held my attention and I enjoyed watching them navigate their obstacles and fighting the chemistry that was no doubt blazing throughout. Angsty, thrilling and amazing characters really made for an entertaining and enthralling read.
All the characters were engaging and added their own to the story and I loved the light and dark they all bring. Different shades to bring out the whole experience of the story and I loved it. Gotta say, I love Max, he is no doubt my fave. I would definitely love to see more from him in future if it called for it.
Great world building which made for an easy and vivid read. This page turner had it all and the ending was unique in the fact that it felt genuine and realistic. Both characters got their HEA but set realistically which I enjoyed. So many times the endings seem over fairytaled and unrealistic that it takes away from the story and journey the characters go through but this one was gold.
Amazing work by Tully!
February 11, 2021
Beautiful sports romance story filled with passion and twists. Reid was the popular guy, a captain at school football team and a bully but for his own reasons. Violet was the one girl who was not afraid to confront him and would do anything for her brother to stay with the team.
Four years later they meet again and their old ways quickly became more than they used to be. As they usually say, if someone is bullying you it can only mean that they might have different feelings than they are actually showing.

I really enjoyed this story, it was well written and enjoyable ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Profile Image for PAD.My.Bookshelf Blog.
215 reviews9 followers
February 11, 2021
4.5 out of 5 stars

I really liked this book but I was expecting there to be a little more bully aspects to it by reading the title and blurb. There is talk of it and flashbacks, but nothing in your face. So if you want to read a book with a little taste of bullying this book is for you. This is my first book by this author and i'm impressed by what I read and can't wait to look more into this author.

What do you do if your bully turns into your protector. Like a moth to a flame no matter what has been done in the past doesn't keep them from circling each other. Though the issues that we run into know is can you forgive and forget the past for a future worth living.

I fell in love with Violet from the beginning, she is a fmc that will take the stress and pain of others and put it on herself as we see with her brother. When it comes to her parents she is pushed in ways that she doesn’t want to go. When you have a passion and someone downs you, wearing you down comes faster and faster, but with Violet she wont let what others think define her and stays true to herself.

I don’t know where to start with Reed, this tortured soul has one goal in life and its to not be like his father and uses that hatred as a defense mechanism to protect himself. Can he learn to let go of the pain and stop letting it hold him back? Can he finally put his happiness first before all else?

This book is full of redemption, forgiveness, and self-searching that will leave you wanting to dive deeper into their lives. I would love to know what happens after the final page and hope to see more of Violet and Reed in the future!
Profile Image for Shawna Jimenez more.books.forever.
1,510 reviews51 followers
February 16, 2021
I adore Reed and Violet. This was such a great take on a whole lot of tropes rolled into one amazing read. The bullying actually occurs 4 years prior to Reed and Violet meeting again in college. This all happened in high school, Violet is completely dedicated to her brother Max and she would do anything and everything to see him succeed which is exactly what she does when she confronts Reed back in high school which causes a series of events that ends up with her and her brother having a strained relationship. Now in college they meet again and even though the hate is there you can also feel those unmistakable sparks between them both. Reed wasn't your typical high bully he is actually a great guy who has a lot on his plate and does not want to end up anything like his father. Violet also has a lot on her plate always protecting her brother along with dealing with judging parents who I wanted to strangle. We get to see these two characters relationship grow over the course of the book and it was honestly refreshing and really beautiful. We get to see Reed's protective nature come out when it comes to Violet and we get to see Violet fight him at every turn because that girl is fierce and wants to take care of herself just like she has always had too. She doesn't know any other way. This was my first read from this author and I am looking forward to many many more.
Profile Image for Nedra81 .
521 reviews
February 13, 2021
A first time read from this author and an avid lover of football romance novels mixed with an enemies-to-lovers, and I was definitely not left disappointed. These characters past history along with their underlying secrets, makes for such an unexpected journey for them both.

What can I say about Violet except she goes for what she wants, sticks up for herself and those she cares about, and is definitely not intimidated by no one. As she finds herself throughout this story, she learns sometimes people aren’t who they initially thought they were.

Reed never intended to hurt anyone, especially Violet while they were in high school. Making something of himself and beginning his life in the pros, has been his determination. Violet just seems to get in his head and threaten his goals.

Learning about these characters backgrounds, what pushes them to do what they do and how they’ve become the people they are, will grasp the readers emotions and hold them captive until the last word. Roxanne does an amazing character build up, leaving no question unanswered. Fantastic read mixed with some rather intimately, passionate, and steamy scenes that will pull you under, leaving complete satisfaction!
Profile Image for KelsBookstagram.
458 reviews18 followers
February 15, 2021
I am no stranger to sport romance but hot damn Reed & Violet's journey covers all the tropes!! Bully, enemies-to-lovers, brothers best friend plus has a whole side sauce of lust, passion & sexual tension!😍

"𝓡𝓮𝓮𝓭 𝓗𝓪𝔂𝓮𝓼 𝓱𝓪𝓭 𝓫𝓮𝓬𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓶𝔂 𝓾𝓷𝓯𝓸𝓻𝓮𝓼𝓮𝓮𝓷 𝓹𝓻𝓸𝓽𝓮𝓬𝓽𝓸𝓻 𝓲𝓷 𝓽𝓱𝓮 𝓱𝓪𝓿𝓸𝓬 𝓽𝓱𝓪𝓽 𝓱𝓪𝓼 𝓫𝓮𝓬𝓸𝓶𝓮 𝓶𝔂 𝓵𝓲𝓯𝓮."

Reed & Violet's history is compelling and had me captivated from the very beginning. Their chemistry, lust, angst & history brings twists and turns. But when Violet finds herself back in a world with Reed the true sassy, firecracker within her is revealed! 🔥

Reed is gorgeous, athletic & fiercely protective of Vi. Although he uses anger to hide behind. The deeper you fall into their world has you swooning & lusting after Reed!

I got to say i am sucker fot Vi's brother Max he has me naturally gravitating towards him!! My heart ached for Vi, Max & Reed all for different reasons but in the same breathe i feel so emotionally attached to them!

"𝓘 𝓼𝓪𝔂 𝔀𝓮 𝓶𝓪𝓴𝓮 𝓸𝓾𝓻 𝓸𝔀𝓷 𝓻𝓾𝓵𝓮𝓼"

That ending is one hell of SWOONWORTHY ending & i felt every damn emotion. Excuse me whilst i embrace that beautiful ending. This is my first book by Roxanne Tully & certainly will not be my last!🏈
13 reviews
March 1, 2021
This was probably one of my favourite sports romances I've read so far! It's an enemies-to-lovers book, and I really liked Violet and Reed's history - the romance in the book progressed really naturally and it was a pleasure to read!
Profile Image for Jenny Hobson.
533 reviews16 followers
February 15, 2021
This is probably my favourite Roxanne book so far. I love a sports romance and this was right up my street.
I really liked Reed and Violet. They have some bad history which keeps you guessing for a bit untill the big reveal. I liked the vibe of this story. Bully sports romance meets best friends sister.
Violet had balls! She's stands up for what she believes in and pushes people to be and do better. Reed was a bad boy with a heart. He gave off some dont look or touch me vibes while still having a soft side. He wants the best for his sister and doesn't want to go down the same road as his dad. I loved the push pull between the pair. The side story was good with the pairs home lives and people from the past making an unwelcome appearance.
Would love to see some more of Max and Piper and get some more from their story.
If you like a bit of a darker sports romance without it being too dark then I definitely recommend this one.
139 reviews6 followers
February 14, 2021
The Better Bully 4.5 ⭐️

I really enjoyed this fresh twist on a bully romance. Reed is not your usual bully, although he is cocky and arrogant he is loyal and has a swoon-worthy sweet side.
This story is an enemy to lovers best friends sister with a bit of bullying thrown in.

I loved the relationship between Reed and violet and how they overcome their hurt that each other course in high school

Reed is your usual hot cocky quarterback, although his cockyness is a cover for the struggles he faces in his home life and when a fiery redhead read him the riot act he can’t get her off his mind but she messing with his game plan he needs to keep her away at all costs.
Years later when she shows up at Whitman university they are drawn together but they need to put the past behind them to have a future.

I love Roxanne’s twos on a bully romance and I would definitely recommend The Better Bully if you fancy a story with a bit of everything
Profile Image for Merbabe Kara.
242 reviews31 followers
February 15, 2021
The Better Bully was nothing like I had expected it to be but was still a great read! While there is some bullying in this book it’s not taking place during the story’s timeline so keep that in mind bullymancers!

Honestly I really loved Violet from the beginning, Reed on the other hand was hard to love at first. I loooove alpha-holes but the things he did were way more personal than the average bully would. Even tho he didn’t know at the time, I still wanted to deck him for the emotional pain he put Violet through. He had a lot to repent for in my eyes at first... but he grew on me by the end of the book. I mean how could you not start to fall for the guy when you see how much he’s grown from his bullying days and hear his point of view?

The Better Bully was a awesome college sports romance so I’d definitely recommend grabbing it!
Profile Image for Michelle The Outgoing Bookworm .
804 reviews14 followers
February 18, 2021
This is a gem of an enemies to lovers romance.

The actual bullying takes place in flashbacks as the reader witnesses the budding relationship between Reed and Violet. You want to hate Reed for what he did back in HS but it’s hard since he has many redeemable qualities. One being protective which comes out quite frequently around Violet.

As far as Violet, she’s an enigma. One minute she’s strong and standing up for herself and the next she’s insecure and vulnerable. Reed is her knight in shining armor whether she wants to admit or not.

Their romance is a slow burn but that doesn’t matter when they do get together in some heated scenes.

* I received this book as an ARC for an honest review.
February 17, 2021
Stephannie's 5 Star Review:
I really enjoyed this book.  This is my first time I've read a Roxanne Tully book.  

I really love the characters in this book. Violet and Reed are amazing and fell in love with them.  The bullying is very light in this romance story. Reed is arrogant, gorgeous, and has a sweet side that he doesn't always show. Violet is a firecracker that fights for those who she loves. She doesn't back down and she is strong. She doesn't want to be a victim and she always stays true to herself. It is a cute and very light bully book that is about redemption, forgiveness, and self-searching that makes you want more from these characters. that will leave you wanting more of Violet and Reed!
Profile Image for Ashleigh.
440 reviews8 followers
February 15, 2021
It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve read a sports romance! The Better Bully starts off in high school where we meet Violet and Reed.
Reed is your typical high school jock, so when Violet makes a stand against him Reed doesn’t take it lying down. Flash forward and these two both end up in the same college. The bullying is light and most of it is only referenced and not seen on the pages. This isn’t super steamy but it doesn’t stay PG either. As with all romance we finally get our HEA. If you like your romance to be a little lighter and enjoy sports romance books then I’d definitely pick this one up. The writing is great and the storyline isn’t the same as every other sports romance you’ve read.
Profile Image for Liz (LoverOfBooks80).
722 reviews9 followers
October 25, 2021
Reed and Violet are both amazing.
Reed just doesn’t want to be his dad!
A past encounter in the locker rooms puts Violet her front and centre in Reeds focus! Fast forward 4 years and Violet is back with her bestie and brother and to her shock Reed. The bullying of the past doesn’t really occur in college. They have both grown but they both still remember.

Hate turns to protectiveness (which Reed has always had) and then love. The journey they took was beautiful, Reed always protecting Violet.
I adored Violet - her strength despite her past was amazing.

Overall beautiful book, that I couldn’t put down x
Profile Image for BeaC.
254 reviews3 followers
February 11, 2021
I received this book as an ARC from the Author for my honest opinion.

What a delightful story! Reed and Violet are two bullies wanna be, meaning they are just regular people who got stuck in a feud.

Their story is heartwarming and sweet, the characters are likable even though storyline wise I would have prefer a little more development of some characters stories like Max's and Chloe's, but thats me wanting to know more!

I love bully romance stories and this one was different yet very captivating.

This book is a standalone and finish with a HEA. I totally recomended for sports romance readers!
Profile Image for Nicole.
365 reviews4 followers
February 11, 2021
It’s been a while since I picked up a sports romance, but I’m so glad I picked this one up. This is part bully/brothers best friend/enemies to lovers, plus a twist. I really loved how this book was DIFFERENT, it had a twist I wasn’t expecting. Reed is the typical college star, and Violet is both strong, and yet vulnerable. It’s a great pairing, and I loved watching them. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone looking for something original, you will not be disappointed!

Story 📖: 5/5 fresh outlook on sports and enemies to lovers.
Heat 🔥: 3/5 medium burn, medium heat.
Profile Image for TINA WILLIAMS.
1,549 reviews20 followers
February 14, 2021
This is a sweet and unconventional bully, enemies to lovers romance that I enjoyed reading. Reed and Violet had an altercation in high school leading to Violet being shunned by the school. They meet up a few years later in college and feelings change. They have this incredible chemistry that can’t be denied. Reed is not a conventional bully and finds himself protective of Violet. She is spunky and strong, such a breath of fresh air. I loved their banter and sizzling dynamic. This is such a great story and I really loved it. I highly recommend this story!!
374 reviews
February 24, 2021
This was not a normal bully book, which I normally stay away from. I actually really enjoyed this book, yes it had some bully in it but it wasn't over the top and in the end things worked out.
The friendships made were amazing, the character growth and world building were great.
Profile Image for Angela.
385 reviews2 followers
February 18, 2021
Best Friends sister, enemies to lovers, sports romance, three awesome tropes rolled into one book. I thought Reed and Violet's story was beautifully written. Reed is not your typical bully and I think that is why I love this story. We find out why these two are even enemies to begin with and it all starts back in high school. Roxanne Tully does an excellent job creating a storyline that is easy to follow and characters that are just loveable and relatable.
February 16, 2021
This is the second book that’s I have read form Roxanne Tully and I enjoyed it enemies to lovers book . I enjoyed the twist and turn it turns throughout this book and the sexual chemistry between Reed and Violet hot damn . I was heartwarming story and I am looking forward to more books from Roxanna Tully
Profile Image for Denise Reynolds.
126 reviews
February 16, 2021
Absolutely loved this enemies to lovers romance! This was my first book by Roxanne Tully and let me just say that I’m now on a mission to read the rest of her books! The tension between Reed and Violet is undeniable and draws you in from the first page. This book was a one sitting read!
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