Rating: B Romance: 3.5/5 Raunch: 3.5/5
Redonk Nutshell: Woman falls for an associate of her disowned, deceased father
Jenna Wilinski has inherited her father’s seedy boxing gym, and she has intentions to gradually close it and turn it into offices for her new business venture, a dating service. Her plan goes awry, however, when she meets the kind and gracious manager, Mercer Rowley. Sure, he’s a huge, hulking former boxer who idolizes her less-than-perfect absent (and now deceased) father, but Mercer is nothing but kind to Jenna as she imposes herself in his world. She is honest with him from the get go of her plans, and though Mercer is reluctant to give up his 2nd home of the gym, he understands where she is coming from. To save money, they room together in the apartment above the gym so a) Jenna can get her first few plans up and running and b) Mercer has somewhere to stay while he looks for a new place to live and work. Jenna’s plans get complicated, however, when she begins to see how much the gym has come to mean not only to Mercer but the other men who use it as well. When Mercer and Jenna begin to act on their attraction, Jenna is soon desperate to find a way to make both their dreams come true without sacrifice to either of them.
I enjoyed Jenna and Mercer’s story Meg Maguire typically writes complex characters that test the reader’s emotional bounds. I wouldn’t say she pushed the envelope with this one, but I enjoyed her cast nonetheless. Jenna could have been an abrasive heroine, a woman who comes and imposes herself on everyone without thought for anyone but herself. But Maguire created a multilayered character who defies cliche and manages to toe a heartfelt line between sticking to her guns while compromising. It was also nice to have an alpha hero isn’t so INYOURFACE, either. Mercer is a man who looks coarse but acts nothing like it. He’s kind, gentle and caring and wears his heart on his sleeve. These two are nothing but completely up front with each other the whole time, so watching them struggle together to find a way to make their dreams come true is fun to watch. I wasn’t really sure how their problems would resolve. I wasn’t disappointed.
Making Him Sweat by Meg Maguire
If you’re looking for a cute but down to earth romance with some hints of steam check out Cara McKenna’s addition to Harlequin Blaze’s series. You can’t go wrong with Maguire.