Breaking His Rules
Feeling the Heat, #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication: September 8, 2014
Number of pages: 177
Word Count: 70,000
Losing fifty pounds is an incredible achievement. But for Melissa Atherton, progress doesn’t come with praise—a scathing comment from an evil cousin at a bridal shower threatens to crush her new self-esteem. Who will she bring to the upcoming wedding? Showing up without a date would be humiliating. It just isn’t an option.
Personal trainer Jake Sawyer was attracted to Melissa before she lost weight, but her progress has him floored. When she admits she plans to hire a male escort—and why—his heart all but breaks. Melissa’s come too far to be knocked down, especially by her own family. He’ll go as her date…and figure out a way to keep his hands to himself.
But when a steamy hotel room encounter takes them both by surprise, Jake balks. He’s sworn never to date one of his clients, not again. And Melissa can’t bear to be just friends with the man who treated her so tenderly, even if it was only for a weekend. Jake’s helped her see she’s strong enough to stand up for herself, but will she find the strength to pursue the only man who’s ever seen the real her?
It was after ten when Jake pulled up to the curb in front of her townhouse. The porch light was on and bathed the small garden and walkway near the front door in a warm golden glow. Inside, the house was dark. Paige was either upstairs in her bedroom at the back of the unit, or she’d decided to spend the night with Rob.
“You talked to Gentry, didn’t you?” Melissa asked the question that had been on her mind ever since she’d seen Trey head toward the men’s room not long after Jake had done the same thing.
“We had a brief discussion.” Jake’s fingers tightened on the steering wheel. “I didn’t lay a hand on him. If that’s what you’re worried about.”
“The only reason I’d worry is because I wouldn’t want you to get into any trouble because of me. Him, I couldn’t care less about.”
“My father taught us to respect women. What Gentry said to you was out of line. I took it upon myself to call him out on his behavior.”
“I guess he thought I’d be flattered that he found me attractive.”
“His success has gone to his head. He’s got women panting after him all the time and he takes advantage of that situation on a daily basis, according to J.T.”
“Well, he picked the wrong woman tonight. I wish I would have had the nerve to deck him. Paige would have done it in a heartbeat.” She sighed. “Paige thinks I need to stand up for myself more. She says I always turn the other cheek and let people like Shauna and Denise get away with insulting me.”
“Is that true?”
“Yes,” Melissa admitted, with a tentative nod. “I was always heavier than all the other kids. When they made fun of me it was easier to pretend it didn’t matter instead of confronting them.”
“But it did matter, didn’t it?”
“It hurt.” Her heart clenched at the thought of those painful times. “A lot. Luckily, I had Paige. I don’t think I would have gotten through school if she wasn’t there with me. She fought my battles for me. No one would dare say a word to me when she was nearby.”
“You’ve never struck me as the kind of person who wouldn’t stick up for herself.”
“That’s because you don’t really know me.”
“I think I do.” Jake reached up to brush a lock of hair from her cheek, and then quickly lowered his hand. “That strength you think you don’t have is there. Inside you. One day you’ll figure that out.”
When I read the blurb on this something about it drew me in. Maybe it was the fact that we are starting off with a woman who is working on changing herself physically and isn't the perfect size 3. Or maybe it is the fact that she is taking charge of her life and sitting on the sidelines. Or maybe I just like the friends to lovers troupe. I don't know, but I am glad that I read it.
Melissa is one of a set of fraternal twins. Her and her sister live together and although they share the same birthday, they couldn't be more dissimilar. Melissa has always been heavier, is more reserved and loves to putter outside with her gardens and DIY projects. Her sister is slim, outgoing and going to the police academy. But one thing is certain, they totally have each other's backs. While at their cousin's wedding shower, Melissa overhears the cruel comments that are said about her and her lack of date. Her twin is ready to create a huge scene, but Melissa decides that she will just higher an escort instead and get her revenge by "living well" as it were.
Jake is the owner of a gym and the personal trainer who has been working with Melissa. He has helped her not only with training, but insists that she not go on a diet, just learn to eat more nutritiously and actually listen to her bodies needs. When he lets Melissa know that he has nominated her for a local health magazine's change issue, Melissa lets slip about hiring an escort. Jake insists that she let him go with her instead. He will play the part of doting boyfriend. It makes more sense, since they already know each other.
I very much liked that the two characters were friends first and had a mutual, but unacted upon interest in each other. Also, Melissa was really the character that had the most growth in this book. Surprisingly, it was Jake. Though Melissa did show hidden depths during some critical moments in the book.
I'm not one for picking up a book in the middle of a series. Most of the time it just doesn't work for me. But this book was incredibly different. If it hadn't been for the fact that I went and looked to see what and who each of the books previously was about, I would never have realized it was part of a series. These stories seem to form a link to just the couple in the prior book, more like a chain than a web of characters interacting. It felt very old school romance novel that way. The story's couple is linked via Jake's brother and it feels as though the next book will be about Melissa's sister. I really enjoyed the book, it felt real and relevant and though it worked well as a stand alone, I will be looking for the next one. I gave this book 3 stars.
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