When Jenna Wilinksi walks into the gym recently inherited from her estranged father she has absolutely no idea what to expect. She has big plans though, closing the gym at the end of the year and opening a matchmaking service franchise in its place. What she doesn’t expect is Mercer Rowley, the new manager of the gym who also had an extremely close relationship with the father she knows nothing about. Mercer is not the kind of man Jenna would normally find attractive, the boxer turned trainer is rough around the edges, sexy, hard bodied and willing to do what it takes to keep his beloved gym open. Jenna and Mercer start out on opposite sides of the ring, two people who should be enemies, but their attraction to each other draws them together and when they end up living in the same apartment over the gym they can’t stay apart.
I always go into anything I read by Meg Maguire, who also writes as Cara McKenna, knowing I will be satisfied when I finish. Whether its contemporary romance or erotica I know it will be a character driven story, without all the extra drama and angst. There is never unnecessary bad guys or ridiculous plot lines. Just a believable couple who end up with a believable HEA. Jenna and Mercer were another couple who captured my attention right from the start and kept me reading until late into the night.
I loved Mercer Rowley. He was the best kind of hero. Instead of being the super alpha hole who intimidates Jenna when she shows up telling him she has every intention of closing down the dilapidated gym, which was his second home growing up, he listens and tries to talk her into giving him more time getting it in money-making shape again. Jenna’s late father, Monty, was a mentor to Mercer, the man who helped keep him out of trouble and off the streets as a child and gave him a purpose as an adult. He practically grew up hearing Monty talk about Jenna and her accomplishments. There is so much that should have come between him and Jenna, their opinions on what to do with he gym, the different relationships they each had with Jenna’s father, even backgrounds and what they want out of life. But they just can’t seem to keep their hands, or eyes, or lips off each other. There is a wonderful scene where they nearly attack each other in lust, then back off, then attack each other again before finally trying to agree to stay away from each other. Of course this doesn’t work.
She cleared her throat. “You were right. You’re even better at sex than you are at kissing.”
Mercer and Jenna fall into a relationship built on respect. I loved that the author doesn’t let the conflict overcome the romance. There was always this sense of knowing they would have to overcome their problems in the end and wondering how they were going to do it, but the connection and chemistry between them is the main focus. Jenna’s ideas on what she wants to do with the gym change over time after getting to know Mercer and the other members and finding out her father wasn’t who she always thought he was. Jenna was very likable, easy to understand and I got the sense that she wanted to do the right thing. I found her and Mercer’s love story and eventual HEA to be completely believable. This couple worked for me, I liked them apart, I loved them together and can’t wait to see them appear further on in the series.
Making Him Sweat was a quick read, full of interesting, likable characters and sexy love scenes. A contemporary romance I would recommend for anyone who wants something light, fun and easy. Final Grade: B
She poked him with her elbow. “And you seem pretty sure you’ll win, huh?”
He nodded. “I will. I’ll just remind myself that guy’s standing between you and me and that ring on your finger, and it’s a lock.”