Published by Harlequin on 19 February 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Jenna Wilinski has just found out that the dad she hadn't seen since she was four left her his infamous boxing club in Boston. After working for ten years on a cruise-ship, she's decided to use her match-making skills professionally, and has used part of her savings to buy a franchise in Sparks, a dating service that's still old-school. She has the building in Boston, with an apartment on the 2nd floor, and she has a lot enthusiasm as well. She also has a very strong idea of closing down the gym, so she can have her frilly match-making business without fighters ruining the image she wants to show her clients. Jenna hadn't really counted on Mercer Rowley, though. The guy her father raised, and left the running of the gym to looks forbidding and a little scary. He is amazed to finally meet Jenna, Monty had never stopped talking about her and showing the guys pictures of her. His amazement quickly turns to something else, first when Jenna announces that she wants to close the gym, then when actual sparks start flying between them as they become unlikely roommates in Monty's old apparment...
*I received a free ARC of Making Him Sweat from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Making Him Sweat is a sweet and red-hot read! Jenna is all logic, knowing exactly what kind of man she’d like to spend the rest of her life with. Mercer is not into romance or a relationship at all. He only thinks on how best to train his guys so they can win the next big fight. At first, Jenna is intimidated when dealing with Mercer, she’s imagined that he’ll be mad at her for showing up. And even more so when he realizes she has plans of closing his beloved gym. Mercer is mesmerized when he first lays eyes on Monty’s daughter. But he has a good dose of resentment for her as well. With her dating-service, she has no use for the gym he has such grand plans for.
Of course, they soon figure out that making assumptions about people and things is not the way to go. As they get to know each other they see that they don’t have a lot of things in common – apart from maybe the really important things. You know, like loyalty, honesty, integrity; they are also both fighters albeit in their own ways. Jenna will never put on boxing gloves, she’ll fight with her wit and her logic. Mercer will deal with his problems by beating the crap out of a bag in the gym.
Jenna is so sweet and innocent in so ways, and that made Making Him Sweat a pleasure to read. To not turn too much of Mercer’s life upside down, she lets him stay in her apartment until the gym is all sorted out. Of course, their attraction is undeniable, and even as they vocalize what a bad idea this is , they end up in bed together very quickly. All of Jenna’s rules about number of dates fly out the window, and Mercer’s no-romance rule evaporates in the heat of their first encounter.
The writing flows very easily, making the turn of the pages fairly quick. The characters are well fleshed out, and it was truly touching to read about Jenna reading letters her father had sent her all through her childhood. Letters her mother had never given to her, but sent back to Monty instead. As Jenna learns more about Monty, her feelings about the gym changes, and she wants to see if it could be made viable, sharing a building with her own new business as well. Spark’s founder, Tina, doesn’t like the idea of a martial arts gym co-residing with the classy Sparks office, though.
With the funny dialogs, sexy moments and strong guys, I had a great time reading Making Him Sweat. I also really liked that Jenna and Mercer both had to adjust the way they had thought about life up until the time they met.
I was a little disappointed there were no actual fight scenes in the book, there was all the preparation for the big MMA fight being talked about, and Jenna had plans to go to the fight with her assistant, but the book was over before the fight happened. I have high hopes to read about the actual fight in the next book. Yes, I will read the next book! And if you like contemporary romance with a different twist, you should get your hands on Making Him Sweat and sit down in a comfortable space and enjoy the ride.
A strong, capable body might be an asset for a lover – if you were into that kind of thing, which Jenna most certainly was not – but intimidating form an opponent.
Jenna was a softie at her core, a woman who sniffled during especially poignant life insurance commercials [...]
Like his nose, like his knuckles, his bare torso was fascinating, attractive in a way that made her wince.
“Maybe, but I am. Amazing kisser. Dangerously amazing. Your panties would, like, disintegrate, I’m such an awesome kisser.”
Two seconds’ flirting and he wanted her again, worse than ever. Shit. He better schedule himself a sadistic workout for the late afternoon.
“You’re right. You’d definitely feel different about me the next day. I’m even better at sex than I am at kissing.”
Oh, and I loved this one during their discussion about condoms: “I’m in charge of when that thing gets used. If it gets used.” “The woman always is.” “Good.”