Romancing the Weekends: Making Him Sweat by Meg Maguire

PJV Quickie: Making Him Sweat was a sexy and surprisingly sweet romance.  Meg Maguire has written an interesting story between this unlikely couple and I am looking forward to more in this series.

[frame align=”left”]Making Him Sweat[/frame]
Title: Making Him Sweat (Wilinski’s #1)
Author: Meg Maguire
Type: Contemporary Romance
Published: March 1, 2013 by Harlequin Blaze
Source: Personal Copy
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Review

Jenna Wilinski  is back in Boston after moving away as a child with her mother when her parents divorced.  After their divorce, her father was involved in a scandal with the gym he owned.  He was acquitted on a technicality, but the taint of the scandal never left and even after his death, the gym is still considered  unsavory.  Jenna didn’t have contact with her dad while she was growing up, and surprisingly, when he died he left her the gym and the building it’s housed in.  The building includes space for another business and an apartment above.  Jenna wants to open a branch of a national matchmaking service, Spark, in the extra space and move into her father’s apartment upstairs.

Mercer Rowley manages Wilinski’s Gym.  He’s a former semi-pro boxer/MMA fighter, and Jenna’s dad was his mentor.  He was like a father to Mercer when he was a young angry kid needing guidance, and as he grew older he cared for Jenna’s dad through the illness that eventually killed him.  During the last months of his life, Mercer moved in to the apartment to better care for him.

Jenna’s got big plans for Spark, plans that include closing the gym, and Mercer is trying to convince her to give it, and the young guys he mentors there, a chance.  What neither of them expects is their attraction to each other despite their opposing goals.

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I think this might be the first Harlequin Blaze that I’ve read, and I liked it!  It’s by Meg Maguire, so I knew it would be sexy, but I was surprised at how sweet it was given the occupation of the hero.  I loved Mercer:  he’s a rough-edged hero who’s pragmatic but fights for what he thinks is right.  I like that Ms. Maguire sets him up as not traditionally attractive, but he’s such a nice guy that Jenna’s attraction continues to grow as the story moves on.

The gym storyline was interesting and I spent the whole book pulling for them to find a way to save it (I won’t spoil it and tell you if they did or not).  It was bittersweet that the guys in the gym seemed to know everything about Jenna, but she knew nothing about her father or his life. I could feel Mercer’s conflicted emotions between his feelings for Jenna and his loyalty to her father’s gym and clients.  He really was a ‘stand-up’ guy and I loved every sexy, sweaty minute of his page-time 🙂

Jenna’s story involved getting to know her father a bit more, even though he’s dead; not only through Mercer, but through the things he left behind.  Add in her dreams of opening Spark, her growing desire to keep the gym open, and her growing feelings about Mercer, and you’ve got a great read on your hands.

Ms. Maguire wrote some great secondary characters, and I hope a certain pair get their story in the next book.

There were some aspects to the story that I thought were “easy outs” and I kind of rolled my eyes over that, but overall I enjoyed Making Him Sweat and am going to pre-order Taking Him Down (book 2).

Recommendations:

I think Making Him Sweat will appeal to fans of sports-themed romance, although there’s not a lot of action in that area.  Also, readers who like the romance without a lot of external conflict (ie: kidnappings, misunderstandings, etc.).

Other books that you might like, similar to ‘Making Him Sweat’:

Willing Victim by Cara McKenna  (be warned this one’s a little more ‘hard core’ and explicit than Making Him Sweat)

patti