Mixed martial arts fighter Reid Andrews’s chance to reclaim his title as light heavyweight champ is shattered when he’s injured only months before the rematch. To make sure he’s healed in time, his trainer sends him to recuperate under a professional’s care – Reid’s best friend’s little sister, all grown up.
Disorganized and bookish Lucie Miller needs some professional help of her own. She’d do anything to catch the eye of a doctor she’s crushed on for years, so when Reid offers seduction lessons in exchange for 24/7 conditioning for the biggest fight of his career, Lucie jumps at the chance.
Soon Reid finds him himself in the fight of his life … winning Lucie’s heart before she gives it to someone else.
A book that will appeal to the hopeless romantics out there, to the dreamers and the HEA-addicts. A simple story of friends becoming lovers, of childhood crushes morphing into grown-up attractions, of two people simply made for each other.
Lucie and Reid have known one another since they were kids, Reid being her brother’s best friend. He is a successful fighter now, in the twilight of his career, fighting to stay on top. Lucie is a physical therapist, a single woman devoted to her work and with very little time left in her day to dedicate to a personal life. She is secretly in love with a colleague but past hurts have made her insecure and convinced that no great guy would ever pick her.
An injury forces Reid to seek physical rehabilitation but faith leads him into the office of his childhood friend, Lucie. They strike a deal to spend two months together living under the same roof where she would be his full-time physical therapist, helping him to heal from his injury and prepare for the most important fight of his career, while Reid would in return teach Lucie how to seduce a man, more specifically the colleague she has been pining for.
This is in essence an attraction of opposites – while Reid is driven, organised, meticulous in his routines and lifestyle choices, Lucie is spontaneous, messy, emotional and a dreamer. They should be all wrong for each other and yet they are quite perfect together. Reid was raised by a broken man who confronted his own demons by pushing his son to become what he never was. He never taught him how to love or feel loved, he only taught him how to fight.
“You’ve got life by the balls, kid. You’ve got fame, fortune, and you can get laid all you want without any attachments. Keep it that way … and spare yourself the heartache.”
Lucie dreams of a white-picket-fence, of love, of a family, and she is desperate to have it all one day. Her heart was broken by a bad but thankfully short-lived marriage which left her scared of choosing the wrong type of man and of following her heart rather than her head. Reid is exactly the kind of man her head would warn her against but the heart wants what the heart wants, and soon their pull is something neither of them can fight.
“Was it possible to physically feel the moment you lost your heart to someone? Because Lucie was fairly sure she’d just lost hers, and the spot where it should have been literally hurt.”
As predictable as this storyline sounds and it effectively is, it is nevertheless executed masterfully and the reader never feels that they have been cheated out of a plot. I personally hated the Cinderella references and felt that they added an unnecessary tackiness to an otherwise great story, but even this did not affect my overall opinion of this book. The chemistry between the two lead characters is palpable, the physical aspect of their relationship gave me butterflies and I think I even forgot how to breathe a couple of times. It’s a quick and relatively angst-free read but it is nevertheless satisfying and utterly moreish. This book stands proof that a story does not have to be very long to be well constructed and skilfully executed. For a debut novel, it stands proudly in its genre as a must-read.
Bravo, Ms Maxwell, you’ve got yourself a fan.