Monday, December 11, 2017

Alison Packard - Breaking His Rules

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?

Comment: When I got the first book I've read by the author, I liked it, so I also got the sequels, including the one I've read last month and this current one. I must say I haven't been much impressed by the following books...I suppose the other one was novelty enough or maybe it was just the best of the bunch...

In this story we have the romance of Jake (brother to the hero from Catching Heat) and Melissa, a woman who started to attend his gym.
Jake has been very strict about his personal rules when it comes to date clients. He has had a bad experience and now he only wants to keep things as professional as possible. The problem is that Melissa isn't just a client, she is a person he cares about, a woman he likes to spend time with and her motivation to treat her body better a plus in what he sees in her. He was already interested before she started losing weight but now her own perception is different, she seems even more attractive. Can he put his own rules side just one more time or is he doomed to repeat the same mistakes?

As a whole, I can't say this is a bad romance. I liked the personal stories of both Jake and Melissa, as individuals and their relationship wasn't too bad. I think my biggest disappointment comes from two things, one that probably only I would think of and another associated with the end of the story, when the HEA is about to happen.

First, a good element: I did like how Melissa wasn't portrayed as a woman only focused on losing weight. She had a believable reason to do it, she went about it in a positive way as well and  liked how she got to a certain point and decided she was feeling ok that way and she wasn't going towards a goal that would be too difficult and discouraging. She was feeling well and often that is a goal not many can admit, so I liked this aspect of Melissa's path and choices.

Also interesting, and slightly connected to the above, was Jake's impression of Melissa as a human being, as a person before she got to be a woman he was attracted to. Although this seems a little too sweet to be realistic, the idea is so cool I liked imagining Jake thinking of Melissa as a great person who was doing something she as not only entitled to but she was smart enough to do it correctly. 
Part of me has created a very personal image of how their relationship has evolved but overall, it was well done.
I also liked how professional Jake was when Melissa started attending - who is the obese person who wants to be ridiculed when trying to join a gym? - and also when she started to look like a woman he liked and not just a person he genuinely wanted to help and see succeeding. 

The biggest problem for me was closer to the end of the story... I think Melissa is a great character, she embodies those who want to change and are so totally in the right to do so but... is it truly believable the process is that easy? I understand, for the story's purposes she had to be confident enough but... I don't know, this part felt a let down, I wanted to see her personality accept the change as well, she sounded a little too perfect.
This meant the romance up to the end was amazing, when they have a conflict things get weird and the resolution was too weak and not romantic enough for me. Some situations related to this were also a bit silly, like how the contrast was done with Jake's former client, the one he had a bad experience with. Things could have been done differently and much better too.

The second little detail I would change is how Melissa and Jake finally give in to their feelings. It was too obvious, too premeditated. I wanted something a bit more magical and maybe Melissa would need to think twice about it, considering how emotionally the whole process had to affect her. Or maybe I' just being picky.

All in all, this wasn't too bad but I still hoped for more. I'd definitely change some details to better suit what I'd want to see. This means the story wasn't as perfect as I'd have like it to be. 
There's one more story in this series but I don't have the book and so far I don't really feel like reading it so... maybe one day.
Grade: 6/10

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