Series: First Impressions #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Sports
Buy on Amazon
PR specialist Miriam Ashley makes her living cleaning up bad boys. Mountain climber-turned-CEO Jason Sanders should be an easy fix. And with a nephew to care for, he’s motivated. The problem? Every time she tries to help Jason get his head in the boardroom, they end up in the bedroom.
What the hell is she thinking? He’s the definition of off-limits. Not just because he’s a client—he spends his free time risking his life mountain climbing. The same thing that got her father killed. She’s not going to open her heart to a guy who could disappear at the drop of a…well, she’d rather not finish that thought.
She needs to leave complicated alone, but every time she sees Jason, something tells her it’s her who might fall…
I thought this book was really cute, it had kind of a lighthearted feel to it throughout the book. It starts really kind of amusingly with our heroine, Miriam meeting our hero, Jason. Jason of course is covered in mud and has been locked out of his house, but Miriam mistakenly believes him to be a homeless person. I loved their kind of hooky first interaction between them. It’s not really a tone that was kept up through the relationship, but it was a fun way to start and got me hooked. Part of what really appealed to me was that Jason and Miriam have a work connection. They don’t work for the same company, but Jason’s company is using Miriam’s company’s services, so any relationship between the two could cause problems in their work life and I liked that whole dynamic of should we really be doing this.
So I liked Miriam kind of way more than I liked Jason. I think maybe I understood her better. She’s really driven and it shows through her work with her company. But she also has kind of a sad backstory that plays into how she handles her feelings toward Jason. Her father died after a mountain climbing accident, so for her being involved with someone who likes to take risks and do adventure sports, is not at all something she is wanting to do. And I got it, I mean it made sense, if I were her I would probably have a lot of the same feelings. But part of what I liked about her was that even though it made her uncomfortable, she was a really good sport, she goes in caves, and hikes, and all sorts of stuff with Jason because she challenges herself. She seems so put together with her perfect outfits and perfect meals that she really could have easily come off as a snob, but she is so much more kind of an everyday woman than I would have thought.
As for Jason, I don’t have a whole lot to say about him, other than he was just okay for me. I liked how he was always trying to do the right thing by his employees, he’s a good guy. He cares about his family, and goes above and beyond the call of duty in order to take of them. I liked how he challenged Miriam to go outside of her comfort zone, but never in like an obnoxious way. But Jason was such a worrier, it made it so hard for me to really enjoy him. He puts so much on his own shoulders, and believes that basically whenever anything even remotely bad happens it was his fault, because of course if he had been better in some way than nothing bad would ever happen. And this kind over protectiveness plagues his relationship with Miriam, because he feels like he doesn’t have time to be a good boyfriend because he is to busy being the perfect brother and uncle and boss, that there is just no space for someone else. I wanted to shake him. Hard.
Overall, I did like the book, it was a fun read for me, and I liked Miriam enough to really want her to get the guy at the end. And honestly, even though Jason wasn’t my favorite, when the two of them were together, it was really enjoyable to read, and really that’s all you can ask for in a romance, to enjoy the characters when they are together.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
“Homeless?” He quirked an eyebrow at her, which made more cracks in the mud on his face. “I’m not homeless. I just bought a place down the street. Two blocks away—it’s the blue duplex with the white shutters.”
He pointed toward a shady, tree-lined section of the neighborhood, and she recalled seeing the glossy “sold” sticker tacked up on the real estate sign a few weeks ago.
She looked back at the man. Okay, upon closer inspection, she could see he wore expensive running shoes and trendy, designer athletic apparel, even if it was covered in mud. What the hell?
“I just did the Tough Mudder,” he said, answering her unasked question. “You know, the big race with all the mud pits and obstacles?”
“Right,” Miriam said, and recognition dawned as the guy turned around to show her the dirt-covered number pinned to his back. At least, that’s what she assumed he was showing her, though her eyes strayed down to one of the most impressive asses she’d ever seen.
Even if it was covered in mud.
The guy turned back around before she thought to avert her gaze. The result was an awkward five-second pause where she found herself staring at his crotch.
Also very impressive.
She gave herself a mental slap and met his eyes again. “So what are you doing walking around looking like a giant malt ball? Don’t they have showers or something at the finish line?”
He grinned, flashing a set of perfectly white teeth that contrasted with the mud. “Just hoses. Hoses with really cold water. I figured since I only lived a couple miles from the race course, I could just run there as my warm-up and run home as my cooldown, and then I could grab a warm shower at home.”
“Right,” Miriam said, trying to wrap her brain around the idea of willingly running four miles on top of whatever the hell they ran in the actual race. People really did this on purpose?
“The thing is,” the guy continued, “I lost my key somewhere in the racecourse, and now I can’t get back in my house to shower off in time to make it to a doctor’s appointment.”
Sympathy fluttered through her belly, or maybe that was anxiety. Probably anxiety. The mention of doctors and hospitals and anything medically related tended to send her spiraling down a path of panicked memories and despondent terror, and she found herself gripping her keys a little tighter. “You have to get to the doctor?” she asked.
“The appointment’s at two. Please, I just need to borrow your phone to call a locksmith. Then I’ll be out of your hair, I swear.”
She glanced at him, then back at her house. Her phone was back on the entry table, but right beside that was her guest bathroom with a shower the guy could use without stepping more than five feet inside her place. Ordinarily she’d think twice about inviting a strange man into her home, but there was something about this man that made her consider it. She could always stand there with a butcher
knife, ready to stick it in him if he tried anything funny. She hesitated, then looked back at the guy.
“I’m Jason, by the way,” he said, smiling wider. “Jason Sanders. I’d shake your hand, but I don’t want to get mud on you.”
“Miriam.” She added polite and considerate to his list of attributes. His eyes were kind, and he seemed sweet and well-spoken.
That’s probably what every serial killer’s victim thinks just before he strangles her with her own panty hose.
But she wasn’t wearing panty hose, and she did have a soft spot for friendly, burly, blue-eyed, stubble-jawed guys in need.
“Come on,” she said and turned toward her walkway.
“Follow you where?”
“My house. You can’t stand out here being dirty.”
He quirked one eyebrow, which caused the mud to crack on his forehead. “You’d rather I be dirty in your house?”