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?
*Blurb from Goodreads*
Ever since I first picked up Packard’s debut novel, I’ve been a huge fan. I love the sports team and sense of brotherhood that comes with that. In the last book, I loved the introduction to the Sawyer family, and getting to see more of them as well.
Jake struggled with his weight as a child so helping other people get over their weight issues is his biggest pleasure in owning a gym. He swore he would never date a client after a horrific incident when he first started, but his client Melissa is someone he just can’t seem to get out of his mind. He goes out of his way to spend extra time with her, and is insanely attracted to her.
Melissa’s been working hard to get healthy, and having Jake push her was just what she needed to jump start a healthy lifestyle. Only, Melissa still seems to get ridiculed by her cousin and her cousin’s BFF. With her cousin’s wedding quickly approaching, Melissa convinces Jake to pretend to be her boyfriend and escort her. But as they spend the wedding weekend together, Melissa and Jake will realize that their chemistry is so intense, they might not be able to deny it anymore.
I really liked this book. I loved the way Packard handled Melissa’s weight issue without getting too preachy. I’ve read so many other books before where the issue of weight seems to be handled in a way that just comes off as…. wrong. However, I liked that Packard – through her hero Jack – featured more of a healthy lifestyle and healthy choices instead of working out till you drop. It was a refreshing read in regards to someone struggling with weight issues, and I loved the way it was handled.
While I really liked Jake, there were a couple times I wanted to slap him silly for being such a jerk. Although I respected his rule about not dating clients, he also was completely blind to the fact that he was falling head over heels for Melissa, well before they went to the wedding. I thought Jake was so focused on what other people thought of his reputation, that he was getting tunnel vision in regards to the rest of his life. Even after multiple people pointed it out to him.
I adored Melissa so much. She was such a strong heroine, and one that I could really get behind and cheer on. When she started standing up for herself, and becoming more and more confidant, I wanted to do a little dance. Also, her relationship with her sister was so great. I loved the way those two interacted together. It was them against the world and I loved the way they always had the other’s back.
The romance between Jake and Melissa was slow to develop, especially since Jake kept holding back. But I liked the way it slow burned. It gave them a chance to get to know one another as friends, to really learn what made the other tick. Once they did finally acknowledge one another sexually, things heated up quick, and were also quick to fizzle and fall apart. Without that friendship behind them, I don’t know that I would have been able to believe in their reconciliation as much.
All in all, I think Packard has another wonderful book on her hands. I thought the characters were all great, and I can’t wait to find out what happens with certain future characters. 🙂 The romance was great and the wedding itself was both hilarious and heartbreaking to read. I can’t wait for more in this series.
I give Breaking His Rules a B