Series: Getting Physical, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars
Length: 236 Pages
Disclosure: An ARC of this book was provided to me by Carina Press via NetGalley. This rating, review, and all included thoughts and comments are my own.
Nice Guys CAN Get the Girl
Plastic surgeon Whitney Vidra is living her dream. Unfortunately for the city girl, that dream has landed her in the ultra-conservative town of Pleasant Park, PA, where her and her two best friends are starting up their own all-purpose medical spa. With no nightlife to speak of and locals who could sweat disapproval and disdain...if they sweat at all, Whitney is feeling a little hemmed in by the very opportunity she and her friends have been scrimping and saving for over a decade to achieve.
When she's approached by the adorable but obviously clueless Matt Fuller at what passes for a bar in her new hometown, Whitney takes one look at the man and is ready to run in the other direction. He's got Needy Nice Guy written all over him, and Whitney doesn't do charity cases any more.
Recently divorced grade school teacher Matt isn't her usual fare for sexy good times. He's got life-long commitment written all over him, and Whitney is terminally allergic to commitment. But when she finds out his marriage ended because of his wife's infidelity, Whitney realizes exactly what Matt needs to put his marriage behind him and move on. Just like she did when she'd had her heart destroyed by the man who cheated on her, Mr. Nice Guy needs a no-holds-barred, completely sexual, no-emotions-need-apply rebound relationship. And Whitney is just the girl for the job.
I went into this book expecting a light, sexy, summer romance read, and for all that unmet expectations usually kill a read for me, that wasn't the case this time. Not that the story wasn't sexy, because wow - it so was. Seriously and intensely sexy, in fact. It just wasn't exactly a light and easy summer fling of a romance.
It's a meatier, more complex tale than I had anticipated, featuring two truly damaged characters. There were moments of light, frivolous fun and an almost I Love Lucy-esque slapstick comedy in places, but those were just surface sheen that added some gloss to a story that had quite a lot of emotional depth.
Whitney carries the scars of some mighty big damage inside her. She could've been a porter for all the emotional baggage she hauls around. Sarcastic, sometimes cruel, often self-absorbed and entitled, she uses her sexuality as both a sword and a shield, honed weapons that attack and defend against the source of any potential emotional vulnerability.
There were moments when she was petulant, rash, childish, and ridiculously immature. Actually, there were a lot of moments when she was darn close to unlikable. Yet, for all that I feel her character went too far over the top at times, and she never quite seemed believable as an accomplished plastic surgeon, I loved those moments when she showed her softer side, her generosity of spirit, and her caring. And I loved her moxie.
Matt was her perfect complement, too. Generous to a fault, good-natured, laid back to the point of almost lacking a pulse about some things, rigid with steely resolve about others, at his core he's just a nice, normal, decent guy. He's also the perfect example of how too much of a good thing really can be way too much of a good thing.
His wife betrayed him, but he doesn't feel it like everyone says he should and he's still more than cordial with the woman. Therein lies the far more subtle flaws in his character. The emotional neutrality and sense of obligation he feels for his ex borders on unhealthy, and the dogged determination to help her whenever she calls is just as much a tell about his personality as Whitney's poor behavior.
Their relationship wasn't traditional but I liked how it evolved throughout the story. There were a few predictable plot elements, and I wasn't crazy about some of the latter story developments. I'm not a fan of the ubiquitous Big Misunderstanding and the resolution to it seemed odd to me. Still, it was a fun read. There was plenty of fan-myself-it-was-so-hot sexiness, just enough borderline-scandalous fun to keep it on the lighter side, and both characters had weighty emotional issues to add some nice depth. I liked it.