The second book in New York Times bestselling author Erin Nicholas's series about three geeky girls and the hunky guys who fall for them.
Maya Goodwin doesn't believe in holding back. Ever. As a cop, she never hesitated to throw herself into harm's way to save someone. Even after an injury on the job forces her to retire, she's not afraid to keep risking it all to get the life she wants. With a new career teaching martial arts to kids already underway, she's looking forward to the future - and taking a chance on the unbelievably hot Dr. Alex Nolan.
Maya - daring and spontaneous - is the exact opposite of what Alex always thought he wanted. But when a nine-year-old daughter he never knew existed shows up on his doorstep, Maya is the one who helps them hold it together. With love on the line, will the guy who's always played it safe be willing to take the biggest risk of all?
There are books that just get it right. And, this one is one of them. They tell a romance that you slide into, that feels good as you are reading it, that makes you want to turn the next page, to keep the Kindle open, to not go to sleep just yet. I think anyone who reads a lot knows this feeling, that enjoyment of just escaping into a book, to read something that you don't want to put down.
From the beginning, Maya and Alex have chemistry. And, the build up of this chemistry is done to perfection. It's both a slow burn and a denial of the attraction that they each feel.
I loved that you know there is a secret, and you know what it is right away. Although, Alex isn't telling others, the reader knows. And, it is interesting. I think this is the first book I have read that deals with this particular thing. I am not going to spoil it, although the author places the info in the acknowledgements at the beginning of the book, so I think it is a secret you are supposed to know.
Alex has a secret, he has limitations that he doesn't want to admit to himself. Some of those are the expectations of others. Erin Nicholas balances this so well, the man who actually can manage sex against a wall with the man who maybe needs to play pool and poker instead of a full contact, rough sport. Alex also seems to think that he can manage to have all of the people he loves and cares for lving around him without interacting and impacting one another, and the way this is handled is both emotional and it feels real.
Maya has a mission to get back something she had which she has lost. She has a focus toward it that doesn't change, it doesn't stop. It moves her forward in ways that may not be the healthiest, and it stops her a lot of the time from seeing what is right in front of her.
And, because romance needs a connection between 2 people to really work, Maya and Alex understand one another. They know what it is like to be held back by something, to feel that they are not able to move forward because of something totally out of their control...and to hide behind it to the detriment of the things they are hiding from.
Oddly enough, the first one in this series really didn't work for me and I actually hesitated when I received the invitation to read this one...I am so very glad I accepted the invite and gave this series another chance. Usually, I wouldn't put this into a review, that I wasn't that big of a fan of another book...but in this case, I am mentioning it just in case there is someone else who maybe didn't connect with the first, as it would be a shame to miss this one.
I, obviously, recommend this book.
Alex laughed. He liked Maya. The thought hit him directly in the gut.
Maya smiled brightly, and he admitted that he was intensely attracted too. Now fast attraction—that he’d experienced before. But it had been a long time since even that had happened.
“I’m Dr. Alex Nolan. I’m on staff at Boston Children’s Hospital. I’m on their website if you want to look me up.”
Maya suddenly frowned. “I can’t believe I didn’t think of that.”
“Googling pediatricians and finding out who you are after the mall the other day,” Maya said.
Alex raised an eyebrow. “Wouldn’t that be a little creepy?”
“Probably,” she agreed. “Maybe that’s why I didn’t do it.”
He laughed. “Well, to further decrease the creep factor, I do have a kid,” he said. “A daughter. Charlotte. We call her Charli. She’ll be ten next month. She’s very into superheroes, GR, and swords, and I know nothing about any of that. I liked the demonstration at the mall and thought I’d come check out your studio.”
“So you’re wanting to sign her up,” Maya said with a nod. “Okay, not creepy at all.”
“Uh…” Alex knew this was going to sound strange. “Actually I want to take the class myself.”
Maya frowned. “These classes won’t teach you about superheroes exactly,” she said. “They are kind of a combination of stage fighting and martial arts and self-esteem workshops.”
“I know.” He’d been on the website. Which is how he’d found out more about the studio. And where he’d stared at Maya’s photo before going in to look up more about her on the internet. Which was how he found out that her classes had won some local awards, she’d been a brilliant cop—who had not, incidentally, been fired for beating someone up—and that she regularly blogged about superheroes and their fandom and the psychology of that fandom. He’d bookmarked her page immediately.
“And the things you do in class sounds like the perfect bonding activity for Charli and me. I’ll take the class and then go home and teach her.”
Maya looked puzzled. “Why not just bring her to class?”
“She…” He swallowed. Charli would love Maya. Hell, if she saw Maya with those pointy-weapon-things, she’d want to be Maya.
But Alex had only seen Maya twice, and he’d already witnessed her get hit with a Bo staff, punched in the ribs, and cut with some kind of sharp hand weapon. Which reminded him that she’d been bleeding.
He looked down, but the bleeding had already slowed or stopped. Which was what happened when a person with normal blood got cut. But Charli didn’t have normal blood. She didn’t bleed faster, but she would bleed longer—because of the genetic mutation he had passed on to her.
He’d told her mother that Charli should be able to try whatever she wanted. But he’d also told her he’d keep Charli safe. If Charli took classes here, he would have to fill Maya and her staff in on the hemophilia and precautions and treatment…
“She has some special needs,” he said, cringing a little as he said it, knowing that Maya might easily jump to conclusions that were not at all correct. But it didn’t matter what she thought. This was the right thing for Charli.
But Maya didn’t even blink. “Okay,” she said. “I understand. Maybe…” But she trailed off while watching him thoughtfully without completing the sentence.
“Maybe what?” he asked.
“Maybe I could teach you and your daughter a private Super You class.”
He was surprised at her offer, but more—he was tempted. Which meant he had to say no. The timing for meeting a gorgeous, intriguing woman couldn’t have been worse. “I think a class with lots of other people, especially kids, would be better.”
Maya was direct. He liked that. And he could return the favor. “Because you look just as good in workout pants as you do in leather.”
Her eyes widened in surprise just a beat before her smile widened. “And that’s a problem?”
“It is when I’m trying to give all of my extra time and attention to my daughter.”
She studied him for a moment. “Okay,” she finally said with a nod. “And once you see the class, if you change your mind, she’s always welcome.”
Alex relaxed. “Thanks.”
“You’re not going to feel funny taking a class with a bunch of kids?”
“I love kids,” he told her.
“What about the tights and cape?”
“Tights and cape?” Alex repeated.
“The costume,” she said with a nod.
“Thought the participants all helped create their own character,” he said, realizing she was messing with him.
“Well, there’s no way in hell I would create a character that would wear tights.”
Maya’s gaze wandered over him, head to toe, before she said, Too bad.”
Erin Nicholas is the author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they're shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).
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