In Your Corner
My feelings toward this book are utterly ambivalent. On the one hand, the reader is gifted with strong characters. There’s a strong supporting cast and the narrator of the story is a likable protagonist. On the other hand, I felt like the romance between the main characters was lackluster.
Amanda Westwood narrates as an up-and-coming lawyer working at a prestigious firm. She has a pretty great life. She’s successful, sociable, and on the fast track to the top at her firm. She’s missed out on a true romantic connection, though she cannot lose the thoughts of Jake, the MMA fighter she briefly dated two years ago.
When Jake needs legal representation for his family’s company, he turns to Amanda’s legal firm. Amanda has a visceral reaction to seeing Jake again. She hasn’t forgotten the passion they shared for a brief two months. When another chance encounter brings Amanda face to face with Jake, the attraction is undeniable. As she undergoes some major life changes, she must decide if there is a now a place for the man she cannot forget.
I’m not a huge fan of first-person present narration typically, but after a few chapters I became accustomed to the style and it stopped bothering me. I believe for first-person narration to work, a reader must be able to relate to and like the narrator. Fortunately, it was easy for me to like Amanda. She’s witty, resourceful, and though she makes some questionable decisions during the course of the story, she snaps herself back to reality quickly.
Jake was much more difficult to get to know, perhaps because as readers we do not get his point of view. He is a dominant, alpha male who wants to be in a relationship. Amanda makes it clear that she is attracted to him, however I never fully understood what exactly made her attracted to him, other than the obvious fact that he’s hot. We do see him being supportive of her on several occasions, which endeared him to me. But they never achieved the chemistry I felt they needed for the romance to flourish.
For what it’s worth, though the romance was a bit lackluster for me, the other aspects of the book were fun and interesting. The MMA fights and techniques were well described, the legal cases even more so. And the humor was definitely to my taste. I laughed out loud multiple times while reading Amanda’s internal monologues or the banter between the MMA fighters.
But perhaps the best part was the secondary characters. Jake’s MMA comrades are a hoot. Their interactions provide plenty of laughter and action. The bad guys are squicky. (I wanted to give Evil Reid an up close and personal demonstration of some of those MMA techniques.) And the sexual tension between Penny, Amanda’s assistant, and Ray, her private investigator, was thick enough to cut with a knife. This pair had chemistry and if they get their own book, I’ll certainly check it out.
If I’d felt a more romantic connection and better chemistry between Amanda and Jake, I would give this book a recommendation. But since I read romance for the romance and relationship development, sadly, I cannot grant an unqualified recommendation in this case.
I read romance of any sub-genre, but particularly love contemporaries. Well-written stories of any variety interest me though and I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite book. I love smart-mouthed heroines and tortured heroes, unusual time periods and just about anything medieval. On a personal note, I'm a political junkie, Cushing's Disease survivor, mom to 11 rescued dogs and too many cats to actually count.