Saturday, September 16, 2023

Two to Tango (Brits in Manhattan #2), by Laura Carter

Boldwood Books, ISBN 9781785135392, September 2023

Brooks Adams owns a very successful gym in New York City, and is an extremely successful personal trainer. Having come up from nothing, he's motivated in part by the need to prove his real worth to those who doubted him--most importantly, to Alice, the high school girlfriend with whom he had a child while they were still in high school. They never married, and their daughter is starting college now, and Brooks still thinks his life will be fixed if he can prove to Alice that he's really good enough.

Izzy is British, a daughter of a mother whose main focus is social success, and a fitness guru with a very different approach than Brooks's. She's just published her first book, and she's in NYC for her first book tour. Sales aren't off to a good start, but egged on by her publicity manager, she slams Brooks and his gym, and every time she does, her book sales jump.

Soon this leads to a challenge that has them working together, each working out, and eating, according to the other's program.

Izzy even gets moved into an empty apartment in Brooks's building. Whether they can survive the two weeks of the challenge with nearly 24/7 exposure to each other seems like a real question.

They're both determined to be uncooperative, and concede nothing. 

The sparks fly, but they each start to feel some benefits from the other's training style. They also start to, grudgingly, sometimes enjoy each other's company.

Further misunderstandings lie in wait for them, though. They include Brooks answering a distress call from his daughter, and picking her up, drunk, from a misspent evening with a guy who had different intentions that she did. Izzy gets a glimpse of him carrying into the building a sexily dressed girl clearly far to young for him, and gets the very worst impression.

Brooks also gets a wrong impression when Izzy shows up someplace he didn't expect her.

Can they clear the air, overcome their rivalry and mutual distrust, and build something good?

Do they even want to, given that Izzy has commitments that mean she'll have to go back to the UK when the two weeks are up?

Enemies to lovers isn't my favorite flavor of romance. However, these are good, interesting characters, who are really trying to build good lives for themselves, each of them against very different challenges.

It's a good read.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, via Rachel's Random Resources.

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