It's about a down-on-his-luck architect, Charles, who falls for his gym instructor while he's supposed to be refocusing himself. The instructor, Sammy, is going through immense family turmoil and doesn't want to let anyone, let alone a handsome romantic interest, in.
Well, here's the blurb--that's better.
"Charles Whitaker is taking his fall from grace hard. Once the top architect in San Diego, his business
partner stole his clients and ran off with all his earnings. When the money left, so did his wife. To help
Charles' re-focus his energy on the future, he's taken a Body Combat course. Only he can't focus on
anything but the beautiful instructor, Sammy Logan.
Sammy doesn't date clients. Even if she did, she's sure they'd run in the opposite direction as soon as
they found out that she spends all her time protecting her mother from her drunken father. Still, the
well-built man in the third row catches her eye and won't let her go without a fight. When her father
crashes his car, Sammy has nowhere to turn and runs smack dab into Charles Whitaker.
Together they try to mend a 25-year family rift, caused by greed and stubbornness, by proving that love
is more powerful than money.
But is it?"
Interested? Here's the first section of the first chapter:
Pretty little thing.
The unwanted thought surprised Charles Whitaker as he stood at the back of the crowded gym room, going through sequences of punches and kicks to high-intensity music. Choreographed fighting. His therapist had said it would be perfect for him. It combined his love of grace and beauty with the primitive urges of humanity. It would allow him to move beyond himself by tiring his mind and feeding the survival instinct—one he’d had all but lost after his wife had left him last year.
Charles slanted a wry smile at his reflection in the mirrored walls of the facility. He was fairly certain his therapist hadn’t intended him to focus only the next cute face that came his way. He was supposed to be working on himself, preparing himself for the future, saving his job and his life from his newly onset depression.
Still, what was the harm in appreciating the female form? The harder he tried to push Body Combat instructor, Sammy Logan, from his mind, the more she popped up. As stubborn in his fantasies as she must be in real life. He grunted as he tore his gaze from the lithe little ninja-lookalike up on the stage and swung into a roundhouse kick. He checked the clock. Twenty-two minutes to go.
When he’d first agreed to the class, the fighting had strained his entire body, elevating his heart rate to uncomfortable levels. Having been married for eight years, he’d let himself go. Now, three months after joining, he was losing the slight paunch that had taken up residency in his belly, his muscles remembering what they were for.
The mirrors helped. Looking at himself, he saw the sheen of sweat over his skin, highlighting the new contours of his body. Pride surged in him. Maybe he could do this after all. He owed it all to Sammy, though she’d never know. Her perky existence compelled him to continue the class, though at first he’d been dead set against it. He didn’t have time to exercise. He needed to focus all of his energy on rebuilding his once-successful business after his partner left him high and dry, taking many of his clients with him. He had to make back the money somehow. His partner, Marcus, was offering jobs at half Charles’ going rate, but Charles knew the man’s work was shoddy. If he could just wait out his old partner, Charles was sure the bulk of his clients would return to him. He just needed enough to stay afloat until then. He also had to find a place to call home that wasn’t a downtown hotel.
“I think you’ll find those goals easier to attain if you begin to believe in yourself again,” his therapist had said with a smile. He hated to admit she’d been right.
Lost in his thoughts, he almost side-kicked the woman to his right. He teetered on one leg before righting himself and shot a nervous glance at the stage. Sammy had seen it. She always did. She flashed him a brilliant smile before addressing the class as a whole.
“Yes or no? Answer yes!”
A chorus of yeses rang through the room, echoing in the whirring of the fans. Charles never answered her. She tilted her head and stared at him as if trying to ask him something, but reading people had never been his best point. He shrugged and looked down at his ratty sneakers. Time for an upgrade, he decided. Maybe she’d notice him if he didn’t come to class looking like a rumpled hobo. It was worth a shot.
He spent the rest of the class staring at her. It was easy to do since he stood in the back, and everyone stared at the instructor, didn’t they? She stood at just about five foot four, with startling black curls that she wore back in pigtails for the class. Her workout attire consisted of tight gym pants or leggings and a tank top that clung to her perky breasts. Her buttocks were rounded and strong, her shoulders creased and rippled with small muscles when she strained them. She couldn’t be older than twenty-two or twenty-three. He felt his neck flush at the observation. At thirty-five, that definitely made him the dirty old man. His self-deprecation stopped short when he noticed the bruises on her calf. Were those fingerprints?
Charles shook his head to clear it as the class went into their last routine. The marks were probably innocent, some weird shadows or his mind playing tricks on him. She seemed far too upbeat to be hiding anything. And strong. He’d heard that last year, she’d suffered a rattlesnake bite and had been back at class as soon as the hospital had given her permission. Whatever she was, Sammy Logan was certainly dedicated to this little gym.
His eyes glazed over, and he counted down his jabs and crosses to fight his fatigue when his favorite part of the last number came on. Sammy always sang this part. He looked up at her, wanting to see her full, rosy lips move in time to the music. He wasn’t disappointed.
“I’ll be anything you want me to be!”
Was she looking at him? All the blood he had in reserve swamped his groin, and Charles stifled a groan and quickly averted his eyes to the windows on his left. His gym shorts wouldn’t adequately cover this.
Stop, he willed himself, though the image of her heart-shaped face and widow’s peak taunted him even as he stared at the palm trees outside. Stop. Stop. In his mind, her deep-blue eyes twinkled, staring up at him, daring him to take her.
The music ended and a slow tune started for the stretch. Charles turned and bolted from the room, his sneakers squeaking across the floor. He needed a cool down that didn’t involve staring at the poised and posed Sammy Logan.
So, if you're looking for a new romance book to try...go ahead and check out Body Combat. I'm pretty proud of it.