Rhys Morgan is a former heavyweight champ in desperate need of cash to keep his gym afloat. Parker Brown is a wealthy environmental research scientist in desperate need of a fake relationship to satisfy a misogynistic boss. It was supposed to be just business. Neither expected to fall in love.

It’s a classic collection of tropes (fake relationship, opposites attract), but the authors make it all fresh again with a cast of genuinely human, lovable, vivid characters, broken in all the right places, and a masterful thread of steamy attraction that stitches them together piece by piece. This book is in my perpetual re-read pile. In fact, I came back to it this weekend for the third time.

I think my favorite part about the book is that the characters actually grow as people. It isn’t one sacrificing everything that makes them happy for the other. Instead, they both have to step outside their comfort zone, accept mistakes and compromises, and become better people in order to get what they want. For me, wanting to be a better person is much more romantic than some big personal sacrifice that makes you miserable. The latter just isn’t sustainable. Relationships should build you up, and Rhys and Parker are both stronger and better for their love. As a reader, that’s deeply satisfying. Combined with witty dialogue, adorable fierceness, touching vulnerability, and expertly crafted steam, this should be in the TBR list of anyone who enjoys contemporary or sport romances.

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