Max Payton lives by two rules:
Size and strength win any fight, and never show weakness.
When a rash of assaults sends Bowler University for a tail spin, Max volunteers to help teach a self-defense class. One of the other instructors is the beautiful pixie-faced girl he keeps butting heads with…and who challenges everything he thought he knew.
Lea Travers avoids guys like Max – cocky jocks who assume she’s fragile because of a disability caused by a childhood accident. She likes to be in control, and something about being with Max makes her feel anything but. But during the moments he lets his guard down, Lea sees a soul as broken inside as she is outside. Trusting him is a whole other problem…
When the assaults ramp up and hit close to home, Lea and Max must learn, before it’s too late, that true strength can come from vulnerability…and giving in to trust is sometimes the only way to make things right. (Goodreads)
Source: eARC via the publisher for review purposes
I didn’t read the first book in the series, Make it Count, yet, so I didn’t have a lot of information going in about Max, the hero in this book. Apparently, he is the ex-boyfriend of Kat and the best friend/roommate of Alec, the MCs in Make it Count, and he is not a very nice guy. He comes off as cocky and arrogant and because he’s hot & built, he can get any girl he wants.
The girl he wants, Lea, is a friend of Kat’s and seems to be able to see through him. She and Max have a very antagonistic relationship and they are thrown together a lot because of their friends. Max uses his reputation as a masculine guy who can get any girl he wants to push Lea’s buttons and it works. She finds herself arguing with him but all the while secretly attracted to him. Max is always coming on to Lea, but she doesn’t realize how much he really likes her, she thinks he’s just being Max. But Lea is the girl for Max, the one that can make him see things differently.
There are a lot of things that Max has to atone for and the way he was raised is questionable because he is supposed to be manly and never show vulnerability and it’s always “an eye for an eye.” But Lea blows it all away because she allows him to be vulnerable and shows him in many ways that it takes all kinds of people to have strength and it is not always about how big your muscles are.
This is a sweet story about people getting second chances. Max needed a second chance and a lot of people would not have given it to him, but Lea comes to see a different side to him. Sometimes, we just need for people to let us be ourselves without judgment before we can fully become who we are meant to be. I am very curious about Alec and Kat and will be reading their story soon, but I liked this little redemption story. If you want a sweet and sexy story about overcoming who people think you are or should be, you will love it, too.