After a very public breakup with a media-hungry politician, fitness trainer Tori Alvarez escapes to Aruba for rest and relaxation. She vows to keep her vacation a man-free zone but when a cute guy is seated next to her on the plane, Tori can’t resist a little harmless flirting.
Hollywood heartthrob Carter Stone underwent a dramatic physical transformation for his latest role and it’s clear his stunning seat mate doesn’t recognize the man beneath the shaggy beard and extra lean frame. Now Carter needs help rebuilding his buff physique and Tori is perfect for the job.
Sparks are flying, until a pesky paparazzo reveals Carter’s identity. Tori is hurt and pissed. Can Carter convince Tori he’s worth the threat to her privacy that comes with dating a famous actor, or will Tori chisel him down to nothing before he even gets the chance?
I picked this book up for a readathon and I am so, so glad I did. It’s a perfect “me” contemporary romance – low-stress, great plot, all kinds of rep, and so much fun.
- The heroine is Puerto Rican and the author is an Afro-Latinx woman from Puerto Rico – huzzah own voices!
- The entire cast is diverse racially and in terms of physical ability, and as far as I can tell the only white character of note is the hero.
- The competence porn is on point. Tori is a wonderful trainer, Carter is a good actor, the family restaurant is doing well, the gym is well-managed, and more. People may have varying degrees of confidence and there are setbacks, but everyone rocks at what they do and supports each other.
- Tori’s roommate and best friend Eva is a joy. Their relationship reminds me of one of my best friends and they always put each other first, before the men in their lives.
- Other supporting characters are fully developed and I can’t wait to read their happily ever afters, too.
- Stereotypes are casually subverted and I am so here for it.
A flight attendant taking drink orders hovers in the vicinity. I pull down my tray table and ask him for a cup of coffee.
- Spanish is used throughout and while it’s italicized it isn’t translated every time, a huge plus in my book.
- Difficult or potentially problematic situations are dealt with in beautiful ways. Tori calls Carter out immediately when he says something shitty and he apologizes genuinely and on the spot. He never forces her to do anything and asks for consent every step of the way. Even throw away lines are recast. For example, there’s a scene where a typical alpha-hole hero would tell the heroine that he doesn’t ‘take no for an answer’. Here’s what Carter says instead:
“Yeah, I understand. You should know this, though – I will always take no for an answer, but the minute you say otherwise, you’re mine, and I won’t hold anything back.”
All of the alpha, none of the hole. I love to see this on the page and it warmed my heart.
- While there are stressful moments they’re resolved quickly. ‘Oh no, a paparazzo took a picture!’ is on one page and is handled deftly on the next. This kept the romance low-stress for me, and while there is angst it was well within what I can handle. It was much appreciated in a week where the real world news was beyond the pale.
- The plot is intricately crafted and well-paced, with the pieces fitting together perfectly. It’s a slow burn but when they do get to the sex? ~fans herself~
- There are shades of instalust in the beginning but it’s non-creepy and didn’t bother me. That’s it!
I can’t wait to read more of Sosa’s books, and am so grateful that Latinx-a-thon introduced me to her work. Yea finding a new author to love!