A guest review by Lily
An entertaining story of the love that unexpectedly grows between two men who appear at first to be total opposites.
Taking advantage of a free pass from work, Maddoc decides to try out a fitness center. After meeting up with a friend, Dan, and making dinner plans, Maddoc meets Ivan, a hunky, silver-haired ex-Marine who gives him a ride home. Soon Maddoc finds himself with a new friend, a workout partner, a protector… and maybe something more, as a simmering attraction comes to life between him and Ivan. After moving too fast in previous relationships that fell apart, Maddoc wants to start slow—wants to make sure it can last. Luckily, Ivan is willing to wait.
Maddoc receives a free pass to a gym and decides to check it out. While there he sees Dan, a co-worker, and is introduced to a few of Dan’s friends. One of the men he meets is Ivan, a former Marine, and Maddoc is instantly drawn to him. The men slowly form a friendship of sorts as they meet at the gym to work out. Despite his attraction Maddoc isn’t really in a frame of mind to be thinking about anything more than friendship since he was hurt by failed relationships in the past and he’s also trying to deal with a rather frightening situation. Feeling overwhelmed he’s grateful when Ivan offers to show him how to defend himself. As the two men spend more and more time together their feelings deepen and soon they realize they are more than just friends.
As Maddoc struggles to deal with his situation and his need to take things slow it was nice to see Ivan supporting him and not just taking over. Often this kind of plot shows the smaller and supposedly weaker man needing to be rescued by their dominant and stronger partner. In this case while Maddoc is smaller than Ivan, and he admittedly did have periods where he was very frightened, when it came down to it he was able to take care of himself using his wits and the things he learned from Ivan. This balanced their relationship quite nicely.
I really enjoyed the focus of the story being kept on the relationship between Maddoc and Ivan and not letting it get lost in Maddoc’s situation. I found both men likable and their slowly evolving feelings and the fact that the physical aspect wasn’t rushed into, all combined to make this a sweet and easy read. The supporting characters are also nice and I especially enjoyed Maddoc’s witty comebacks when dealing with Lonnie, another friend at the gym.
Pump Me Up is a spinoff of Spot Me but can be read as a standalone. An interesting and at times amusing story of two men meeting, becoming friends and slowly realizing that their feelings have grown to be more than just friendship. I really liked how Maddoc and Ivan fit so well together and brought out the best in each other. Another well written and entertaining story by an author whose books I’ve enjoyed reading in the past.