From time to time there comes a book that, once all is said and done, you find yourself really liking and yet you’re left with the feeling that something was missing, that you wanted just a little more out of either the characters and/or the story. Well, that’s where I find myself with Ramping Up. I really liked Gunner and Helena’s story, and think that this is a great start to a new series, but I wanted just a little more out of it.
Gunner has been ruled by his father’s iron fist for more than half of his life and has finally decided that he’s had enough, so he drops his agent and quits surfing. The problem with that though is that he has no real plan as to what he’s going to do with the rest of his life, until he’s captured on film doing what he truly loves. My heart broke for Gunner and all that he endured because of his father. No child should ever have to deal with that. But, he lived through it, though he never got the chance to truly live and has come out of it as a sweet, charming and yet standoffish guy. The times when I wanted to hug him were almost equal to the times that I wanted to shake some sense into him for thinking that he could handle things all on his own, but I understood why he thought that.
Helena is following in the footsteps of her father in becoming a sports agent. She has the drive, the ambition and the intelligence to be one of the best. Her only fault though is that sometimes she is so focused on winning that she may set aside what would truly be best for her client. All in all, I really did like Helena. She’s extremely intelligent, knows what she’s doing and doesn’t feel the need to have to prove that she has a bigger set of balls than the boys. Her confidence is a huge draw and when she’s got your back, she’s got your back. But as much as I liked her, I have this feeling that I’m still missing a piece of who she is and wish I had gotten to see her interact more with her father and friends.
There is instant attraction/lust between Gunner and Lena and though Lena ‘tries’ to keep things professional between them, she pretty much fails miserably thanks to Gunner not letting up on her. Insta-love doesn’t happen, as neither goes there instantly, but there is a lot of lust and smexyness between them as they attempt to keep things on the DL while remaining as professional as humanly possible.
The writing was engaging and I enjoyed the dual first person POV’s . Some of the plot twists I saw coming, but I still enjoyed how it all played out. To be honest most of the skateboarding terminology went right over my head, but I appreciate the attention to detail as she explained the various moves. But I really liked the secondary characters, Trista and Falcon were my favorites, and I can’t wait to get to know them all better as the series progresses.
~ ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
Helena “Lena” Mavrick is ready to prove that she can play with the big boys. Working at her father’s internationally renowned agency, Mavrick Allstars, Lena sets her sights on one of the most coveted phenoms out there: a twenty-four-year-old surfer caught ripping it in a viral skateboarding video. Signing him would be a huge win—and his marketing appeal isn’t the only thing that makes Lena’s heart skip a beat. Trouble is, fraternizing with the client is against company policy.
Professional surfer Gunner Smith lives under the absolute control of his coach—until he takes the ultimate risk and starts over as a skateboarder. Gunner swore he wouldn’t give up his freedom again, but Lena’s out-of-the-blue offer makes him think long and hard. She’s smart, she’s bold, she’s got sponsors lined up around the corner—plus she’s drop-dead gorgeous. He’s just not sure his coach will let him get away that easily, because he’s not just Gunner’s coach, he’s also his father.
Gunner is used to hiding his tortured past. But when his steamy affair with Lena threatens their future, he must decide whether he will sacrifice everything for the woman who’s stolen his heart.
Zoe Dawson, the author of 40+ books had always dreamed of becoming a full-time romance writer, and with determination, persistence, and a little luck that wish came true. Her other passions include traveling the world, owning a beach house (she believes she was a mermaid in another life), and seeing her books in movies. When she’s not writing, she’s painting or killing virtual MMORPG monsters in World of Warcraft. She lives in North Carolina with her two grown children and one small, furry gray cat.