because bibliophiles require refreshment

Sexy Living by Regina Cole

Stacey is tired of herself. She is particularly tired of her body, with its extra weight and fluffy bits. After a particularly horrifying family wedding where she was reminded of her body at every available moment, she gussies up all her courage and hires a personal trainer at a local gym.

Robert loves owning his gym because he feels his life’s calling is to make people feel good about themselves. If people are confident, then their mental health is in balance, he feels, and that is just as important as physical health. Sure, he’d probably tell you, he focuses on physical health, but he’s not one of those muscle gyms where people are just bodies.

When Stacey wanders into his gym, he is immediately drawn to her. She is already special, but if she could see that she is, she’d be unstoppable. As her trainer, he begins to get even more insight into what makes Stacey tick and he starts to fall for her. Stacey, for what it’s worth, is seriously attracted to Rob because he’s pretty perfect, but knows he’s completely out of her league. She’s confused why this adonis is hitting on her, but she goes with it – as long as the lights are off.

There’s a lot that doesn’t quite work with Sexy Living – the pacing is a little bizarre, the big conflict is resolved too quickly and makes it seem like it’s not actually either a conflict or resolved, and a few other things just felt off. However, I recommend it completely and here’s why.

At no point in this book does Stacey have to lose weight for Rob to sleep with her. He does not fall for her as she starts getting “in shape”, he’s into her from the get go and what makes him fall deeper is her. As she gets more comfortable in her own skin, she becomes more attractive to him and what a breath of fresh air that is.  Stacey, as we are repeatedly told, isn’t at peak health and the gym freaking terrifies her. Either this author is herself shaped like Stacey or loves someone who is, because holy shit does she get it spot on.

I hope Cole writes more heroines like this because these stories need to be told too and I now trust her with them. I hope we get more stories where every body shape has mind blowing orgasms and genuine happily ever afters. Thanks for this one, Ms. Cole. Thanks.

This one got read with hot tea, because even though it is APRIL, our weather in the Northeast decided to be autumnal. My go-to tea is Twinings Irish Breakfast, for the record, and I enjoyed each sip as I watch Rob and Stacey fall in love.

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This one was a NetGalley ARC, which I received in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Lyrical! 

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