Review: Spot Me (Work Out #1) by Andrew Grey

Standard

Rating: 4 stars

Spot Me coverDan’s life is in flux and not all of it of his choosing.  He just turned 40 and his partner of 10 years up and left him for a much younger man.  Luckily for him, he has a best friend Lonnie and his wife supporting him and helping him back into the swing of things, including a workout schedule at their local gym. While working out, he happens to see Gene Harper, a competitive bodybuilder, working out  near him and almost collapses in a fit of lust.  But his mind tells him that someone that gorgeous would never want a older man like him, and he turns away, not noticing his  interest is returned.

Gene Harper is 28.  He is a competitive body builder tired of meeting men who  can’t see past his physique. When he meets Dan, he recognizes the man’s humor and intellect that just happen to go along someone shy and inherently self effacing.   Gene knows what he wants and that is Dan, if only he can get Dan to realize it and see past his insecurities. As they work out together and get to know each other better, the more Dan starts to trust that Gene means exactly what he says.  When Dan’s old boyfriend wants back in the relationship, will Dan seek safety in the past or go forward into the future he has always deserved?

At  95 pages, Spot Me is a quick read and a delightful introduction into another Andrew Grey series.  This series revolves around a gym and its clientele, in this case a bodybuilder and computer programmer.  It is also a case of May December romance as well.  Dan is coming out of a long term relationship he is just starting to realize was borderline abusive.  His ex so dominated Dan over the stretch of their relationship, including in the bedroom, that he demoralized Dan in more ways than he knew.  Dan is full of insecurities, hyper aware of his age and afraid to go forward when romance comes calling. I understood Dan immediately and thought Andrew Grey did a great job in creating this character.

Gene Harper is more of a unknown.  He is an IT recruiter as a profession and a competitive body builder by passion and sport.  At 28, he has had an unusual amount of success in his sport but dislikes the attention it brings from men who can only see the body and not the man inside.  I have little knowledge of the sport of body building but Gene professes that his goal is to become the first Mr. America without using chemical enhancements  and that startled me.  Aren’t steroids banned from use? So aren’t all bodybuilders supposedly “chemical free” to start with?  Yeah, yeah, like the world of professional bike racing, that is not the case but it still struck me as odd.   And really if you are a competitive body builder, don’t you expect people to judge you on your body?  That just seemed so naive that it lessened my believability in the character. Gene tells Dan some of what it entails to train for his sport and that includes the constant weighing and a rigid diet, but I knew a woman who was into this sport and her regimen was far more intense that what was reported here.  Again, perhaps it was the length that determined the lack of accurate bodybuilder requirements, sacrificing them for the romance between the men.

It is hard although not  completely impossible to build a believable romance between such diverse characters and Grey comes close to achieving it here.  This is a sweet story between two men who deserve a happy ending.  The story ended abruptly but I think it is safe to say we will be seeing this couple again throughout the series as that is Andrew Grey’s style.  I would like more time to get to know them better and this was a good way to start.

Cover Design by Mara McKennen.  Very sexy and speaks to the bodybuilder within.

Here are the books in the order they were written and should be read.  The last is a compilation of all the stories in the series.

Spot Me (Work Out, #1)

Pump Me Up (Work Out, #2)

Core Training (Work Out, #3)

Crunch Time (Work Out, #4)

Positive Resistance (Work Out, #5)

Personal Training (Work Out, #6)

Cardio Conditioning (Work Out, #7)

Work Me Out (Work Out, #1-6)