Published: September 2010
Review by Lis
What if everything you always thought you wanted could be yours simply by saying "I do"? Billionaire Jordon Bennett needs to find a wife, now, to secure his position as CEO of B.H. Holdings. Reed Mohr could use a miracle to help pay for her alternative elder care facility, Potters Woods. Inside and out of the dojo, can these two survive sparring with each other?
This book has been in my possession for a while now, but as some of you know (or are most likely in the same situation) my to-read pile is rivaling Mount Everest. Sometimes I even dream about which book to read next and in my dreams all the (e-)books are jumping up and yelling “me first!” Most of those books feature hot men is various poses and states of undress, so they are very tempting. That is why this book was hiding in the back in a corner, because the cover for this book is a bit unremarkable and it felt left out in between the hotty covers.
However, where the cover of this book might be unremarkable in my eyes (you know me, I'm shallow as a baby-pool) the story behind the cover is everything but unremarkable. I have to admit, I was surprised and that doesn't happen all that often anymore. Let me tell you why!
The book starts with the words: 'You need a husband.' Which is true for Reed Mohr. She needs a husband to help her pay for the elderly care facility Potters Woods (like she needed a husband two years prior to help her adopt a troubled 14-year old teenager.) Just as the words 'You need a wife.' ring true for billionaire Jordan Bennett, otherwise he's out of a job.
Not exactly the most promising start of a romance book, mesa thinks. As is the first meeting between Reed and Jordan shortly after Jordan receives the news he needs to find a wife in less than four days. Though the instant Jordan meets Reed, he sees something in Reed's eyes that he thinks he can work with. He reads Jordan correctly, because she is a fierce independent woman who stands for what she believes in and fights for those she loves. After some witty word bandying (and Jordan's thought are brilliant: Jordan heard enough. The art museum needed to post a sign saying: No redheaded elven harpies with great eyes escorting yogurt throwing, overgrown teenagers allowed. Violators will be spanked by the throw-ee) the first date is set and off we go on an intriguing journey!
This was a rocky start of the book for me. My eyebrows were raised almost the entire time and I was wondering where this would go. However, the witty conversation between Reed and Jordan, as well as Jordan's thoughts kept me intrigued.
Within no time at all the two are married and this is when the fun starts. The story evolves in a quite the romance (hmmm...hot steamy sex scenes) with believable conflicts throughout the book. I loved the underlying use of the Dojo where Reed and Jordan spar. It fits the title, because they are partners in more than just holy matrimony. They keep each other on edge, but also complete each other.
Sparring Partners also has a solid support cast, one of whom is Jesse, Reed's adopted son who saw a lot more in his younger years than any kid deserves. Jesse was one of my favorite characters. He's a quirky teen who is smart and compassionate and doesn't let what happened in his past rule or ruin him. One of my favorite scenes is the one towards the end in which he stands up for his mom.
The other characters are not just there to be pretty either, they all have their part to play. Like Reed and Jordan they grow throughout the story.
Underlying the main story is that of Reed's new agey, free spirit aunt Finn and Henry, an employee of Jordan. While I liked it and it fit the story, I'm not always a big fan of a story in a story.
The books centers around Potters Woods, the elderly care facility Reed set up and it is a beautiful place. It had me hoping there would be a lot more places like Potters Woods in the world. It would make life for the elderly so much better. The author really put some thought in Potters Woods and I loved that.
As a last comment, I liked the use of the popularized poems of Rumi throughout the story. Rumi is Jalaluddin Rumi a 13th Century Sufi poet. Usually I'm not a big fan of the use of poems or quotes at the beginning of chapters, but these fit the story.
Sparring Partners is a funny, witty and beautiful read that offers a unique story with lovable characters. It's a book I can really recommend!