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.
Gunner Smith has everything but the desire he needs to become the number one surfer in the world. His skill is absolutely unparalleled and if he could muster up even an ounce of care for the sport, he would dominate the sport. Unfortunately, Gunner’s father has succeeded in beating the desire and care right out of his son and when Gunner finally reaches his breaking point, it is spectacularly awful.
During the years under his father’s control, Gunner’s only outlet has been skateboarding. Like surfing, Gunner has some serious skills when it comes to skateboarding but he has never considered his skateboarding to be anything more than an escape from his miserable life. That escape became more necessary than ever the day Gunner quit professional surfing and his father took his anger out on him. In a fit of emotion, Gunner let it all out on his board and by the next morning, the video of his epic skate had gone viral.
Helena Mavrick is a kick ass sports agent and she knows talent when she sees it. When one of her oldest and dearest friends points her in the direction of Gunner Smith’s video, Helena makes it her mission to sign Gunner and make him a star. Trouble is, Gunner is in a really bad place mentally and emotionally and convincing him to sign on with a new agent isn’t going to be easy. What Helena doesn’t take into account is Gunner’s reaction to her and his willingness to believe in her. What starts out as a purely physical attraction very quickly becomes something far deeper and more emotional.
Helena’s commitment to Gunner and her belief in his talent knows no bounds. Her attraction to him evidently knows no bounds either and Helena fights the attraction for as long as she can. Her company, owned by her father, has very strict rules about fraternization and the deeper she gets involved with Gunner the more willing she is to abandon her post in favor of a life with Gunner. But, Helena isn’t willing to jump ship until she has thoroughly delivered on all her professional promises to Gunner. Doing so isn’t going to be hard. In the weeks since committing himself to professional skateboarding, Gunner has been tearing up the circuit and the offers of sponsorship and endorsement have been rolling in. All Helena has to do is get everything set up before the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.
The Bottom Line: I’ve actually read this book twice now and I have to say, I enjoyed it more the second time through. The first time through, I just sort of took everything in and the second time through, I read for pure pleasure. There is such a mix of things going on in this book from the initially forbidden relationship between Helena and Gunner, the horrifying relationship between Gunner and his dad, and the external forces that impact the course of Helena and Gunner’s respective lives. Everything comes together in this fast-paced read to ultimately end on a very happy note. As a final note, there is also a clear path to additional books in the series which will undoubtedly prove to be as exciting and entertaining as Ramping Up.
Zoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.