Turn It Up: (Turner Twins #2)

Turn it UpBy Vivian Arend

Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Publication Date: February 8, 2011
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Author

She wants it. He’s got it…and a whole lot more.

Maxwell Turner considers his stubborn and resourceful attitude a plus. After all, it usually gets him what he wants—except for Natasha Bellingham. The long-time family friend may be ten years older than he, but so what? He’s plenty old enough to know they belong together. Now all he has to do is convince her.

Over the past few years Natasha’s love life has degenerated into a series of bad clichés. Her biological clock is ticking—loudly. As a proven architect with her own house-design company, she’s financially ready for a baby. Who says she needs a permanent man in her life for that? She just needs a “donation”. When Max discovers Natasha’s future plans include artificial insemination, he’s outraged. She wants to get pregnant? No problem. He’s more than willing to volunteer—no turkey basters involved. But there’s one non-negotiable clause: He wants forever. And he intends to do everything in his power—fair and unfair—to make it happen.

Warning: This title contains one younger man ready, aimed and hell bent on giving one woman everything she wants. Includes interludes against the wall, in a Jacuzzi, on a car hood and even—shockingly enough—on a bed or two. Oh, and about that porch swing? Yup…

Goodreads Summary

The friends-to-lovers trope is my big squishy weakness in a story and when I read the blurb for this, I knew there was a probability of a trifecta of awesome.  I had the storyline that appealed to me, I can’t recall reading anything by Arend that I didn’t at least come away liking and there was a good chance for happy hormonal something somewhere here.  The fly in the ointment could be the older woman/younger man thing that I don’t generally pick to read, but I trusted Arend to do it right and she did.  This was a great story with two characters I loved.

Max and Tasha have had a casual, if slightly sexually-charged friendship for years.  I liked that they weren’t best friends and that he wasn’t her best friend’s little brother (although he was her BFF’s cousin).  She’s friends with his entire family and they get together regularly for a big group game night.  He’s had a huge case of the hots for her since he was seventeen and she was twenty-seven and he hasn’t stopped trying to get her to out with him very often since.  She was horrified at the thought of dating a teenager then and while she might be attracted to him now, she’s constantly pasting “Do Not Touch” stickers on him in her head – something she’s busy doing the morning after her drunken bender when he drove her home and she confessed that she was going to have a baby by herself.  She’s shocked that she told him, can’t believe that he’s proposing and by the time she’s sobered up, a little scared to find that she’s considering it.

Max isn’t your average twenty-four year old.  The borderline-genius graduated high school at fourteen, runs his own computer business and is utterly focused on getting Tasha.  He presents his proposal in the most clinical way he can because he knows she’s going to shoot him down if he tells her he loves her, but one thing he won’t budge on is that this isn’t going to be a cold marriage.  They’ll live together, raise the baby together and definitely sleep together.  She may not be in love with him yet, but she definitely wants him and she’s always cared about him.  He’s willing to go slowly if that’s what it takes to make her see that she can trust him.

I was initially worried the treatment of the older woman/younger man aspect of their relationship would end up being things like Tasha obsessing about her wrinkles and sagging breasts, people in public asking if Max was her son or if she’d be worried he’d get bored sitting at home watching her knit while he fantasized about dating a nineteen year old.  Thankfully, that’s not what this is all about and it’s not even a major source of conflict for the two of them.  Twenty-four year old Max quickly becomes just Max and he never lets Tasha doubt how attractive she is.  He never lets her get away with pretending he’s too young for her and she doesn’t even try for very long.

How many ways did I love Max?  I lost count.  Maybe he was just a bit too perfect, but I really am not complaining all that loudly.  He loved Tasha and was willing to give her a lot of space, true, but he also wasn’t willing to let her run all over him.  He had a plan and he pursued her.  Diligently and with chocolate fondue.  A roughly equal amount of the story was told from his and Tasha’s perspectives, so it was always there to read how much he loved her and how much he worried when she pulled away from him.  He had huge emotional depth – in a particular scene where he cried, I had my own tears.  I tend to do a lot of reading in my head off the page when I’m doing rotten jobs like the dishes or something, and let’s just say Max is one awesome freaking father in my own personal space.

As much as I loved Max, I wanted to hug Tasha (before I kicked her in the butt towards Max).  I sympathized with so much of what she’d been through and understood why she wanted this baby.  It made me sad when she’d loosen up with Max and let herself be happy and when some little thing would remind her of a past hurt, she’d pull back from him without telling him why.  I loved that she never ever made him feel like he was less of anything just because he was younger – she respected him and even when they were arguing or she wanted him to leave her alone, she would never have said anything to make him think he was less of a man in her eyes because of his age.

I must address the sexy factor.  It’s a dirty job, but I have to do it.  Max is quite proud of his twenty-four year old stamina and yes, he certainly should be.  He’s also romantic, inventive, talks dirty, resourceful, sweet, tender..there have to be some adjectives I’m missing, but after “talks dirty,” I was winging it, truthfully.  He and Tasha are a perfect match, especially since she seems to really, really like those things.  Smart girl.

My Summary:  Stories about love, friendships and babies happening in various orders are almost always stories that I at least give a second glance to and I started this with high expectations that were more than met.  Max and Tasha’s story hit all of the right notes for me: I loved him, I hurt for her, I shed some tears and I cheered for them.  A solid recommend.

My Rating: A

Note: This is a precursor – I wouldn’t call it a prequel since both stand alone, although it does come ahead of it in the timeline – to Turn It On (Turner Twins #1), which features Max’s twin sister Maxine and came out last year.  I’ll have a review of it next week.

Barbara

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