I am a BIG Katie Ashley fan so I was way excited when I was given an opportunity to read the ARC of The Pairing, a spin-off of The Proposition and it’s follow up, The Proposal.
In The Pairing we are reintroduced to Dr. Alpesh Nadeen who made an appearance as a possible love interest turned friend to Emma in Mrs. Ashley’s earlier books. Here we get to see more of his history and learn just want an overall amazing person he is. Not only is he a skilled and successful doctor at the local hospital with a good bedside manner, he’s a gentleman with true morals. And it doesn’t hurt that he has firm biceps and rock hard abs! In earlier books we learned that Pesh’s wife has died suddenly and he still struggles with this loss. He’s always seen himself as a husband and father, but once his wife was gone, that dream no longer seemed a reality.
Megan Fitzgerald is not your typical 25 years old. An unplanned pregnancy a few years ago left her raising her amazing son, Mason, on her own. Working with others in the medical field has been her goal, one about to come to fruition as she gets ready to start her nursing internship at the hospital. Megan knows she has no time or energy for any kind of relationship, nor does she want one. However, been a strong willed young woman, she has needs that need to be filled.
When Megan and Pesh are asked to be the godparents to Aiden & Emma son, Noah, it seems everyone thinks they would make a good match. There is an instant connection between the two as well as a sexual chemistry you cannot deny. Add in a few drinks and there is bound to be some action. However, Megan makes it very clear to the good doctor that her intentions are just to get laid and have a little fun. In true Pesh-gentleman-fashion, he declines for he still is holding out for his hopes of marriage and family, something Megan doesn’t want anytime soon.
When Megan begins her nursing rounds in the ER where Pesh is the supervisor, the two are forced to spend more and more time together. When neither can no longer deny the connection they feel, desire ignites leaving each one hoping to break down the other’s walls to get what they desire most.
I really loved Alpesh’s character here! He was not your typical alpha male because he was gentle and soft spoken, so when his dirty side came out and described how he would F**K you, holy hell was it hot! Aside from the sexiness that was obvious, you couldn’t help but feel for the guy & fall in love with him. Megan’s character on the other hand, eh. I just wasn’t feeling her. Her sexual aggression, even though she was a bit inexperienced, really didn’t do it for me.
My biggest issue with this book was the lack of climax. There were various things that came up throughout the story and as I closed in at the 80%, then 90% marks, I keep waiting for one of those things to come up and be the big OMG moment. Never happened. (Which in turn left me wondering, why bother putting those minor events in the book if they weren’t going to come back in some way in the storyline?) Was this good love story? Yes. Where the sex scenes hot? Double yes. Where there suspenseful moment that left my heart racing? No. In a word, anticlimactic.
<3 Review by Jaime
After swiping his key card, he entered the room. When he closed the door behind him, Megan turned around, gazing expectantly at him. Now that he was in front of her, he didn’t know exactly what to say. He had been on an emotional overload on the roof, and things had escalated far too quickly. “Look, I just want to say how very sorry I am about kissing you.”
“Well I’m not,” she replied matter-of-factly.
Pesh’s neck snapped back in shock. Her response wasn’t what he was expecting at all. He had imagined she might be relieved or even embarrassed, but he hadn’t imagined that she would be unregretful. He cleared his throat. “Regardless, I shouldn’t have done it. I was in an emotionally vulnerable position, and you were merely trying to comfort me. Nothing more.” His words were more for his own good than hers.
She shook her head. “Just because I was comforting you, doesn’t mean I didn’t want you to kiss me. That I still don’t want to kiss you again.”
His brows furrowed in confusion. “But you—”
“Pesh, I’ve wanted you since the night of Noah’s baptism. But you shot me down then, and you still do.”
Although his heart wanted to soar at her admission of wanting him, the reality of her words caused his chest to clench instead. “Sexually. You only want me sexually.”
He should have been flattered that a young, sexy woman like Megan desired him. But he wasn’t. Half of the women in the hospital would be willing for him to drag them to an empty patient’s room for a quick and dirty screw. But that’s not who he was. He had never been that way with women, and he didn’t see how it could be possible to change. All he wanted was for her to really see him and how good he could be for her. How good they would be for each other. He thought that was what she was feeling in the moments before and after he kissed her. But now it seemed it was once again only lust.
Although it was probably pointless, he couldn’t help putting everything out there once again. “But when we were up on the roof, there wasn’t a moment where you wanted more from me than just sex?” He licked his lips and took a step toward her. “Just a second where you could imagine your life with me in it?”
Megan stared at him, her expression contemplative. For a brief moment, Pesh thought by her hesitation that she had changed her mind about him. But then she shook her head. “How many times are you going to make me hurt you with this? You’re too good for me, Pesh. We both know that. I’ll remind you again of some of the reasons I’m not the one for you. I’m twenty-five, and you’re thirty-seven. You want a wife, and I’m not ready to be married.”
Her words cut into his chest the same as if she had taken a sharp blade to him. She may have had to repeat herself this time, but he realized the finality of her words. And then an idea hit him so hard that he shuddered—a true light bulb moment and epiphany. There was only one way he was going to get to have his sweet Megan, and that was if he gave in to her. He would have to become someone else for her, even if it was just for a little while. He could distract her with sex that she both desired and demanded, but at the same time, he would make her fall in love with him. It could work. It had to.
Cocking his head at her, he questioned, “So let me get this straight once and for all. You would let me…”
He paused, fighting the conflict within himself to say what he needed to. He drew in a ragged breath. “You would let me fuck you but not love you?”
Her eyes widened at his word choice. “What’s gotten into you?”
He shrugged nonchalantly, feeling slightly empowered in the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment. “I merely asked a simple question.”
She snorted exasperatedly. “Yeah, about…” She swallowed hard. “Fucking, of all things.”
Megan shook her head wildly back and forth. “I can barely acknowledge hearing you say the word, least of all you doing that.”
“You can’t imagine me—”
She held up her hand. “You’re not the type of man to fuck,” she countered.
Crossing his arms over his chest, he countered, “Oh really? I’m too nice of a guy?”
“Something like that.”
“I am a man, Megan. We all have needs. Isn’t fucking one of them?”
Her body trembled slightly at his words. She licked her lips before replying, “S-Stop saying that word—it isn’t you.”
“So, fucking isn’t me? Don’t tell me you think I’m totally asexual—that you can’t imagine me fucking a woman…fucking you.” He eased in closer to her. “We both know for a fact that you wanted nothing more than to fuck me the night of Noah’s baptism. Given the chance right now, you’d let me strip off your scrubs and fuck you up against the medicine cabinet.”
As her chest heaved up and down, she took a step back from him, bumping against the counter. “But you don’t say things like that. You’re refined. You’re a gentleman,” she whispered.
“It may have been a while, but even a gentleman like me enjoys fucking.” He closed the gap between them.
“What are you doing?” she whispered.
“I’m giving you what you want.”
“You’re giving in?”