The Sweet Spot by Stephanie Evanovich is a contemporary fiction, romance novel about a young restaurant owner named Amanda Cole and a famous baseball player named Chase Walker. Amanda works as hostess in her restaurant, named Cold Creek Grille, located in (surprisingly) New Jersey. The restaurant boasts a full bar and has had some famous people dine in the establishment already. Amanda, being the daughter of two prominent and respected figures in the community, was able to easily and efficiently navigate her way through the necessary paperwork in order to open her business and the necessary funding from her father to get the business up to code and ready for customers.
Being the daughter of well-known and well-connected parents helped with getting her business off the ground, but it has been successful since its inception and her employees enjoy working there. So the story begins with Amanda driving to work in her convertible with the top down because it was a beautiful day, but she gets pooped on by a seagull and heads into work that way (I admire her dedication to the cause). She heads straight for the ladies room and tries to use wet toilet paper (of all things) to wipe the poop out of her hair. It is not overly successful and she ends up getting water on her shirt which leaves a noticeable circle.
She goes about the afternoon as normal, preparing the dining area and bar for when they open. She answers the phone to take reservations and receives a phone call from one particularly rude and arrogant man who wanted a reservation for two at 7 and emphasizes how the person he’s meeting with is extremely famous and wants to make sure her little restaurant can meet the challenge. Amanda doesn’t waste any time confirming his reservation for that evening and didn’t even check to see if they had an available reservation at that time. She ends up having to call close family friends who had a reservation that night to see if they could reschedule which they, very kindly, agreed to.
Amanda decides to head home to take another shower and wash the residual bird poop out of her hair. When she returns to the restaurant with wet, clean hair and new clothes, she is reading to get to greeting and seating customers as well as walk around and speak with them after they’re seated. She already has the table they’ll be sitting at reserved and waiting for them; the first to arrive is the arrogant and annoying agent and not long after that Chase Walker arrives with his security personnel in tow. After meeting Amanda and speaking with her, Chase is already smitten; for the remainder of the night, Chase couldn’t take his eyes off of her. When the meeting is over, Chase decides to hang out at the restaurant a while where he orders a few more drinks before making his way around to asking Amanda out to dinner. Amanda, though she thinks he is extremely cute, easily refuses his offer. Chase comes back to the grille every week chatting with Amanda and asking her to dinner until she finally agreed to go to dinner with him. On date day Amanda is actually nervous, but manages to mask it pseudo well. She’s surprised to discover that Chase is down-to-earth, honest and kind of old fashioned. They enjoy each other’s company and begin to spend more and more time together.
Finally they decide to use the official titles of boyfriend and girlfriend; at this point, Chase sits Amanda down and tells her three rules he has for any woman in a relationship with him. Amanda thinks it’s a little strange, but also kind of amusing and agrees to them anyway. Anyway, their relationship is moving along well and they eventually get around to making love and become the usual glued-at-the-hip type of couple that’s typical; everything is going well until one night when Amanda is over at Chase’s place she finds out that he enjoys spanking a girl as a form of foreplay and that it is up to his discretion when the punishment would be dished and what for. Amanda is shocked by her first experience with it and also at her reaction to it which is that she kind of enjoyed it. She needed time to process this side of him – this fetish he has and figure out if it’s something she enjoys as much as he does – Chase does ask/demand that she keep this a secret since he wouldn’t want to ruin his career or reputation or their lives. So she agrees to keep it a secret and continues to date him.
Eventually Chase proposes to Amanda who readily accepts; so between running her business, planning a wedding and spending time with Chase, Amanda stays pretty busy and is looking forward to being with Chase. She still feels a little weird about the spanking, but also can’t resist; she goes to a game with him and has to head back to the locker room with him because he forgot something. As they’re walking down the tunnel that you had to walk through in order to get to the locker rooms (and back out), they were teasing and antagonizing each other until Chase grabs Amanda and spanks her right there in the tunnel. Even though the tunnel was deserted and there was no one around to see what had happened, Chase nor Amanda noticed the hidden security camera that was attached to the ceiling. Of course, a huge scandal breaks out and the remainder of the story tells of how both Amanda and Chase handled the resulting media storm and whether they’ll stay together or fall apart.
Overall, I don’t know what I think of this book; it’s ok and the story moves at a good pace. I thought this was more of a sensual, passionate and more reserved love story, so I was shocked at the spanking aspect of this story. It was a bit out of my range of interest and I felt like I was reading some kind of erotica book rather than a romance novel. I would recommend this book to adults who like stories of this type and contemporary fiction. I purchased this book at a used bookstore (hooray!), but if you can’t find a copy at your local library (not sure you would) or don’t live near a used bookstore, you can always grab a copy of the paperback for $7.99 at Barnes and Noble. I will say that I do not recommend leaving this book unattended around children or teenagers because of the sexual content within.
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