The Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan

The Derby Girl (Getting Physical, #2)

Grade: B
Hotness Level: Blaze
Kink Level: No Kink
Genre: Contemporary
Series: Getting Physical #2
Published: 8/26/13
Reviewed by Anne
246 pages
Dr. Jared Fine is the most desirable bachelor in Pleasant Park.  He’s world renown doctor who has spent years doing charity work all over the world.  Now he’s a partner in a plastic surgery clinic working 9-5 hours and he’s not quite sure what to do with himself.  He’s also pretty arrogant and self-centered.
Gretchen is a chronic community college attendee who lives with her grandmother and plays roller derby.  She’s confident and down to earth.  She may think Jared is the hottest guy she’s ever seen, but that doesn’t mean she’ll put up with any of his crap.
Spending time with someone who thinks he’s cute, but calls him on his self-absorbed behavior is something new for Jared, and he realizes it’s something he likes.  Now he just has to figure out how to be a real person with Gretchen, not the image he projects for everyone else.
Tamara Morgan and I must share a sense of humor, because I think her writing is hysterical!  The banter between Jared and Gretchen is awesome.  It’s just as good between Jared and his friends and Gretchen and hers.  Here’s an example.   Initially, Jared and Gretchen meet when Jared’s car breaks down one night and Gretchen stops to help. He asks her out, not recognizing her as the barista who hands him his coffee every morning.  The next day his coworkers help him figure out who his mystery date is, and they mistakenly assume she’s a college age college student.
     “Omigod.  You’re robbing the cradle.  You totally want to take advantage of the hot young thing slinging coffee for her rent money.”
     His stomach grew tighter.  This was bad.  He was practically a walking cliche here.  A walking, disgusting, predictable cliche.
     Just like another conceited surgeon of the same name.
     “The kids are into parkour now, Jared.  You might want to write that down.  Oh, and planking.  Just promise me you aren’t going to pierce your ear.”
     Kendra’s eyes lit up.  “I can pierce your ear.  Right now, if you want.  We can get you a giant diamond stud.”
     “It’s not like that, ” he said, but it was a fruitless attempt.  The second Whitney and Kendra picked up on a thread of conversation they found hilarious , they wouldn’t stop until they’d woven a whole damn tapestry.
     So much for the breaking of workplace barriers through exposing his weaknesses.  He needed to get out of here.  He needed air. 
     “I have… paperwork,” he said.
     “Yeah, you do,” Whitney teased.  “You should go write her a note.”
     “I’ll totally pass it to her in gym class,” Kendra added.
p. 30
This book is the second in this series.  I think it would stand alone just fine, but the first one (The Rebound Girl) was really good, so I’d recommend reading it.  Jared was actually kind of the bad guy in the first book and it’s interesting to see things from his point of view.
Part of Jared’s bad boy behavior is that he cheated on Whitney back when they were dating fresh out of college.  It was devastating for her and something she’s only recently forgiven him for.  I liked that Jared’s behavior is explained in this book, but never excused.  In fact, Whitney may have forgiven him, but he hasn’t forgiven himself.  He covers this well by being a good looking, conceited ass.  It works for him.  Everyone loves him.  Women fall into his arms.  He rarely has to make an effort with people.  His hard work as a doctor and devastating good looks have always made up for any shortcomings or selfishness.  None of this works for Gretchen, though.  Here’s another scene when Jared is asking her out again.
     “So, let me get this straight.  Your grand, apologetic gesture here is to invite me to a free lecture hosted by the place I got to school so you can have a one-sided conversation with me and a hundred other people?  Do I have it right?”
     “Well, when you say it that way, it seems much worse.”
     She released a strangled laugh.  “Enlighten me Jared.  How did it sound in your head?”
     The sound of his breathing filled the phone for a full thirty seconds before he finally spoke.  “Okay.  i guess it sounds pretty bad in there too.”
     “So, what?  Are you going to use big words and wear a tie?  Should I bring a notebook so I can learn your superior ways?”
     “That wasn’t what I meant.”
     Gretchen moved the phone to the other side of her neck and waited to hear what came next.  Maybe his date idea sucked, but there was a pretty high entertainment value in pointing out this man’s flaws and watching him backtrack in a feeble attempt at recovery.
     “I just thought it was something you might be interested in, that’s all.  Forget I mentioned it.”
     “Oh, I’m interested.”
     “But you just said –“
     “And I’m coming to your damn lecture.”
     “I think I’d like to retract the offer.”
 My only complaint is that while I liked seeing Gretchen hold Jared accountable for his narcissistic behavior, I do worry that he was using her as a Jiminy Cricket.  I didn’t feel like he showed enough growth over the course of the story to stop needing her help in this way.  I certainly can see the appeal of having a significant other who won’t put up with your crap, if you’re prone to crap.  However, in this case they talked about her being his moral compass, and that made me a little uncomfortable. When the story ended, I felt sure that the two were in love and would stay together.  I was concerned, though, that they would continue to deal with some of same problems repeatedly, because I didn’t see a lot of change in Jared’s character.
I think the story ended just a little too soon for me, but overall I still adored it!  So funny and enjoyable.  I really look forward to more books by Tamara Morgan!


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