Noah is a 19 year old personal trainer who is also an up and coming boxer. An orphan who was in foster homes, he lives for the ring and the gym. Veronica Cruz has lost her mother to cancer. Depressed, she has put on 40+ pounds on her 120 lb frame. So her friend, Nellie, does what any good friend would do. She forces to a gym where she got free one-week passes. Of course, Veronica is not particularly pleased that this gym is more of a boxer's gym then say the local one at the mall. Noah has been itching to train and when the two ladies walk in, the owner gives them to him. Of course he's not particularly happy to help two older women who probably want to lose the baby weight. It goes from bad to worse, when Noah tells the women he has to weight them to chart their progress, Veronica absolutely refuses to step on the scale (normal reaction, I would hate it too!); He looks her over and tells her that he could possibly guess her weight by looking at her. At that she gives him a number, 160lbs, he writes 165, and when he walks away, she gets on and is pissed off when he guess within 2lbs. 167. Noah, doesn't want to scare the women off and he could use the money so he tries to go easy on them, but for women who are out of shape and dressed inappropriately. Really, Veronica wore sweatpants and a sweat shirt, but refuses to remove them. Having and extremely good looking trainer watching her sweat and seeing the t-shirt cling to her rolls just doesn't interest her. After Nellie has a serious asthma attack after finding out her husband is cheating on her. She begs Veronica to head back to the gym the next day. It will be good for her.
Veronica continues going to the gym alone and the end of the first week, she's lost a good amount of weight (5lbs), the second week, 6lbs. With Noah's help and her willingness, she finds herself becoming more and more comfortable at the gym. After the 11lb milestone she invites Noah out for a drink. This is where we find out the problem. Noah is 19 and therefore underage. Noah has guess Veronica to be about 22 or 23, it's not until she mentions that she's 28, that it all comes crashing down. But Noah is not your typical 19 year old (who is turning 20 in a week), he just likens numbers to air. It means nothing. When Veronica explains that she's nearly a decade older. He reminds that her 19 yo trainer got her to lose 11 lbs. Well he has a point! When Veronica shows up at the gym and Noah isn't there because of a leak in the roof at the garage that he lives in (it's quite a ferocious El Nino weather in LA), that she considers asking him if he'd like to rent a room in her house. She has three bedrooms and lives alone and wouldn't mind helping him out for bit. They've talked and she knows what his situation is like. When he agrees, things start to progress. Noah starts to notice Veronica more as she loses weight. She starts wearing clothes that are better suited for the gym, showing off curves that get the attention of the other guys in the gym. Of course that drives Noah crazy. Veronica is his. However, Veronica has a big issue with the age difference. She thinks that she can't have a relationship with him because they're in two different stages in their life. Noah doesn't believe that. He's a very old soul who just happens to be young. Veronica becomes wrapped up in Noah's life and he in hers. Although the heat is palpable, she does everything she can to not encourage him. Noah does everything he can to make the holidays that much better for her. Thanksgiving he makes a feast for her and her wall starts to crumble again. But when Noah heads over to his friend's Gio's house, Noah's holiday fuck buddy is there and she's got a car and is ready to break it in. In a moment of weakness, Noah takes off with Rita and well we know what happens there.
It's not until around the Christmas holidays that Veronica finds out about Rita and the jealousy ensues. Noah tries to explain that Rita means nothing and that Veronica means a lot more. Everything comes to a head on New Years Eve when Noah and Veronica's small gathering is crashed by a local gang. When one of the members make derogatory remark to Veronica, Noah goes after him and threatens him. When he heads back to Veronica and the party, the leader of the gang has come back and sucker punches Noah in a way that knocks him out. Once the guys and Veronica have Noah in his bed, he professes his love to Veronica and they finally kiss.
I loved Veronica and Noah's relationship. Age is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Noah teaches Veronica things that she never had with her ex-boyfriend. He makes her feel sexy and beautiful and young. But she's not willing to take the relationship that one step further. If she makes love to him, then their friendship has turned a corner and she's not willing to lose her best friend. With an ex-boyfriend trying to push his way back into her life (he left when her mother was dying because he couldn't deal with her depression. Yeah, great guy). Turns out that Veronica's ex was also the dean of the high school that Noah attended. Noah hates him with a passion and Derek has no qualms telling Veronica about Noah getting a girl pregnant, and drug trafficking. Of course, Derek may have stretched the truth a bit, but its enough to scare Veronica away from Noah. However, Noah, wants to know why she believes that piece of shit over him. (the irony here is that Derek is 8 years older than Roni, something that Noah let's her know repeatedly.) When he informs Veronica that he loves and that he's done, does Veronica do something about it. She gives herself to Noah. All of herself to him. A lovely contemporary love story that has everything in it. I love Elizabeth's style of writing. She enjoys writing alpha males who enjoy making love and having sex and falling completely and utterly in love.
I've read this one several times because I just love Noah in this story and his love for Veronica is amazing. I literally sigh every time I read it. He's this sexy alpha male who although is young, has lived an extremely hard life and is so mature for his age. Although there are factors that should and would keep the two apart, they manage to fight for what they both want. Noah is a sweet and caring person and Veronica has more love to bestow on him. Everything about this book was perfect. I've read the other book in the series, GIO, and I can't wait to see what happens with all of the guys at the 5th Street Gym.