I’m coming out of a pretty intense bout of reading, which means I have quite a bit of updating on the blog to do. Luckily, I’ve had the chance to read some great books, including this one, and I’m ahead on posts. This is good, because I have some commitments coming up that might derail both for a short time (oh the horror).
I received an ARC of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A famous MMA fighter finds himself using drugs and alcohol to soothe an injury that ended his career, but when he meets a newcomer to the area, he finds she’s all the excuse he needs to turn things around. For a fully synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
One of the first things I said to my husband about this book was that I hoped it was going to be good because the main family, the Kavanaghs, charmed me from the beginning. This Irish family who owns a gym dedicated to MMA fighting was great: close knit, traditional in some ways, yet quirky. Each member had something interesting about them. It’s not often a family in a book series pulls me in, but I kind of loved them right away.
Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I was a little torn on Clare’s character. She was trying to build her life after an abusive relationship, so I wasn’t sure how realistic it felt that she was so willing to trust Rory when she hadn’t known him that long. At the same time, she was aware of this, and the fact that she was doing what she could to not be afraid added to the likability of her character.
One of the things I notice right away in contemporary fiction is when characters don’t use condoms. Most times I figure it’s just part of the fantasy and the author wanted to write a world where that stuff doesn’t figure in. Usually, I can accept it. However, after they have sex twice, Rory asks if she’s on the pill. So not only do two strangers assume the other has no STDs, but accidental pregnancy is only a concern after the second horizontal mambo.
The Romance Factor
I was a little nervous about this couple at first. With Clare’s quick trust of Rory and Rory’s addictions, I wasn’t sure how romantic they were actually going to be. By the end, I was pleasantly surprised. Rory knows from the beginning that he wants more with Clare, and her influence helps him recover. Clare has a bit of a damsel in distress thing going on, and though he has a rough persona, Rory is one of those guys who’s bad ass on the outside and squishy on the inside. 4/5
The Steam Factor
For the most part, the sexy times were really sexy. I especially enjoyed the sleepover in one of the fighting rings. The only thing that was a little weird for me was that when Clare and Rory first started getting close, she talked about how he smelled like alcohol because he’d drank so much, and even when he was detoxing, she could smell it. This was a little gross to me, but in all honesty, that’s probably for personal reasons and not so much the story. 4/5
Despite the gifs, I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and kept me engaged. I can’t wait to read the next one in this series.