A few things I hate in general
So how can I complain this much and still recommend this book? The writing was so good, I was just mildly disappointed when things that would normally piss me off popped up in the story. I’m telling you, I’m willing to read anything Catherine Cowles publishes in the future because she’s amazing.
This book features, Carter, an innocent teacher who moves to L.A. to teach underprivileged children because she wants to make a difference in the world. She’s full of sunshine and roses but isn’t afraid to unleash a thunderstorm and a few thorns if someone needs a good talking-to.
Through one of her long-time friends, she meets Austin Lyons, an MMA fighter. She thinks he’s sexy until he opens his mouth and sounds like a jerk, so she ends up telling him off. For the sake of their mutual friend, they begin hanging out alone and surprise each other by becoming best friends. Then one painful night, a mistake rips them apart.
Austin is in a lot of pain after losing Carter, but he funnels that rage into his training and bouts, punishing his opponents for the loneliness he feels. It doesn’t take long for him to become a top fighter and now he realizes he needs to man up and fight for the girl he left behind.
Carter has barely allowed Austin back in her life when they start receiving threats. Even with a security detail and army of men to defend them, someone continues to slip through the cracks to destroy their relationship and wreck their lives. They have to defeat this unknown enemy before their second chance gets crushed.
Now, I am not easily stumped when it’s comes to mystery or figuring out who the villain is going to be, but the author threw a bunch of characters with motive at me, so I wasn’t really sure how it was going to play out. I had my suspicions, but there were a couple of curveballs in this story!
The secondary characters are a joy. They’re cute and funny and snarky—all things I adore. Plus, the male POV feels very natural. I can picture men thinking and talking this way. As a matter of fact, every character felt real. Not only was every voice believable, but also every voice was distinct. Each character had their own personality and didn’t blend as one voice across the book.
I think this is my longest review yet, so I’m gonna shut up now. I’m just saying you need to give this author a chance. Her work deserves to be discovered!
Full disclosure: We received an ARC from the author, free of charge.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It’s clean and sober. No rehab needed.
Other reading suggestions
For more MMA fighting goodness, you’ll want to check out this list.