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“Fighting gave me my breath, but you brought me back to life.”
4 intense and swoony stars
This book has been on my TBR since it was released years ago, but you know how the whole TBR thing goes… But having read and adored J.B. Salsbury’s newer releases, I wanted to go back and read some of her earlier work, and I am so glad that I did because I loved this book! Hot, sweet, intense, deliciously sexy and gorgeously romantic with some drama and suspense woven in, I was swept up into all that was this story. Yes, it’s instalove-ish and the relationship moves incredibly fast, but it works with the intensity of the love story, and I not only completely bought it, I lapped it up like the romance junkie that I am, and I couldn’t put this one down.
Raven Moretti was born into an impossible situation, the daughter of a prostitute and her controlling, ruthless pimp, which made her childhood incredibly lonely and devoid of human contact. Now 20 years old, she is a sweet, innocent, highly respected mechanic with a small circle of friends, but with no experience with men or relationships, and she’s content in the easy, simple life that she leads.
Jonah Slade is a championship UFL fighter who is training for the heavyweight title. A renowned playboy, he is known for his manwhoring ways (which we get to witness up close and personal) and his strength and skill in the octagon. He is undefeated and wholly focussed on his career – until Raven walks into his life. Needing work on one of his beloved cars, Raven is recommended for the job, and from the first moment these two lay eyes on each other, they are completely smitten.
“You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever known. You’re kind, smart, funny, gracious…hell, you even laugh at Blake’s jokes. I want you. And that includes everything that makes you who you are.”
Raven is shy, and things are tentative between them at the very beginning, but the attraction is clearly there on both sides, and it doesn’t take too long for things to start happening. And God, I loved how no-nonsense they are with each other! There’s no holding back or game playing – they admit their feelings, they talk about what they want and how they want it, and they follow their hearts straight into the first real relationship either of them have ever experienced.
“You’re mine baby. Always.”
I loved these two together. They give themselves over so completely to all that they are feeling, and the intense emotion between them just drips off the page. Jonah in particular stole my heart with his swoony declarations. He is in awe of Raven and all that he feels for her, and he wants everybody to know it, and I just loved that. A huge, macho alpha whose previous hook-ups were completely emotionless turns to absolute mush when it comes to his girl. It’s heart-meltingly gorgeous.
“I’ll always hold you when you’re scared.” He softly kisses my jaw. “Comfort you when you’re sad.” His lips brush against my cheeks. “Take care of you when you’re sick.” Tilting my head back, he kisses my forehead. He bends down and his hazel eyes narrow into mine. “I’ll make it my life’s mission to make up for every second you were neglected.”
And despite all that they feel for each other, I love that they don’t just jump right into bed together. I’m definitely not averse to fast moving hot and steamy action, but for these two, there was a strong emotional connection right from the very beginning and it felt right that that got explored before they jumped into the sexy time. But holy damn, it’s worth the wait. The sex is sizzling, and works to bring an added dimension to the strong connection between them.
“I’m glad I waited for you, Jonah. You deserve to be my first…”
“And your last.”
But just when everything seems to be going right for our two lovers, Raven’s father come barging back into her life, threatening her happiness and the future that suddenly seemed to look so bright. Jonah is forced to choose between the only things that matter to him, and the two of them soon find themselves in the biggest fight of their lives.
“You’re my life, Jonah. My family, my love, my best friend. Nothing, not even destiny, could keep me from you.”
I loved this book. Jonah and Raven are great characters, their love story is gorgeous, and the drama/suspense elements are balanced really nicely with the romance to create a captivating read with lots of emotion that I was connected to from start to finish. I listened to this one as an audiobook and the narrators did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life, and I think that added to the experience.
There’s a great bunch of side characters that bring a lot to the story, and I can’t wait to continue on with this series to get to know them better. I’m seriously excited that Blake’s book is next, and I’m diving straight in to experience the cocky, wise-cracking manwhore in all of his glory.
Loved it! 4 stars.
The Fighting series
Fighting for Honor (#6.5) (Caleb & Honor – crossover with Harper Sloan’s Hope Town series)
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