Against the Cage by Sidney Halston
Random House: Loveswept
Book One in the Worth the Fight series
Published May 27, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Why I picked up this book:
I've enjoyed watching MMA fights in the past, and I always enjoy a good little sister/friend of big brother romance.
For Chrissy Martin, returning to her Florida hometown always seems to bring bad luck. The day starts with a breakup text, followed by a jailhouse phone call from her troublemaker brother. Now a routine traffic stop has ended with her accidentally punching an officer . . . in a delicate place. Then Chrissy realizes that the hot cop on the receiving end of her right hook is none other than the man from her teenage fantasies.
Jack Daniels knows how to take a hit. After all, when he’s not chasing reckless drivers, he’s kicking ass in a mixed martial arts ring. So what takes his breath away isn’t the low blow, but the woman who dealt it: a gorgeous knockout with legs Jack wouldn’t mind being pinned under—who just so happens to be his best friend’s nerdy little sister, all grown up. Soon their instant chemistry leads to a sizzling affair, but Jack and Chrissy are fighting an uphill battle if they want to make love last beyond the final bell.
Two thumbs up for Against the Cage. This one was sexy, sweet, and so well-balanced.
Somehow, Against the Cage finds that sweet spot wherein the hero, Jack, is both an alpha male *and* capable of letting 'his woman' make decisions of her own. Nothing irks me more than when the hero runs around spouting off orders and expecting the heroine to blindly obey. Jack wanted to protect Chrissy, but he acknowledged that she needed to make her own decisions.
Well, usually. Jack's not perfect, of course, but I would love to see this become a trend in romance. I also loved that Chrissy acknowledged that occasionally she did love when Jack's domineering side came out. She found it flattering and sexy when Jack acted like a caveman towards her, within reason.
There's some very sexy moments in this book - Chrissy and Jack are hot together. Jack's got a very active imagination, and I loved that the book shares that with the reader.
Something else I really appreciated is that the language is not squeaky clean. These characters curse and swear and it's completely fitting. I don't think cussing is a sign of a lack of imagination or an inability to communicate - I firmly believe that expletives convey a wealth of emotion - usually frustration, shock or anger.
The one thing that made me twig a little was that Chrissy's been going around the world, volunteering in remote places as a doctor - I felt that she really had to have experienced more violence in the real world than she seemed to acknowledge. The book does address domestic violence and abuse, so if this is a trigger issue for you, avoid.
I think this review makes it clear that I had a lot of love for Against the Cage. It's satisfyingly sexy, with a pair of main characters that I genuinely liked.
For fans of MMA fighting, contemporary romance, cuddly alpha men.