Fighting Love by Abby Niles
Series: Love to the Extreme #2
Published by Macmillan
Publication Date: December 31st 2013
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Fighting Love by Abby Niles
Talk about kicking a fighter while he's down.
Former Middleweight champion and confirmed bachelor Tommy "Lightning" Sparks has lost it all: his belt, his career, and now his home. After the devastating fire, he moves in with his drama-free best friend, Julie. One encounter changes everything and Julie is no longer the girl he's spent his life protecting but a desirable woman he wants to take to his bed. Knowing his reputation, he's determined to protect Julie more than ever—from himself.
Veterinarian Julie Rogers has been in love with Tommy since she was ten, but would love to get over the man. She's quiet nights at home and a glass of wine. He's clubbing all night and shots of tequila. As friends they work great. As a couple? No way in hell. She just can't get her heart to agree. When she starts spending time with another fighter, the man who's always treated her like a sister is suddenly not being very brotherly and enflames her body like never before.Can two childhood friends make a relationship work, or will they lose everything because they stopped FIGHTING LOVE
Fighting Love is the second book in the series. I didn’t read the first book, Extreme Love, because the premise didn’t appeal to me. I don’t feel like I missed much by skipping it. This is a friends-to-lovers romance, one of my favorite themes. I especially love when the couple has been friends all their lives, like Tommy and Julie were.
Tommy “Lightning” Sparks was on top of the world. He held the Middleweight Champion belt, which brought him money, fame and women. He had his best friend Julie and he had few complaints. Then he made a series of bad decisions, culminating in him punching the son of the president of the MMA, and bam, it all crumbled. After being banned from his gym, losing his title and being kicked out of the MMA, he doesn’t think things can get much worse. Until his house burns to the ground with everything he owns inside it.
Left with nowhere to go, he moves in with his best friend Julie Rogers. They’ve been there for each other since they were kids and, though he doesn’t want to put her out, he’s as comfortable in her home as he was in his. Until he accidentally walks in on her naked. Then he realizes she’s not just his best friend, she’s a woman. He fights is attraction for her because he wants better for Julie than the likes of him. But when Julie decides to push for a physical relationship, he has a hard time saying no.
Julie has been in love with Tommy since she was ten-years-old. She’s done her best to keep her attraction a secret because she didn’t want to make things awkward. Tommy has made it clear in a thousand different ways he thinks of her as a sister, and his friendship is more important than anything else. Until he kisses her. Then she knows she wants to explore things with him to see if they can make it work. But Tommy is holding back and she isn’t sure he can really commit to her. She’s stood in his shadow for a long time. Though she doesn’t doubt he cares about her, she doesn’t think she’ll ever mean more to him than his career.
When Tommy gets a shot at professional fighting again, she’s thrilled for him – and terrified it means the end of her relationship. Tommy is determined to go to the distance with Julie, but will his career get in the way?
Their romance was sweet. It took awhile for Tommy to realize he wanted to fully commit, but once he did it was sweet watching him try to woo Julie. She was an independent person, which worked well for Tommy and the overall story. She could have come off as clingy or seemed weak, but her independent streak saved her. Julie’s fears about him were understandable considering his past.
I liked the MMA fighting background. Niles built her world well around it. I didn’t feel like it overshadowed the story, but I kept wanting to get back to it.
My main complaint is how long it took Julie and Tommy to get past their issues. Tommy was afraid he wouldn’t be able to commit to Julie and Julie was afraid of the same. Their continual push-and-pull-back started to frustrate me after awhile. There wasn’t enough forward progress to keep me engaged without making me question the story. To be honest I think the story would have benefited if it had less scenes with Tommy and Julie getting closer only to push each other away and more of the MMA stuff.
I enjoyed the sweetness of their romance set against the harsh backdrop of the professional fighting scene. Though it was slow-going at times, I was pulling for them.
3.75 out of 5
This book is available from Entangled Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.
This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.