Against the Cage by Sidney Halston
Series: Worth the Fight #1
Publication Date: May 27th 2014
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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.
When I requested this book for review I was on an MMA fighter kick. I was expecting something that focused on the MMA world. This book doesn’t. Not really. The fights were secondary and shown only on the periphery of the story. The main focus is the heroine’s struggle with the violence of fighting and her strained relationships with her brother, Slade, and his best friend, Jack.
The book was problematic for me on several levels. As mentioned above, the MMA scene was peripheral. I wanted more focus there and didn’t get it. Actually, pretty much everything outside the relationships was peripheral. While this may be a personal preference, I like to see that the characters have lives outside each other. Jack was a cop and seemed to take that seriously, but the MMA stuff was glossed over, and so was Chrissy’s career as a traveling doctor. She visited some of the worst places in the world, treating those who wouldn’t have gotten treatment otherwise, and it was just shrugged aside.
The characters also felt very immature. For a world-weary doctor and a hardened cop and MMA fighter, both Jack and Chrissy acted like children – bickering, fighting and running away. And don’t get me started on Slade…he acted more like a teenage boy than an actual adult.
Because I wasn’t invested in the characters or their story, I started to focus on little things I may have overlooked otherwise. For example, Chrissy giggles. A lot. I counted 24 times throughout the course of the novel. Since giggling is something that bothers me anyway, by the end of the book I was ready to bang my head against the wall. When a grown woman giggles incessantly, it’s a sign of immaturity for me. In this case I was reminded of a teenage girl trying to impresses her older brother’s best friend. Which isn’t that far off, except that Chrissy is supposed to be closer to 30 than 15.
While I really wanted to like this book, I didn’t connect with the characters or the setting. I’m curious about Slade (Chrissy’s brother) and Jessica, so I may try the next book. I haven’t decided yet.
2.5 out of 5