I first fell in love with Armie Jacobson in Lori Foster’s Tough Love, last year’s entry in her Ultimate series. Widely acknowledged as a “man whore” there was something between Armie and his best friend’s sister, Merissa Colter. When he grabs her in the back hallway of their favorite bar and lays a very hot kiss on her lips, I was sold. Nothing like “pent up/longing for forever/you’re my best friend’s sister and I’m a terrible person/but I can’t resist you” kisses. Before I even finished Tough Love I was desperate to read Armie and Merissa’s story.
Fighting Dirty didn’t disappoint. Armie lived up to my love at first sight, unable to resist Merissa while grasping at straws to protect her from his past. He didn’t stand a chance as the strong and independent Merissa had loved him for just as long and was tired of waiting. This was a delightful “friends-to-lovers” story as we really get to see their passion, their friendship, and history. While there are lots of steamy moments they’re balanced out nicely with scenes of Armie and Merissa just being comfortable together, laughing and reflecting their shared past.
And that’s one of the best parts of this series. Much like with Kristen Ashley, Foster creates communities of characters that grace the pages of the books in her various series. Though I’m relatively new to her writing, it was easy to recognize the characters from the other Ultimate books as they play major roles in Fighting Dirty, in addition to characters from her previous series. This is by far the biggest reason I keep going back to series romance.
Armie and Merissa don’t have a smooth path to their happily ever after as Armie prepares for his first professional MMA fight and ghosts from both their pasts threaten their happiness and lives, adding a romantic suspense edge to this already very enjoyable book. The background of a fighting gym (I’m not sure what you call it when it’s not boxing, is it a MMA gym?) is becoming a quick favorite, having recently read Hurricane and The Aftermath from RJ Prescott and rereading Katy Evens’ Real series.
Foster weaves nice secondary plots into Fighting Dirty including the introduction to her new series, a bodyguard series featuring familiar faces from the gym.
4 Stars for Fighting Dirty. Heat Level: 4
*I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for honest feedback*
Fighting Dirty was published in February 2016 by HQN Books
Click on the covers for information on adding Fighting Dirty or any of the Ultimate series books to your library.