Series: Worth the Fight #4
Published by Loveswept Source: Netgalley
Genres: Alpha Guy, Contemporary Romance, Military, Romance, Sports
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Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.
Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.
I like military romances and I like MMA romances, so this was the perfect mix for me. I was looking forward to this book for more than those reason though, I love romances where the people involved have known each other since they were young, and so when I read that the book is about Cain, Violet, and Jeremy who grew up as friends together and then two of them ended up together.
I liked Violet from early on in the book, Violet has gone through so much. She was engaged to Jeremy when he passed away while serving overseas, and to make it even worse their childhood friend basically disappears after Jeremy dies. I can’t imagine haven’t to live through the death of someone you are planning to marry. So when Violet and Cain end up living in the same place and knowing the same people, well needless to say it results in a lot more together time. Violet really doesn’t understand why Cain acts the way he does towards her, and you can tell she wants that relationship back. She has always had an attraction to him, but it’s more than that, they have such a history that it makes perfect sense that she would want more of him in her life. Granted the whole getting Cain to help her be better at dating, well that was inspired, and worked for me. There was some really fun scenes because of this set up.
Cain was interesting, I mean he loved Violet, that’s clear from the very beginning. But he has a lot of guilt over losing his friend Jeremy, and I think he just doesn’t know how to live with it. But of course it is a romance book, so you know at some point Cain is just going to have to get over himself and start dealing with the fact that Violet is in his life, and he has to stop avoiding her (and by proxy stop hurting her). In the beginning he was so kind of stiff, and of course it was enjoyable to see how much he evolves throughout the course of the book. I loved every scene with him and Violet, they just really were so adorable together, and then tension was there early on. The build up made the payoff all the more worth it to me.
Overall, I really did enjoy this book. The pacing was really good for me, and the writing was good as well. There are some really cute scenes in this book, and even some humor. I liked that Violet was just an everyday girl who I could identify with. I think a lot of people would find it easy to identify with Violet, she’s just easy to see parts of yourself in. I do love a good friends to lovers romance, and this one was super cute for me.
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Cain hadn’t left Tarpon Springs, Florida, for this long since he’d moved there four years ago. He’d grown up on an army base, then served in the military for eight years before retiring, and this was the first time in his adult life that he felt he had a home. After one too many fights in school, his father had forced him to enlist, to follow the path of his father and his father’s father. The Sorensons bred military men. Then his second tour ended and he didn’t want the army to be a career, so he’d gotten out, much to his father’s dismay. Right now, if someone asked him why he had signed up with IMC, International Military Coalition, as a contractor, he couldn’t answer. At the time he’d only seen the dollar bills. The pay was amazing compared to what the U.S. government had paid him for risking his life for years as an Army Ranger, and signing up to make four times the amount with a private company seemed like the obvious next step.
As soon as Cain walked out of the airport, he hailed a taxi to take him straight to the Pier. It was Friday night, and his friends would undoubtedly be there. Plus, he needed a beer . . . or seven. On the ride over, he received a text from Iggy Mitchell, another mercenary he’d met overseas. Iggy had lost a leg in a tour in Iraq a couple of years ago, and when he wasn’t on a mission for IMC, he worked as a consultant in Tampa specializing in testing firewalls and other online security threats. In other words, he was a professional hacker. The two men had quickly hit it off and sparred together during their free time. Iggy’s hard work and zest for life made the prosthetic leg a nonissue. One evening Iggy had mentioned how he loved to gamble on a series of underground fights put together by some Russians. The text Cain was currently reading was the address of a fight happening in a few days. But Cain wasn’t a gambling man, so he wasn’t interested. He slid the phone back into his pocket and settled in for the forty-five-minute cab ride to the Pier.
It was raining when the taxi arrived. He swung the big duffle bag over his shoulder and looked around the familiar town before he reached to open the front door. A hand on his shoulder stopped him. “Hey, man! You’re back.” It was Tony, his friend, sparring partner, and professional mixed martial arts fighter, whom he had helped train a few months ago.
“Cain, honey, so glad you’re home!” Tony’s wife, Francesca, threw her arms around him for a big hug. He wasn’t big on contact, and he awkwardly put his arm around her waist and patted her back.
“Come on, let’s go inside,” Tony said. “The rest of the guys are on their way. Do they know you’re back? Where were you, by the way?”
“Libya. Just arrived. No one knows,” Cain replied.
Francesca hissed. “Libya. Fuck. That’s not safe.”
“Still quite the conversationalist, I see.” Tony patted Cain roughly on the back.
“Leave the man alone. He just came back from hell, he doesn’t need that attitude tonight. By the way . . .” She poked Cain in the shoulder. “Don’t you ever fuckin’ leave again without letting us know you’re leaving or where you’re going. We were worried.” She reached in and hugged him again.
“Violet?” Cain asked when she released him.
“What about her?” Francesca asked.
“Ask her yourself—she’s here.”
Cain tried not to smile, but his lips seemed to curl upward all on their own. He hadn’t seen Violet for years until a few months ago, when she’d moved to town. He was happy he’d get to see her tonight. As had always been the case, her warm smile was the perfect salve for his shitty mood.
Cain put a hand on Francesca’s upper arm. “Wait—before we go in, are there any fights coming up? Sign me up for something. Soon.” Francesca was co-owner of Worth the Fight Academy, a mixed martial arts gym that trained professional cage fighters, which was what Cain had been doing before heading off a few months earlier.
“You just got into town. You need to take a breather. We can talk about it when you’re settled back.”
“I’m settled. I’m back. Sign me up.”
“Fine. But tonight, relax, at least for a few hours. Come have a drink and say hello to everyone. We’ll find you something tomorrow,” Francesca said.
As soon as he opened the door to the familiar laughter and smell he started to feel better.