Full Conact / Below the Belt (Worth the Fight #2 & 3) by Sidney Halston-a review
(Worth the Fight 2)
by Sidney Halston
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance, MMA
About the book: Release Date October 28, 2014
How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?
Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he’s probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.
REVIEW: FULL CONTACT is the second installment in Sidney Halston’s adult, contemporary Worth the Fight erotic romance series focusing on the men of MMA and the women that they love. This is thirty three year old MMA fighter Slade Martin and bartender Jessica Cross’s storyline. Although FULL CONTACT is the second in the series, it can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. The series follows the MMA fighters at Worth the Fight Academy in Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Told from dual third person points of view the storyline focuses on Jessica’s recovery following a near fatal beating by her ex boyfriend Dennis Stravos. Slade, always the protector, finds himself falling for Jessica ensuring her recovery is under his care-at his home- and in his bed. What ensues is a developing friendship that grows into something more but Slade’s ‘harem’ of women throws Jessica’s emotions into a frenzy; jealousy, betrayal, insecurity and threats against the people she loves, follow Jessica from work to home. In order to protect everyone, Jessica knows it is time to move back home. Breaking Slade’s heart is the only way to protect the man with whom she has fallen in love.
The relationship between Jessica and Slade is a friends to lovers storyline; their attraction to one another is immediate but Slade’s reputation with the ladies precedes his introduction to Jessica and she is unsure about any stable relationship with a man whose one night stands are many. The $ex scenes are captivating, provocative and intense-Slade knows how to please a woman in bed. There is plenty of push and pull throughout the story as Jessica must consider the future-with or without the man that she loves.
The secondary and supporting characters include Jack and Chrissy (Slade’s sister) from book one as well as Francesca Silva-Slade’s new partner at the gym and the woman who catches the eye of Worth the Fight’s newest fighter-Tony Marino. Cain, Violet, Jamie Lynn, Jett, and Travis add color, humor and an interesting take on life and love both in and out of the cage. We are also introduced to Jessica’s parents-two people who wish more for their daughter than to settle in Tarpon Springs; and Dennis Stravos-an up and coming political wannabe with a quick temper and a quicker fist.
The world building takes the reader from the Worth the Fight Academy to the local pub known as the Pier, behind the scenes and into the bedrooms of the MMA fighters. We get an up close view of their training, after hours play, and what goes between fights.
Sidney Halston’s FULL CONTACT is a passionate look the fighters of the MMA- their loves and lives; their failures and wins. Worth the Fight is an imaginative series with romance, love, betrayal and revenge. There are moments of intense drama, and painful realizations followed by intimate and sensual scenes of love. If you are a fan of the MMA storylines, where the hero always gets the woman that he loves, then WORTH THE FIGHT is the series for you.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.
Below the Belt
Worth the Fight #3
by Sidney Halston
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Genre: adult, contemporary,erotic, romance, MMA
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 10, 2015
Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.
REVIEW: BELOW THE BELT is the third installment in Sidney Halston’s adult, contemporary Worth the Fight erotic, romance series focusing on MMA fighters and the women that they love. This is thirty five year old MMA fighter Antonio (Tony) Marino and gym owner Francesca Silva whom we first met in FULL CONTACT (book 2). Although this is the third novel in the series, BELOW THE BELT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.
The premise focuses on Tony’s upcoming fight and the building relationship between Tony and Francesca. Francesca and Slade Martin (Full Contact book 2) bought the rights to Tony’s contract, and ‘Worth the Fight’ gym/fight club is hoping to make their money back and more. What ensues is Tony’s pursuit of both the title and Francesca-a woman with a cold façade and an even colder attitude. Francesca’s history with men is limited and full of heartbreak. She is an independent heroine with a fragile ego who hides behind a business suit that screams nothing but professional.
The storyline and the relationship are slow to build. As Francesca and Slade work to rebuild the gym, Francesca continues to push Tony away at every opportunity and she is a woman who likes to run when the going gets tough. Francesca and Tony both have a quick temper and are even quicker to jump to conclusions as it pertains to their relationship jealousy and other contenders for their heart. As Tony’s championship fight draws near their personalities, egos, wants and need begin to clash until Tony walks away giving Francesca the space she needs to deal with her past. The sex scenes are intimate, passionate and hot.
The colorful secondary and supporting characters include the previous storyline couples (Slade and Jessica/ Chrissy and Jack) as well as Tony’s large extended family -mother, four sisters, six nieces and a house full of kittens that kept Tony on his toes. We are also introduced to Tony’s next competitor in the ring-a man whose connection to Francesca is a little more than Tony is willing to accept.
The author notes on several occasions the distinction between Tony and Francesca’s heritage. Francesca is Brazilian and Tony is Cuban and this seems to be a bit of a bone of contention or at the very least, a delineation or characterization that necessitated several reminders. The writing style was a little choppy early on; I didn’t quite feel invited into the story but once the storyline began to unfold, the flow was smooth with a more welcoming and engaging style.
BELOW THE BELT is a story about an alpha male who falls in love with a strong, independent woman whose previous relationship and lack of experience sets the tone for her current dilemma. Francesca knows that to fall in love will only bring heartbreak and sorrow-in this, she is a woman determined never to fall in love again.
Sidney Halston invites the reader into the cage, onto the mat, and behind the doors of the MMA fighter. Not only do they fight for their life but they fight for love and a happily ever after.
Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley
Reviewed by Sandy