Sunday, January 12, 2014

{Heather #Review} Contemporary Erotic Romance: Fighting For Irish by Gina L. Maxwell

Genre: Contemporary Erotic
Series: Fighting for Love #3
Format: eARC
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Entangled: Brazen (January 13, 2014)

Kat MacGregor has forty-eight hours to make good on the debt her ex-boyfriend owes a crime boss. Unfortunately, the measly tips she makes waitressing are barely enough for her to live on, much less cover the twenty-thousand needed to keep her breathing. With time running out, Kat 's forced to accept help from the only man who's ever made her feel fire rather than fear.

When he learns a friend's sister is in trouble, former Boston MMA fighter Aiden "Irish" O'Brien heads to Louisiana to offer himself up as collateral to keep her safe. But to satisfy the debt, he has to do the one thing he swore hed never do again: fight. With more than just money on the line, will Irish have what it takes to not only reclaim the man he once was, but become the man he needs to be for the woman he can't live without?

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Fighting for Irish is the third on Gina Maxwell's Fighting for Love series of books. The series focuses on MMA-fighting heroes and pairs each of them with plucky, dynamic heroines. Reading the first two books is not necessary to understand this one; it does however, provide some helpful background if you at least read Rules of Entanglement (book #2) as that heroine is this heroine's sister.

Kat MacGregor's life has been one horror story after another, the latest of which has plunked her down in the festering swampland of Alabaster, Louisiana. There she survives waiting tables under an ill-fitting alias while she waits for the other shoe to drop.

Aidan "Irish" O'Brien arrives in Alabaster to complete a simple favor - find Kat, make sure she's okay, and move on to parts unknown. Somewhere he can learn to ignore or finally succumb to the ghosts of his own tortured past. He has no plans to get close to the enigmatic redheaded Kat - not when everything he gets close to gets hurt ... or killed. But Kat is the living embodiment of every one of his most secret fantasies and he can't seem to stop picturing what it would be like to have her beside him - and under him - through the sweltering Louisiana nights.

Gina Maxwell writes incredibly appealing heroes. There's something about an MMA fighter that smacks of potent sexual energy and virility that Maxwell utilizes to perfection. She also imbues each of her heroes with an endearing bit of vulnerability and imperfection that makes the reader fall at least a little in love with them. Irish is no exception. Maxwell's heroines are equally dynamic - strong, intelligent and independent, but also flawed and with aching vulnerability that takes the reader and the hero time to uncover. The reader can see early on that Kat and Irish are as perfectly matched and much of the book is spent watching them realize it, too.

Fighting for Irish doesn't scrimp on plot, though - the major plot of this book was started in Rules of Entanglement and is fully fleshed out here. We begin to understand why Kat behaves the way she does and just what she's gone through to get her to where she is. I was ready to not like Kat based on what we see in Rules, but Maxwell deftly shows us that there's more to her story than we knew.

I gave the book four hearts instead of five for two reasons. First and foremost: I detest the "lies will come between us" plot device. In Rules, Jax tells V one lie and spends the whole book torn up about it. In Fighting for Irish, Irish lies to Kat repeatedly about a number of things and doesn't seem all that tortured at all. When the lies start to come out Kat and Irish fight - but the fight is over very quickly. I'm not sure all the lies were fully uncovered, to be honest. In my opinion, lies make the hero look like an A-hole and the heroine an idiot. I would have loved to have seen what would have happened between the two if Kat knew Irish was keeping tabs on her for her sister from the beginning. The second reason this book falls a little bit shy of the five-star review is because the resolution seemed too tidy and convenient. I won't post spoilers here but the Big Bad Guy going down the way he did seemed very unlikely to me, especially considering who did the takedown. Nor did I believe that the bad guy was "never getting out of jail"- real life doesn't work that way and I was left with doubt as to Kat's ultimate safety.

Those two small things notwithstanding, Fighting for Irish is an awesome, entertaining read guaranteed to leave you rooting for Kat and Irish and maybe hoping for a fighter of your very own.

Favorite Quote:

Unable to resist, he let the kitten grab onto his finger one last time. “You’re not making this very easy, little buddy,” he forced out, his voice so gravelly he didn’t even recognize it. “I wish to Christ I could be the kind of man she needs. But I’m not. I’m just a broken-down fighter who ends up hurting the people closest to me, and she deserves a hell of a lot better than that.”

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