Review: Holding Strong by Lori Foster

holding strongReviewed by Shelly

I like Lori Foster’s older stories, but to be fair, I’ve not tried any of her more recent stories – shame on me. This is the 3rd book (there’s a prequel) in her ‘Ultimate’ series about a group of MMA fighters and the women in their lives. I’ve not read the two previous stories, but I didn’t feel lost, so I would say it’s fine as a standalone read.

Denver Lewis is very busy man. During the day, he’s an accountant by trade, but somewhere along the way he got into MMA fighting. He’s a recent addition the to the SBC lineup of fighters; he’s been training out of the gym that belongs to his friends Conner Colter (book 1) and Gage Ringer (book 0.5). Dear readers, I can’t help it but I’m an MMA fan and the geek in me comes out when I read these kinds of stories.

Since he’s training for his first fight under SBC, Denver is focused on getting more hours in the gym and keeping his accounting client happy. He’s noticed Cherry Peyton for a while, but he’s always seen her as a flirt who goes from one guy to the next. Little does he know that Cherry has no interest in those guys, but she’s a friendly person and there’s only so much rejection a girl can take from the guy she likes. Suffice it to say, Cherry had her own reasons for what she did, but know this – she’s always liked Denver and always had a thing for him.

During an out-of-town trip, Cherry finally gets Denver alone. While he’s trying to resist her, the fight to separate himself from Cherry is strong and he can only fight so long when the woman he wants is right there, sober and willing. Getting her back to her hotel room, they have sex and Cherry is sick the next morning. I’m not talking hung over, I’m talking fever/chills/headache – all the things that can make anyone as physically unappealing as possible, but to his credit, Denver handles in all in stride. I was already starting to like Denver, but during his handling of that I was Team Denver all the way.

I wasn’t sure that I would like Cherry because she was a little bit flaky to me at certain point, but the more I got to know her, the more I liked her and the more I understood why she hid her fears. Her history causes most of the conflict and oh when that history comes back to haunt her – that Carver guy was wickedly bad and there were so many moments where I just wished that someone put him out of his own misery. But I digress. Cherry didn’t have a lot of choices when she was younger, but once she was in a position to make choices for herself, what she did worked for me. I can’t say that my trust factor would be any different from hers, because who really wants to reveal all that to friends?

The chemistry between Denver and Cherry was kinda awesome. The way he looked at her – oh my goodness! Then he had a nickname for her when he was in the sexy mood – oh my goodness! Then when he trusted her enough to start revealing his own demons – I was just done because at that point, the vulnerabilities are revealed and that’s when the actual relationship starts forming… and who doesn’t want the H/h to have honesty, trust and respect in their relationship?

I really enjoyed this story, even though there were no ring fights or sparing scenes. There was a single scene that Foster did a really good job of describing not the hits per se, but the actions and reactions that more than made up for the lack of prior violence. I’ll definitely continue with the series. There are a lot of fighters in that club and I like some more than others, but they’re all interesting.

Happy Reading Folks!

Rating: B

*Book provided by HQN for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Holding Strong
by Lori Foster
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: HQN

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