I read paranormal and historical romances. My groaning bookshelf can attest to my interest in both genres. However, once in a while, I’ll come across a contemporary romance series that I can’t put down.
I remember when I first picked up Lori Foster’s Simon Says. I wasn’t sure how I’d like it. It was about some MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighting group called the SBC (Supreme Battle Challenge). I devoured this book. It was fast paced, sexy, and a fun read. And because I’m anal, I had to pick up each of the books in the series (even though I read them out of order).
So it should come as no surprise that when I saw her latest offering in the series, Back in Black, I had to pick it up. If you haven’t read any of these books, let me just start out by saying these heroes are sexy, smart, and h-o-t! I’m not into MMA fighting, or at least I wasn’t until I read these books. There’s just something so raw and elemental about the sport that it made me uneasy. Men beating each other, twisting each other like pretzels…it didn’t seem interesting at all. Until I read about heroes who “live” that life. It opened a whole new world for me.
Not that I’m a big fan now, but I at least have a better understanding for their discipline and willpower. It’s obvious to the reader, when reading any book in this series, that Lori is a big MMA fan, and that she’s done her research. She manages to give the action just enough grittiness without getting graphic. It’s a fine line to walk and she does it flawlessly.
So, on to the book!
Here’s the blurb:
SBC president Drew Black is as controversial as they come. But the hot-headed entrepreneur is a perfect match for his popular sports club venture: uncompromising and extreme. Maybe too extreme. With a reputation for saying what he thinks, Drew’s been causing a lot of friction. That’s why someone’s been called in to clean up his image—before he does any permanent damage.
The lucky lady is Gillian Noode, a PR expert who’s smoothed out the rough edges on many a man. But Drew is rougher than anyone she’s ever met, and he refuses to change for any woman, for any reason. To make matters more complicated, Gillian’s starting to like him raw. Now, opposites aren’t only attracting, they’re igniting. But in the rising heat, which one of them will end up on top?
I’m not going to give spoilers. I prefer not knowing what’s going to happen in a book before I read it. However, I will give you my impressions of the book.
Drew is HAWT. He’s rough, smart, and sexy as hell. He isn’t pleased with the idea of someone trying to clean up his image, but he’s also attracted to Gillian in spite of what she’s there to do. Gillian has plans and if she can give Drew some polish, it’ll make her career. Sparks fly between Drew and Gillian from the start. Drew, although he isn’t a fighter and has a dirty mouth, turns out to be honorable and sweet in his own way. How could Gillian possibly resist?
But things aren’t all sunshine and roses in the SBC world. A group called WAVS (Women Against Violent Sports) is out to discredit the SBC organization and Drew Black. Foster does a marvelous job of giving reasons behind WAVS’ dislike of the sport, as well as a backstory for the group’s leader, Audrey. The plot twisted and turned, leaving me to wonder how the two organizations could ever see eye-to-eye.
All in all, it was a great read. I almost wish there had been a little more tension between them before they got together, but I can’t complain. It seemed natural for them to get together, and how can you be upset about that? They’re a good couple and each of them realize it. They mesh together so well.
There’s also a side story which Lori manages to weave into the plot. Unlike some side story romances, it doesn’t detract away from the main purpose of the story. If anything, it blends in seamlessly, giving the book a lot more depth. I’ve read several books where there is another romance going along with the main plot, but they don’t intermingle. This can be distracting for the reader even if it pertains to one of the characters you want to know more about.
Her effortless blending of plot and subplot kept me reading this book into the wee hours of the morning. I’d have to give this book two big thumbs up (and a #1 foam finger too). It was a delight. I hope you have a chance to read it and enjoy it as much as I did. Besides, how can you not love the title? It makes me want to break out some AC/DC and start rocking out!
If you’re interested in the series** order, it’s as follows:
Simon Says This was named the MMAWorldwide book of the year.
Hard to Handle
My Man Michael
Back in Black
**Please note, I haven’t included the novellas for this series.**
Have you read any books lately that you feel the need to recommend to everyone you meet?