Review: Fighting Dirty by Lori Foster00:00
Author: Lori Foster
Genre: Romantic suspense, MMA fighters
Release Date: 23 Feb 2015
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My rating: 4 Stars
With the life he's led and the muscles he's gained, Armie Jacobson isn't afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter's effect on him. It's not just that she's his best friend's little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that's all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.
Good girl meets bad boy. It's a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they're both about to learn what's truly worth fighting for…
This is the final book in the Ultimate series, contemporary romance series focused on the lives of group of professional fighters. I have been waiting for Armie's story since we met him in the first novel in the series, Hard Knocks (telling Cannon's story) and the bits and pieces of him we saw in the next books only made me more excited to read about him.
I'm very happy that his story didn't disappoint, it was a balanced combination of sweet and sexy with some suspense thrown in the mix. I dmit it's a fairly typical best friend and little sister trope but done well and pretty engaging which made it great fun to read.
I liked Armie a lot and liked even more the way he was with Merissa. We all knew of his wild past and though we don't see it directly here, I'm glad was not completely erased or glossed over just because he fell in love with Merissa. At the same time Merissa, while not as experienced as him, wasn't a virgin or the tame and clueless female we so often see in romance. They both changed their ways to meet each other in the middle and it was no real hardship since it felt right for both of them. She took initiative, acted bold and he overcame his feeling of not being good enough, not deserving someone like her.
I loved the romance in this story, it was rich and nuanced and felt both dreamy and real. Armie and Merissa had a lot of things to work through in their relationship and I really appreciate that the author showed how being with someone requires effort and committment on both sides. The chemistry was there, the attraction was strong (and so long standing for both them that at times it was just irresistible), yet real life posed numerous obstacles in their way. Add to this some inner turmoil and insecurities and you get a capitvating modern romance.
A thing I like a lot in this series is the camaraderie between the fighters and their partners/wives. It was strongly present here and thoroughly enjoyed the funny banter, the good-natured ribbing and jokes between all of them. The sex shop scene in particular had me in fits of laughter.
A minor complaint I want to voice is some degree of slut-shaming I felt with respect to Armie's previous partners. I think it's something present thoroughout the series, presenting the previous women in the hero's life as conniving, unworthy, only interested in sex or somehow trapping the hero into a relationship. It's just an undercurrent I get in this series and I'm not very happy about it.
Overall, for me this is the best book in series and I can highly recommend it to all fans of Lori Foster's writing. I'm already looking forward to reading the spin off about the rest of the fighters.