*I received a free copy of Holding Strong from Harlequin HQN via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Warning: This book includes mature content such as: sexual content, and/or drug and/or alcohol use, and/or violence.
Series: Ultimate #2
Published by Harlequin HQN on 31 March 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel
Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows…
Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…
Lori Foster has done it again! Holding Strong is a beautiful contemporary romance with tough fighters, women who can hold their own, friendship, loyalty, smexiness and lots of suspense!
My Holding Strong review:
I fell in love with both Denver and Cherry, strong characters with difficult pasts, they were a great match in every way. Strong, stubborn, loyal, they both had some qualities that made me want to be friends with them. While Denver was was a little brooding sometimes, and quite the fighter, Cherry was more lighthearted, always laughing and dancing when they were out with friends. There was danger looming in the not so far distance, though, and Cherry wanted her past to be her past, something for her to take care of on her own, while Denver with his protective streak wanted to take care of things for her.
Holding Strong includes a great deal of humor as well, especially when Denver finally gives in to his attraction to Cherry – because he was so sure she wasn’t interested in him that way, just because she was so good at friendly banter with all of his fighter friends. To see Denver’s tender heart beneath his hard and strong body just made me swoon for him. I also have to say that this story set up what I hope will happen in one of the coming books in the Ultimate series, namely a real romance between Merissa and Armie! Those two could totally combust a few city blocks with how hot they seem to be for each other.
Another thing that I really appreciate in this series is the strong friendships. Both among the fighters, and among the girls who are important to them. Holding Strong showed how much their sense of community impacts a lot of their choices and decisions, and when it became clear that Cherry might be in danger, all the guys and girls banded together to make sure she would stay safe. And through it all, Denver finally managed to open up his heart and realize that Cherry really was the girl for him.
Written in third person point of view, past tense, but sprinkled with dialogues and witty come-backs, Holding Strong worked for me on every level! The overall story-ark was well done, the character development made me want to spend more time with all of them, and the plot was well executed from start to finish. If you haven’t started this series yet, you definitely should! Between the hot MMA fighters, the romance and the great friendships this series is among my favorite contemporary romance.
Some of my favorite Holding Strong quotes:
Then again, maybe not – because days after meeting her, he’d known sex wasn’t the only thing he watned. He’d already begun to think of her as his, even though he hadn’t even kissed her yet.
“Unless you want to.”
Yeah, he wanted that – and so much more. They both knew it. The only question now was whether or not they’d each follow through.
Putting her head back against the wall, Cherry held her breath to smother a groan. From the moment she’d met him months ago, Denver had epitomized the elemental male.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: