*I received a free copy of Tough Love from Harlequin HQN via Netgalley. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *
Vanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she's not above playing a little dirty. She's wanted Stack "The Wolf" Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works—deliciously well—until Stack's past steps out of the shadows.
Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he's the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about—Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they're much more than friends with benefits. He's ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who's tamed him for good?
Hot, fun and with different kind of mystery playing out in the background, Tough Love really worked for me!!
My Tough Love review:
It’s no secret that I’m a huge Lori Foster fan, and that her Ultimate series is one I love very much. Tough Love is yet another fantastic installment in this series, where the hard, strong MMA fighters find their match in the woman they eventually learn to love. Stubborn characters, sizzling hot chemistry, strong friendships and family ties that won’t break no matter what, this story just had it all. Vanity entered the series when Yvette moved back, and several of the fighters noticed her from the get-go. She only ever wanted on man, though, and that man is Stack. Their story started at the end of Holding Strong, with Vanity’s outrageous proposal that she and Stack have a date for Yvette and Cannon’s wedding – with a night of fun after the reception…
One of the aspects I enjoyed the most in Tough Love was how much love there was between Stack and his mom and sister. Even though his sister was a drama queen who was used to other people cleaning up her mess, I just loved how close they were, and how they were able to show Vanity that it’s possible to fight, be upset and disagree with each other and still love and respect each other. Especially because Vanity had grown up with completely different family dynamics, and after being alone for so long, she really didn’t realize that having a good fight could simply lead to making up and having a good talk about it afterwards.
Tabby’s husband was a real dirtbag, and I hated how he was able to ingratiate himself to Vanity, even if it was easy to understand why Vanity wanted to help, and that she thought she found the best way to do so. Phil was part of the reason why there was trouble between other characters, though, and the tension building because of him was really well done! Written in third person past tense, Tough Love had a very good flow, with good character development, plenty of hot romance, and a lot of interactions with the other characters that make the Ultimate series one of my favorites. And now, I am even more impatient for Armie and Marissa’s story! There were some hints about them in Tough Love, but not much, since this story really focused on Stack and Vanity.
Some of my favorite Tough Love quotes:
Yummy Stack Hannigan, with the steel biceps and rigid abs, the charm-your-pants-off smile and smoky, gray-blue eyes. Whew. She supposed weeks of teasing could hone the interest of any red-blooded man.
In the fight world, they called him The Wolf. Since she soaked up everything that had to do with Stack, she’d naturally listened to the rationale for the name. Men claimed he got the handle because of the way he stalked his fight opponents like prey. Women said he’d earned it in the bedroom – by making the ladies howl.
He liked her in that fluffy dress, how it showed off her tiny waist and cleavage, how feminine it looked. But he’d like her more out of it. So many times he’d imagined her naked, waiting on him, accepting him.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: