Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Below the Belt by Sidney Halston, a Review

Below the Belt is the 3rd book in Sidney Halston's Worth the Fight series.  It is the story of Antonio "Scarface" Marino and Francesca Silva.  On Amazon, there is the following book description.

Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.

I read this story after having first read the book, Full Contact.  It was a new series to me and I wanted to give it a try.  Now, just a word of caution.  If you are easily embarrassed by stories that are very carnal in nature, you need to know that your comfort zone may be stretched in this series.  Unlike Full Contact, which was highly sexual in nature, this story focuses even more on the relationship outside of the intimacies.

I loved getting to know the characters better.  We learn about them in Full Contact and are able to see the beginnings of the dynamics between  Antonio and Francesca.  In this book, their story is one of overcoming the obstacles that we often place upon ourselves.  Each had struggles within their own hearts to overcome.  Francesca had to face the past and her failed first marriage.  We learn just how deeply that experience had affected her outlook on life.  Antonio, on the other hand, had to face the demons of his own heart.  He had to come to terms with his choices in his MMA career and face the fact that he had some decisions to make about his future with MMA.

Together, these two characters are an entertaining mix.  The sarcasm and snarky wordplay between them was fun.  Each being determined in their own mindset.  One wanting to have a relationship and the other running from it.  After reading so many stories where the man is the reluctant party, it was refreshing to read a story where the man has to really chase after the woman.  

This couple has you guessing all the way through to the end.  

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