Title: Extreme Love
Author: Abby Niles
Release Date: April 30, 2013
ARC provided by NetGalley
New body. New clothes. New men.
Used to the average Joe, Caitlyn Moore is overwhelmed when the supremely masculine Dante Jones walks into her life and expresses an interest in her. At first she pushes him away, refusing to encourage the attention of a cage fighter. Then she learns Dante has a love ‘em and leave ‘em reputation. What better way to fine-tune her non-existent flirting skills than with a male who won’t stick around? But Dante has no intention of being a practice dummy; he’s out for all or nothing. Now Caitlyn must accept Dante—violent career and all—or let him go.
Dante “Inferno” Jones has one goal: win the Welterweight Championship. At a time when focus is crucial, the last thing he needs is a distraction. Yet Caitlyn Moore becomes a challenge he can’t resist. When the light-hearted pursuit shifts to a battle to win her heart, his focus is shot. Faced with losing the biggest match of his career, Dante must decide if his extreme life also has room for Extreme Love.
The book starts out when Amy takes her BFF, Caitlyn, to a fight, where Amy's boyfriend Brad, and is currently kicking the shit out of his opponent. Fists flying, blood spilling, bones crunching...and Caitlyn Moore is covering her eyes, refusing to watch the violent sport.
Caitlyn hates violence and is feeling a bit green at the barbaric methods the fighters use, and can't believe her best friend took her to such an event. But she agrees to attend the victory party to celebrate Brad's win in the cage. Caitlyn feels totally out of place in a sea of skinny women with perky breasts and perfect bodies. She hides in a corner, alone, and hidden in the shadows, not wanting to be the center of attention.
You see, Caitlyn has some serious body issues and hides in unattractive clothing that swims on her, too big for her frame. Even though she has lost eighty pounds, Caitlyn cannot see past the size she used to be.
So when Dante "Inferno" Jones, another fighter at the party, flashes a heart pounding smile in her direction and asks her to dance, she cannot understand his attraction to her. Surely such a gorgeous man who is ripped with muscles couldn't find her appealing...right?
Despite the sexual attraction that simmers between them, Caitlyn stays her distance and refuses to make things easy for Dante.
Dante is not only physically attracted to the beautiful Caitlyn, he is intrigued by the fact that she doesn't fall at his feet. She is shy and his curiosity has been stoked. He wants to get to know this woman.
Amy warns Dante that if he is truly interested in Caitlyn as a person, then he must take things slow and be patient. But what Dante wants, he is determined to get.
Slowly, Dante and Caitlyn get to know one another and Dante sees the fire and passion hiding inside Caitlyn, the side she rarely lets shine. He woos her with words, with his touch and Caitlyn begins to not only see how beautiful she is, but truly feel beautiful in her own skin.
But the fact that Dante is a fighter--lives and breaths it--still comes between them, threatening to sever the fragile bond between them. How can she love and accept the fighter that resides inside the man?
I can totally relate to Caitlyn. I have battled the ups and downs of weight loss/gain my entire life. I have ranged from the too skinny size 3 to the OMG size 16 while in college. Self-image is a huge theme in Extreme Love and Caitlyn's struggle was easy to relate to. We (women) tend to be our harshest critic, wanting to turn out the light when we are in bed with our man. Caitlyn's pain is palpable and I sympathized with her.
Extreme Love sometimes leans more toward the personal journey that Caitlyn goes through--learning to love herself and see past the weight, the imperfections, and realize that she is more than just her body size. But there are laughs along the way and a few sexy times between Dante and Cait that make this an enjoyable read.
Abby Niles is a new-to-me author that I will definitely pick up again in the future.