Title: Fighting Love (Love To The Extreme, Book Two)
Author: Abby Niles
Expected Release Date: December 31, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Select
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Paperback, 352 pages
ARC provided by NetGalley
Former Middleweight champion and confirmed bachelor Tommy "Lightning" Sparks has lost it all: his belt, his career, and now his home. After the devastating fire, he moves in with his drama-free best friend, Julie. One encounter changes everything and Julie is no longer the girl he’s spent his life protecting but a desirable woman he wants to take to his bed. Knowing his reputation, he’s determined to protect Julie more than ever—from himself.
Veterinarian Julie Rogers has been in love with Tommy since she was ten, but would love to get over the man. She’s quiet nights at home and a glass of wine. He’s clubbing all night and shots of tequila. As friends they work great. As a couple? No way in hell. She just can’t get her heart to agree. When she starts spending time with another fighter, the man who’s always treated her like a sister is suddenly not being very brotherly and inflames her body like never before.
Can two childhood friends make a relationship work, or will they lose everything because they stopped FIGHTING LOVE.
Fighting Love is a story of best friends, Tommy and Julie, who become lovers.
Tommy Sparks has had a horrible case of bad luck. He's lost his MMA title, is banned from fighting in the MMA, and now his house has literally gone up in flames. And along with his home, he has lost a box filled with memories he's collected over the years. Memories that can never be replaced.
Enter best friend, Julie Rogers. Being homeless, Tommy has no choice but to move in (temporarily) with Julie. So the two friends "shack up" while Tommy tries to get his life in order.
There's just one tee-tiny problem.
Julie has been fighting a very inappropriate attraction to her best friend since she was ten. Something that she's never told him, for fear of losing the best friend she has ever had. But living together is something all together different, and each accidental brush of Tommy's body against her own has Julie's body tingling with a different kind of awareness.
And it doesn't help that Tommy can be quite the charmer.
I absolutely adored Tommy. He starts out as a very egotistical, sexy-and-he-knows-it MMA fighter with money, fame, and the world at his feet. But all that cockiness leads towards his downfall--and he loses his title. Soon after losing the title fight, he's punching out the son of the president of the CMC. He has lost his career and his home, but Julie has always been there for him.
Now he's coming to realize how much of an ass he's been and how much he has screwed up his future. He has disappointed the only family he has (Julie) and, more importantly, he has disappointed himself. It's time to right a few wrongs...
I love the dialogue between Julie and Tommy. There is something magical about a friends-to-lovers story and Fighting Love has that alluring quality.
There is a scene (one of my favorites) where Tommy gives Julie the most perfect gift--the gift of memories--as he recreates their alter-egos from when they were kids:
As she spotted Tommy standing beside a blanket he'd spread on the ground and the TV from his room sitting atop it, a bubble of laughter shot past her lips. He was wearing a long-sleeved green shirt and dark brown slacks with a black belt low around his hips--with a wooden sword hanging at his side. An almost exact replica of the outfit he'd change into daily after school to become the Green Knight when they were kids.
Happiness filled her chest as she walked toward him. He hasn't forgotten. And this was the best gift he'd ever given her--memories.
Tommy is ADORABLE.
But when Tommy starts training to fight and has been re-instated in the CMC with a title fight in his immediate future, Julie is afraid that Tommy will fall back to his old ways...and leave her again in the shadows as he shines in the spotlight.
Will Tommy realize just what he has with Julie before it's too late?
I truly enjoyed reading this friends-to-lovers journey and even though some parts were a bit predictable, it was still a treat to read.