TOUGH LOVE is the next novel in Lori Foster’s Ultimate Series published by Harlequin HQN. This amazing book releases on August 25th! If you haven’t before, make sure you grab the other books in this fantastic series today!
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She’s playing hard to get…to win the MMA fighter of her ultimate fantasies in a sultry new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
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?
Containing hilarious cock-blocking, interrupted best laid plans, shady characters and a few overreactions, Tough Love has you rolling with the punches. I loved watching the feelings between Stack and Vanity grow while trying to unravel the potential danger that lurked around the corner. Don’t worry, lots of sex is also had. 😉
Vanity throws it all on the line to get at least one night with Stack – she’s been in love with him since pretty much the second that she saw him, but she’s willing to play the game and hook him slowly…especially since he’s made it pretty clear in the past that he’s only good for one night.
So Vanity makes The Plan: proposition Stack – check; engage in verbal foreplay for weeks – check; be so goddamn awesome he’ll never want to leave – CHECK. When Stack’s family drama ratchets out of control, Vanity takes the lead. She’s calming, soothing, a bit quirky, but is mostly just awesome.
From the beginning it’s clear that Vanity isn’t like other women. She’s cool under pressure, she’s logical to a fault, and she’s incredibly giving and kind. She bulldozes her way into Stack’s life, leaving Stack shaking his head in wonder. The build of their relationship was sweet and pretty damn sexy.
Stack is a strong man, holding family (both biological and chosen) in the highest regard. When he’s in full on alpha mode, he’s adorable. He doesn’t know why he feels these things for Vanity all of a sudden – he just knows that he does. It’s pretty damn cute watching a big man go all mushy when he realizes he’s in love. GAH, I die every time.
Of course, he’s also sort of a possessive guy, and once he realizes that he wants much more out of Vanity than she’s claiming she’s offering (OH! The Plan is working!) he blatantly begins to mark his territory. Honestly, it was a little ridiculous that he was less than accepting that Vanity has *shhhhh* male friends, but no worries, Vanity quickly fixes that disillusionment. Because she’s awesome.
I am such a complete sucker for MMA fighter books, but you don’t get that much fighting (in the ring) or gym time in this book. Sadface. However, there is so much going on, that you won’t even remember that you’re not watching the sweat roll down their bodies while they spar in the cage. SORRY FOR THE MENTAL IMAGE (not really sorry).
As with all of Lori’s books, I absolutely enjoyed her writing style and characters. I was easily swept into the story, cheering for (or against) the characters, and smiling at the ending. An alpha male + a quirky and strong heroine had me loving this book immediately. The plot kept me on my toes and the heat kept me needing more. Great read! 4.25 stars!
[I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review]
The breath she held came out in a gasp as he pulled her against him, locked an arm around her waist and took her mouth with hot, incredible greed.
Whoa. And here she thought she’d been on the ragged edge.
He was so much bigger than her in every way, he made her feel tiny and feminine and fragile. In all other situations her independent soul might have rebelled, but not now. Not with Stack. She trusted him one hundred percent, and wanted him even more than that.
Flattening her hands on his chest, she smoothed over the solid wall of his pecs, up to those rock-solid shoulders. Heat poured off him, and—oh God—he smelled so good. With his big hands opened on her, his mouth eating at hers, she forgot… everything.
The music and the conversation of other guests faded away. She tunneled her fingers into his hair and tried to get closer still.
Someone bumped into them; Stack didn’t stop kissing her. If anything, his tongue became bolder, exploring, tasting.
Laughter, probably from his friends, sounded nearby, and still he didn’t stop. He gathered her closer.
Jarred back to the here and now, Vanity pressed against him. A true gentleman, Stack immediately eased up.
Her lips tingled. Shoot, her whole body tingled. She drew in a shaky breath. “Wow.”
Proving he hadn’t, in fact, forgotten they stood in the middle of the floor at a friend’s wedding, he whispered against her lips, “Let me get you someplace private.” A softer kiss of persuasion. “I’ll give you reason to be wowed.”
Such a tempting promise.
Oh, how she wanted to haul him to the nearest quiet closet. But that would be dumb. What she wanted, what she hoped he ultimately wanted, would require hours, not a few frenzied minutes.
Voice filled with regret, Vanity explained, “I can’t go just yet.”
His rough growl proved his impatience.
“Very soon, I promise.” Adjusting their embrace, her arms around his neck, his hands at her waist, she put some space between them. “Let’s dance while you cool down and I—”
“Dream on.” But he eased his hold and fell into step with her. Gaze burning over her, then lingering on her cleavage, he asked, “How much longer do I have to wait?”
Vanity didn’t pretend confusion; she knew exactly what he meant, exactly what he wanted. “One dance. Then I need to get the bouquet out of the fridge and gather up some presents and—”
He groaned again, prompting Vanity to laugh.
“Let’s talk.” Maybe casual conversation would help cool his jets and give her a needed opportunity to regroup.
“Okay.” He leaned in. “I can’t wait to taste you—all over.”
“And to get you under me. Or over me. Your preference.”
“Stack.” Her shaky voice sounded weak. “Let’s talk about something that isn’t provoking.”
“Like what? Because honest to god, darlin’, after weeks of your verbal foreplay, I’m feeling pretty damned provoked.”
The smile came slowly. Teasing Stack was a true pleasure.
TOUGH LOVE is part of the Ultimate series. Check out all the books in the Ultimate series today!
Praise for TOUGH LOVE:
“Foster brings her signature blend of heat and sweet to her addictive third Ultimate martial arts contemporary. Foster ably tosses out red herrings and also seamlessly lays the foundation for the next book in this series. This luscious tale will appeal to Foster’s legion of fans and attract new ones—even those who aren’t fans of professional fighting.”– Publishers Weekly
About Lori Foster:
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.
Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.
Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here: http://lorifoster.com/benefit-books/