Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s
My Copy: Sent
Raised in the streets, Knox is a battle-worn MMA fighter with no past, present, or future. Fighting every day just to survive, Knox owns nothing but the pride in his victories and the scars on his hands. When his control snaps and he must flee the city to keep his life, he runs into a stunning woman with the same intent. All big eyes and delicate features, she’s not cut out to survive on her own. And when finding her own inner strength leads to a shocking act of violence, Knox knows he must protect her at all costs…
Natalie couldn’t spend another day under her father’s lock and key. Raised to be the perfect picture of wealth and sophistication, she detests the dark, ugly side of her father’s greed. Refusing to be held captive by her life a moment longer, she escapes his fortress – and runs right into the arms of the strongest, most dangerous, most desirable man she’s ever met. As instant attraction leads to explosive passion, Natalie finds she cannot leave his side. But as their pursuers loom closer and threaten to tear them apart, Natalie and Knox have to decide: is it easier to stand apart? Or is a love this strong worth the fight?
The description of Fight for Me was enough to convince me to give this new author a try. I loved the idea of a tough guy MMA fighter falling for a woman out of his league. I wasn’t sure what to expect of Jessica Linden’s writing, but I was pleasantly surprised. She captures the dark, gritty world of underground fighting and balances it with a sweet, almost innocent romance.
Knox and Natalie couldn’t be any different. A tough upbringing led him to the world of MMA fighting where he found himself under the thumb of a crime boss named X. Knox was no fool, even as a teenager he knew that X was into some bad stuff. He took Knox in, though, when he had no one, and became somewhat of a father figure to him. X helps transform Knox from an angry teen to the most successful fighter in his group. His motives weren’t entirely altruistic – Knox was his cash cow and he did everything he could to make Knox dependent on him and the life he gave him. That all changes one night when X goes too far, asking Knox to throw a fight. Years of pent up frustration and betrayal are unleashed and Knox is forced to disappear after going off on X – both verbally and physically.
Natalie Kent also has plans to disappear. Practically kept under lock and key and forced to do her wealthy father’s bidding for years, she’s finally had enough. She knows her father is not a good man and she longs to be free of his control. She comes up with what she hopes is a foolproof plan to escape. Unfortunately she underestimated her father’s reach and she doesn’t get far before she’s pursued by one of his henchmen. Her entire life is turned upside down when she runs into Knox in a dark alley.
Seeing the delicate woman being attacked immediately rouses every protective instinct Knox has. He knows he has to get far away from X’s reach, but he can’t leave until this woman is safe. When the incident turns violent, he has no choice but to join with her in order to keep her alive. With Natalie on the run from her greedy, evil father and Knox hiding out from X, the two of them are forced to rely on each other to try to figure a way out.
The attraction between them was instantaneous. Neither one of them had ever met someone like the other. To Natalie, Knox was tough and intense and made her feel safe – and wanted. For Knox, Natalie was everything good and clean in a life that hadn’t had much of either. One taste of the passion between them was enough to convince them that despite the obstacles in their lives, it was the two of them against the world.
I thought the pacing of their relationship was a little quick. I’m all for love at first sight, and I have no problem with an alpha male deciding instantly that he wants a woman. These two were each dealing with so much, though, and Natalie was so sheltered in her personal life, that I felt like things went a little too fast. Aside from that, I really liked this story. Knox was a great hero – alpha to the core, sexy and strong but not a jerk. Natalie was naïve and innocent but she had a feisty streak that was hard for Knox to resist.
I give Fight for Me 3.5 by Sarah Castille stars!