Perfect for fans of Katy Evans and Monica Murphy, Sarah Robinson’s blistering-hot series debut introduces the Kavanagh brothers—mixed martial arts fighters who work hard, play hard, and love with all their hearts.
As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.
Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
The crowd roared around him as the bell sounded, vibrating through his entire body. Rory Kavanagh immediately moved into position, his head low and his fists in front of his face. His arms were tucked in, shielding his body as he advanced on his opponent. This was it. A lifetime of practice, sparring, training: It was all for this moment.
It was all for this fight.
He was bigger than his opponent; this would be a simple win. He had the strength, he had the power. He towered over him by several inches, his shoulders broader, and his muscles thicker. This fight was in the bag. Punch, block, jab, shield, kick, sidestep. His opponent was moving fast, but Rory practically danced around his attack. He rained down jab after jab, his opponent staggering backward with a bloody lip. The bell sounded and both men retreated to their respective corners.
“Water,” Rory grunted, leaning against the cage side as his father handed him a water bottle, his brothers eagerly watching from outside the cage. He dumped a mouthful of water onto his tongue before swirling it around and spitting it out into a nearby bucket.
“You’re doing great, Rory, but remember technique. You’re too heavy-handed on power, and you’re not focusing on skills. That’s how fighters get hurt.”
“I’m fine. This is in the bag.” Rory tossed the bottle at him, strutting back toward the center of the ring as the ref began announcing the start of the second round.
“Fight!” The ref backed up quickly as the men converged on each other. Rory landed the first hook, blocking the return. Breathe, focus.
And that’s when it happened.
He blinked in surprise as blinding pain coursed through him. He looked down for a second, just a second, and it was over. Rory hadn’t even seen it happen; his opponent had been too fast. He looked down at his leg, but it was entirely twisted at the knee and bent the wrong direction. Bones were protruding and blood trickled morbidly down his calf. Searing pain inexplicably mixed with tingling numbness shot through his body in pulsing currents as he wavered.
Then all he saw was black. He felt the cage floor hit the back of his head as he went down hard. He heard the screaming from audience members, his family included. The ref’s whistle was blaring and medics were asking if he was okay.
Rory said nothing, and gave in to the black.
My 4-Star Review
After I finished this book, I just sat there trying to figure out what I could say about this book. Sarah has a knack for slow-building romance that makes your heart melt. I am still struggling with words to describe what I really think of this book.
The plot of this story is slow-building, which I like. It's perfect for this story. It moved a just the right pace that I didn't feel bored or rushed while reading it. Every little climax hit at just the right moment making me want more.
The characters... We all love broken characters. What isn't there to love? They are handed to us in pieces, then we get to watch them pick up the pieces and then slowly put them back together to create one masterpiece. Rory and Clare are just those characters. And their story is just that, a masterpiece.
There were just a couple issues with this story I had a hard time with. Although the pacing with the story was grand, there were a few gliches. Clare didn't exhibit abuse survivor to me. She was to quick to jump to someone with some serious issues. And with that, Rory was able to kick his habits too quickly and easily. Had these two things been a little more drawn out and realistic, this book would have definitely been a five star read!
Sarah Robinson is the bestselling author of The Photographer Trilogy and the Sand & Clay rock star series. A native of Washington, D.C., Robinson has both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in criminal psychology. She is married to a local police officer who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiast as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescue and foster animals.