Good morning (or evening if you’re in another part of the world)! Who here is a fan of MMA romance? I wouldn’t call myself a fan just yet, but I would say that I’m definitely interested in this sub-genre. Anyway, I hope you enjoy my stop on today’s tour and don’t forget to enter the giveaway! You can also follow the rest of the tour HERE. Thanks once again to Tasty Book Tours for the opportunity to host so many authors and their books.
About Sidney Halston:
Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started." Mark Twain, or even simpler, “Just Do It" Nike.
And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red, among four other novels currently in the works, including the sequel to Seeing Red. That first pen stroke sealed the deal and she fell in love with writing.
Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading… She’s a reader first and a writer second.
When she’s not writing or reading her life is complete and utter chaos trying to balance family life with work, and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.
Format: .epub (provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Publisher: Random House: Loveswept
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.
Feisty, passionate and hell bent on being the prettiest in the room, and that’s just the hero! There may have been some inappropriate giggling on my part too.
He was once the most sought after MMA fighter in the business, but after being in the headlines one too many times for his womanizing ways and fights outside the ring, Antonio “Scarface” Marino’s career is headed down the drain. If he wants to have any hope of being the champ he once was, he’ll have to become disciplined, train harder and take orders from Francesca “Frankie” Silva, gym owner and former fighter herself.
Okay so the giggling part that I mentioned? Tony is Cuban and as author Sidney Halston put it, When he was angry, his accent became heavier… so whenever Tony got angry, I literally heard Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy and if you’ve ever watched an episode when Ricky is mad at Lucy, well that’s why I giggled. Plus, I’m Hispanic myself and the author provided an accurate description of what happens when a Hispanic person gets angry and Spanish is their first language. Since English was my first language, I don’t have that particular trait but someone close to me does. *cough* My mother *cough*
Below the Belt is anything but a comedy though. It’s an uphill battle for both Tony and Frankie, and an extreme exercise in patience for Frankie herself. Tony was more than she could handle at times and frankly, I don’t know why she put up with him at all. He was over the top arrogant, jealous and pigheaded. While Tony had his moments of being a nice guy and relationship material, for the most part he just ticked me off! I could see why Frankie was attracted to him physically, he’s a prime specimen of course but his personality? Can you say “Too much work?” Most of the book was Tony and Frankie fighting due to his unwillingness to train harder, his extreme jealousy (which isn’t attractive by the way), or his temper tantrums, yes he did throw tantrums. That’s not to say that I didn’t like him or didn’t root for him as a fighter because I did like him and I did want him to go out on top. He worked hard to get where he was but his arrogance was causing him to lose it. I just didn’t think he was good boyfriend material.
Frankie though? Frankie I adored. She’s such a super cool, tough chick in a male dominated profession and she ran it like a pro. She wasn’t a woman playing a game, she was a fighter once herself so she knew what the men training in her gym needed, she knew how hard to push them and she could give as good as she got. She was confident in her job but fragile in her personal life, having been married and divorced under painful circumstances shaped her into the level headed and sometimes too serious woman Tony fell for. Frankie just didn’t take crap from anyone and told Tony the harsh reality of his situation which is what he needed. Frankie didn’t let anyone steam roller over her and earned the respect of any man that worked with and for her. She was just awesome.
Because Below the Belt takes place in the world of MMA fighting, there’s plenty of opportunities for some interesting foreplay between Tony and Frankie and the author did not disappoint. She created some very intense, highly charged scenes between the two that were unforgettable. There was no doubt in my mind that Tony and Frankie had it bad for each other even as they fought like rabid animals.
Even though I didn’t particularly care for Tony as a romantic option for Frankie, especially when her ex stepped back into her life and some misunderstandings were cleared up, Tony did make a great fighter and his journey from washed-up-has-been to top-of-his-game champ was incredible.
Final Verdict: Would I read more books in this series? Hell yes! I enjoyed Below the Belt and this MMA world that the author created. If Sidney Halston writes all her female characters as tough and complex as Frankie then I just know it’s going to be a blast.
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