First Lines: A door squeaks open at the far end of the barren hallway and the clicking of high heels echoes off the row of metal post-office boxes. I attempt to appear casual as I flip through the mail.
This is another book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. (Amazing how I finally get around to those when I visit a library bigger than my local one.) And a snow day was the perfect time to really sink into this monster 500+ page book.
Champion kickboxer Haley swore to herself that she was never going to set foot in the ring again…until West came along. West got caught up in a fight to defend Haley’s honor that will use the mixed martial arts training Haley has. Suddenly, Haley finds herself training West, a guy she normally would stay away from…if only he’d get out of her head. But he needs Haley’s help to survive a few seconds in the ring. West, however, is hiding a huge secret from Haley. This fight may just be his shot at redemption, especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He may not be able to change the past…but maybe he can change Haley’s future.
I knew I wanted to read this book when I learned it was from West’s perspective. He was a character in the last book that caught my attention. I just felt like he had a story to tell, and boy did he ever.
A truly did like West. He seemed to me like a rebel without a cause. He was stubborn and obstinate without really knowing exactly what he was fighting against. (Definitely, sometimes he had a very real attacker. We are talking about MMA fighting here.) And Haley was alright. I understood why her character was the way she was, but I didn’t necessarily like her for it. But I got it.
But here’s the issue I’m starting to have with McGarry’s novels: they all feel exactly the same. I mean, the writing of each is fantastically descriptive and the romance is *mwah*, but every book feels like it is the book, just with new characters and a new sport to focus on. (Only the first one is an exception to that.) And the characters even have eerily similar backgrounds. Each one struggles with some kind of secret they feel they can’t share with anyone…and usually one of the characters has someone physically abusive in their lives. I know these things happen in real life. I know it. But when each book is exactly the same, it blunts the effectiveness I think the story is trying to have. Instead of having my sympathies with the characters, I find myself almost bored. I know that sounds horrible, but when each of her stories is the same…it’s predictable.
I did like the story. McGarry does write really well and the romance is developed in a way that feels natural. It’s slow and adorable. You root for them to be together.
My only wish was that there was something fundamentally different about this book that made it stand out more. Maybe McGarry’s new book series will be what I’m looking for.