Review: Below the Belt (Worth the Fight #3) by Sidney Halston
I received this book for free from the mentioned source in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.
Below the Belt by Sidney Halston
Series: Worth The Fight #3
Published by: Loveswept on February 10th 2015
Genres: 18+, Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Source: ARC From Publisher
View on: Goodreads
Grab it: Buy on Amazon
About the Book:
In Sidney Halston’s latest sizzling MMA romance, a former title contender turns the tables on his knockout trainer with a lesson in seduction.
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.
Below the Belt is the third book in the Worth the Fight series by Sidney Halston. I haven’t read the first two books in the series, but I didn’t have any trouble jumping into this one. This romance novel about an MMA fighter and the owner of Worth the Fight gym is steamy, entertaining, and heartwarming.
Francesca is the owner of Worth the Fight gym, inheriting it when her father becomes too sick to properly run it. All Francesca wants is to make her father happy, so she puts her heart and soul into WtF. She spends so much time on the gym, she doesn’t have much time for a romantic life, not that she even wants one. Then she brings on Tony, and he threatens to break down all of the walls she’s built around herself.
Tony needs a little work, to put things lightly. He used to be a great fighter, but his tendency to get into bar brawls has hindered his career. Francesca has faith in him, he just needs someone to crack down on his training. But when Tony sets his sights on Francesca, he becomes a little bit distracted trying to get her attention.
I found myself really enjoying Below the Belt which kind of surprised me, because I did not like Tony at first. In fact, it took me quite a while before I actually warmed up to him. He’s an alpha male type character (MMA fighter, duh) but not in a good way. He sees Francesca as a challenge, something to be conquered, something to be tamed, not as an actual human being with feelings. He also doesn’t respect her boundaries in the beginning of the novel, which really made angry. But, that’s why character development is so important. By the end of the novel, I found myself liking Tony as a character. It’s easier once you see his softer side.
Francesca I really liked. I admire her for trying to make her father happy, and I admire her for the fact that she’s a badass who doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. She’s fiery and doesn’t take crap from anybody, which I love. She has no problem exercising her authority over Tony as his boss and telling him exactly what she thinks of him and his attitude. Francesca has her own issues though, mainly the fact that she’s absolutely terrified to let anyone get emotionally close to her. It was nice to see her try to work through those issues throughout the novel.
The book was really well written, it bounces between the perspectives of Francesca and Tony, which works out pretty well except sometimes it’s difficult to tell when a switch is taking place. I kind of wish I had gotten to know some of the side characters better. There’s a whole slew of people who are involved with WtF, but I feel like I only got to know Slade and Cain, and I didn’t get to know them very well.
Overall, I give Below the Belt 4 out of 5 controllers. As much as I hated Tony at the beginning of the novel, and I don’t use the term “hate” lightly here, I ended up really enjoying the novel, and I do think that him and Francesca actually went together very well.