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Below the Belt

Book 3, Worth the Fight - A Worth the Fight Novel

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Description

In a sizzling MMA romance from Sidney Halston (“An author to watch!”—Cherry Adair), 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.
 
Don’t miss Sidney Halston’s Panic series:
PULL ME CLOSE | MAKE ME STAY | KISS ME BACK
 
And look for all of her hard-hitting MMA romances:
AGAINST THE CAGE | FULL CONTACT | BELOW THE BELT| LAID OUT | FIGHTING DIRTY | STACKED UP

Praise for Sidney Halston’s Against the Cage
 
Against the Cage is funny, steamy, scorching—and holy hot MMA fighter, I wanted more! Five stars all the way!”New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Toni Aleo
 
“A steamy and fun romance that will leave readers begging for more!”New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair
 
“Halston’s new series opener creates an organic and sensual dynamic between Jack and Chrissy that makes an easy buy-in for readers. And if the story isn’t endearing enough, Jack’s feisty Chihuahua/pit bull mix will have readers instantly hooked and eagerly awaiting the second series installment.”Library Journal
 
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Customer Reviews

Good

I love this series but this book is not my favorite. I've been looking forward to this book and the characters I couldn't wait to start reading it. It started out so good but then it started to bounce around in their relationship...and I was sad. Antonio “Scarface” Marino is the hero in this book and I'm in love with this macho, arrogant and possessive man but Francesca Silva the heroine was to much of a wishy washy character. I wanted to smack her in the head all the time and yell why are you being so darn guarded and afraid. Tony was so passionate and open with Francesca but she just kept pushing him away. The secondary characters are fantastic and I'm looking forward to reading Cain and Violet's book.

I do recommend that you read this series and this book. Tony is so worth getting to know and the man is one hot alpha male. The way he spoke all sexy and dirty to Francesca...you may need a cold shower.

Stands alone, but best if read in order. 3.7

Below the Belt (Worth the Fight, # 3)
by Sidney Halston
February 10, 2015

288 pages, approximately
Romance: Contemporary, Sports

** Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review. **

-- From the Cover --
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.

This is a hard one for me to rate and review. It is quite obviously a later book in a series, as evidenced by most of the characters already having a history with one another, including our two main characters. It CAN stand alone and the author DOES do a pretty good job at trying to fill in some of the back stories, but it would have been greatly beneficial to read the previous books prior to this, I think. Antonio is a testosterone-laden hothead who has a few redeeming moments here and there, but I had a hard time really liking him, let alone falling for him. Francesca seems to wall herself off from others while portraying herself to be completely independent and strong, seemingly incapable of feeling emotion. The secondary characters are an interesting mixture, including the stereotypical hyper-aggressive Chihuahua. The dialogue and interaction is mostly good, but there are times that I just want to smack both of them for the crap that comes out of their mouths. It's a bit frustrating. The flow of writing is smooth, but the plot is a bit flat. While the cover caught my eye and plot initially grabbed me, compelling me to read it, the overall journey was not as dynamic as I'd hoped it would be. The conflicts that the plot is ridden with are usually resolved in mature and timely manners. There was little predictability and the hero and heroine get a solidly concluded ending. There is a slight opening / lead-in for Cain and Violet's story to pick up next.

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Heat Level: 4
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Score: 3.7
Stars: 4
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Tina J @ Unbound Passion
Reviewing for:
Smut Book Junkie Reviews
-and-
Tangled Hearts and Boxer Briefs

Hot, angsty, sweet

If Tony has any chance of salvaging his flagging career, he's got to get himself together, train hard, and stop getting distracted by booze, barfights, and women. But that's a lot easier said than done when his new boss is a fiesty, tough as nails bombshell with legs that won't quit.

The Verdict: I have to be honest; it took me a while to warm up to both Francesca and Tony, and for a while there, I wondered if I should just move on to the next book. But after a while, more of their personalities were explained, and the occasional glimpses at their vulnerabilities led to my liking them a whole hell of a lot.

Francesca (or Frankie or Frances, depending on who you ask) is 99% ice queen. She dresses the part of sexy business woman, but that's just it — she's all business. She doesn't really socialize outside of work, seems to care only about making the center a success, and has her walls up so high that she's practically two-dimensional. Tony, on the other hand, is all machismo. Francesca is a challenge he can't seem to overcome, and no amount of flirting or innuendo works with her. His idea of flirting, however, is more along the lines of sexual harassment, and his lack of concern for pretty much everything else was quite irritating for a while. But then things began to change.

Francesca isn't the strong, cold woman she projects. In fact, she's very much still affected by the ugly end of her first real relationship, and she's so terrified of being hurt again, so convinced she's lacking, that she lives a passionless and solitary life. And while Tony is very definitely the dirty-minded lothario he comes across as, he's also incredibly considerate and more than willing to be patient and gentle with Francesca when she gives him even a hint of a shot with her.

But even though they both began to show hidden sides that were instantly intriguing, they didn't completely change, which made me love them even more. Tony was rough around the edges and easily provoked into jealousy. And Francesca was still incredibly strong and capable, never hesitating to stand up to Tony's often Neanderthal ways. It's what made them so perfect for each other even after they'd gotten past the major hurdles.

While Full Contact may have have given Jessica a happily ever after following her escape from an abusive relationship, Below the Belt is the one about characters with more emotional damage, and while I certainly loved the previous two books, Tony and Francesca's story seemed to delve much deeper. It's a hot, angsty, sweet journey for two characters who are absolutely made for each other.

***FicCentral received this book from Random House LLC (via NetGalley) for free in exchange for an honest review.

Other Books in This Series

Below the Belt
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  • $3.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Contemporary
  • Published: Feb 10, 2015
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Random House LLC
  • Print Length: 296 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Series: Book 3, Worth the Fight
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings