What a stupid title for an otherwise interesting book.
I initially gave this book 4 stars because I was engaged enough to finish it. But then thinking about it more, I dropped the rating down to 3. Why? Because of the heroine. She’s kind of non-existent in the last third of the book. How does a romance novel get an HEA without a heroine?
Cora is Logan’s teacher. Logan is Landon’s son. Landon is– something else. Something mysterious and violent and weird. Cora weaves her way into Landon’s life at the same time he is forced out of hiding and into MMA fighting. He literally has to fight for his life, saving his family from destruction.
Phew, it was really hard summarizing this book without giving anything away. But I will tell you– this is mostly Landon’s book. His story. His struggles. Cora is present, but kind of taken for granted. Is the book romantic? Somewhat. Cora and Landon have that initial attraction, that push-pull, will-they-won’t-they tension that is delicious and fun to read. But then they just go ahead and fall in love, awfully quick. It kills the momentum of the romance.
The plot becomes more about MMA fighting and Landon’s struggles. A few moments are spent on Cora’s insecurities and tendency to run from conflict, but then we’re back to Landon. And this vast conspiracy that surrounds Landon is both tense and infuriating. Howell builds great suspense into the final bout of MMA fighting, really draws out the action for a few chapters. But you get to the end and there is literally a villain monologuing the entire plot to both the characters and the readers… And in the meantime, Cora kind of disappears and the relationship– which should proudly be at the heart of any romance novel– fades into the background. So yeah. I read the whole thing and was even engrossed and engaged at points. But I left the book feeling let down and disheartened. 3 stars.