I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
So, listen. First things first, if you like books about big meaty MMA fighter dudes who are tied to their communities and fiercely guard the people they love– you want to dig into Lori Foster, specifically the Ultimate Series. Because… that is exactly what you’ll get. This is book # 2 in the series featuring long haired, bulky Denver Lewis who has a problem. Well, a couple of problems. Specifically, a girl problem.
A Cherry Payton problem. In that he’d probably do anything for her… okay and TO her but he’s been denying himself for awhile. Cherry is, admittedly, a flirt and Denver thinks she’s been with every guy in the SBC. The last thing he wants is to give in and get mixed up with her.
Except he’s got Cherry all wrong. The sun rises and sets on Denver’s eyes and she wants him bad enough to approach him at Rowdy’s Bar– after flirting with every man in the room. This is the night that changes everything for Denver and Cherry– inky pasts be damned, they WILL be together.
Cherry has a spot of trouble with her former foster brothers; Denver needs to heal his relationship with his father and stepmother and keep moving up in the SBC, not to mention helping Cannon run the neighborhood Rec center. It’s important to the children in the neighborhood and keeps the whole gang out of trouble.
Speaking of Cannon (pant, pant) he’s still the same strong, determined, ‘acts instead of talks’ guy I fell in love with from Getting Rowdy, Running the Riske and No Limit. Speaking honestly, though now that he’s married to Yvette (not a spoiler, ya’ll know that’s coming) I’m increasingly intrigued by Armie. Something about him… his humility and the way he goes through women makes me think he’s running from something and I desperately need to know his story. Armie and Rissy aren’t supposed to date because Cannon won’t have it, but… I don’t think Big Bro is going to be able to stop this train!
I rated this book 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4. Lori always gives us a compelling, page turning plot and fills it with characters who have a camaraderie I’m so jealous of (I have little bros, not big ones and I’m pretty sure none of my friends would risk their lives for me, but THAT’S OKAY) plus lots of intimacy between her characters. After awhile the sex becomes a LOT to me and I just want to know what else happens in the story. I get it, they’re into each other.
There wasn’t a whole lot I didn’t like about Holding Strong. I’m noticing that Foster writes her men extremely over protective and I guess I’m just getting used to it. Denver didn’t bother me as much as Dash did. And I mean Cannon can do no wrong. ‘Girl’ started to grate on me after awhile and Cherry wasn’t my favorite female protagonist. Way too bullheaded and independent. Let the big man take care of things! You expect him to step aside after learning that you’re in danger? Pffft.
I’ve heard that Stack’s story is next and I’m really looking forward to getting to know him– I don’t know Stack as well as the other guys. Armie is coming in 2016 and I. AM. READY.