Tough Love (Ultimate #3) by Lori Foster – Bout of Books 14 Review

ToughLoveVanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she’s not above playing a little dirty. She’s wanted Stack “The Wolf” Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works—deliciously well—until Stack’s past steps out of the shadows.
Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he’s the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about—Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they’re much more than friends with benefits. He’s ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who’s tamed him for good?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1The more I get to know these fighters, their ladies and their families, the more I love them.  Tough Love started pretty much where Holding Strong left off… at Cannon and Yvette’s wedding.

I loved Vanity’s tactics, but honestly, Stack wasn’t quite as hard to ‘catch’ as she thought. He just needed a little bit of convincing. Once they finally got together (really, it felt like it was never going to happen – even after their book started) the outcome was inevitable. If there ever was a girl made for Stack, Vanity was it.

As usual, the supporting characters were more than just window dressing. Both the new and the familiar characters added a lot to the story. These guys and their strength, loyalty and sense of family are impressive. If I had one complaint… actually more than one, but I’ll get to the other one in just a minute… it would be that just once I’d like the guy in one of these relationships to make the stupid mistake that almost breaks them up. Other than over reacting to the girl’s stupid mistake that is. This isn’t the first time I wanted to jump into a book and shake someone before they did something that jeopardized everything. Okay, so it doesn’t happen all the time and I know that it wouldn’t be much of a story if there wasn’t some conflict somewhere, but it really makes me cringe when someone as smart as Vanity does something as stupid as… well, you’ll have to read Tough Love to find out.

As for my other complaint… I wanted more. *sigh* Things just sort of wrapped up at the end and I still had some questions and I want to know how things work out after all the dust settles… with everyone. Speaking of which, rumor has it that Armie and Merissa are next. Finally! If you’ve been following this series, I bet you can’t wait for Fighting Dirty. 😉




Holding Strong (Ultimate #2) by Lori Foster

HoldingStrongAn up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster’s irresistible new novel

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…

Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Holding Strong was a book full of misunderstandings and not just the ones between Cherry and Denver. That’s what I like about this series though. No, not the misunderstandings. Those drive me nuts. I want to put the characters in a room, shut the door and make them talk about how they really feel. That wouldn’t make for much of a book though, but it does say something about Lori Foster’s writing. She’s made me care about these characters, which is something that I sometimes both love and hate her for. 😉 What I liked was that readers don’t just get Cherry and Denver’s story. We also get bits and pieces of the inner turmoil going on with everyone else.

It should be no secret by now that Cherry and Denver both had feelings for each other. Feelings that everyone knew about except for them. That’s usually how it works though and if that was the only obstacle keeping them apart it would have been an easy fix. Nothings ever that easy though. Sometimes family is more than blood – and sometimes that can be either good or bad. It went both ways in Holding Strong.

I really love this crew of fighters and their friends. I love the interactions between them and their families and friends. I especially love the little sneak peeks we get of previous characters from not just this series but previous series as well. Cannon and crew have an entire community backing them and the way that trouble seems to follow them, that’s a very good thing.

It looks like Vanity and Stack are next, which promises to be an interesting match. It also means that a couple other characters will be playing cat and mouse for a little while longer. I’m not sure which one I’m looking forward to more. 😉



No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

NoLimitsCannon Colter is quintessential hero material: chiseled jawline, shredded body—the works. He’s also the guy who rescued Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers, only to put an end to her romantic dreams. These days, she’s older, smarter, determined to face whatever life throws her way. Even the prospect of sharing a house and business with Cannon. 

Cannon knew Yvette wanted him three years ago. But she was young—and some things are worth waiting for. Thrown together by her grandfather’s legacy, he realizes how deep Yvette’s scars really go, and how much danger lurks in their quiet town. As pent-up desire explodes between them, protecting her becomes the only fight that matters. And he’ll break all the rules to do it…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Cannon Colter was first introduced in Lori Foster’s Love Undercover series. (I love these series crossovers 😉 ) When readers first met him, he was more than just a little mysterious – maybe even dangerous. As his character developed, it quickly became apparent that there was a lot more to Cannon than the street smart kid that he first appeared to be. At the end of Dash of Peril, Lori Foster let readers know that Cannon and his friends were going to get their own series. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised ;).

No Limits is the perfect introduction to the Ultimate series. If you want a taste of what the series is about, you can start with the prequel novella, Hard Knocks. Cannon and Yvette have known each other for years. She was an infatuated teenager and Cannon played the role of protector. They had been attracted to each other for years, but the timing was never right. Their connection was strong and the outcome was inevitable, but as usual, it’s not always the destination, but the journey and nobody does that quite as well as Lori Foster.

Besides the romance between Cannon and Yvette, there was a lot of other drama going on in No Limits. More characters were introduced and there was unexpected danger and some twists that I honestly didn’t see coming. Yeah, this was a great beginning and I can’t wait to see what this author has in store for readers next.




Hard Knocks (Ultimate #0.5) by Lori Foster

HardKnocksPower. Brute strength. Unforgettable moves. It’s no wonder Harper Gates hasn’t been able to get her fling with Gage “Savage” Ringer out of her head. Months have passed since she laid eyes—or any other body parts—on him. Months without a word of contact… until, sidelined by injury, he comes back to town.

Staying focused on his training seemed like a smart move to Gage, even if he thought about Harper every day. Seeing her again only makes it clear how much is at stake. He’s got one night to earn back her trust. One night to show her that behind his breathtaking skill and ripped body is a man who’ll give her everything she needs.

Have you ever picked up a book just because of the author? I know, that’s a really silly question, of course you have. That’s one of the main reasons why I picked up Hard Knocks. Imagine my surprise when I realized that this little novella was the beginning of a series that I’ve been looking forward to. I knew it was coming, I just wasn’t paying attention when I picked it up.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Hard Knocks is the prequel novella to Lori Foster’s Ultimate series. It’s an excellent opening even though it only mentions the characters that I’m most looking forward to seeing more of…namely Cannon. That’s okay though because Hard Knocks gave readers a lot to look forward to in the series. New characters as well as the promise of cameos from Foster’s Love Undercover series, which is where Cannon was first introduced.  Gage and Harper give you just a taste of this world, but it wasn’t lacking. There was plenty of heat between these two. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for not only the characters that readers already know, but the new ones that we’re sure to become just as inevitably attached.

Cannon’s book, the first official book in the series, No Limits, is due to be released near the end of August. You can get a feel for the series a little bit sooner when Hard Knocks is released on August 4.


Dash of Peril (Love Undercover #4) by Lori Foster

DashOfPerilTo bring down a sleazy abduction ring, Lieutenant Margaret ‘Margo’ Peterson has set herself up as bait. But recruiting Dashiel Riske as her unofficial partner is a whole other kind of danger. Dash is 6’4” of laid-back masculine charm, a man who loves life — and women — to the limit. Until Margo is threatened, and he reveals a dark side that may just match her own…

Beneath Margo’s tough façade is a slow-burning sexiness that drives Dash crazy. The only way to finish this case is to work together side by side…skin to skin. And as their mission takes a lethal turn, he’ll have to prove he’s all the man she needs — in all the ways that matter…

Dash was introduced in the first book in the Love Undercover series and I’ve loved him since then. To be totally honest, one of the things CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1that I’ve really enjoyed about this series is getting to know the supporting characters and trying to figure out exactly when which character is going to get their story. I have yet to be disappointed. 😉

Readers who have been following along knew that there was more than a little bit of attraction between Dash and Margo. Even before we got to this book it was rather entertaining. On the surface their personalities couldn’t be more different. Margo was the tough as nails, no nonsense detective and also Dash’s brother’s boss. Dash… well he was just sweet, lovable, easy going Dash. He was also loyal, hard working and protective. I knew going in that this was going to be interesting.

There was a lot going on in this one. Not only were the previous characters involved, but there were quite a few new ones. Most notably, Margo’s family… let’s just say, I’m not a fan. They definitely brought out the alpha male in Dash. Her brother was the only one with any redeeming qualities. I even almost liked him by the end – time will tell.

As readers have come to expect from Lori Foster, there was plenty of action, intrigue, lots of danger and more than enough heat to keep the pages turning. I loved these two together. I loved Dash’s patience and determination to keep Margo safe and prove himself. I also loved the fact that he was the only one that could really ‘see’ who she was behind the formidable wall she had built around herself. There ended up being a lot more to both characters than I ever expected. I love it when that happens. 😉

As for the previous characters… they all played a major role in this one. Logan and Reese’s reaction to Dash and Margo was comical. The scenes with Rowdy just added another layer to the personality that he revealed in Getting Rowdy and then there was Cannon. He was introduced in Getting Rowdy and if I’m not mistaken he became a very quick fan favorite. My prediction is that this book is going to sky rocket his popularity, which is a very good thing. Evidently, Cannon is not only getting his very own book but his story will be the beginning of a new series. I wonder if I have time to back track and finish the Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series before the new series begins?



Getting Rowdy (Love Undercover #3) by Lori Foster

GettingRowdyAn alpha hero’s attraction to the one woman he can’t have could draw him into a killer’s snare in the sizzling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster. 

Charismatic bar owner Rowdy Yates isn’t the kind of man women say no to. So when he approaches waitress Avery Mullins, he fully expects to get her number. However, the elusive beauty has her reasons for keeping her distance-including a past that might come back to haunt them both. 

Avery spends her nights working for tips…and trying to forget the secret Rowdy is determined to unearth. But when history threatens to repeat itself, Avery grows to rely on Rowdy’s protective presence. As the sparks between them ignite, she will be forced to choose between the security she’s finally found…and the passion she’s always wanted.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Finally! I’ve loved Rowdy Yates since the end of the first book in the Love Undercover series, Run the Risk. I know, Rowdy was introduced a lot earlier in the first book, but he was kind of a shady character until you got to know him. I’m so glad he got his own book and I’m even happier that Getting Rowdy was everything I expected.

Avery was introduced in the second book in this series, Bare it All. I liked her from the first time she met Rowdy. She had spunk, wit and she was obviously caring and beyond the corruption that shrouded the bar where she worked. It’s one of the reasons that Rowdy kept her around when he bought the place. In Getting Rowdy we also found out that she had a secret.

As with the rest of the books in the Love Undercover series, a lot happened. There was a lot of action, a fair amount of heartbreak, more than a little misunderstanding and denial (especially on Rowdy’s part) and just enough heat and romance to keep things interesting. Through it all though there was that sense of loyalty, honor and a very strong sense of family. Rowdy has always been slow to trust, but he’s coming around and in Getting Rowdy he was given even more reason to. Yep, there were more than a few surprises in this one. Rowdy has turned into one of my favorite characters in this series for a lot of reasons.

Readers were also treated to more Alice, Reese, Logan and Pepper. We were also introduced to some new characters that are sure to keep things interesting in future books. The next book in this series is Dash of Peril. Hmm… I wonder who this one features? If you’ve been following the series, I bet you can guess. 😉



Bare It All (Love Undercover #2, Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor #5) by Lori Foster

BareItAll“A cop’s craving to know more about the woman next door could prove fatal in the steamy new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster”

As the person responsible for taking down a brutal human trafficker, Alice Appleton fears retaliation at every turn. No one knows about her past, which is exactly how she prefers it…until the sexy cop next door comes knocking.

Detective Reese Bareden thinks he knows what makes women tick, but his ever-elusive neighbor keeps him guessing like no other. Is his goal to unmask Alice’s secrets? Or protect her from a dangerous new threat? One thing is certain: their chemistry is a time bomb waiting to explode. And with no one to trust but each other, Reese and Alice are soon drawn into a deadly maze of corruption, intrigue and desire-and into the line of fire.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I read Run the Risk and really liked it. It was full of action and I loved the connection between Logan and Pepper. Reese was introduced in the first book in the series and I couldn’t wait to see what Lori Foster had in store for him and Alice. I didn’t feel the same connection between Alice and Reese that was so intense between the first couple, but I wasn’t disappointed either.

Alice was an introvert to the extreme. At least it seemed that way on the surface. Reese was determined to find out what was behind all that secrecy and timidness. Her secrets were just the tip of the iceberg though. There was a lot more to Alice than met the eye.

I liked Reese from the beginning. He was tough on the outside but his soft side was right on the surface and the longer he spent with Alice the closer it came to breaking through that tough exterior. I loved his patience with Alice coupled with his determination to gain her trust enough to open up.

There were bumps along the way and a lot of secrets and denial, but that was expected given what Alice had been through. She had a lot of support along the way though and that was one of the reasons I like this series. I guess I’m a sucker for books that give different POVs and not just from the featured characters. It just seems to give each of the characters more depth and breaks away from the main couple enough to ease some of the tension as well as add to it for the reader. And these side characters are worth some page time of their own, trust me.

Speaking of supporting characters, Rowdy has turned into my favorite character in this series. He was introduced in Run the Risk and a lot of time was spent in that book not knowing which side he was on (then again – Reese was portrayed that way as well.) He’s still not totally above the law, but he is definitely one of the good guys. He played a huge part in Bare it All, which is only fitting since the next book in the Love Undercover series, Getting Rowdy, is all his 😉

On a side note, this book is considered part of two series. It’s not only the second book in the Love Undercover series but it’s also the fifth book in Lori Foster’s Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. My history with the second series is a little unorganized, as in I read the fourth book in the series (A Perfect Storm) before I read any of the others. I still haven’t caught up and before I realized it, I picked up Bare it All. I’m doomed! The good news is that I’m playing catch up, just not fast enough evidently. The connection between this book and the  Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series happens in Trace of Fever, the second book in the series. Not only is Alice first introduced in that book, but Trace makes an appearance in Bare it All. Just another reason for me to get busy back tracking my way through this series.



Run the Risk (Love Undercover #1) by Lori Foster

Nothing can shake a cop from pursuing justice-except a beautiful witness marked for death, in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster’s sexy new series… When Detective Logan Riske goes undercover to find Pepper Yates, a potential link to his best friend’s unsolved murder, he vows to gain her cooperation by any means necessary. But the elusive beauty is more suspicious-and in far more danger-than he expected. And the last thing Logan needs is to start caring for her…. Pepper has spent the past five years dodging the corrupt club owner who will stop at nothing to keep her silenced. She can trust no one, not even the handsome new “construction worker” who’s moved in next door. The heat between them is undeniable. But will surrendering to passion bring her the safety she so desires-or will her feelings for Logan draw them both into a killer’s crosshairs?

I have to confess that I am a new fan of Lori Foster. I have some catching up to do, because the only other book of hers that I’ve read was A Perfect Storm, which was the 4th book in her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series. Like I said, I have some catching up to do. Luckily, Run the Risk is the first book in her Love Undercover Series so at least I’m starting at the beginning this time. 😉

Logan and Pepper are great together. They both have their secrets and they are big ones. Not a great way to start a relationship, but the added tension keeps the story going. The attraction and between these two is intense and surprisingly sweet. They were the perfect couple to launch this series.

One of the great things about Run the Risk is the depth of the characters. Not only did I become emotionally vested in Logan and Pepper, but I found myself just as interested in the lives of the supporting characters as well. Some readers don’t like it when author’s switch the POV between several characters, but I enjoy it. Lori Foster’s approach to the POV switch in Run the Risk works well. It left me wanting to know more about each one of them.

Along with the romance, there were twists and turns, plenty of mystery and a fair amount of action. Pretty much something for everyone. This is definitely a series that I will be continuing.

A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster

He never saw her coming…

Spencer Lark already knows too many secrets about Arizona Storm, including the nightmare she survived and her resulting trust issues. But in order to expose a smuggling ring—and continue avenging his own tragic past—the bounty hunter reluctantly agrees to make Arizona a decoy. Yet nothing has equipped him for her hypnotic blend of fragility and bravery, or for the protective instincts she stirs in him.

Arizona wants to reclaim her life, which means acting as bait to lure the enemy into a trap. Sure it’s dangerous, especially with a partner as distractingly appealing as Spencer. But as their plan—and their chemistry—shifts into high gear, Arizona may discover there’s an even greater risk in surrendering her heart to a hero…

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1This was a book that took me a little while to get into. It wasn’t the book’s fault, honest. It was actually a book that I liked. About half-way through, I realized that A Perfect Storm is the 4th book in Lori Foster’s Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor Series. Once I realized that, I looked at the book from entirely different perspective. I really need to start paying more attention, but honestly, once I got into the story, it really didn’t matter that I was missing some of the back story. There was just enough there that I got up to speed fairly quickly and eventually fell in love with the characters.

The age difference between Arizona and Spencer did bother me a little at first. Once the reader realizes what kind of life Arizona has had, age becomes relative. It might have also bugged me a little because it obviously bothered Spencer. He spent most of the book trying to talk himself out of a relationship with Arizona. His goal was to prove to her that she could trust her feelings and prime her for a real relationship.

Arizona’s strength in the face of everything she had been through was a big part of the story. Spencer’s respect and trust in her (and sometimes his lack of trust) was all part of the journey in A Perfect Storm. It was sometimes frustrating and obvious, but the inevitable outcome made it worth it.

Now that I’ve finished A Perfect Storm, I will be going back to read the first 3 books in the series. You get to know some of the other characters in this one, but it made me want to get to know them better. I’m sure I’ll be coming back to this one then and might even have a whole new perspective to share. I’ll be sure to keep you posted. 😉