Hard Knocks (Ultimate #0.5)
By Lori Foster
Expected publication August 4th, 2014
61 pages (novella)
source: received from Harlequin in exchange for an unbiased review (THANK YOU!)
About the story:
In the stunning prequel novella to her new mixed martial arts series, New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster brings together an elite fighter and the woman he’s determined to win.
Power. 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.
I love Lori Foster. Even before I read a single story by her I was totally smitten by her as an author and as a good all around human being. You see, she writes a gazilion books, some of those books being anthologies whose proceeds from the sales go to charities in and around the Cincinnati, Ohio area. She also hosts a HUGE “Reader & Author” event annually that celebrates the relationship between readers and authors – it’s a mutual love fest! This woman is completely committed to her home and work community and I have so much respect for her hard work.
So its about time I read one of her books, right?! What held me back in the past was the daunting task of getting caught up on one of her series. Yes, I’m sure some of her books can be read as standalone but I’ve been taken to task on that matter too many times so I just say, “NO”. Luckily for me (and you!) here lies a brand new series from Ms. Foster!!
Hard Knocks is an introduction novella to Ms. Foster’s Ultimate series. Her first full length novel is No Limits and is expected to be published August 28th, 2014.
The Ultimate series is centered around the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). That got my attention FAST because as the wife of a MMA fan, I’ve become a fan by default. I’ve been watching MMA since the first season of Ultimate Fighter back in 2005. But even if you don’t know a thing about MMA, I can tell you’ll have no problems following this series. Just pretend it’s centered around boxing… without gloves… and they can kick each other… toss in some wrestling and you’ve got it 🙂
Hard Knocks introduces Gage “Savage” Ringer and Harper Gates. Gage is a fighter who briefly dated Harper before being invited to fight on an upcoming card. Gage left the gym to train at another “camp” about 2-3 hours away without so much as a goodbye wave to Harper. Harper has grown up with most of the guys at the gym, including Gage, and is considered like a sister to all the guys at the gym. And while Gage broke her heart when he left, she understood what it takes to be compete in the Supreme Battle Championship fight world (SBC). But an injury during practice has Gage benched from fighting and back at the gym, near Harper again, and hoping like hell for a second chance with her.
What’s great about this novella is that besides getting a scorching hot story of second chances between Gage and Harper, we meet the new “cast of characters” briefly during our lovebird’s story. I think I’m going to really enjoy Armie’s story. He’s quite the character… ?
The story is short, is told in dual POV (my fave!), and despite an annoying quirk to Harper I won’t even bother mentioning because it’s so little, I enjoyed this brief tease to the upcoming Ultimate series. Ms. Foster can write the lovin’ (chick-a-bow-wow) so I will definitely be continuing with this series. Especially after the I-can’t-believe-you-cut-it-off-there teaser included at the end of the story for the full length first book, No Limits.
If I didn’t already have the ARC, heads would be rolling…
About the author:
Lori Foster first published with Harlequin in January 1996. Her second book launched Temptation Blaze and her 25th book launched Temptation Heat. Since those early days, Lori has routinely had 6 to 10 releases a year. She’s a Waldenbooks, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author with over 50 titles published through a variety of houses, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin and Silhouette.