There is something so appealing to me about a man, fighting and sweating in a ring: if a book blurb says that the hero is a UFC or MMA fighter, there is a 100% chance I will pick up the book. No question about it. Broken bones and blood and tears. And then coming home to claim his woman with the high he has from winning his fight. It’s primal and sexy, right?
Granted, I know nothing about real life UFC or MMA fighting. My dad once took me to a WWE event and I got to see Hulk Hogan put someone in a headlock. I know professional wrestling is nowhere near professional fighting, I’m just giving you my frame of reference. In my head, professional fighters are very serious, dedicated men who still have time to romance their woman. I’m a romance reader, I can’t help it.
I can’t remember who my first fighter hero was, but the one that stands out to me most is Willing Victim by Cara McKenna. The hero is an amateur underground fighter who is a very no-nonsense type of guy. In this book, the hero likes to play out rape fantasies (not everyone’s cup of tea, but it is done really well in this book), and the backdrop of the fighting in this one really sets off the developing romance.
Kele Moon has two books out in her Battered Hearts series, both featuring fighting heroes. In Defying the Odds, Clay is a famous UFC fighter who falls for Melody, the new waitress in town. She woos the big fighter with pie and it’s so cute and sweet! The second book in the series, Star-Crossed, features MMA fighter Romeo, who has a one night stand with lawyer Jules. Eventually their hot and sexy physical relationship turns into an intimate emotional one as well. I really enjoy Kele Moon’s voice and encourage you to give her a try.
Just this week I read The Proposition by Jennifer Lyon. Sloane grew up with nothing, became a successful UFC fighter, and now owns many, many gyms and is a billionaire. He has retired from fighting, so if you are not too keen on the actual violent fighting scenes, this book talks about his previous fighting days, but we don’t actually witness any fights. What I really liked about this book (and let me point out that this is the first book in a trilogy) is that Sloane is an alpha, overprotective hero, but he respects the heroine. He may be a little pushy, but I really enjoyed his interactions with the heroine who had a previous assault and is now very wary of men.
Then there's Real by Katy Evans. Remington Tate is a very popular underground fighter who takes one look at Brooke sitting in the audience and knows he wants her. He ends up hiring her as his physical therapist and a romance develops. We get a lot of fighting action in this one and we uncover Remy’s dark past and why he is such a broken man.
On my pile to be read soon is the Fighting for Love series by Gina L. Maxwell, which looks really good. Do you have any favorite fighter heroes? Or do you have a specific type of hero who makes you weak?
Mandi Schreiner from Smexy Books.