Heavyweight UFC fighter, Romeo Wellings comes from the hard streets of New York where his family ties to the mafia cause him nothing but pain. His life takes a surprising detour when he crosses paths with the twin sister of his long time enemy. After a steamy one-night stand, he faces the fight of his life, but it’s not in the cage. The secret relationship that blooms between Romeo and his real life Juliet has him battling his family and a dark past rather than let her go.
The only lawyer in her hometown of Garnet, Jules Conner is also a volunteer Sheriff’s deputy and co-owner of a successful MMA training center. Strong and dependable, Jules is always there for those who need her. Until one forbidden night in Las Vegas with Romeo leaves her feeling so alive she can’t stop reaching out to the sexy, bad boy of MMA, even knowing the forbidden love affair could jeopardize everything.
As the tide rises against them and the people they love work at keeping them apart, Romeo and Jules hold onto a dream for a better life together and vow to go down fighting rather than accept a tragic ending.
MMA fighters are becoming the heroes of choice lately, so it takes some clever writing to set each apart. Kele Moon succeeds by presenting us not one, but many strong and capable men who prove they have a heart of gold when not punching at others. Throw in a bit of mafia ties and you end up with one totally suspenseful story and another satisfying release in Ms. Moon's Battered Hearts series.
With a couple named Romeo and Juliet you know the path to a HEA won't go smoothly, and from an unhappy twin wanting to maim a boyfriend to a hit sanctioned by a mafia family, there's all sorts of obstacles to true love that are heartwrenching and kept me frantically turning the pages as the tension kept ramping up. For Juliet Conner, the MMA has always been a big part of her life and after a recent championship bout that took an unexpected turn (in the previous installment) she comes in contact with Romeo "The Gladiator" Wellings and a thank you dinner turns to an intense relationship that cleverly builds through texting and late night video chats. Once he comes to town to improve his fighting technique their relationship deepens until his family ties come back to haunt them and they're forced to go on the run and tragedy strikes again.
Juliet's not your typical looking heroine. With a body honed through many years of fighting herself to being taller than almost every man she's known, her and Romeo are the perfect match. She's competent and more than capable of defending herself. Her mother died giving birth to her which has led to an intense bond between her and her twin. They both believe they're cursed to lose the ones they love so it's surprising how quickly she bonds with Romeo. And bond they do! The chemistry between them is electric and their sexual encounters hot. The encounters are nicely spaced throughout the story though and don't detract from character development.
Romeo, along with his two younger brothers, are a charming set of characters forced into doing things they didn't always want to do. With a grandfather who's the head of a crime family it's no wonder their lives are in constant turmoil. Whenever they try to get out it pulls them back in and it almost destroys them time and again. Romeo was forced into caring for his brothers at an early age so their bond is unbreakable and they're not afraid to show their emotions to each other which made me love them even more. With all the bad in his life, Juliet's the one bright spot and he's desperate to keep her. Again, he's not afraid to tell/show her how much he loves her which made him an even more uniquely memorable hero who I was cheering for every step of the way.
The fight scenes in this story are vivid and the world of the MMA realistically displayed. The danger and feelings of inescape with relation to the Moretti brothers and the mafia are poignant and keep a constant feeling of sadness and tension surrounding them, particularly Cassanova who's still knee-deep in that world but has me feeling very sympathetic towards him and desperate to see him find happiness. Younger brother Valentino is equally as charming, constantly in action with a bit of boyishness remaining. He too intrigues me and I look forward to his future in the MMA as he continues to train in "hicksville".
Star Crossed has wonderful characters and action that keeps you on the edge-of-your-seat. The steamy sexual encounters were enough to make this reader sweat. And when the last page was turned I wanted to read it all over again. Some may find the ending a bit over-the-top, but for me it was the perfect ending for Romeo and Juliet. I found this an immensely satisfying read that can be read on its own. But once you're introduced to this sexy trio of Italian brothers, and the other heartbreaking residents of Garnet, you'll add Kele Moon's Battered Hearts series to your must-read list.
My rating for this is an A+!
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.