I've always fallen for heroes with accents as it adds a bit of sexiness to their already appealing qualities. I've also recently become a big fan of stories featuring the MMA and the brawny men who participate. In Love TKO by Selene Chardou there's a mix of both of those appealing themes and today you get a taste of this first installment in the Love Unexpected Series and the fighting Irishman and escort who sacrifices everything for family. Keep reading to get my impressions of this book and learn even more about this release by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour. US readers make sure to fill out the form below for your chance to win signed print copies of this book and lots of swag materials too!
An Irish Mixed Martial Artist who is fighting for the UFC Championship in Las Vegas.
A beautiful hustler who is counting the clock down to her twenty-eighth birthday when she can finally retire and enjoy her life.
A chance encounter that changes both of their lives forever.
“I can’t allow what I feel for him to stop me from seeing the end goal. I never wanted this to be my life and in six months, it no longer will be.
“But there is something about Torin Duffy that makes my heart race, and creates a shortness of breath I have never felt in my life.
“I’m jaded; part of me feels like I am unlovable but when I am with him, he makes me feel wanted, needed, protected and it’s a slow burn that is leisurely turning me inside out and my emotions upside down.
“We both know how dangerous this is but nothing can stop the hurricane of emotions we make each other feel, and his touch is so dangerous, I know he could leave me broken beyond repair.
“How do we stop something that can destroy us both? Why should he risk what he’s wanted his whole life over me?
“We both know where this is leading but how can we stop it when it’s too late to turn back now?” - Chiarra Bassi
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MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
From the moment I picked up this book I knew I was in for one heckuva ride! Based in the bloody and vividly depicted world of MMA fighting two emotionally scarred individuals carrying heavy burdens from their pasts unexpectedly find solace in each other's arms despite fate working against them. Ms. Chardou seamlessly incorporates heavy issues of physical abuse, mental illness, and manipulations from the seedy underworld to keep the protagonists on a rocky journey to their HEA that kept me on the edge of my seat as well as frustrated by the unending soap opera-ish moments. With some of my favorite themes on display though I quickly became immersed in the action and am greatly looking forward to the next installment and the next Irish brother struggling to find happiness.
Along with memorable action comes compelling characters that I both liked and disliked at times. Chiarra was left taking care of her mentally ill sister after their mother left them for a new life. With few choices to make ends meet she became an escort, indentured to a manipulative and high class pimp, for ten years. During those years she let life pass her by never having a real relationship. With her contract soon up she meets the sexy and loyal Irishman Torin who complicates her life as well as his which leads to lots of emotional upheaval. Chiarra doesn't pretty up what she does, she knows she's a whore and doesn't care if others know it, but she worries how Torin will deal with her revelation as she quickly comes to care for him and the comfort he brings her. I admired her strength and fortitude but found her bitterness towards her sister uncalled for. Chiarra chose to take on that responsibility and has no one but herself to blame for her choices. Chiarra is a classy prostitute but has the tendency to fall back on booze, pills, and marijuana when things became difficult for her and Torin which left her character a bit tarnished in my eyes. When it's just them though they make a formidable team.
Torin was immensely appealing with his Irish accent, deep seated loyalty, and ability to freely speak words of romance. He had a brutal upbringing that has made him a good fighter. He has a poor view of women as this book starts and speaks in rather disparaging terms, as does his brother. He sees women as users and clinging only for their advancement. Until Chiarra he only had one night stands. Once he meets Chiarra he senses a kindred spirit and it's their mutual loss and sacrifice that immediately binds them together. He quickly surmises what she is but that's never an issue for him as he sees it as just another facet of life that he wants to protect her from. He's an admirable man who never lost sight of his integrity. He never kept things from her which made him an even more appealing hero.
The MMA world is vividly depicted and added excitement to the overall story. It plays a large part in the storyline and I found it realistically depicted and nicely interwoven into the story. Into this gritty world comes some despicable villains willing to use others for their gain. Just when Chiarra and Torin look to be ready to ride off into the sunset these mafia men pull them back in and made me hate them even more. Also intense are the sexual encounters between Torin and Chiarra. The scenes range from sweet and romantic to steamy and sweat-inducing and are nicely spaced throughout the story. There's a large cast of secondary characters with each one distinctive from the next. These characters aren't always likable, they're sometimes crass, but they're definitely memorable. A lot of time is spent with Torin's brother Kieran, who has a very poor view of women and takes one especially for granted, as his story is next to be told. He's very bitter but sexy and wiser than he appears but Ms. Chardou will have her work cut out in making him a truly heroic man. From start to finish though I found myself completely immersed in this story. The characters aren't always likable and left me frustrated at times with their negativity and bitterness. The action sometimes becomes too melodramatic as well but ultimately I love a gritty story and a sexy Irishman and will definitely be reading the next installment in this series.
My rating for this is a C+
*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Selene Chardou is a world traveler and the alter-ego of ElleChardou.
Ms. Chardou’s writing is all about hot romance and exciting times with the wild, damaged, out of control, rich and famous set in the world of Contemporary Romance.
She is currently working on Jaded Faith, the third novel in the Scarlet Fever Series, Naked Dirty Love, the second novel in the Rough Riders Series, and Love TKO: Out For The Count, the second novel in the Love Unexpected Series.
Ms. Chardou has lived abroad in Stockholm (Sweden), Manchester (England), Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Portland. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sign-up for her mailing list here.....
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