Author: Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate, #1
Published: August 2014, Harlequin HQN
Format: ARC Paperback, 432 pages
A surprise inheritance reunites a mixed martial arts fighter with the woman he's never forgotten in the first in a smoldering new series from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster…
Cannon 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…
My thoughts: Ever since meeting Cannon in Lori Foster's previous series, Love Undercover, I have been waiting for him to get his own story and so I couldn't wait to pick up this book. I will say I was a little apprehensive about starting a series about MMA fighting since I know little to nothing about the sport, but as Lori Foster indicates in her letter to readers at the beginning of the book, the focus of this series really isn't on the fighting as much as it is on the fighters themselves.
Both of the main characters in this book are really not new if you've read the Love Undercover series. I happened to read that series which is why I was so excited to read this book. I loved Cannon!!! In that series, he was the mysterious guy who set up a neighborhood watch and tried to help wherever help was needed. And Yvette was a sweet young girl who ended up with a crush on Cannon, but due to circumstances beyond either of their control, they couldn't be together. Fast forward three years and now they are forced together thanks to her grandfather.
Oh I love how Lori Foster writes her romances. They are steamy and sizzling, with just enough speed bumps thrown in to be believable. As this is the first full-length book in the series, the challenge is to not only create a plausible, engaging romance, but to create a story that allows you to introduce some of the other characters who will be featured in the series. Yes, Lori does write a prequel to this series, Hard Knocks, that does allow us to meet the other fighters, but not in any great depth. In this book, we get to know some of them a little better, especially Armie, who is quickly becoming another favorite of mine!
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the romance between Cannon and Yvette - it was sweet and sexy at the same time. There's also a bit of suspense to the story and this seamlessly allows for some of the beloved characters of the Love Undercover series to make appearances in this book. I do hope they continue to show up in this series!
I really thought I would just read this first book, Cannon's story, and then not finish the series, but Lori Foster has me hooked. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to come out, which I believe will be Denver's story. I'm bummed it's not Armie's story, but that means my anticipation will keep building for his story!!!
Books in this series:
0.5 Hard Knocks
1. No Limits
2. Holding Strong - due out April 2015
Excerpt from No Limits:
Cannon couldn’t stop looking at her. Damn, he’d remembered her as pretty, but she’d matured into killer good looks—and didn’t seem to know it. An angel’s face paired with that trim but curvy figure, and yeah, he was pretty sure every guy in the place had already started fantasizing.
Too bad, because none of them would touch her.
If he’d had any doubts about wanting her, they were put to rest in a big way. Instead of three years, it felt like a decade he’d been waiting on her. Yes, he wanted her. He would have her, too.
The only question was how soon.
A few weeks ago she’d lost her grandfather, and she probably needed time to acclimate to being home around the unpleasant memories. He’d love to segue right from to , but he also enjoyed just looking at her and talking with her.
Sipping her Coke, Yvette stole a peek at him. Feathery lashes framed those big green eyes he remembered so well—eyes that used to watch him with innocent infatuation, but now seemed wary. She sat straight, proper. Spoke carefully. Avoided his direct gaze.
As Tipton had said, she was guarded.
She wore makeup, but not a lot. Even in a ponytail, her long dark hair made him think of it spilled loose on his pillows, or gliding over his chest.
Or his thighs.
And her clothes, while casual, covered such a sweet body it left him visually undressing her.
Knowing he had to get a grip, he asked, “Are you hungry?”
She shook her head. “But please go ahead and eat if you want.”
“I’m good.” Arms folded on the top of the booth, he smiled. “I can’t get over how much you’ve changed.”
That pleased her, he could tell. “It’s been almost three and a half years.”
Long enough for her to put the past behind her? To put behind her? No, he wouldn’t let her. “I’m so damn sorry about Tipton.”
“Thank you.” She set the drink aside, then nervously drew her finger through the damp ring the glass had left on the booth top. “I wanted to talk to you about that. About—”
“Hey, Saint.” Two guys sidled up to the table. “Can we get a pic?”
Cannon forced his gaze away from Yvette. “Sure.” He would never alienate a fan, but damn, the timing could be better. Yvette had been screwing up her courage to say something. Now he had to wonder what.
Stepping out of the booth, he bent a little to put himself more in line with the shorter guys, and with a double thumbs-up, smiled as a plump lady used her cell phone to snap a few photos.
That only seemed to unleash other fans, and before he knew it, he was posing with men and women alike. Some wanted to hug him, some wanted him in a fighter’s stance, a few just wanted him to mug for the camera. Before he could get a handle on things, he’d taken around twenty photos and signed more than a dozen autographs.
Yvette watched it all with a look of fascinated indulgence. When there seemed to be a lull, he reseated himself. “Sorry about that.”
“You’re popular, I understand.” Her long glossy ponytail spilled over her shoulder when she tipped her head to study him. “I watch the fights.”
That pleased him more than it should have. “Yeah? What do you think?”
“You’re pretty amazing.”
He held back his grin. “I do my best.”
That earned a short laugh. “Humble too.” Shaking her head, she teased, “No wonder they call you the Saint.”
He’d rarely heard her laugh before, and hearing it now did funny things to him. It was nice. Rich. Husky.