Plot: Parkerson is at her strongest here when crafting romantic tension between two men who each believe the other is straight. Though that tension drives the first third of the book, and the pathos of the final third hits the right emotional chords, the intentional miscommunication of the middle section bogs down the narrative.
Prose: The straightforward text is sure to meet audience expectations for the genre, though it offers little in the way of nuance or sophistication. Still, it is peppered with humor and plenty of high-voltage sexual encounters.
Originality: Though never delving too far into the world of MMA fighting or the martial arts both men are passionate about, the backdrop of fight training, injury recovery, and touring to prove worthy of challenging the reigning champion gives a hint of unique flavor to a tried-and-true formula. A few twists along the way—especially the health risks—provide surprises before the expected happily ever after.
Character Development: Brian and Terry's relationship insecurities, and Terry's unwillingness to fully face his health condition, are the deepest flaws either of these "innately good" men have. But their niceness and generosity is never irksome—it just leaves little room for character growth beyond their relationship.
Date Submitted: March 01, 2017
Where to even start with this review? First of all, Charity Parkerson can write. I mean, she can write some amazing plots, people! I have read all the books in this series. I like to think I'm an intelligent woman. I DID NOT see some of this stuff coming. As the plot was unfolding, I was 1) enthralled and reading as fast as I could to see what would happen next and 2) cheering in my head for the amazing skill it takes to weave such an entertaining, emotional story.
Did I say this story is emotional? I cried off and on for the last 90 minutes of reading. I should have known it was a little too easy when Brian and Terry connected so early in the story. Suddenly at 43%, things got real. And real intense. I'd actually like to blather on more about the book but....spoilers. I'll just say a) is there a support group for people who read this book and NEED to talk about it, and b) we have now met some characters that I cannot wait to see in the next book in the No Rival series.
If I could, I'd give this book MORE than 5 stars. Emotionally draining, love conquers all, promises must be kept stars!