by Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate #2
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel. Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows… Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…
Lord have mercy. Lori Foster knows just how to curl my toes and make me swoon. Holding Strong is the second novel in her Ultimate series featuring MMA fighters, their friends and the women they love. Packed with suspense, heat and heart I completely became caught up in Holding Strong.
Cherry Penton is one of those gals who glows, thinks positively and gathers friends to her like a moth to a flame. A little flirty, sometimes shy, she is roomies with Merissa. She frequents the fights and club, and engages with the same inner circle of friends. She has been crushing hard on Denver Lewis but the man does not seem to notice her. Oddly enough, the man in question cannot stop thinking about her, and between you and me, I think his feelings and thoughts scare the man. Fate happens, and these two hook up. Only things get complicated when Cherry’s past arrives in the guise of family, bringing up old fears and placing her in danger. Now she has to decide if Denver’s alpha tendencies to protect are because he truly cares about her or because he is built to protect.
Denver is a typical alpha with controlling tendencies. Pretty much, what you would expect of an MMA fighter with his roots. While sometimes I wanted to hit him in the back of the head, he has a soft, caring, and respectful side that made me swoon. Cherry is a survivalist and use to handling her own affairs, so letting Denver in feels a little like having a yellow stripe down her back. It was interesting watching this relationship develop. We get heat, ogling and some tender moments along with character growth as their relationship progresses.
Foster has an uncanny gift for making her characters authentic. Every action, every reaction felt genuine and I appreciate that about her characters. Are they perfect? Oh heck no, but she fleshes them out and allows them to grow. Armie, a secondary character who is over the top but oh so lovable sees huge growth in Holding Strong and really steps up. I cannot wait for his and Merissa story. Ooo and the things that are up with Vanity. I cannot wait! We see all of the key players, and get closer to some of them. Foster gives her books this small-town, family feel in an urban setting and I have a blast every time I visit. This series is a spin-off from her Love Undercover series and we get to spend some time at Rowdy’s.
Holding Strong has a suspenseful thread that puts our characters in danger, particularly Cherry. It was dark with villains that will make your skin crawl. The stories we learn about a character’s past made me shiver. Be warned there was abuse both mental and physical.
Holding Strong was another winner and one I recommend to fans of heated romantic suspense, MMA fighters and alpha males. Tough Love is the next book, due out in August, and will feature Vanity and Stack. While each of these books work as a standalone I recommend reading them in order.
sharon - Obsession with Books
I loved the first book in this series and can’t wait to read this! Lori Foster is pretty amazing with her swoon-worthy guys 😉
A great review.
Although the MMA fighters don’t draw me to the story, these characters sound FANTASTIC! I love real characters, complete with flaws and pissing me off. I’m pretty sure this series already found it’s way to my tbr!
Sounds like another winner! I love Lori’s books and can’t wait to read Denver & Cherry’s story! And yay, there’s more Rowdy in this one!
I literally have Lori Foster books all over the house, and have not read a one of them. One of my friends I live with, loves her. I will have to tell her about this series. Thanks!
Lord have mercy you’re so right!!
Thanks for sending this gem to the top of my pile
I’ve been wanting to read this series, and I have a feeling I’m going to love Denver and Cherry! Lori Foster definitely knows how to bring the swoon. 🙂 Great review!
Sounds like I need to add this series to my list too. I already have the first book in the list. I need more ears Kimba!!
I hope you having a great time on your trip 🙂
I need to get on this series. And what? We spend time at Rowdy’s?? Eeek!
Interesting premise. Thanks for the post.
I feel so silly because i STILL haven’t read a Lori Foster book and whenever i see a review for one of her books i always comment that i’ll give her a shot soon but i never do! BUT THIS TIME i will. I pinky promise. I mean, i love the MMA angle of this story so i’m deifnitely interested!
Brandi Breathes Books
I haven’t read much about MMA but they do sound like a couple I could enjoy
I really enjoyed No Limits so this is going to be a must read for me! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one – I can’t wait to get back to this series and these MMA fighters that make you swoon into puddles of goo 🙂
I haven’t read these yet, but I think I must add them. Look how yummy the cover is ;). Great review!
Melissa (Books and Things)
I like her books but haven’t read these yet. I love her male characters but not always the female. Does sound like I would like Cherry. At least with this series I’m not too far behind. 😀
I love the sound of this one. I was interested when this series first debuted, but didn’t have time to get to it. I’ll get to it eventually.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. SQUEE!!! Glad you did too. All her SBC frightters have stolen my heart and I love that she always includes her old characters from her older books, even the detectives and whatnot. So fun that her books are so connected!
I’m long overdue for a big dose of romantic suspense. I got two of her books, I was told shes a masterful suspense writer.
Lori Foster is on my wish list. I really really need to read something by her soon.
Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf
Your review had me at “Lord have mercy” LOL Sounds like a great series!
Mentioned over at the Herd that Lori Foster has her very own shelf, because I don’t think she could write a bad book if she tried. Truly talented, with fun, (love the name Cherry-lol)real characters, and great plots, she’s one of my girl crushes. Wonderful review and a reminder that I need to pick this one up, asap! Hugs…
Quinn's Book Nook
I seriously just love Lori Foster’s books. Her heroes are always soooo swoony. Glad you liked this. Have you read other Foster books?
Felicia The Geeky Blogger
Awesome! I still need to read book 1 (I will) but I am thrilled this one was strong. 🙂 I have been holding off because I am not normally a Ultimate Fighting find them sexy kind of person but if anyone can do that it is Lori Foster.
This sounds fun! I love the 2 strong personalities learning to work together and the MMA fighter idea sounds like it’s providing Foster with some interesting characters! I look forward to reading this one!
Oh, this sounds like something I would love! I am adding the first book now 🙂 Lovely review, lady
Woo hoo for Foster delivery another fab read!
I hope you are having a blast in New Orleans Kim!!
His name is Denver?
I don’t think I could read this book, Kim, because I’d have this song (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLlibrF5DRM) stuck in my head! I used to love this cartoon! 😀
The romance sounds super sexy though and the chemistry sounds sizzling!!
Lovely review, Kim!
YES! TAKE IT OFF COVER MODEL! Wait. This is probably neither the time nor place for that, but I couldn’t help but yell it out as soon as I saw that cover 😉 *swoon* I can’t believe I haven’t started this series yet Kim, I LOVE Lori Foster’s books! You’re so right that she never fails to create really authentic characters:)
I recently bought the prequel to the series, I should be reading it soon so I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂
Another winner over here, Kimba. Romance and suspense, nicely wrapped together and seasoned with MMA fighters! Lol 😛 Cherry sounds relatable, and Denver is clearly the type of character that will keep you reading for various reasons. I’m adding this one! Have a fun day 🙂
I like that the characters sound real and genuine – I should pick up a romance novel lately.
I did like Foster when I finally tried a book by her 🙂
It’s great that the characters are authentics like that. I haven’t read a book by the author but I remember great reviews about the first one and it’s nice to see it’s the same with this one. I should try! Great review!