We met Slade in Against the Cage. Slade and his sister Chrissy were estranged for over a decade and he wasn’t a very likable character for most of AtC.
Ms. Halston was able to take a character who I wasn’t very fond of and make him quite lovable in Full Contact without making it seem like he’s had a lobotomy. Here, Slade and his sister have mended their relationship yet he’s still a bit of a Neanderthal alpha, in general. Due to health issues, Slade has had to retire from cage fighting, so he’s bought a stake in the local gym/MMA academy and become a trainer. Slade and Jessica’s flirtation began in AtC. That flirtation, at the time, never went any further because Jessica had a boyfriend. An abusive asshole of a boyfriend, but she was unavailable all the same. When we begin Full Contact, Jessica is living with Slade while she recuperates from nearly being beaten to death by her now ex-boyfriend. Slade wants to take things further but Jessica is wary because of Slade’s past manwhore ways. Once Slade decides he’s “all in” with Jessica no other woman exists for him except Jessica. Unfortunately, the previous women in his life haven’t gotten the memo which doesn’t keep Jessica’s insecurities from rearing their ugly heads. That being said, Jessica doesn’t let Slade get away with treating her as he’s done to others in the past. He has to actually earn her affections and trust.
I thought Full Contact was a much more fleshed out installment in this series. In addition to cameos/updates from Jack and Chrissy and meeting other supporting characters at WtF, we learn a lot about both Slade and Jessica. Unlike AtC, there’s no insta-lust/love. Although I didn’t like how Jessica deals with her ex’s threats at first, it was convincing. Full Contact had a healthy amount humor and sexiness to round out the story as well.