REVIEW: Below the Belt (Worth the Fight, #3) by Sidney Halston

We met Tony and Francesca in Full Contact. She’s the new co-owner of the WtF academy and he’s the academy’s newest fighter. Tony used to be a hot commodity in MMA, but too much booze, women, and brawls outside the cage have overshadowed his abilities inside the cage. Tony projects a lot of bravado to hide the fact that he’s got more aches and pains than he wants to admit and while he’s getting older his opponents are only getting younger. To the world, Frances looks like she’s got it all together with her fancy business suits and stilettos and take charge demeanor whereas…

”[…] she had been trying so hard to separate herself from the Francesca she used to be that she’d become this other person she barely recognized anymore. Apparently, though, it had come back to bite her in the ass, because it sent out an I’m-so-sure-of-myself-and-I-don’t-need-you vibe that seemed to make her unapproachable. And when a man was brave enough to approach, she was too scared to do anything about it. In her attempt to be independent, she’d actually pushed everyone away, and instead of being stronger for it, she was lonely.”

Tony has spent the last few months at WtF trying to get Frances to go out with him or at least get naked with him to no avail. There’s definitely a spark between them, but Frances has no plans to succumb to the attraction. Until one night, Frances gives Tony a glimpse of the sensual, vulnerable woman that she allows no one else to see.

I enjoyed the love story of these two protagonists. Tony falls hard for Frances pretty quickly whereas Frances has shut down so many parts of herself for so long that she needs a lot of time before she can open up to Tony. I got it, yet Frances’ issues started to wear thin for me after a while. Besides that there was good banter and BtB was a very sexy read.

After teasers in the last two installments, I’m looking forward to Violet and Cain’s book to come next.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

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