Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: Against The Ropes by Sarah Castille

Against The Ropes by Sarah Castille
Sourcebooks, 351 pages
New Adult, Romance
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He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more…

Makayla never thought she’d set foot in an underground mixed-martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it’s these guys. Trouble is, at her first sight of the club’s owner she’s the one feeling breathless.

All sleek muscle and restrained power, the man they call Torment plays to win at any cost. Whether it’s in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when to use a soft touch and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he’s about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined…

Review

After reading the blurb I was excited to dive into this book! I mean, a muscled MMA fighter with a side of sexy? Yes please! I was even more excited to finish the book after reading the first few chapters.  1.) because the setting is in the Bay Area! I’m a Cali girl born and bred and I was hella (that’s some Cali slang) happy to see San Fran and Oakland get some book love! and 2.) because the interaction between Torment and Makayla is sexy and intense and I could really feel the attraction between them.

“My pulse races. My body flames. Moisture pools between my thighs. So hard. So rough. So warm. So dominating. I want more. More of this erotic manhandling of my body. More forceful, more alpha-male.”

The push and pull between Torment and Makayla created a sense of anticipation that excites, and when he gets all alpha-male…commence swooning!  I liked that he was protective but not controlling and [that] he wasn’t afraid to puff his chest out, bang on it and claim what’s his.
Makayla was funny, I liked her character.  She’s independent and hard working.  However there was this one things that annoyed me about her at times.  Like how she had to introduce herself as an EMT…like a-lot.  I work in the medical field myself and I’ll tell you, if someone is visibly in a trauma or hurt you ain’t stopping to ask permission.  You do what you have to do to save that person! But yeah, got off track there for a minute.
I felt the storyline was okay but it could have been refined to have a better flow.  There were certain parts that felt…for lack of a better term “borrowed” and some that could have been omitted if not developed more.  I didn’t like the phone-text conversations between the Mac and Torment.  This element felt unoriginal, however the author did a good job of tying it into the story.  I’m just not sure it needed to be included. The other aspect I didn’t quite fully understand was the whole bill collector thing.  I’m not sure what the author was trying to convey with this piece but it didn’t translate for me and it almost felt like it was a filler to beef up the story.  There is also this thing with Torment that’s sort of a plot twist, but I figured as much with the foreshadowing and what not.  I’m not going to give away spoilers.  I will only say that I think the story would have been better without it. With that being said, these issues did not detract from the story. For me anyway.  I still enjoyed watching the relationship evolve, the highs and lows and warm and fuzzies.
The sex scenes were hot.  Especially in the one when they take a bike ride?!  Um, I grew up riding bikes so I know a thing or two about them and….yeah.  That one’s my favorite.  ;-) Side note: riding on a motorcycle is the most exhilirating feeling! Almost like you’re flying and when you’re driving along the coast…Man, it’s heaven. On wheels.
Overall Against The Ropes was a good read.  likeable characters, interesting storyline and solid writing, I recommend this book to fans of alpha-males everywhere!  Did you see the cover? Holy hotness! I want me some of that muscled sexyness!
Run. I should run. But all I can do is stare.
His fight shorts are slung deliciously low on his narrow hips, hugging his powerful thighs. Hard, thick muscles ripple across the broad expanse of his chest, tapering down to a taut, corrugated abdomen. But most striking are the tattoos covering over half of his upper body—a hypnotizing cocktail of curving, flowing tribal designs that just beg to be touched.
He stops only a foot away and I crane my neck up to look at his face.
God is he gorgeous.
His high cheekbones are sharply cut, his jaw square, and his eyes dark brown and flecked with gold. His aquiline nose is slightly off-center, as if it had been broken and not properly reset, but instead of detracting from his breathtaking good looks, it gives him a dangerous appeal. His hair is hidden beneath a black bandana, but a few tawny, brown tufts have escaped from the edges and curl down past the base of his neck.
A smile ghosts his full lips as he studies me. A lithe and powerful animal assessing its prey.
My finely tuned instinct of self-preservation forces me back against the ropes and away from his intoxicating scent of soap and leather and the faintest kiss of the ocean.
“Excuse me…Torment. I…thought you forgot to buy a ticket, but…um…I don’t think you really need one. Do you?”
“A ticket?” His low-pitched, husky, sensual voice could seduce a saint. Or a young college grad trying to supplement her meager salary by selling tickets at a fight club.
My heart thunders in my chest and I lick my lips. His eyes lock on my mouth, and my tongue freezes mid-stroke before beating a hasty retreat behind my Pink Innocence glossed lips.
He steps forward and I press myself harder against the springy ropes, wincing as they bite into my skin through my thin T-shirt.
“Are you Amanda?”
With herculean effort, I manage to pry my tongue off the roof of my mouth. “I’m the best friend.”
He lifts an eyebrow. “Does the best friend have a name?”
“Mac.”
“Doesn’t suit you. Do you have a different name?”
“What do you mean a different name? That’s my name. Well, it’s my nickname. But that’s what people call me. I’m not going to choose another name just because you don’t like it.” My hands find my hips, and I give him my second-best scowl—my best scowl being reserved for less handsome irritating men.
His gaze drifts down to the bright white “FCUK Me” lettering now stretched tight across my overly generous breasts. With my every breath, the letters expand and retract like a flashing neon sign. I hate my sister.
He leans so close I can see every contour of bone and sinew in his chest and the more intricate patterns in his tribal tattoos. The flexible ropes accommodate my last retreat, and I brace myself, trembling, against them.
“What’s your real name?” he rumbles.
“Makayla.” Oh, betraying lips.
He smiles and his eyes crinkle at the corners. “Makayla is a beautiful name. I’ll call you Makayla.”

Heat roars through me like a tidal wave. He likes my name. “So…about that ticket—”

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Recovering lawyer, karate practitioner, and caffeine addict, Sarah Castille worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. Her steamy, contemporary romantic tales feature blazingly hot alpha heroes and the women who tame them.
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