Author: Michelle Cary
Reviewed by: Eladio
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: M/F Contemporary
Summary: Amber Star is over the moon when she learns she’s made Extreme Ultimate Wrestling’s main roster. She sees this as her opportunity to finally be the mega star she’s always dreamed about being. The last thing on her mind is love. Yet, the moment she spots fellow wrestler Cole Collins, she knows there’s something more between them than just a shared love of the sport. Yet, because of her haunted past, she feels compelled to keep him at bay.
A member of the team known as The Tribunal, Cole Collins is enjoying is life as a wrestling star. He’s focused on his career, the fans and enjoying all the perks that come with being a star. He’s always considered himself too young to fall in love, so he’s shocked when he develops new and intense feelings for Amber. The little Vixen is beautiful, quiet and aloof. A combination that tempts Cole in way he’d never experienced.
When someone targets Amber and puts her life in danger, she turns to Cole and The Tribunal to help but can Cole protect her?
Review: This is the second book in the author’s On the Ropes series about male and female professional wrestlers, but it can be read as a stand-alone story (this is the only book in the series that I have read). Amber is a sweet young newbie wrestler who is excited and awestruck to receive a promotion to the big leagues of professional wrestling in all its choreographed, flashy, larger-than-life glory. In the opening scenes, she gets to meet the wrestling superstars she has always looked up to, and she is thrilled to make friends with feisty Lexi and protective Cole.
Unfortunately, she also gets targeted for harassment by a stalker. This is hard for Amber because she has been victimized in the past and has a tendency to blame herself for things that are not her fault. But her friendships with the other wrestlers on her team and her growing relationship with alpha male Cole give her the confidence she needs to protect herself and grow as a character.
This story has some good elements, but is weak in plot. It is obvious who is stalking Amber, which eliminates any possible mystery or suspense that could have been built up around this storyline. The villain is flat and two-dimensional and his ultimate plan for Amber is far-fetched in that a character who is that obviously insane probably couldn’t have stayed out of prison long enough to be a threat to anyone. Also I found love interest Cole overbearing at times due to things like his insistence only one day after meeting Amber that she is his soul mate, his extreme reaction to the first time she is hassled by a sleazy male wrestler, and his manipulative way of getting Amber to confess her past victimization to him.
Mostly Cole seems like a good guy, but he has a few rough edges that could have been rewritten. Aside from that, however, his and Amber’s relationship is sweet and positive and their sex scenes (which are the right amount and length for the story and are written to a mild-to-medium level of explicitness) should satisfy the readers. Amber is an appealing character who learns to stand up for herself, and her scenes in the world of professional wrestling are colorful and fun to read about. If the suspense plot had been stronger and more complex, I would have rated the book higher, but it is still a nice one-time read for romance readers looking for an unusual sports environment.