REVIEW: Taking Him Down by Meg Maguire
Rules of the Ring…
No unsportsmanlike conduct
“Matchmaker Lindsey Tuttle always thought Rich Estrada was a whole lot of sexy. What’s not to lust after? He’s a gorgeous, flirty mixed martial arts fighter. When they find themselves heating up during an unexpected–and superintense–make-out session, Lindsey is ready…until Rich ends it with no explanation.
Now it’s almost a year later, and Rich has a broken foot, which means a frustrating recovery back in Boston before his next fight. But this could be the perfect time for a rematch with a sexy little matchmaker….
And minimal clothing!
There’s no denying the chemistry between them. It’s full-contact, no-holds-barred attraction…and only one can be on top!”
Dear Ms. Maguire,
After reading the first book in this series, “Making Him Sweat,” I was hoping that there would be a follow up featuring two secondary characters of that book. Rich Estrada is all cocky charm and in-your-face athletics. Or maybe that’s the other way around. Either way, he’s dedicated to his MMA training and not looking for a relationship. Lindsey Tuttle is a modern Boston woman working in an old-fashioned business – matchmaking. And while she’s enjoyed flirting with Rich she’s on again/off again engaged and not looking to cheat.
This all changes one night after Rich wins a bout that earns him the attention of agents. At an after fight party, Rich and Lindsey – who up until now hasn’t really followed MMA – finally seem to connect on a deeper basis. To Lindsey, Rich shows a hint of a man who might not be as self assured as he appears on the surface. To Rich, Lindsey gives the impression that she might actually be attracted to a man who only knows how to fight for a living. It finally seems like they might take their simmering attraction for each other past the flirting stage. Only Rich gets some misinformation and cools things down before they accelerate any further.
I like that Rich is honorable enough not to want to poach on who he thinks is another man’s woman. Lindsey is upset about how the night fizzles out but she’s got enough self respect that she doesn’t throw herself at him before he leaves and then finishes off her now permanently off engagement. The ten month interval gives enough time for Lindsey to get into MMA, Rich to train with the pros and earn his old Fight Academy some notice and both of them to think about that night that might have been before an injury brings Rich back home.
The Rich who arrives back in Boston to heal is a different man. His immigrant father’s failure to provide for his family before his death made Rich the breadwinner for his mother and sister. And the threat of following in his father’s footsteps hangs over Rich’s head. Meanwhile, Lindsey’s youngest sister has landed in Boston after running away from home and it looks like Lindsey is going to play nursemaid for a few months.
Rich and Lindsey tentatively begin to revisit their old flirty ways and then take the relationship deeper. Rich finds himself telling Lindsey things about his life and his fears that he’s never revealed to anyone. Lindsey puts her sister to work at the Fight Academy earning money as a way to convince Maya to go home but Maya just might have what it takes to become the first woman to be trained there. Rich and Lindsey finally get physical and the heat about blows some doors off. But is there enough between them to take things any further or will hawt sex be as far as they go?
My problem with half of “Making Him Sweat” was that the conflict seemed to fizzle out and too much time was spent on issues outside of the romantic relationship. Here, I didn’t have either problem. Enough space is dedicated to Rich and Lindsey’s respective careers and home life to make them well rounded as people but it doesn’t take away from their burgeoning romance. The sex is smoking but before they commit to each other, they realize that each needs the other on a deeper basis. Rich discovers that without Lindsey he’s a hollow man while Lindsey sees in Rich the man who lights her up from inside. By the time they’re set for the future, I’m totally on board. Now, I wonder who you’ll write about next. B
I’m with you in this book being better realized than Making Him Sweat. I left the book wanting more: more of the couple, more of Lindsey’s sister, more of the fighting, just more please. If this is Maguire finding her grove within the Blaze format, I am one happy reader with good things to look forward to.
I’ve never read a romance with MMA as part of the theme. Your review intrigued me enough to go check this out. I was even happier to discover that Amazon has brought back the $9.99 H Blaze bundle with this in it!
@Lynn S.: I hope she’s found her zone too. There were glimpses of it in “Sweat” but here we get it for the whole book. I hope Maguire sets more books in the MMA world and that the sister will eventually her story but since she’s only 18 now, it might be a while.
@Amy: I think it might be an up and coming sport in romance. Kati did a review of “Extreme Love” by Abby Niles with another MMA fighter. And it does look like Harlequin is doing bundles again – super yeah!
I really liked this book. My only real issue with it was when Jenna texted Rich in the very beginning to inform Rich that Lindsey had a boyfriend. First, WTF Jenna? None of your business, stay out of it, AND you provided bad information. Second, Lindsey seems to take the news that Jenna interfered in that way with equanimity, which I did not understand. I am married, but if a girlfriend of mine had decided to text a mutual friend to inform him that I was not single, then I can guarantee my reaction would not be so sanguine as Lindsey’s. That is the ultimate in unwanted interference and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. It also left a bad taste that Lindsey didn’t DO anything about it, especially because it affected her nascent relationship with Rich.
@Praxidike: You know, that’s a good point. I guess maybe because Jenna isn’t in the book that much that it didn’t strike me when I was reading the book.
Read this today in one sitting. I really, really enjoyed it. I really hope there are more books in this MMA series coming soon.
And I totally agree with the heroine that MMA fighters are HOT, lol.