For the longest moment Zack's brain couldn't process the sight in front of him.
Seven years, ten months and twenty-seven days. That was how long it had been since he'd seen her. That was how long it had been since he'd lived a life without regret.
Fight promoter Zack Grayson is on the prowl for a rising star. As the top recruiter of a prestigious MMA promotion company, he wants to take someone where he will never be able to go again: the top of the professional league. He didn't expect that someone to be the woman he loved…and left.
Top-ranked MMA amateur fighter Shayla "Shilla the Killa" Tanner built walls around her heart when Zack left her seven years ago—and again when her husband turned violent. Now, seeing Zack is nearly enough to send those walls crumbling. But she can't risk the exposure of the limelight, and she definitely can't risk another heartbreak.
As Shayla and Zack grow closer, though, business turns personal. And once their passion unleashes, there's no going back…
What People Are Saying About Sarah Castille's Redemption series:
"Powerful. Gritty. And sexy beyond belief. Sarah is a true master!"—Opal Carew, New York Times bestselling author of His to Claim
"Emotionally charged, amazingly sexy, and flat out fantastic."—Fresh Fiction for Full Contact
"Castille continues to introduce characters who are both intense and vulnerable. The females are more than a match for the men in their lives, and these guys are worth their efforts."—RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars for Full Contact
4.25 stars-dramatic, intense, captivating
4.25 stars--STRONG HOLD is the fifth instalment in Sarah Castille’s contemporary, adult REDEMPTION erotic, MMA, romance series focusing on the men and women of the MMA Club Redemption. This is thirty-year old MMA fighter and promoter Zack ‘Slayer’ Grayson, and twenty-five year old, former ballerina turned MMA fighter Shayla Tanner’s story line. STRONG HOLD can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.
Told from first person point of view (Shayla), and third person perspective (Zack) STRONG HOLD follows the second chance romance between MMA fighter and promoter Zack ‘Slayer’ Grayson, and former ballerina turned MMA fighter Shayla Tanner. Zack and Shayla were childhood best friends, and high school sweethearts but on the night Shayla gave Zack her most prized possession, Zack walked away without a second glance. Fast forward to present day, wherein Shayla will come face to face with the man that broke her heart, and destroyed her soul. Enter MMA fighter and promoter Zack ‘Slayer’ Grayson, and the man with whom Shayla was still in love. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Zack and Shayla, as Zack takes control of Shayla’s training, in an effort to get closer to the woman he loves.
Zack had no idea that Shayla Tanner, his Shayla Tanner, was on the amateur circuit of the MMA. Heading into Redemption to recruit possible new talent, Zack will have to face the wrath of the woman from whom he walked away but a woman who has lost and suffered more than Jake could ever have imagined. Shayla struggled in the years following Zack’s ill-timed escape but none more so than into the arms of an abusive man who all but destroyed what was left of our heroine’s life.
The relationship between Zack and Shayla is one of second chances; a rekindling romance between former best friends, and sweethearts but a romance that suffers with too many memories from the past. Zack is determined to prove himself worthy of Shayla’s trust and respect even if it means protecting her from herself. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense but, once again, I take issue with a certain four-letter word that I find unnecessary in a romance story line. Used only once, I felt it was more for shock value than descriptive narration.
Most of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles, some byway of mention or cameo appearance: Blade Saw, Renegade, Rampage, Torment, Homicide Hank, Fuzzy and Doctor Death (all of the nick names must be used in the arena and at the gym), as well as the only other female fighter at Redemption Sandy, and Shayla’s nemesis in the ring Carla Gordon.
STRONG HOLD is a dramatic, intense and captivating story. The premise is energetic and impassioned; the characters are dynamic and vigorous; the romance is provocative and fated. Sarah Castille writes tantalizing romances, strong heroes, and sassy heroines.
Your heart will break!
Zach broke Shayla’s heart when she was just 18 by taking her virginity and then walking away. Shayla fled to New York to study ballet and ended up marrying her teacher, who ended up almost killing her. So she takes back her life and decides that she doesn’t need a man to protect her or be protected from and she becomes a MMA fighter. When she’s 25, Zach (who has become a 4-time world MMA champion fighter) accidentally walks back into her life. The sparks are still there between them, but can they overcome the heartbreak they gave each other?
This book just broke my heart. Shayla became a strong woman but she was still broken. And I couldn’t help but love Zach because he never stopped loving Shayla, he just made a big mistake by walking away from her the first time. The only thing that I thought was kinda left in mid air was why did Shayla’s brother hate Zach so much and yet he was never around Shayla when she was at Redemption? This book will break your heart, give you a laugh, make you swoon and the sex scenes ... just hot!
I received an ARC courtesy of Sourcebooks Casablanca through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.