With his preppy clothes and horn-rimmed glasses, Enzo Silva is the last dude anyone expects to find in a mixed martial arts gym. A wealthy Brazilian banker who never had to fight for anything, Enzo’s stuck in the amateur circuit—but he burns to make the pros. Maybe that explains the heat he feels whenever he’s around Jamie Lynn Calhoun. The pint-size, magenta-haired bartender with the Texas drawl is everything he’s not . . . and everything he craves. Tough as nails and independent to a fault, Jamie Lynn—JL to her friends—works hard to pay her bills and keep life simple. Enzo is doing his best to complicate that. Even though she likes to bust his balls, he’s got some kind of a nerdy-hot vibe that makes JL wonder if she might finally be able to let her guard down. It might do the boy some good to spend some time in her world, where blood, sweat, and victory are as sweet as the first taste of real love.
Source: Author and Purchase
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
I’m just putting this out there right now. I want to hate JL for the simple fact she can eat whatever the hell she wants and never, ever gains a pound. OK, now that I have gotten that out of the way.
Jamie Lynn Calhoun knows exactly who she is and she makes no apologies to anyone. With her twin brother, Travis, JL survived a horrific childhood that involved an often strung-out mother, a brother who had to fight to earn money to feed them, and the requisite crap that comes from asshole teenagers in high school. Not only did JL survive, she learned to deal with adversity with a smile on her face and a positive attitude. Most of the time, the smile and the positive attitude are genuine but everyone has a breaking point.
For JL, her breaking point, the line she won’t cross is to become too attached to a man. Becoming attached leads to feelings and commitment which leads to relying on someone, counting on them which inevitably leads to heartbreak. JL saw enough of that as a kid and has no desire to be nothing more than a cliché like her mother. Oh, there is the occasional fling but serious relationships are something JL wants no part of. She is perfectly happy bartending at the Pier, hanging with her close friends, producing mass quantities of art, eating everything she can get her hands on, and teaching her parrot a slew of strange animal sounds and curse words.
Enzo Silva (Francesca’s cousin BTW) has always done exactly what is expected of him. He went to all the right schools and colleges, he earned exactly the degrees he was expected to earn, he entered into a wholly loveless marriage, and he has performed admirably for his father’s company. The only things Enzo has ever done for himself are practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, ending his loveless marriage after finding his dirty whore of a wife in bed with his former best-friend, and moving to Tarpon Springs, Florida. Though he is still doing his father’s bidding professionally, Enzo has begun to live more for himself on a personal level. JL is everything his elitist parents would disapprove of and everything Enzo wants and has wanted for more than a year. Trouble is, JL doesn’t do relationships.
On the surface, JL and Enzo make no sense. JL is loud, tatted up, free-spirited, and living paycheck to paycheck while Enzo is buttoned up, conservative, wealthy beyond reason, and relatively quiet. To the outside world, JL and Enzo appear to be oil and water, fire and ice, north and south, well, you get the gist. They just don’t belong together. Below the surface, in all the places that count, JL and Enzo make perfect sense and their sexual chemistry is off the charts but, according to JL, other than the spectacular sex they are just too different in all the surface areas to ever go the distance, to ever find real happiness together. As if to prove her point, Enzo’s dirty whore of an ex makes a horrific public scene, JL’s drug addict mother reappears, JL is arrested, and Enzo’s business dealings which adversely impact JL’s life come to light. Yeah, it’s all sort of a perfect shit-storm.
The Bottom Line: JL and Enzo are really hard to dislike and their radical differences make them all the more likeable as a couple. One of the best aspects of this story are the clearly defined differences between JL and Enzo and how they both eventually pull their heads out of their respective asses so they can have their well-deserved HEA. Make no mistake, this isn’t a light or easy read but one that is fraught with heartbreaking moments and true pain. JL and Enzo are both far deeper and more complex than their public persona would indicate which makes digging into their pasts and understanding them as human beings far, far more interesting. Don’t get me wrong, Fighting Dirty isn’t all doom and gloom there are certainly some excellent moments of pure joy, some really funny moments, and some naughty bits that are somewhat surprising. Who knew Enzo had that in him??? In all, Fighting Dirty is a sweet and sassy, naughty and nice read that fits rather perfectly into the Worth the Fight world.
About the author and where to find her:
Sidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”–Mark Twain. Or even simpler, “Just Do It”—Nike. And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red.That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing.
Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second. When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.