Review: Losing It (Book #4: Ringside Romance Series) by Christine d’Abo

Losing ItFinn Miller doesn’t do social. He works his IT job from home as often as he can to avoid people. If it weren’t for his weekly training sessions at Ringside Gym, he might never leave his apartment. And he only does that because of Leo, the gym member he’s in love with. When Finn gets talked into attending a speed dating fundraiser at the gym, his greatest wish is to have the courage to try to say something—anything—to Leo.  Justin McCormick has spent most of his adult life being used, whether playing a corporate heavy, or acting as guard dog for his ward. So when he leaves Vancouver for a fresh start in Toronto, he doesn’t quite know what to do with himself.  The moment Justin sees Finn at a speed dating event, he knows there’s no way he’ll make it without a little help, so he offers to coach Finn on the art of conversation. What he doesn’t count on is his unexpected attraction to this shy boxer, or his fear that if Finn gets his way, Justin might lose out on his best chance at love.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

I have loved this series from the very beginning and Losing It is just one more excellent read in the series!

When first we met Justin McCormick (in book #3, Making It) he was not the nicest of men.  In fact, Justin rather delighted in being the bad guy.  Over the course of a decade, Justin has earned quite the reputation as an uncompromising, stone cold, shrewd business man willing to go to any length to protect his ward and please his boss.  With his skillset, Justin is incredibly employable, but his reputation and past actions have closed a great number of doors.  With a dwindling back account balance and no prospects in Vancouver, Justin packs his bags and heads to Toronto.

Though he never expected the kindness, Justin’s former ward, Grady, is willing to help Justin get back on his feet.  Within hours of arriving in Toronto, Justin has a place to live and a temporary job.  With nothing else to do and only one friend in the area, Justin sets to work turning his awful apartment into a showroom!  Since he doesn’t intend to become a proper hermit, Justin also becomes involved in the goings on at Ringside Gym.  First up, attending/volunteering at a ridiculous charity speed dating event. 

Finn Miller has no interest in attending Ringside Gym’s speed dating event.  Oh, he doesn’t mind donating money, it is a charity event after all, but he is only interested in dating one man.  Trouble is, Finn has an incredibly difficult time speaking to others.  Thanks to a horrifying array of childhood bullying, Finn has learned to keep his mouth closed and only offer the briefest of replies when absolutely necessary.  Finn’s silence/inability to talk to others has become nearly pathological except in two circumstances, when he is discussing tech issues for work and when he is speaking with Justin. 

Justin instantly likes Finn, but knows, thanks to Finn’s very clear and explicit explanation, that they can be nothing more than friends.  As one of Justin’s skills is public speaking, he offers to help Finn overcome his difficulties and land the guy he has been lusting after for months and months.  As the days speed by, Justin discovers a side of Finn very, very few people have ever seen.  Finn is kind, wicked smart, funny, and stunningly sexy.  With each speech session, Justin finds it increasingly difficult to separate his own growing feelings for Finn from the work they are doing.  Justin recognizes he is simply a tool (as he has been his entire life) to help Finn date another man, and that other man is a tool!  But, Justin is also a man of honor and he refuses to go back on his offer to Finn no matter how difficult it is. 

The Bottom Line:  I think Losing It may be my favorite book in this series to date.  Justin was easy to dislike him in book three, but his circumstances have changed dramatically, and this book is all about his redemption, his move to be a better man and I couldn’t help but love him for that.  No matter how much I liked Justin, I liked Finn even more.  He is such a deliciously nerdy guy who has had a load of crap heaped on him over the course of his life.  His inability to speak is born out of sadness and cruelty, but with Justin’s help, encouragement, and love, Finn can grow, overcome, and be the man he was always meant to be.  As with the other books in the series, the characters from books past make appearances and help the new couple find their way to their own HEA.  I love the sense of community in this world, the message of helping rather than hindering, and supporting above all else.  There is such a strong sense of loyalty, friendship, concern, and caring in this series and think that is ultimately why I have enjoyed it so much!

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