Fighting for Everything by Laura Kaye
Series: Warrior Fight Club #1
Published: May 22, 2018 by Laura Kaye
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.
Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.
But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.
I felt so much for Noah while reading Fighting for Everything because what he’s going through is so hard yet so real. Laura Kaye has never been afraid to hit where it hurts when it comes to writing emotional stories and she goes even deeper in this one. The reader gets so much insight into Noah which makes it easier to understand his erratic moods as he tries to conquer his problems. Noah doesn’t want to push Kristina away but he also doesn’t know how to handle his new feelings for her and the fact that he believes he’s no good for Kristina.
For her part, Kristina tries so hard to help Noah find peace again but it’s an uphill battle. Friends since they were little, Kristina and Noah have been inseparable but Noah’s military experience has changed and hardened him and Kristina is also finding herself attracted to this older Noah. Contrary to the cover blurb, these two are just friends prior to this book and they are completely unaware they may have feelings for each other. Their chemistry is never in question and boy is the sex on fire but the attraction is a little out of the blue. However, Noah has been gone for a bit with only infrequent visits so it’s possible that this time apart could create the circumstances for them to see each other in a new light.
Easily my favorite part of the whole book is when Noah begins taking art therapy classes where he meets Moe, a fellow veteran, who brings him to the Warrior Fight Club. This group’s sole purpose is to help active duty military and veterans who are struggling with re-integration, PTSD, and other emotional and mental challenges. I loved every scene with the WFC and can’t wait for more in this series just to see each of these characters again. And please, Laura Kaye, tell me you have a story for Moe because I need him in my life! The WFC is a big turning point for Noah and it gives him the support he was too afraid to ask for from Kristina and his family. They are literally his lifesaver.
“You pushed me to examine myself and make a choice. And I chose to live, to fight.”
Much of this book is focused on Noah’s recovery which was overwhelming, tear-inducing, and beautifully uplifting to watch. Noah was a hard character to read because he’s just so raw, angry, and damaged and while I can understand it, he treats Kristina pretty badly. But she sticks by him and I’m in awe of her level of friendship, dedication, and love. Kristina was just the type of person you want as a friend and I loved how down to earth she was. But even she can’t stand up to everything and this is where things fall apart in the friendship. As a small complaint, I wish there had been another sex scene towards the end when Noah and Kristina finally work things out. There is no dating in this book and every time they have sex it’s unexpected for them, full of turmoil, and often ends in hurtful words and actions. It would have been nice to see a softer, sweeter side to their intimacy.
**Reader Safety: Hero with severe PTSD and growing depression; References to ex-veterans and suicide; Heroine goes on a date with other man (nothing happens)
4 stars – it was enjoyable
ARC provided by author for honest review
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