No Limits

No Limits - Lori Foster 3.5 Stars

I'm a fan of MMA so anytime I can get my hands on a well-written fighter story I am happy. No Limits is the first full-length novel in Lori Foster's Ultimate series and made a decent start. Though the prequel, Hard Knocks, sets up the series wonderfully, you don't have to read it to understand No Limits.

Lori Foster is a well known admirer of mixed martial arts and the love of the sport shines through in her writing. SBC fighter and champion, Cannon 'The Saint' Colter, has returned home after a close victory in Japan. Bruised and busted, he arrives only to be called to a lawyers office and find out that he has inherited half of a pawn shop and house from a man whose granddaughter has never been far from Cannon's mind. Three years ago he rescued a young Yvette Sweeny from kidnappers with vile intentions. He sees this as the perfect opportunity to reconnect with her and pick up where they left off now that she is all grown up. But Yvette can't forget the circumstances that forced her and Cannon together, no matter how determined she is not to be the victim ever again. Cannon isn't going to make the same mistakes he made before though and let Yvette go so easily. He's willing to fight for them both, even if that means ripping through her internal shields layered with scars and loosing his famed control. Because this is the most important match Cannon has ever fought and he's fighting for keeps.

Cannon is a book hero to love. Big, sexy, smart and protective; Cannon keeps his neighborhood clean and runs a rec center to keep kids off the street and out of trouble. He's known Yvette most of her life but until now their age difference has always been a hindrance in his attraction for her. I really loved his go-get'em attitude when it came to Yvette and his patience when needed. He's definitely a swoon-worthy hero. There was a long standing mutual attraction and past between them that was believable. However, I did not find Yvette's character engaging at all. She continuously questioned Cannon's motives throughout the book despite the fact that he was always open and upfront. Her internal dialogue became frustratingly annoying early on with her inability to accept anyone at face value and instead assuming they treated her with kindness only because they saw her as a victim. This in-turn causes an abundance of sexual tension that Cannon has a hard time dealing. To put it bluntly, there was a lot of rehashing of Yvette's issues and not a lot of progression in the story.

There were some other instances in the story that I found off. One being Cannon's obsession with Yvette from the start but still willing to engage in one-night-stands until he comes face-to-face with Yvette. Though admittedly this doesn't last long and Cannon gently turns down all the bar flies and ring bunnies afterwards it was still a contradiction to his character. Also, the doling out of Yvette's traumatic experience and the consequences of them was drawn out which lessened the emotional impact it could have had. Two different subplots infused the romance with some action and intrigue but it wasn't balanced well. However, I did find the cast of secondary characters and fighters incredibly endearing and I am really looking forward to their own stories. The women they seem to have paired off with so far for future books have that perfect amount of spunk and attitude that I enjoy reading.

I admit that I have to catch up on the Love Undercover series so I will enjoy seeing another side to the start of Cannon and Yvette's story ( set three years prior to No Limits) when I finally read Getting Rowdy and Dash of Peril. That being said though, I didn't feel that I missed any integral part to their story by not reading those two books.

Bottom line, while No Limits may not be my favorite book in Lori Foster's impressive arsenal and there were plenty of hiccups in the plot and story-line, I am intrigued enough by secondary characters to continue the Ultimate series. I think if you're a Lori Foster fan this may be worth you time to pick up for a few hours just to enter the world she has created here and hope for better next time around.