Title: Paradise Fought: Abel
Series: Paradise #1
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance/MMA
Release Date: January 25, 2016
I'm not a fighter.
I was born into a fighting family. As the middle child, I was overlooked in favor of my older brother.
He took the negative attention, too. In comparison, there's nothing special about me.
I’m not as big as Cobra. I’m not as strong as Cobra. He's the alpha.
I'm a beta.
The second son.
The lesser one.
The one never encouraged to fight, never encouraged to do anything, but stay out of my father’s way.
I'm not a lover either - but I wished to be – that’s why I needed her.
I met a girl in the pouring rain.
Sounds cliché, but it's true. It changed everything.
Because of love, I learned to fight.
Betas come second, but in this fight, my story is first.
Links to Buy
If I thought I was going to make a speedy getaway, I was wrong. My savior caught up to me, half way down the walk, outside the finance building. He was quick and a large hand wrapped around my upper arm.
“Whoa, sister,” he said, slightly out of breath. “You almost got away from me again.”
“What?” I questioned. I had no idea what he meant: again.
“Never mind,” he muttered, his hand still on me. I looked down at it and he immediately released me. My eyes pinched as I realized I didn’t mind his hand on my skin. There was something nonthreatening about him. He seemed rather innocent, studious, actually. His shirt was buttoned almost to the top and tucked into his pants. The sleeves secure at the cuffs. His jeans were snug and hugged him well. He wore dark rimmed glasses that screamed smart. Brown boots looked too new on his large feet. It was like he had the right parts but the wrong combination.
His blue eyes were soft and easy to look into. They practically spoke to me, but I had no idea what he was saying. His dark hair was disheveled, a bit shaggy, but cool looking. He kind of looked like a pop star, which was a little too sugar sweet for me. His form was questionable. It was hard to tell what kind of body he had under those clothes. He looked rather preppy, like half the guys at this university. I didn’t want to think about it. I’d just sold my soul for another semester.
“So when do you want to do this?” I asked. His blank stare told me he had no idea what I meant.
“Us,” I said, pointing between him and me.
“I…” His voice trailed off as he gawked at me. His expression changed from confusion to shock.
“I didn’t buy you to sleep with you,” he said, a touch of disbelief in his voice. His face turned crimson, then fell. “Why, have you done that before?” It was my turn to be surprised and offended.
I turned on my heels and began stomping away from him. He was too quick and he caught me again. His hand on my arm halted me. This time he didn’t release me when I peered down at his fingers wrapped around my bicep.
“Look. I need help,” he blurted. His face pinked a little, and it was sweet. “I don’t need help with sex. I need help with before.” His tone dropped, and he looked side to side to see if anyone would hear him. I took his meaning.
“You don’t know how to do foreplay?” I questioned in a loud whisper, trying to hide my astonishment. How could anyone have sex and not know a touch of foreplay?
His face pinked again.
“Not that,” he said, sounding like a child. “The flirting. The dating. The…other stuff.”
I was stunned. I stared at him, taking in his features again. He was kind of cute, leaning toward the potential for good looking. He couldn’t possibly need help with this request. The confusion on my face made him speak.
“I don’t know how to flirt.” The words swirled between us.
“I don’t understand.” I didn’t. I didn’t know what he wanted from me.
“I need lessons how to be…cool: with girls. Call it a tutoring session. I need to learn how to be…seen.” His voice took on a touch of sadness. He couldn’t possibly be serious. I continued to stare at him. My mouth might have actually dropped open a bit, and I noticed he was watching my lips. It was a little exciting the way he stared at them. I licked them and his pupils dilated, filling in more black over the blue. His expression changed. Knowingly, he blinked when he realized I was teasing him. His lip quirked up and a dimple showed in his cheek.
“I need to date you,” he blurted. “To learn how to do, what you just did to me.”
Title: Paradise Fought: Abel
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Release Date: January 25, 2016
This is my first rodeo with this author, but I can most definitely say after reading Abel’s story, it will not be my last go round.
Paradise Fought was a refreshing change of pace for me in terms of the MMA Fighter Romance genre. Where in the past I’ve read a plethora of stories featuring the alpha male hero (which isn’t all that far off the mark all things considered) this was the first time I’ve had the pleasure of reading a story featuring one that wasn’t.
Did Abel have his alpha moments? Sure. I mean, all guys have a little of that in them I think. For the most part though, Abel was different. Softer, gentler, more caring. The opposite of his brother and hell, after what I’ve read, the complete opposite of his entire family. I connected with him quite early on and it never let up, no once, the entire way through. He made me laugh, he made me cry and he definitely made me swoon. This fighter stole my heart and I hope he never gives it back.
Enter Elma. Elma knows a thing or two about the underground fight scene. She grew up in it. Was the sibling of someone who died doing it. She’s after something very specific when the story starts, but gets so much more than she bargained for in the process, when she and Abel finally do come across one another. My heart broke for the situation she finds herself in at the beginning of the book and the reasoning behind it. The growth that takes place as the story goes on, for her and those around her. It was emotionally trying hearing about her struggles, but where others may have broken and I’m sure she wanted to as well, she didn’t. Not entirely and it made me respect her. Care about her as much as I did Abel.
What I enjoyed about this besides the romance, the realism of it and the fighting backdrop was, there was history here even if only one of them was aware of it at the time. I also enjoyed the differing POV’s especially in the beginning, when the fighter was separated from the student in Abel. The way it was written, the care the author took in keeping Abel and Betta separate was very well done.
It was a little slow moving in the beginning, but the reasoning for that made sense to me the more I read. There was a lot of information, a lot of leading in that needed to be given here and I think the author handled that very well. So while it did move slower in the first 40% and a little quicker in the remainder, it only did so because of the setup for what was to come. What you needed to know. There wasn’t lulls or periods where I felt I needed to put it down due to too much information.
I enjoyed the biblical aspect of things here. It wasn’t heavy, but with the brother’s names and what takes place later, it fit and it worked extremely well. I’m interested in Cain and I’m eager to see where his story will take him. What is really going on under the surface of that man. What makes him who he is.
I think if you’re a fan of the MMA or the genre as it pertains to reading, you’ll enjoy this. I also think that if you’re a fan of the author or just a fan of stories that develop at just the right pace, you’ll enjoy this too. This wasn’t an easy story by any means but the romance within the pages, even at its ugliest was beautiful and I’m so glad that I got to experience it.
My thanks to the author and all others involved in letting me read this before official release. I can’t wait to read more from this author in the future.
L.B. Dunbar loves the original legend of King Arthur. Inspired by this classic tale, she pulled over to the side of the road to take notes when it hit her that if King Arthur lived today, he'd be a rock star. A lover of fairy tales, myths, legends, and anything with happily ever after, she loves to read and write contemporary romance. Her Legendary Rock Stars series is complete with the final tale: The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance, but the story began with The Legend of Arturo King. She also wrote The Sensations Collection, which includes five stand alones based on the five senses in a small town setting near Lake Michigan. Raised on one side of that lake, she grew up in Michigan, but now lives on the other side, in Chicago. Mother to four, wife to the one and only, and teacher to hundreds of former students, she looks forward to sharing more stories in the future.