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Winning Love (Love to the Extreme Series #3)
     

Winning Love (Love to the Extreme Series #3)

4.1 21
by Abby Niles
 

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Winning Love by Abby Niles
Mac "The Snake" Hannon has spent years throwing himself into cage fighting as a way to lash back at the natural disaster that destroyed his future. A call for help has Mac returning to the one place he swore never to return: Kansas—in the height of tornado season.

There he meets free-spirited Gayle Matthews. At first he

Overview

Winning Love by Abby Niles
Mac "The Snake" Hannon has spent years throwing himself into cage fighting as a way to lash back at the natural disaster that destroyed his future. A call for help has Mac returning to the one place he swore never to return: Kansas—in the height of tornado season.

There he meets free-spirited Gayle Matthews. At first he wants nothing to do with the infuriatingly persistent woman, but the crazy challenges she tosses his way are impossible to resist. As she thaws years of bitterness, bringing back the Mac he believed long gone, he starts to make peace with the past and see the future again. Until he learns she chases his worst nightmare—then he can't get away fast enough.

Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Matthews is no stranger to being left behind and now believes in living in the moment. She wants to do just that with the handsome extreme fighter with the achingly sad eyes. As she works to replace the sorrow with desire, she finds herself breaking her one rule: have fun but don't fall in love. When he suddenly pushes her away and she discovers the horrifying reason why, she issues one more challenge: face his fear and come on a chase with her.

Will squaring off with the past lead to a victory for heartache or love?

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781622662739
Publisher:
Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date:
08/26/2014
Series:
Love to the Extreme Series , #3
Pages:
250
Sales rank:
854,821
Product dimensions:
5.38(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.88(d)

Read an Excerpt

Winning Love


By Abby Niles, Nina Bruhns

Entangled Publishing, LLC

Copyright © 2014 Abby Niles
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-62266-273-9


CHAPTER 1

Demolished homes. Mangled cars. Strewn bodies. All around him lay death and destruction.

Panic locked in a chokehold around Mac "The Snake" Hannon's neck, rendering him incapable of drawing in air. He squeezed his eyes shut and concentrated on mentally fighting his way out of the tormenting memory's submission hold. Forcing in a deep inhale, he held it for a few seconds, then slowly released, repeating the action until the death grip around his throat slackened, and only then did he reopen his eyes.

The destruction was gone. The only thing speeding by the passenger window of his childhood friend's truck was miles upon miles of flat open land.

The flat open land of Kansas, to be exact.

No place like home? What a load of shit.

What the hell had he been thinking in coming back? To actually step foot back on the cursed soil known as Tornado Alley?

Damn Lance and his whole "I could really use your help, buddy." How the fuck was Mac supposed to say no? He shot a glare at his childhood friend, who was too busy driving to notice his edginess. Or maybe he did notice and was refusing to acknowledge it. Most likely the latter. Lance knew Mac hadn't wanted to return to Kansas any more than a fighter wanted to lose a goddamn fight — but that hadn't stopped him from asking Mac to help him train for an upcoming fight.

After trying to come up with every reason known to man to have Lance come out to Atlanta instead, and the asshole always having a damn good excuse why he couldn't, Mac had reluctantly agreed. Because he sure as hell couldn't say no. Not when this was the first favor Lance had asked for since he'd saved Mac's life four years ago.

"Mac."

Lance's deep voice cut into the thick silence, causing him to jolt. Fuck, he was whacked out.

"I know we haven't really stayed in touch since you moved to Atlanta," his friend continued. "So I appreciate you doing this for me."

Other than a few phone calls — made by Lance — over the years, Mac had cut all ties with the past the moment the plane's wheels had lifted off the runway and carried him away to Georgia.

"Yeah, well." Scowling at the roughness in his voice, he cleared his throat. "It's the least I could do, considering. Besides, your kid's here. I didn't want to take you away from your kid."

Especially after he'd learned Lance had moved over two hundred miles to stay near the child. It also meant Mac wouldn't have to return to Emerald Springs. Thank God.

"Skylar can't wait to see you," Lance said.

Mac glanced out the window. No clouds. Just endless blue skies. How quickly that could change, though, especially at the end of April. Mac clenched his teeth. Goddammit, he was going to drive himself fucking mad before he left.

"How old is she now?" he gritted out, determined to focus on their conversation.

"Eight. She remembers you. When I told her you were coming out for a few weeks to help me train, she was excited about seeing Uncle Mac again."

Uncle Mac. He remembered that man, too. He'd died, along with his wife, over four years ago.

He scrubbed a hand over his jaw and shifted on his seat.

Don't go there.

He inhaled another steadying breath and sat back against the leather seat, studying Lance. Anything to keep from being crushed by the influx of fucked-up emotions this damn trip was already causing.

Except for a couple more tats added to the sleeve his friend had been working on for years, and a beefier build since he'd decided to fight light-heavyweight instead of middleweight, Lance hadn't changed. Same unruly dirty blond hair, same mischievous gleam to his gray eyes, same laid-back attitude. Mac used to be like that ... before.

Fucking hell!

"When did you move out to Cheney?" The edgy feeling of wanting to crawl out of his skin had him scouring his palms on his jean-clad thighs until the skin burned. Trying to relieve the building tension, he worked his neck back and forth. He hadn't felt this tightly wound in years. It was what had pushed him into the cage — which had ended up being the best damn therapy a guy could've asked for. Pummeling the shit out of something released it all. And he sure as hell could use a pummeling session right now.

"You okay?" Lance asked.

Mac grunted. "Cheney?"

A sigh came from across the cab, which he ignored. If Lance thought Mac was the same guy he'd grown up with after all that had happened, he'd soon learn how wrong he was. That guy was long gone. Once his friend realized that, maybe he'd get the boot back to Atlanta early. He'd be okay with that.

"About two years ago Piper's husband got a job in Wichita, and I couldn't be three hours away from Skylar. Since I can technically work anywhere, I packed up and moved here, too. Cheney's nice. It's only thirty minutes from Wichita, but still has a small town feel."

"How are things between you and Piper?"

His friend shrugged. "Unlike popular belief, divorce doesn't have to be horrible. We have a great relationship, I like her husband, and he loves Skylar. He doesn't try to take my place or step on my toes, and he leaves the parenting to me and Piper. So I think I got a pretty good deal."

The more Lance talked, the more Mac's tension eased. If distraction helped, he'd make sure to keep him talking.

"That's great. If anyone could make a divorce work, it's you two."

"There's still love there, man. Just not love. I guess that's what happens when you marry right out of high school. We grew up together, then grew apart together. There're no hard feelings, the shit just happened. As a result, Skylar gets two parents who can be in the same room together and honestly like each other."

Lance veered right, off the main street running parallel to the town of Cheney, onto a dirt road. A few seconds later, he turned onto a long, gravel driveway leading to a large two-story farmhouse. He pointed to a wooden barn behind it. "I have a home gym setup in there. With my schedule, it's hard for me to get out to a training facility daily, but I have to train, even if the only time I can find is at two in the morning. It's a rough setup, but it gets the job done."

"You got to do what you got to do, man," Mac muttered. No one knew that better than he did. It was why he'd left in the first place.

"With your help, I hope to be ready for the fight in six weeks. There're supposed to be some big-name promoters from Cage Match Championship there. If I can get CMC to notice me, I'll be golden."

Mac hid a grimace. At thirty-six, Lance's chance of getting into the top dog of Mixed Martial Arts was slim to none. Though he'd give the guy credit — he never gave up on his dream, even if he'd had to postpone working toward it for a few years.

His friend parked the truck, and Mac climbed out, surveying the area. After being in the hustle and bustle of Atlanta, the endless expanse of land before him was almost overwhelming — made him feel like a walking target. He fucking hated it. "You really went for isolated, didn't you? There wasn't a part of you that wanted to live in, say ... a neighborhood?"

Lance chuckled. "I did, actually. For Skylar. But I couldn't pass up this house. I got a killer deal. I would've never been able to afford a place like this if it hadn't been in foreclosure. The house needed a ton of work but, since I spent years working construction with Dad, I knew I could fix it up."

Looking at the house now, Mac would never have known it'd ever needed work. Soft sage siding made the white trim and shutters stand out. The gigantic wraparound porch was decorated with potted plants and hanging baskets, with a wicker seating area, and a porch swing. Lance had sown grass around the perimeter of the house so there was a large, lush lawn that stood out against the dried-out land surrounding them. The flower beds were filled with hostas, boxwood shrubs, and pansies. Cozy. A home. Easily destroyed.

He shook away the thought.

"You've been busy."

"You know me. I can't sit still. Always got to be doing something."

He did know that. Lance had the energy of ten men. His inability to just relax had been one of the problems he'd had with Piper.

"Surprisingly, I love it out here," Lance continued. "Skylar loves it out here. And if I had moved anywhere else, I wouldn't have meet Gayle."

"Gayle? She a new girlfriend?"

"Nah, man. It's not like that." Lance pointed to one of only two houses in the distance — another two-story farmhouse, but with white siding and black shutters. Though the house was beside Lance's, it sat farther back off the road and was at least a good five minute walk away. Talk about privacy. Sheesh. "She moved in about six months ago. She helps me with Skylar when I get a call. She's never bothered about the time, either."

"You still repo'ing, then?"

"And towing, jimmying locked doors. The life of a single dad, bro. Skylar comes first. I can't fight as much as I want. The little I bring in is a nice bonus but, with you here, I can get in a little quality training and hopefully knock those promoters' socks off." His friend slapped him on the shoulder as they started toward the house. "It'd be nice to get out of the smaller circuit. I'm only averaging about a grand a fight right now. Because of my schedule, I've only been able to do one every other month or so. Can't make a living like that."

"How's your record?"

"Won the last five consecutive fights, hence the grand payouts. Overall record is 12 to 2."

"Pretty good. Have they already slotted you against your opponent?"

"Yeah, some young kid. Man, it sucks to be old in a young sport." A strained smile came to Lance's face. "Do you think I'm chasing a pipedream? Should I just hang up the gloves and be happy with what I did get to do?"

No reason to sugarcoat it. "Ultimately your decision. It's not going to be easy. The chances are slim. But I got into CMC at thirty-two. Others have come in their mid- thirties — though few. We still have guys fighting into their forties. So it's not impossible."

His friend nodded. "As long as there's a chance, right?"

"Never give up."

As they neared the porch, a tiny body with a mass of blond curls came barreling around the house, squealing at the top of her lungs. The piercing shriek, however, wasn't from happiness at her dad being home. Mac tensed, preparing to take down whatever was chasing the child. The little girl suddenly dove to the left into a thicket of bushes.

"Ah-ha! I've got you now."

A figure jumped from around the corner of the house and a cold blast of water hit Mac in the middle of the chest, soaking his shirt to his skin. Stunned, he stared at the woman for a moment, his arms splayed wide at his sides, then he tugged the drenched material away from his body.

Lance burst into laughter.

The woman didn't miss beat. Turning slowly in a circle, she kept the water gun close to her face as if she was peering through a scope. "Did you see that, missy? I just took out a civilian. You will pay for that!"

She pumped the lever on the bottom of the gun and a peal of childish laughter erupted from the bushes. The woman spun around, pulled the trigger, and saturated the greenery in a spray of water.

Skylar crawled out, laughing so hard her sides heaved. "I-I surrender." She flopped on her side, giggling. "Did you ... did you see his face?"

Heat crept up Mac's neck as his gaze bounced from the laughing child to the young girl who'd assaulted him with the water gun. He knew he should see the humor in the situation, but with all the suppressed emotions trying to explode forward since he'd stepped off the plane, being laughed at as soon as he got out of the truck irritated the piss out of him. "Who the hell is she?"

As Lance accepted the hug his daughter threw around him, he said, "Mac, I'd like to introduce you to Gayle."

"The neighbor you were just talking about?"

"One and the same."

Mac frowned at the girl. From the way his buddy had spoken about her, he'd expected someone more grandmotherly, hell, motherly at least. But this ... this kid in front of him couldn't be more than twenty-one.

Her auburn hair was split into two low pigtails that made the gathered strands fall over her shoulders onto her upper chest. A tight blue tank that didn't reach her navel strained out of the lapels of the plaid overshirt she had knotted at her ribcage, making her bountiful breasts pop forward. The sleeves had been ripped off and were frayed at the seams, giving him the impression of a farmer's daughter.

Except for the indecently low ride of her nothing-there jean shorts that displayed way too much flat stomach and tanned legs. Those things spelled trouble. His gaze lowered. Yep, the look was complete. Barefoot, with bright purple painted toenails.

"Hi, Mac. Sorry about the soaking. The little booger got away from me."

Uncomfortable with the appreciative way she was eyeing him so openly, he pressed his lips together in a disapproving scowl. "You should be a little more careful. Someone could get hurt."

Her lips twitched at the corners. "This coming from a cage fighter? How ... ironic."

How in the hell did she know he fought? He glanced at Lance, who was watching the exchange with amusement.

"What I do has no bearing on the matter," Mac said, returning his attention to Gayle.

"Really? I'd say fists have a better chance of inflicting more damage than my poor little water gun."

Mouthy thing, wasn't she?

She sauntered closer to him, an alarming sway to her hips. The fact that he noticed horrified him.

"Let me rectify the damage. Dinner. My place. Eight o'clock."

At a loss for words, Mac blinked. Not that he hadn't been asked out before by a woman. He had. Just not so bluntly.

"I have better things to do than play tea party." He needed to get control of the situation. She might find it fun to hit on older men, but he wasn't going to be a part of it.

Those twitching lips split into a full grin, revealing a radiant smile brimming with mischief and mirth.

"Come on, handsome. I make a mean cup of tea."

He got the craziest idea she was laughing at him. He shot a glance at Lance for help, who grinned and shrugged.

"That's Gayle," he said. "She holds nothing back."

A throaty chuckle that was all woman came from her, and an odd sensation crackled in Mac's chest. Frowning, he instinctively moved into his fighter stance, preparing to mentally knock that unwanted feeling into submission.

She either noticed his defensive movement or decided to change tactics, because she stopped in her advance and studied him in an extremely unnerving way that made him shift his feet. "Well, I'll let you get settled in."

She turned and started to walk away, Skylar right on her heels. Mac breathed a sigh of relief. She'd picked up on his disinterest and was taking the hint.

The relief was short-lived as she glanced over her shoulder at him. "See you at eight, handsome."

Her eyes eased up his body with such appreciation he felt it all the way to his groin. Another husky chuckle came from her as she turned her head back around. The seductive sway of her jeans-covered backside held him captivated. Mac shook himself, appalled he was gawking.

He spun on his friend. "She's trouble, Lance."

"Gayle? Ah, you'll love her."

"Really? What could I possibly have in common with someone that young? For that matter, what do you have in common with her? For God's sake, Lance, she's teetering on the edge of jailbait for guys like us."

Lance laughed. "Dude, she's thirty-two."

Mac whipped his head back toward her. She and Lance's little girl had made their way to the side of the house. She was only four years younger than him? "No way."

"Way. She has a damn doctorate in meteorology or something to that effect. But don't feel bad, okay? I made the same mistake when I met her. I even asked where her parents were after she moved in. I got the same amused reaction. She knew you thought she was young. She's a lot of fun. She doesn't have a filter, though. So be prepared."

Okay, so the age difference was a no-go as a reason to stay the fuck away from her. Damn it, he didn't like that. Didn't like his reaction to her. He needed something negative to focus on. She seemed to be a handful. Two handfuls, actually. And he didn't have time for a handful. Or any woman, for that matter. "I don't need to prepare, because I'm not going."

"Come on, Mac. She doesn't bite." He nudged him. "Unless you want her to."

Mac jerked back, scowling. "I don't want her to bite anything. I have absolutely zero interest in women."

Except for just now. And it completely freaked his shit.

His friend sobered. "Wait. Are you telling me you haven't dated at all since ... It's been over four years, Mac."

"Yeah. That's exactly what I'm saying."

"I knew it." Lance scratched the back of his head and gave a derisive snort. "I told Piper she was wrong, but I let her convince me otherwise. Damn it."

At his friend's sudden change in attitude, Mac's defensive shield locked into place. "What the fuck are you talking about, man?"

"That cold motherfucker I've been watching on the TV for the last few years. The one who is short with reporters. Never smiles. That's not for show. That's who you are now." Lance glared at Mac. "I told you to stay here. That leaving your home wasn't going to fix anything, but you were adamant. Now look at you ... you didn't heal. You're hollow. Lifeless. Ally would be horrified."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Winning Love by Abby Niles, Nina Bruhns. Copyright © 2014 Abby Niles. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Abby Niles has always loved to read. After having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started doodling stories to keep her sanity. She didn't plan for writing to become an obsession, but it did. Today, she juggles work, home life, and writing. It's not always easy, but hey, who said life was easy? When Abby's not writing, you can find her playing ‘Just Dance' with her kids or trying to catch up on her never-ending to-be-read list.

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Winning Love (A Love to the Extreme Novel) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written but couldn't find the love for the characters. Gayla seemed childish and not a good fit for Mac
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the main characters and story
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a well written book, with a sexy fighter and a likeable heroine...love the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story.. Gayle seemed a bit immature at times, more so in the beginning, but it picked up well with an overall good read.
MJHughes12 More than 1 year ago
Wow – what an intense read. I really enjoyed Mac and Gayle’s story and just loved watching Gayle help Mac begin to heal from the losses he has suffered. I just love a damaged hero, and when you throw in a heroine that is every bit as damaged as the hero but has chosen an entirely different path to help cope with her losses, you have a recipe for some fun interactions, lots of playful banter, and some serious emotional outbursts that go straight to your heart. It was so much fun watching Gayle’s antics throughout the book. From her constant challenges to Mac that she used as a way to get him to do things he normally wouldn't do – like play Twister or attend a Zumba class – to her ability to know just when to push and when to pull back as she navigates the battlefield that is Mac’s heart, Gayle constantly had me laughing and admiring her ability to give Mac just what he needed, just when he needed it. Mac could be so infuriating at times, but once he finally gives in and acknowledges his attraction to Gayle and commits to taking things further with her, you could see just what a sweet, caring man he was. In my opinion, Ms. Niles does a wonderful job describing the tornado activity in the book, and was able to communicate the emotional trauma that can happen when something like a tornado rips your whole world away from you– whether you are there to witness it first hand, or have to carry on and survive when everyone you love has been taken from you. Having never gone through anything like this, for me it really worked, and it just reinforced the fact that there are so many things that we don’t control – Mother Nature being one of them. I haven’t read the previous two books in this series, but didn't feel that I needed to in order to enjoy this one. I really hope we get to see Mac’s friend Lance get his HEA in an upcoming book – he so deserves it! If you are looking for an intense read that will take you for an emotional ride, this one is it! I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for an honest review.
WorldsCollide More than 1 year ago
A thrilling, emotional romance, Winning Love was a wonderful read. I really liked this book. From the dark pasts of the characters, to the danger of the tornadoes, there was never a dull moment with this book and I enjoyed it. Gayle and Mac were both great. Gayle was strong and determined to live life to the fullest. But, after being burned by love more than once, she kept a part of herself hidden from her vivacious lifestyle. Mac, on the other hand, was up front about the walls he constructed for himself. And, it was a formidable one. But, beyond it, he was a sweet and intensely loyal man who felt everything deeply. When he loved, he loved all the way. I thought they were both excellent characters. The romance was wonderful. I liked how they both helped each other move on, not by trying to change each other, but by each accepting the other entirely. And, they definitely had a lot of steamy chemistry. I thought they were a lovely couple. The plot was well paced and I was kept interested the entire way through. The deep emotions and threat of danger from the tornadoes kept the story engaging. I enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. Winning Love was a wonderful contemporary romance that I really enjoyed reading. Romance lovers, this is a book worth checking out. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series but just didn't care for this one and I live in Kansas have never been in a tornado but have seen the aftermath first hand. I liked Mac but didn't like Gayle. She seemed too cocky for someone like him. I guess you cant expect to love all the characters..
IreneC More than 1 year ago
4 solid stars Winning love was such a good read, I couldn't put it down! Mac "The Snake" Hannon, MMA fighter, was still fighting demons from a tragedy in Kansas that destroyed his life four years ago. Lance, a childhood friend, needs Mac to help him train for a fight. Because Lance once saved Mac's life, he agrees, reluctantly.  Gayle Matthews is Lance's neighbor, she's sassy, has no-filtered, smart mouthed, flirtatious, and sexy as hell just the person Mac doesn't need or want in his life, or so he thinks ;P  Gayle comes across as this carefree and confident girl but what no one knows is that Gayle is fighting her own demons and the front people see is all for show to hide her own pain and insecurities.  The chemistry between Mac and Gayle was fabulous. Both hurt and grieving from the past find comfort in one another. I loved seeing them open up and bring down their walls.  This was a passionate and emotional read, it had it all. I laughed at their antics and the way that neither one could back away from a challenge. Still smiling at some of their dares :D  They were perfect for each other, they knew it as well but could the fear of the future and the unknown be something they could get over?  This book is about second chances and facing ones fears. Its about hope and redemption and what people will do for love. Abby Niles has written an excellent story with lovable and relatable characters that will touch your hearts. Winning Love is the 3rd book in the Love to the Extreme series, but it absolutely can be read as a standalone. I highly recommend this book and series :)
TDB005 More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to receive an ARC of Winning Love, because after reading Fighting Love a few months ago I was super eager to read Mac’s book. He was just one of those characters that I knew would have a great story, and let me just tell you Abby didn’t disappoint in the least! In the previous book, we catch a tiny glimpses that Mac was haunted by his past, but what I didn’t anticipate was just how truly damaged he was inside. I honestly couldn’t imagine the type of pain he was dealing with, but I have to say that being paired with Gayle was the perfect combination for them both. They each share a similar past that is affecting their everyday lives in two completely different ways. Mac has closed himself off from getting close to anyone, and has totally closed himself off from his past. Whereas Gayle has decided to live each moment of her life to the fullest, and she tries to help those that she can through her chosen profession. Now although these two have a bit of a rough start, I loved how they couldn’t help but challenge one another and how this led them to finding a common ground. But just when they reach it, they have the rug ripped out from beneath them once again. Guys, parts of this book were just so achingly sad, and my heart hurt for all that Gayle and Mac have endured. If I were in their shoes, I’d find it hard to choose which one of them took the better route to handling that type of loss. I liked that Abby didn’t shy away from the type of conflict that Gayle’s job would present for Mac, but I also loved that Gayle stood her ground and tried to show him the reasons behind what she does, too. I think that it was handled in a fitting way for both of the characters, and I admired Mac’s ability to face his deepest fears. It was also touching how they each helped one another face down what they feared the most from their pasts. The romance aspect between these two was off the charts good, and you could just feel the intensity of their connection despite all the differences that they had. They really were a wonderful couple, and I was so happy they were able to work everything out in the end. Winning love was a thrilling, and oh so very emotional ride that had me on the edge of my seat too many times to count! I enjoyed every moment of it, and I’m definitely looking forward to where Abby takes this series in the future. *I received a review copy from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Cheryl-S More than 1 year ago
Mac "The Snake" Hannon, MMA fighter, was still fighting demons from a tragedy in Kansas that destroyed his life four years ago. Lance, a childhood friend, needs Mac to help him train for a fight. Because Lance once saved Mac's life, he agrees, reluctantly. He wasn't expecting sassy, no-filtered, smart mouthed, flirtatious, and sexy as hell Gayle Matthews. She's Lance's neighbor and just what Mac needs. No one knows that Gayle's fighting her own demons. Will Gayle help Mac heal from the loss of his family by a tornado four years ago or will she push him further away when he finds out exactly what the sexy meteorologist does for a living? Fabulous story! There were so many "LOL" moments. I loved it! The squirt gun incident at the beginning was my favorite. This book contained so many emotions. There were many laughs, some tears, strong emotions, and forgiveness. There were some pretty scary moments as well. This is the third book in the Love to the Extreme Series and in can absolutely be read as a stand alone. I completely enjoyed the wide array of emotions this book put me through. I can't wait to read whatever's next for this very talented author. (hopefully it will be Lance's story) Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Megz_0711 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved every moment of this book. I think the biggest reason why I fell so much in love with it is because of how real it felt. What Mac and Gayle went through and go through is something that could happen to anyone. There wasn't a lot of fluff or "fantasy" that makes you dream of a life like this. It just was. It's been a long time since I've read a book that I felt like, "Hey that could have been me, or someone I know." And that for me made this book ALL the better. Our story is about Mac and his past demons. He left Kansas to outrun his demons and when an old friend calls him up for help, Mac makes a retrurn trip to a place he swore he would never go back to, Kansas, during Tornado season. A few years back Mac had a wife and a huge F5 went through their home town, trapping him and causing mass destruction. In the path of that storm was Mac's house and we find out that she didn't survive and there was another little shock that happened on that horrible day. So he left. He put all anger and everything into fighting and became great at it. Now he's back to help his friend train for a big upcoming fight. Gayle is an interesting character. She doesn't take sh*t from anyone and pretty much speaks what's on her mind. She doesn't have a filter. Of course she finds Mac hawt and pretty much does a lot of things to get his interest and to have a friends with benefits relationship because she doesn't do relationships. Honestly she is probably the best thing to walk into Mac's life because outside of fighting the man doesn't live. And she really helps him start to do that.  However, the downfall to Gayle is.....she's a storm chaser. Sorta. She has a few demons in her closet as well and because of those she chose the profession she did. She follows/chases storms to help warn people and studies the weather. Well when Mac finds out about this, it becomes an issue. Will these two be able to move forward? Or will Mac or Gayle be too stubborn to realize what they truly want and move forward in some manner.  This book was an amazingly great read and I would highly recommend it to anyone that likes a nice romance story with fun and laughter and joking and seriousness and sadness and adventure. This book has it all. Abby Niles is an amazing author and this book didn't fall short in any manner. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
5 Stars! This is another great book to Abby Niles 'A Love To The Extreme' series. Mac is a man who has love and lost and never wants to go back. He just wants to forget the past, forget Kansas, and fight. Gayle, also has love and lost, living without love but living with the love of life. They both have their pasts that could end them before they can even begin. After years of being away from Kansas, Mac is asked to come home to help an old friend to fight. When Mac arrives he meets his friends neighbor, Gayle. She is full of energy and makes the best of her life. Mac wants nothing to with her, but Gayle wants everything to do with him, until their attraction errupts and explodes. But that's when life, their pasts, and serects come out and their realtionship becomes a maybe or maybe not at all. I recommend this book to anyone who has read a book by Abby Niles or anyone who loves a good romance about two people who have to overcome their fears to accept the love that's there. I loved this book and the ones that have come before it. I think Abby is an amazing writer and I cannot wait for her future novels. *I recieved an ARC in exchage for an honest review!
notwest1 More than 1 year ago
I was curious like most of you were about Mac ‘The Snake’ Hannon since his appearance in Julie & Tommy’ story. His past was so heartbreaking and hit entirely too close to home for this Okie. To have this strong powerful, caring alpha male carry around such real demons and be shut off from connections and happiness tore at my heart. Enter Gayle, who isn’t as carefree and fun loving as we initially believe, she has passion for life, and meteorology. She was so fun and had me smiling many a times at her crazy antics. Her passion for storm chasing was palpable and I was pleased to see her drive painted in the positive manner that I have seen several real chasers embody. She encourages Mac to open up and work through his past issues. Of course we are left with some amazingly hot moments, tear inducing ones, and laugh out loud ones as well. I would still like to see Brody get his own story, and now I am anxiously awaiting Lance’s as well. This was a complimentary e-copy from the publisher/author via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review. 
MJSanders1021 More than 1 year ago
I started this book after watching Into the Storm at the theaters. My love for tornados, chasers, or action of them is what had me wanting to read this book. What I didn't expect was the realness in which Abby made me feel by reading it. It was as if I was right there feeling the rain, fighting the winds, hiding for debris, and fighting to survive. I guess you could say I am a thrill chaser myself but this was a book that brings all your emotions to the surface.  The characters struggles, nightmares, and devotion are so pleasantly displayed you have no choice but to grasp hold and hang on for the ride. Wonderfully written and Abby acknowledgement was heart wrenching as well. We don't know what many go through during an event but are heart goes out to them just the same.
2_PMVH More than 1 year ago
A tough MMA cage fighter needs a GAYLE force twister to detonate the shell around his heart! Mac "The Snake" Hannon is a MMA cage fighter, who lives to beats out all his feelings out on his opponents. Just 4 years old, he was happily married, had his 1st child on the way & loved his job as a Chef at famous foody restaurant. That all changed after a tornado whipped thru town & trapped him at work under a sink looking at a car bumper above his head. As he was resuced, he was surrounded by destruction, dead bodies & totally carnage everywhere. When he saw the debris left of his home, he slowly dug his beautiful & dead pregnant wife out & left his heart buried with her. Now he just a shell of a man with nothing, but the man who pulled him out of the ashes, Lance, begs him to come back home & help him, so he is. Gayle Matthews is a leap & then look kind of girl who grabs life by the horns & never looks back. She just moved in behind Lance & helps with his little girl, Skylar, as a fill in sitter. Since she is a big kid at heart, she enjoys every moment of it. To look & see Gayle, you couldn't guess she lost her whole family & her high school sweetheart by a tornado. She hides her abandonment issues by hiding it will her carefree & free spirit life. Mac meets Gayle at the wet end of a water gun & she keeps trying to crack his forged shield with laughter, sexual teasing & she is willing to take him to her bed if she has too! Mac tries so hard not to let her smile, laugh & playfulness knock him back into the land of living, but Gayle starts to chip away his harden shell. They start with pizza making, a sexy PG rated game of Twister (HELLO small girl playing), Zumba hilariousness & sexy, not PG rated, choke hold session to bring slow simmer & then boiling over lust fest between these 2. But on the Mud Run, Mac turns a corner & is ready to take the hellion to any available surface via a home cooked meal from his hands. When they get down & dirty, he worships her body like he is reading braille & she loves his dominating, take charge & hard against the table & wall style. All that changes the next morning when she answer a call & goes storm chasing & Mac is horrified, pissed off & wants nothing to do with her. How can he be with someone who chases what devastated his whole life? How can Gayle give up helping & saving people with better storm information? Talk about being between a rock & a hard place. These 2 go on a soul search, greatest fear embracing, heart wrenching & frenzied fever of sexy passions filled journey thru a cruel & sometimes vengeful Mother Nature. Can Mac embrace her world or walk away forever? Can Gayle give up her work of saving & helping lives for his heart? How will Mother Nature kick them in the a$$? I requested this book because my inner Cover HO did her HAPPY DANCE for the amazing cover. Everyone should look at the TRUST tattoo across his sexy abs & I love a cover that reflects the storyline. Mac had the word TRUST tattooed because his dead wife always TRUSTED everything. The tat did become a gravestone around his neck thou, but Gayle removed that weight. I did think a meteorologist name Gayle was a "Up Yours" to the movie Scream & can tell Ms. Niles loves to laugh. She had such great kooky moments in her story & I totally feel that laughter does heal open wounds. Mac is a hero who has a heart that has been duct taped together again & to heal it Gayle had to RIP it all off. Can you say, "OUCH!" The heroine Gayle was a smart a$$, but she loved to hide all her pain behind her free spirit attitude. Gayle was a character that I could relate to & loved because I had a great friend after my mom died just like her, full of life given brightness that I truly needed. That great friend was my sister, who also hide her own personal guilt & pain behind her fake sunny self. This storyline was hard to read with all the emotion flowing out of me. I had many totally ugly cries, big belly laughs, once I even hyperventilated & scared my furry grandbaby, scream naughty words at Mac stupidity & I had to shared my Hello Kitty tissues with Gayle because she was so heart broken. Ms. Niles is a new-to-me author (insert pompoms here) & I have already "friend requested" her Facebook page & LIKED her Amazon page (I am #56) because I will be grabbing as many of her books my itsy bitsy payday can handle! The small look at Dante & Tommy in this book has just whetted my book COSMOS for more! I love to find a new AWESOME author & Abby Niles is on my list now, but don't worry Ms. Niles I only STALK the best one, so WATCH OUT! I must give her my top score of 5 fingers up & 10 toes for this emotional filled carnal feed romance read! NetGalley ARC given for my honest review!
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
WINNING LOVE is the third instalment in Abby Niles contemporary adult Love to the Extreme romance series focusing on the men of the MMA and the women that they love. This is professional MMA fighter Mac Hannon and meteorologist Gayle Andrews’s storyline. When Mac returns home to Kansas (following a four year absence) to help train his best friend Lance for his upcoming fight he was not prepared for the spitfire known as Gayle Andrews-Lance’s neighbor; sometime babysitter and all woman. Although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone without any problems. The storyline follows Mac as he tries to come to terms with everything that has destroyed his life. Kansas brings with it too many painful memories of loss, heartbreak and fear. The one shining spot is his best friend’s neighbor –a woman who doesn’t take no for an answer-but a woman with secrets of her own. As Gayle endeavors to get Mac to open she will soon discover that what she does for a living is the very thing that could send Mac back into the spiral from hell. The relationship between Mac and Gayle begins as friends. She is the yin to his yang; she pushes Mac to step outside of his comfort zone and in doing so discovers that she is falling for the man with a heartbreaking past. The sex scenes are hot, seductive and sensual. But both Mac and Gayle know that neither one is in it for the long haul: Mac is a man who is unable to let go of the past and Gayle is a woman who has knows what Mac is trying so desperately to hide. The world building continues as the series focuses on the men of the MMA fighting ring. When Lance enters a local competition, Mac finds himself in need of a fight to let off some aggression. What he doesn’t realize is that this fight will set into motion a series of events that could very well end his career. WINNING LOVE is a captivating and emotional storyline where two people share more in common then they could have ever imagined.  Their backstories are filled with love and loss; pain and sorrow; letting go and moving on. But only one person has been able to let go while the other still clings to a personal guilt that eats away one day at a time. Abby Niles’s LOVE TO THE EXTREME series will captivate and compel. The romances are intimate and intense; the friendships are real; and the storylines are provocative and arousing.
bouncyberthaCR More than 1 year ago
3 - "We sure as hell aint in Kansas anymore." Stars. Winning Love by Abby Niles is the third book in the Love in the Extreme series. It follows the same easy-going romance themes as it predecessors, so if you are looking for a dark, dirty, gritty MMA fighter romance, I would probably say this isn’t the book you are looking for. ”I’m not going to ask” … “If or when you want to talk about it is up to you, but I’m a good listener, Mac… if you ever need an ear.” Although Mac ‘The Snake’ Hannon, is a MMA fighter this book doesn’t really offer the reader much in the way of cage-fighting. He has travelled back to Kansas, to train his old friend Lance for his upcoming fights, his plan is to get-in, get the job done and get-out again, revisiting the past is not something he is looking to do, unfortunately it hits him head on in the form of Gayle Matthews. ”You haven’t experienced the full Gayle yet. I’m all kinds of trouble.” This story is less about fighting and more about Mac dealing with his past, and trying to move on with a woman who in essence represents the thing that took everything good from his life 4 years previously. Gayle also has secrets, secrets that help Mac to try and understand why she does what she does, but it is a battle for him to see past the loss and pain he has already experienced, especially when he has to watch Gayle face that danger willingly on a regular basis. I liked this book, I didn’t love it… there is a lot of what I call action – reaction – response, going on in it, Mac is very much a ‘react and respond’ to Gayle’s actions, and Gayle is usually the one ‘acting and the responding’ to Mac’s reactions… ”For a man who can be so predictable, you keep surprising me.” I liked that this is a couple that are both in their thirties, they have life experience and the drama for the most part wasn’t overplayed. I found warming to Gayle a little bit of a struggle; she is zesty, spunky and full of life, all good things but I also found her at times to be a little too pushy and aggressive as well. This did work with regards to her interactions with Mac though, I think he needed someone to push his buttons and pull him out of the rut that he had sunk into over the past four years. ”Even crazy Gayle knows when to back off.” If you liked the first two books in the Love in the Extreme series, I have no doubt you will enjoy this installment too. Looking forward to seeing where Abby takes this series next. ARC generously provided via Netgalley, in exchange for the above honest review.
FizzaYounis More than 1 year ago
This is the firs Abby Niles' book I have read but it won't be the last. I absolutely loved it! It is a story about two damaged people who healed each other. The both went through tragedy which changed them forever.  Mac choose to close himself after losing his family, while Gayle tried to free herself. But both were in fact doing the same thing, i.e. running from the realities of life. Then they met each other and things changed. Gayle was intrigued by grumpy fighter and Mac was falling in love with thrilling storm-chaser. Together they went through series of events that thought them to accept their respective pasts and move on to the future. There have been a lot of "swoon worthy" moments in this book. I loved Mac and Gayle's couple. They challenged and brought out the best in each other. I recommend this book to all romance lovers.
JillianReadLoveBlog More than 1 year ago
Winning Love is the third book in author Abby Niles’ Love to the Extreme series and the first in the series I have read. I’m a little sad I hadn’t picked up this series earlier because this book was amazing. Like read in a day, can’t put it down, ignore all responsibilities kind of amazing. Mac “The Snake” Hannon has been running from his past for four long years. He’s tried to push the nightmare aside and ignore it every time it rears its ugly head. The problem is, you can never truly outrun your past. It always comes back to haunt you. Never before has that been more true than right now when he returns to the very place that holds those nightmarish memories. Kansas. Where his hopes and dreams were crushed when a tornado came through and took it all away from him. The only reason he was back was because his old friend needed him and he would never leave his friend hanging. Hopefully he could be distracted enough while he was here to ignore the ever-present pain of his broken past. Enter Gayle. The feisty, fun, entertaining and beautiful neighbor. She could certainly be a great distraction for Mac while he was here. But he didn’t do relationships of any kind. Not anymore. He just needed to look to his past to be reminded of why. Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Andrews sure was intrigued by the handsome man staying with her neighbor…not only because he was built and gorgeous but because he had a permanent scowl that was just begging to be erased. Of course she would happily volunteer to do just that. She has learned the hard way to live life to the fullest, every day, because you never knew when it could be your last. She had a feeling he would be a tough nut to crack but she had plenty of time to work on it. Tornado season hadn’t started yet and even though she watched her neighbor’s, and Mac’s friend’s, daughter from time to time, she still had plenty of calendar to fill. Mac didn’t know it yet, but he’d be that filler, and he’d be doing it without a scowl…come hell or high water. Together both Mac and Gayle have heartbreaking pasts and have both dealt with crushing loss in their own ways. Mac has tried to hide it, and shove it down inside while Gayle has tried to learn from it and come away stronger. With two very different ways of coping, can they be united in their grief and learn to live and love again? I am typing this while in a serious book hangover. Man, I loved this book. This wasn’t the typical fighter book in the sense that Mac’s MMA fighting really took a back seat to the rest of the story. Mainly this was a story about healing and overcoming tragedy and it was done so damn well. (I don’t want to give away the reasons behind Mac and Gayle’s loss so bear with me) Mac has been trying, pretty unsuccessfully, to ignore his pain. He left his former career, got into fighting and hasn’t looked back. Which really only lead him in succeeding in letting the old wound fester and never truly heal. Gayle has been through her own personal hell but has really risen above and turned it into the driving force behind her current work with tornadoes. Two very different ways of coping. Fitting because Gayle and Mac are two very different personalities. You know what they say, though…opposites attract. The attraction is almost immediate and even though Gayle has her work cut out for her, she didn’t give up on Mac. Little by little she worked her magic and it was beautiful to read Mac opening up. However there was that one subject that Mac had to warm up to sharing….his past. It almost proved to be the end of their yet-to-develop relationship. I was a nervous wreck that Mac would never be able to move on. But he had never had Gayle by his side, willing to help him, supporting him along the way. I went through so many emotions while reading this book. My heart broke for Mac. I wanted him to have his happy ever after and I wanted it to be with Gayle. Luckily Abby wrote one hell of a fantastic ending and it made all my angsting over the two of them worth it! Also, another great aspect of this story was Abby’s writing on the storm chasing scenes. Whoa, they were intense and played out like a movie in my mind’s eye while I was reading. Well done, Abby. Ok…hopefully I haven’t bored you with this really long review and you get an idea of just how amazing this story was. Full of emotion and intensity with just enough heat added in, Winning Love made it to my list of faves for this year. Thank you, Abby, for a phenomenal read.