Below the Belt: A Worth the Fight Novel

Below the Belt: A Worth the Fight Novel

by Sidney Halston

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In a sizzling MMA romance from Sidney Halston (“An author to watch!”—Cherry Adair), a former title contender turns the tables on his knockout trainer with a lesson in seduction.
Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.
Don’t miss Sidney Halston’s Panic series:
And look for all of her hard-hitting MMA romances:

Praise for Sidney Halston’s Against the Cage
Against the Cage is funny, steamy, scorching—and holy hot MMA fighter, I wanted more! Five stars all the way!”New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Toni Aleo
“A steamy and fun romance that will leave readers begging for more!”New York Times bestselling author Cherry Adair
“Halston’s new series opener creates an organic and sensual dynamic between Jack and Chrissy that makes an easy buy-in for readers. And if the story isn’t endearing enough, Jack’s feisty Chihuahua/pit bull mix will have readers instantly hooked and eagerly awaiting the second series installment.”Library Journal
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from another Loveswept title.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553390988
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/10/2015
Series: Worth the Fight , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 105,232
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

USA Today bestselling author Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “Just do it.” And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.

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Below the Belt: A Worth the Fight Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 31 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
## This was a good read and I did enjoy it, but i liked the first book "Against the Cage" better. I haven't read the second book yet because I couldn't stand Slade and his man whorish ways, so I'm not sure about that one. What bothered me the most about this story was the hero's accent. "Ju know ju love me", and "bullchit", etc...the "ju" instead of you was just too much for me. And the heroine was a tad wishy washy. If I had to hear one more time "I don't want a relationship"....ugh. Also, when Rodrigo (ex) admitted to only cheating on her once, she seemed OK with that. Huh? Cheating is cheating. Helllooo? Her character just seemed very inconsistent. However, these are my issues alone and definitely won't keep me from reading again. Off to buy the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms. Halston for every woman who hides the hurt with a kick ass attitude.....thank you. I too have fought this battle and won with the love of a.wonderful man. You really captured the heart of what sometimes a strong woman is hiding and that you can come through it. Well done.
BuckeyeAngel More than 1 year ago
Antonio “Scarface” Marino was a top MMA fighter who was just as well known for his antics outside the ring as in. The one woman that won’t fall for his charm is his boss Francesca. At a friend’s wedding, she finally seems to be warming up to him. Little does he know that the ultimate prize he he’s after is her heart. This was a pretty good book. Tony is definitely something else (totally in a good way) and Francesca is basically a bundle of scars that he’s determined to heal. I really enjoyed it and recommend it. **I received an ARC of this story in exchange for an honest review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is a must read. I love them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
More_Than_A_Review More than 1 year ago
Below the Belt by Singey Halston is book three in her MMA (mixed martial arts) romance. I have not read the other two books and felt this one stood on its own. The other characters are part of the gym and the circle of friends so you may be interested enough to go back and read their stories. Francesca owns Worth The Fight gym/training facility and is a Brazillian bombshell. She is tough as nails and can kick butt literally and figuratively. I liked her character except for the excessive profanity. She has an interesting backstory, you are routing for her to accept her feelings for Tony. You are fighting for her to not lose her gym. Tony is a likeable character (maybe because he did his skirt chasing in the other books and not in this one). In Below the Belt he is focused on Francesca. He has his own issues – jealousy and a terrible temper. One minute he is borderline vulgar and the next minute you are sighing as he is so sweet and attentive to Francesca’s issues. He understands her and doesn’t give up on her. You can see my full review at More Than a Review dot com where I rate the level of sex, violence, language and drug/alcohol use in books.
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CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
This is my first Worth the Fight book and I already want more.     I was unsure what to expect when starting but when I finished I was left wanting more of these characters that became my friends.  I was invested in the outcome of this story.  I was unable to stop reading due to needing to know that everyone came out okay.    This doesn’t always happen with a book, but when it does I know it a book, a series, and an author that I will need more from. In the beginning of the story, Francesca and Tony are standoffish, tough, and maybe a little unlikeable.   Yet as their story is told they become people, people with a history that most people would crumble under.  As the story continues, I found myself needing them to settle their pasts, find happiness, and learn to love again.   Francesca has a good reason to be tough, yet she is just a shell of who she really wants to be.   I loved watching her internal struggles and seeing her real self come out.   She fought with everyone she came in touch with, but mostly with herself.   She wanted to love, she wanted to accept Tony into her life, and she wanted to start living.   Eventually she realized that she was holding herself back. Bad ass Tony was just that, a bad ass.   He thought he was tough, beyond hurting.   Yet when Francesca came into his life he learned a new lesson.   The lesson that he has feelings, he can hurt, and he is jealous.    Watching Tony put his party life beyond him and find what he wanted most in life opened my heart.  I felt for him when he was shut out or left alone.   I wanted, no needed, him to be happy.    He deserved it.    Below the Belt is book that I enjoyed.  I will certainly be looking for more from Sidney Halston and this series.  
Bookeroo More than 1 year ago
Francesca was running her dad's place, Worth the Fight Academy, since his health had kept him from doing it. She'd always been a part of it since she was a young girl and now, with her business partner, Slade, she'd do what she had to do to make it work…for her dad. She took on a fighter who had been getting slack with drinking, parties, and women. She knew she could get him back on track and back in fighting shape. Considering all he ever did with her was flirt and constantly ask her out, she thought it may be tougher than she thought. To Tony, Francesca was the one woman he really wanted to get to know, but she wouldn't give him the time of day…except to give him a hard time about his fighting. Maybe they could work out a deal… Below the Belt was engrossing and thought provoking, with a unique set of soul-stirring characters you'll never get enough of. Tony is always provoking someone and Francesca is always trying to smooth things over until he pushes her peaceful attitude into a passionate meltdown. Waiting for those meltdowns will keep the reader on edge and further intrigued with not only the characters, but the intense storyline. The hero and heroine's jealousies, verbal sparring, and ultimate make up sex will warm you through and through. Below the Belt is another sexy fighter romance, but one you won't want to miss! 5 Stars!
Shanrock19 More than 1 year ago
I really love this series! I read the first book and loved it! Haven't had the pleasure of reading the second yet, but it's next on my list! I love the MMA angle, and the guys are alpha without being too overbearing, and they have their flaws, but they are likable enough that you don't hate them. In this book, Tony and Francesca have excellent chemistry, and Tony was just adorable in a feisty alpha way, and Francesca was a strong woman with the right amount of vulnerability. I loved reading about the evolvement of their relationship, and I will continue to read any other books in this series! From what I understand, the next book will feature Cain, and I am really excited for his story, and hopefully it's with Violet!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as good as the first two, but still highly recommended book.
spiritdancer1972 More than 1 year ago
Good plot
Kissablysweetone More than 1 year ago
 Francesca had taken over the gym when her father was no longer able to deal with the day to day operations. She knew they needed a big name MMA fighter to draw attention to the gym.        Antonio 'Scarface' Marino's career was going down the tubes quick. Known for his antics with the ladies and the endless tabloid stories, Tony needed help to turn his career around.        Together, these two will make the gym successful again.  The one problem is they don't get along.  Frances is a no nonsense type person and Tony is all about having fun.  What will it take to bring them together for the sake of the business?      Extremely well written, this book is a fun read.  I enjoyed the slow building and sensual heat between Frances and Tony.  I liked the idea they had to really work to make this happen for them.  It was also really fun to read about places I've actually lived in.  The Florida heat simply added a layer to their already overheated bodies.  You'll recommend this book to your friends.  The characters are relatable and fun.         I found no issues with this one.       I gave this one 5 cheers out of 5 because the heat level was off the charts.  ~Copy of book provided by author in exchange for a fair review~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--BELOW THE BELT is the third installment in Sidney Halston’s adult, contemporary Worth the Fight erotic, romance series focusing on MMA fighters and the women that they love. This is thirty five year old MMA fighter Antonio (Tony) Marino and gym owner Francesca Silva whom we first met in FULL CONTACT (book 2). Although this is the third novel in the series, BELOW THE BELT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. The premise focuses on Tony’s upcoming fight and the building relationship between Tony and Francesca. Francesca and Slade Martin (Full Contact book 2) bought the rights to Tony’s contract, and ‘Worth the Fight’ gym/fight club is hoping to make their money back and more. What ensues is Tony’s pursuit of both the title and Francesca-a woman with a cold façade and an even colder attitude. Francesca’s history with men is limited and full of heartbreak. She is a beautiful, independent heroine with a fragile ego who hides behind a business suit that screams nothing but professional. The storyline and the relationship are slow to build. As Francesca and Slade work to rebuild the gym, Francesca continues to push Tony away at every opportunity and she is a woman who likes to run when the going gets tough. Francesca and Tony both have a quick temper and are even quicker to jump to conclusions as it pertains to their relationship jealousy and other contenders for their heart. As Tony’s championship fight draws near their personalities, egos, wants and need begin to clash until Tony walks away giving Francesca the space she needs to deal with her past. The $ex scenes are intimate, passionate and hot. The colorful secondary and supporting characters include the previous storyline couples and friends, as well as Tony’s large extended family -mother, four sisters, six nieces and a house full of kittens that kept Tony on his toes. We are also introduced to Tony’s next competitor in the ring-a man whose connection to Francesca is a little more than Tony is willing to accept. The author notes on several occasions the distinction between Tony and Francesca’s heritage. Francesca is Brazilian and Tony is Cuban and this seems to be a bit of a bone of contention or at the very least, a delineation or characterization that necessitated several reminders. The writing style was a little choppy early on; I didn’t quite feel invited into the story but once the storyline began to unfold, the flow was smooth with a more welcoming and engaging style. BELOW THE BELT is a story about an alpha male who falls in love with a strong, independent woman whose previous relationship and lack of experience sets the tone for her current dilemma. Francesca knows that to fall in love will only bring heartbreak and sorrow-in this, she is a woman determined never to fall in love again. Sidney Halston invites the reader into the ring, onto the mat, and behind the doors of the MMA fighter. Not only do they fight for their life but they fight for love and a happily ever after.
JensReadingObsession More than 1 year ago
Sexy MMA fighter: Check! Kick-ass heroine: Check! Explosive chemistry: Check! Sexy accent: Check! I love that Francesca can kick ass but still has a vulnerable side that only Tony gets to see. That said, I didn't like the way she pushes him away.  Tony comes off as a cocky SOB, but he is actually a really good guy underneath the public persona. I love that he didn't give up on Francesca. His jealousy goes a bit overboard, but I get that he's never felt what he feels for her.   Great addition to the series although this book has a lot less drama.   ARC received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Mebuffy More than 1 year ago
I liked this book and all, but I do have a few mixed feelings about it.  I like Tony by the end, but never particularly fell in love with him.  He was frequently pretty asinine.  Frances, however, I loved.  She gave in to Tony a little more than I would’ve liked, but their romance wouldn’t have progressed if she hadn’t, and they ended in a good place.  She’s pretty much a badass and I loved all the scenes where she got to showcase that!  Her history of “survival” really resonated with me and I appreciated that part of her past and how it shaped her.   This book stands alone just as well, maybe even better than the last.  The couples from the first two books are there and everything, but this really was very much about Tony and Frances alone.  The story is good, though a little slow at times.  I will say that one thing bothered me: there’s a no-protection love scene and they make kind of a big deal about it, but then protection is never mentioned again.   Overall, I think they compliment each other pretty well and they’re very sweet and sexy, but Tony himself is just a little too rough around the edges for me to really adore them, but I think that’s just me. Below the Belt is a story about two people from opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to romantic histories who learn a lot about themselves and love.  You don’t want to miss this latest installment from Sidney Halston!
KYBookmama More than 1 year ago
I loved the first two books in this MMA series so was shocked when I didn't care for this book! Francesca has taken over her father's MMA gym and Tony is a fighter she took a chance on. He's older for a fighter and everyone thinks he's near washed up but Francesca believes he has more fights in him and can make the gym money. Tony's accent is strong when he's emotional but in one sentence he has an accent and then the next few words he doesn't...not consistent. I felt that the book was wordier than normal...instead of showing us what's going on, we're told what's going on. Also, Francesca would talk to a friend about Tony and we would hear, again, what had just happened. Too wordy. I will read the next book as I do like this series...just not this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one. Wonderful writer keep it up, don't ever stop. Your stories are amazing.
burns_erin More than 1 year ago
I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  I simply could not do it. This book was impossible for me to get into. While I enjoyed Against the Cage and Full Contact I simply could not get into this book. Antonio was such a spoiled, self entitled, petulent jerk I felt like I had been dropped into a young adult or new adult novel rather than a novel about grown ups. And once the accent started being typed in, I was out. It was like nails scraping down a chalkboard for me. Halston in general seems to write light, fluffy humorous romance, so for the person who can get past this first part (and I am doubting that it is all that much of the book considering I jumped to the end and that wasn't bad at all), they will probably enjoy it. It just isn't for me and I just could not do it.
psee More than 1 year ago
4 Star Review This is the third book in Halston's Worth The Fight series. Tony showed up at the club and doesn't have the best reputation. He is cocky and he makes poor choices. But he is interested in Francesca and is willing to try to change his ways for her. Francesca has walked this road before. If her father didn't love this gym and if he wasn't in poor health she likely wouldn't be working with Slade to get the club back to the top. There is something about Tony that gets to her but being hurt before she isn't sure she wants her heart to get involved. Tony is sexy though and the chemistry is there so she figures a little fun wouldn't be bad. This story was good but it didn't have the same draw as the last book did. Neither of the characters were endearing to me so I guess I wasn's as excited for their story. Now Cain and Violet, that one I'm dying to get my hands on. Regardless, the pace of the story was good and since the other favorites from the past books show up it helps to tie the series together nicely. Tony and Francesca's story wound up being sweeter than I had imagined though Francesca's behavior and indecision at times was a little annoying. My impression of Tony did dramatically change throughout the story and I think Halston did a great job portraying his mother, she was a typical Spanish mom. As I mentioned, I can't wait to find out more about Cain and Violet. Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ravenwolf_EPTX More than 1 year ago
Stands Alone, but best if read in order. Score: 3.7 Below the Belt (Worth the Fight, # 3) by Sidney Halston  February 10, 2015 288 pages, approximately Romance: Contemporary, Sports ** Provided by Netgalley in Exchange for an Honest Review. ** -- From the Cover --  In Sidney Halston’s latest sizzling MMA romance, a former title contender turns the tables on his knockout trainer with a lesson in seduction. Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch? Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat. This is a hard one for me to  rate and review. It is quite obviously a later book in a series, as evidenced by most of the characters already having a history with one another, including our two main characters. It CAN stand alone and the author DOES do a pretty good job at trying to fill in some of the back stories, but it would have been greatly beneficial to read the previous books prior to this, I think. Antonio is a testosterone-laden hothead who has a few redeeming moments here and there, but I had a hard time really liking him, let alone falling for him. Francesca seems to wall herself off from others while portraying herself to be completely independent and strong, seemingly incapable of feeling emotion.  The secondary characters are an interesting mixture, including the stereotypical hyper-aggressive Chihuahua. The dialogue and interaction is mostly good, but there are times that I just want to smack both of them for the crap that comes out of their mouths. It's a bit frustrating. The flow of writing is smooth, but the plot is a bit flat. While the cover caught my eye and plot initially grabbed me, compelling me to read it, the overall journey was not as dynamic as I'd hoped it would be. The conflicts that the plot is ridden with are usually resolved in mature and timely manners. There was little predictability and the hero and heroine get a solidly concluded ending. There is a slight opening / lead-in for Cain and Violet's story to pick up next. -------------------- Heat Level: 4 -------------------- Score: 3.7 Stars: 4 -------------------- Tina J @ Unbound Passion Reviewing for: Smut Book Junkie Reviews -and- Tangled Hearts and Boxer Briefs