He's the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster
With the life he's led and the muscles he's gained, Armie Jacobson isn't afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter's effect on him. It's not just that she's his best friend's little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that's all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.
Good girl meets bad boy. It's a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they're both about to learn what's truly worth fighting for
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"Jesus, Quick. You're a freak of nature. You know that, right?"
Armie Jacobson, known as Quick to his fighter friends, ignored the complaint and threw a few more jabs, then a solid body shot, making Justice, a six-foot-five heavyweight, double over. Stepping back, Armie flexed his hands, bounced on the balls of his feet and waited.
Unfortunately, Justice only put his hands on his knees and sucked air.
Frowning, Armie removed his mouthpiece. "Seriously? Come on, dude. Let's go."
"Screw you." Schlepping back to his corner, Justice grabbed up a water bottle. He doused his head and chest and then started chugging.
Aware of others watching, Armie said nothing. Everyone worked out, trained and sparred in the rec center, but lately, whenever he did, a dozen or more people stopped to watch. He didn't mind an audience. Hell, he couldn't be a competitor if he did. For the most part he paid no attention. Once he got in the cage, he went into a zone and the world receded.
But this insane ogling shit, as if he was a damned sideshow, bugged him big-time.
A trickle of sweat tracked down his temple from his headgear, and he swiped a forearm over his face. His muscles burned and more sweat soaked his chest, abs and rolled down his spine. He was figuring out what to say to Justice to get him back in action when he picked up her scent. The faint perfume cut through the rec center air, thick with the smells of sweaty men working hard.
Trying to look casual, Armie stared at Justice but in his peripheral vision he saw her striding across the room. No mistaking that long-legged gait, or that longer dark hair. He swallowed, frozen.
"What?" Justice asked, sounding both suspicious and ridiculously alarmed with the way Armie had locked onto him.
Armie shook his headand thankfully Merissa disappeared into the hallway leading to the offices.
Releasing a breath, he looked toward the clock and frowned. Yeah, they'd been at it for a while, maybe longer than he'd intended. His cardio was better than most, definitely better than Justice's, the big lug.
Armie walked over to him. "You need to get more gas in the tank."
"Go fuck yourself."
When Armie grinned, Justice eyed him warily. "Stop it."
That switched his grin to a frown. "Bitchy much?"
Justice slouched against the wall and glared back. "You shouldn't be able to grin, you prick. You should be as tired as me."
A natural trainer, Armie took pity on him. "You're a lot bigger." As a six-foot-tall middleweight, Armie stood five inches shorter and weighed a lot less than Justice.
"Lotta good it does me."
Squatting down in front of him, Armie said low, "People are watching, so stop whining."
Justice's gaze slipped past him and he groaned.
"Yeah, the big dogs are here again." Damned nosy bastards. Ever since he'd signed with the SBC, the powers-that-be had been scoping him out like their newest lab rat. "Stand up, go another two minutes with me, then we'll call it quits."
Huffing out a breath, Justice lumbered to his feet. "Freak of nature," he muttered again, but he followed Armie out to the center of the ring, and he did his best.
His best was nowhere near good enough against Armie.
But then, they fought for very different reasons.
Twenty minutes later, fresh from the showers, Armie was ready to head out. The mid-February weather left frost on every surface, so he tugged on a stocking hat over his still-wet hair and pulled a thick hooded sweatshirt on over his clothes. Carrying his gym bag, he entered the main area cautiously. This late in the day, the mats were now cleared. Miles and Brand took their turn mopping with sanitizer. Many of the lights were turned down and only the core group of friends remained, clustered together in conversation.
The SBC heads were gone, and better still, he didn't see Merissa anywhere. She'd probably just been dropping off paperwork for her brother, Cannon, who owned the rec center.
Relieved, Armie started for the door. With any luck, he'd manage it before someone stopped him
Damn. After a slight hesitation, he turned to where Denver, Stack and Cannon all stood together. "What's this? The three Married Musketeers?"
Stack, who'd only married a month ago, reeked of satisfaction. "Aw, he's jealous."
Yup. But since he'd die before admitting it, Armie said, "Nope."
Denver, still a newlywed himself, grinned. "Probably lonely, too, poor guy."
Very. Groupies, orgies and random one-night stands could only take a guy so far. He had a rep for sexual excess, and that's what the ladies wanted from him. That, and nothing more.
Checking the time, Armie said, "I could be lonely with three very nice ladies if you yahoos would let me leave."
Unlike the others, Cannon didn't laugh. "Seriously?
Why the hell did his best friend have to sound so disapproving? And if he knew why Armie had made those plans, he'd probably be pissed as well as disapproving, because it was thoughts of Cannon's little sis that he worked so hard to obliterate. Not that a foursome would accomplish much beyond taking the edge off. His obsession with Merissa seemed to amplify by the day.
Copping an attitude, Armie shrugged. "Yeah, really. Unless you have something" or someone "better for me to do?"
"As a matter of fact, that's why I wanted to talk to you."
Well hell. He hadn't figured on that. Armie ran a hand over his hair. "Then let's hear it."
"Yvette wanted everyone to come over tonight to hang out and visit."
Armie adored Yvette. She was perfect for Cannon and a real sweetheart. But damn "Who all will be there?"
With a very knowing smile, Cannon said, "Everyone important to us. So don't miss it."
Double damn. Merissa definitely counted as important.
Armie didn't want to, but with all the guys eyeballing him, how could he refuse? "What time?"
Armie scowled. "What do you mean, now?"
"Now, as in you don't have time to do anything else, so forget it."
Justice came dragging out, his faux-hawk hair still wet, his goatee in need of a trim, and his cauliflower ears worse than ever. He shoulder-bumped Armie as he passed. "If you hadn't been determined to cripple me, maybe you'd have had more time for playing."
"Wuss," Armie accused with a grin.
"He has a point," Brand said as he pushed a mop bucket toward them.
Miles, giving one last swipe of the mat, followed him. "Keep pushing that hard and you're liable to hurt something before the competition."
"I still have two months." Two months of freedom and he'd spend it however he wanted. Sure, Armie knew there were established training methods, but they weren't for him. Never had been, never would beno matter who he fought for.
"This isn't local fighting anymore," Denver reminded him.
As if he'd forget.
"Carter Fletcher isn't a slouch," Miles added. "You might not walk through him like you do the local guys."
"They call him Chaos for a reason." Brand frowned. "I've seen him fight and he's unpredictable."
Yeah, so his first opponent was supposed to be a stud. Big deal. Armie shrugged to show he didn't really care. Not that long ago the SBC, the most widely known MMA organization, had run him to ground and all but coerced him into signing on with them. Cannon had helped with that, pushing him to take the next step since he'd already demolished all the records in local venues.
It was a big step, too, something all the other guys had worked for. The SBC paid a lot more and offered incredible name recognition. Their fighters traveled the world to compete.
But Armie liked being low-key; it was a hell of a lot safer for multiple reasons. If it wasn't for Cannon
"He'll do fine against Carter," Cannon said. "And don't worry about his training. Armie motivates differently, that's all."
Always, no matter what, Cannon had his back. As the only other person to know why he'd avoided fame and fortune, Cannon understood. They weren't related, but they were brothers all the same.
Which was the second biggest reason he couldn't, shouldn't, crave Merissa the way he did. Cannon protected those he loved.
And he loved his sister a lot.
"It's getting late," Cannon added. "Don't want to keep Yvette waiting."
Glad for the switch in topic, Armie pulled out his phone. "Guess I better make some calls and let the ladies know I won't make it after all."
Stack looked at Denver. "If it was anyone but Armie, I'd think he was making it up."
"Lonely," Denver confirmed. Armie walked away knowing they were right.
Merissa Colter leaned against the counter in the kitchen, sipping a wine cooler and watching as Yvette prepared a platter of lunch meat and cheeses. "You sure you don't want my help?"
Yvette flashed her a happy smile. "There's not that much to do. Besides, you're dressed so cute tonight, I don't want to risk you getting messy."
Looking down at herself, Merissa said, "I just felt like a change, you know?"
Smile sly, Yvette nodded, then wiped her hands on the apron she wore. "It's nice for a lady to switch things up every now and then. And with your long legs, that's a good look for you."
"Vanity shopped with me." Vanity was Yvette's best friend, now Stack's wife, and a regular fashion plate without trying. "She insisted on the boots."
"With heels," Yvette enthused, since Merissa almost always wore flats. "I approve."
"It's just that I'm so blasted tall"
"Like a model."
"I don't know." More often than not, she felt gangly, not model-worthy.
"Trust me," Yvette said as she laid out the last pieces of cheese on her lunch-meat display. "You'd be terrific. Everything you wear looks amazing on you. You're slim but still shapely."
Merissa choked over that. "I'm barely in a B cup. Nothing shapely about that."
From the kitchen doorway came a sound and Merissa looked up to see Brand, Miles and Leese all standing there grinning at her. They were all three gorgeous, all three buff, all three talented.
But none of them were Armie.
How she felt about them, and vice versa, wasn't anything close to romantic. But still, heat rushed into her face. After all, they'd just heard her discussing her boobs.
Looking around for a weapon, Merissa grabbed up the dishcloth and threw it at them. "Pretend you didn't hear that!"
"Too late." Leese caught the towel, then carried it over to the sink. "Whatever you think you're missing, let me tell you, it's all there." He looked back at the other two fighters. "Am I right?"
Humiliated, but appreciating their input, Merissa laughed. "You guys are my friends. You have to say that."
Crossing his heart, Leese insisted, "Honest truth." He snagged three beers from the fridge, then tossed one to Brand and the other to Miles.
With his sinfully dark gaze moving over her, Brand stepped farther into the kitchen. "And that getup?" He cocked a brow. "Smokin' hot."
She suddenly felt very conspicuous in her V-necked tunic sweater, tights and ankle boots.
"There, you see?" Yvette said. "You're gorgeous. Who cares if you're not top-heavy?"
"It's the whole package," Miles insisted. He and Brand both had dark hair, but Miles's eyes were bright green, his smile crooked, and he flirted with every woman alive. "Trust me."
Leese ran a hand over his inky-black hair, his pale blue eyes playful. "I'm an ass man, myself." He winked, letting her know she fit the bill.
It was a wonder she could think at all when surrounded by so many certified hunks. Maybe if she felt about one of them the way she felt about Armie, her life would be easier.
Yvette started forcing them all from the kitchen. "Stop embarrassing her."
"We were reassuring her," Brand protested.
The guys dragged their feet, making Yvette work at getting them clear of the door. After they'd gone, Yvette's smile lingered and her eyes were warm with happiness.
Merissa knew something was going on. Both her brother and Yvette glowed. Setting aside her wine cooler, she asked, "So, what's up with you and Cannon?"
Humming, Yvette got down a bowl and filled it with chips. "I don't know what you mean."
Just then Armie stuck his head in the kitchen. "Hey, Yvette " His voice trailed off when he spotted Merissa.
Expression arrested, Armie's attention crawled down her body, taking in every detail. His chest expanded on a slow breath. Merissa didn't move. Seeing him had an entirely different effect on her than she'd had with the other men. Just about everyone had commented on her new duds. But this was Armie. She didn't want his opinion to matteryet it did.
Belatedly, his gaze came back up to her face and locked with hers. His jaw flexed. His dark eyes consumed her and just when she thought she'd pass out from lack of oxygen, he started to turn away.
Clearly Armie hadn't expected to see her and hadn't wanted to see her. It hurt.
Yvette stopped him. "Armie! Come on in. What would you like to drink?"
With his back to them, he stalled. Muscles shifted in his shoulders, his upper armsthen he very deliberately relaxed and faced them again. The heat in his eyes had cooled to indifference and his cocky smile almost made her believe she'd imagined the tension.
Merissa snorted. She didn't mean to. It just came out.
His dark sinner's gaze zeroed back in on her. "Something funny, Stretch?"
God, how she hated that nickname! It emphasized her height, but worse, it proved that Armie didn't see her as a desirable woman. "You? Being good?" She snorted again. "I hope I'm not standing close when lightning strikes you."
Stepping the rest of the way into the kitchen, he said to Yvette, "I'll take a beer."
"Sure." Yvette poured an unsweetened tea. She handed it to Armie, kissed his cheek, then picked up the platter and carried it to the dining room.
Nonplussed, Armie looked at the glass.
Merissa looked at Armie.
Until recently he'd kept his hair bleached almost white, but lately he'd left it alone and now it was back to a more natural dark blond. Still a little spiky, but not such a dramatic contrast to his chocolate-brown eyes.
Tattoos lined his forearms, and though she couldn't see it right now, not with him wearing a shirt, she knew he had another, more understated tat between his shoulder blades.
Faded jeans sat low on his lean hips, hanging a little long over running shoes. Boldly displayed across the front of his snug-fitting black T-shirt were the words FREE ORGASMS.
Merissa cleared her throat. "Don't like tea?"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fighting Dirty is a thrilling, funny conclusion to a fantastic series. Lori Foster brings us the brilliant conclusion to the Ultimate Series, in which she truly saved the best for last. In Fighting Dirty, we finally get the story of Armie Jacobson, the sinfully gorgeous, playful, protective, sexually liberated, very complicated man that we have been getting to know since the first book in the Ultimate series. Armie finally gets the romance that he desires and deserves with Merissa Colter or “Rissy,” who is everybody’s “off limits” little sis. Once you start this one, you won’t want to put it down until the very last kiss. Sometimes the best things really do come to those who wait, which was definitely true for Armie and Rissy. They have loved each other for years and years, even though everyone else seemed to know it except for them. After all that waiting, it was thrilling to see two people willing to fight for their happily ever after. Whether it was battling the external forces trying to drive them apart or those internal fears that tried to prevent them from risking their hearts, both Armie and Rissy fought hard to be together, literally and figuratively. There were so many things to love about Fighting Dirty including: 1) funny stuff like Armie’s outrageous t-shirts, 2) sexy stuff like Armie’s outrageous past and sexual appetite, and 3) touching stuff like the relationship between Armie and Bray, one of the at risk teens from the rec center who was facing his own troubled circumstances. I loved that in the middle of this romance, Lori Foster put the spotlight on saving kids in trouble and incorporated that trait as a part of Armie’s character. It was also great seeing all of the sexy guys that we have come to know and love in this series, being, well….sexy! Especially Leese who is now particularly badass! In addition to all of the Ultimate Guys, there were surprise appearances from nearly all of the MMA fighters that Lori has been writing about over the years, including my favorite, Jude Jamison. Don’t miss this thrilling conclusion to the Ultimate Series. If you are looking for a funny, sexy, touching, thrill ride, then Fighting Dirty is one that is guaranteed to deliver. And don’t despair when it’s over because the good news is that several of the Ultimate guys, including Leese, Justice, Brand and Miles, will return in Lori’s new bodyguard series. Can’t wait!!! I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Read from December 07 to 08, 2015 Book Info Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages Expected publication: February 23rd 2016 by HQN Books original title fighting dirty (Ultimate, #4) ISBN 0373789173 (ISBN13: 9780373789177) edition language English series Ultimate #4 other editions (4) Source:Netgalley EARC Book Buy Links Amazon B&N BOOK SYNOPSIS He's the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster… With the life he's led and the muscles he's gained, Armie Jacobson isn't afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter's effect on him. It's not just that she's his best friend's little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that's all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life. Good girl meets bad boy. It's a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they're both about to learn what's truly worth fighting for… My Thoughts Having known Armie for years as her older brother Cannon’s best friend Merissa has been in love with him since turning 16. The fact that he was four years older with a world of experience behind him no longer seemed such a formidable obstacle now that she was 23. However having shared one kiss, than being rejected by Armie in favor of his ongoing horde of female companions, Merissa is wary of being hurt again even though she still loves the MMA champ as much as ever. Armie Jacobson is alpha male all the way, he is also the one who seems able to effortlessly draw people to him from children to adults alike. As a man whose childhood left him doubting his own worth it was hard for him to accept praise even though-and I quote Merissa here- ”Everyone who met Armie cared for him. He needed to accept that. He had to know that he deserved the best of everything and that it was okay to want it.” As long awaited as Armie and Rissy's romance has been it was well worth the anticipation and also everything that had hoped for as well. Author Lori Foster has done it again, get ready to swoon, laugh out loud, groan and moan when it is over and all in all really enjoy this last book in the Ultimate series. Not to despair though as in true Lori Foster tradition she has created a spin-off which means we still get to see more of the secondary characters who have not gotten a story yet and possibly a cameo here and there from the main characters we have all grown to love with each new book.
Armie’s story is the one you’ve been waiting for “FIGHTING DIRTY”, the newest in Lori Foster’s Ultimate Series – is about Armie Jacobson Ahh sweet Armie, he tries so hard to resist… his best friend’s little sister and joining the SBC. But he has reasons for both, strong reasons. Armie is totally protective of his friends and Merissa, Cannon’s sister, and when bad things start happening he totally steps up and takes care of business. Armie is totally flumoxed when things begin moving so quickly – his entry into the SBC, the ‘Big-League’s” for MMA fighting, his relationship with ‘Rissy, and his past. It is wonderfully amusing to see how he tries to dig himself out and at the same time trying to protect those he loves - ‘what a tangled web’. This is one of the best of Lori Foster’s MMA series, I love that Armie’s story continues the comradery of the fighters and the ladies that fill their lives. The way Lori winds the story around Armie and his fellow MMA fighters, inclusive of the wives, girlfriends (and, hopefully soon girlfriends), is captivating. The fighters are there for each other, backing each other up – without thought ... just happening. This book is full of Lori’s style and humour, her trademark ‘snark’; especially when the ladies take an evening out at the … well, read for yourself - it’s funny – see how the guys react. Armie has to deal with some back history that has popped back up, it affects how he deals with Merissa and his entry into the MMA big leagues. A wonderful read, a standalone, yet continuing story, of the MMA Fighters hanging out at Cannon’s gym. Get you latest fix of Lori Foster’s Ultimate Series ... can’t wait to get reading the next series, involving some of the same characters from the gym… in return for an honest review. I received an ARC in return for an honest review.
Armie has arrived! And you won't be disappointed by the wait. Lori Foster finally gave us Armie and Rissy's story. The two of them had been dancing throughout The Ultimate Series as they pushed how they felt to the side, but now it is their turn. Rissy was definitely "Fighting Dirty" when she finally decided Armie was done hiding from her. The tension between the two characters has been palpable up to this point and Rissy isn't taking it anymore. Armie didn't know what hit him. Their story is a fun and sexy ride into how they have to deal with their past to get to their future. This is one story you will not be able to put down, so make sure you have all day or night to finish it. You won't put it down disappointed, because even though the series is over there are more books yet to come in Lori Foster's new bodyguard series. I was given an Advanced Reading Copy for an honest review. And this whole series way something I was willing to purchase anyway, so I was so happy to be a part of presenting this book to all of you.
Merissa Colter has been in love with her brother's best friend ever since she first laid eyes on him, but she is quite certain she is not even on his radar, especially since he repeatedly makes a point to keep her in the friends zone. She would love nothing more than to be one of the women he has entering the revolving door on his bedroom, but her self doubt that she can even compete with those women keeps her from even trying. Armie is well known for helping women live out their wildest fantasies, and Merissa knows her bedroom tastes are quite vanilla compared to his, but that still doesn't keep her from wanting her chance with him. Every time she is around him she can feel the heated chemistry radiating between them, so she knows there is something there, she just has to find a way to convince him to give into the desire and let go of his doubts... Armie Jacobsen has admired his best friends sister from afar for years now, but has never mustered the courage to act on his attraction for her, mainly because he has always thought that she is far better off without him. He has a past riddled with trouble and pain and no matter how hard he tries to bury it, it is always there in the back of his mind taunting him, and causing him to have doubt in himself and everything he does. He uses fighting as his coping mechanism for the pain, and when that no longer works he turns to sex, and takes home random willing women and helps them live out their wildest fantasies, full well knowing it will just be a temporary fix. He has often wondered if Merissa could be the one thing that could finally quiet the pain, but only having one night with her would never suffice, if he ever gave into his desire for her he would never be able to let her go, and long term with her just isn't an option for someone like him... It has been a while since I have read a book by Ms. Foster and after only a few paragraphs into this story and I was instantly reminded of why of love her books so much. She has a special way of pulling you into her stories and making you forget all about the world around you, and treating you to a truly blissful reading escape. I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Armie and Merissa's story for some time now, and I have to say it was TOTALLY worth the wait! The chemistry between these two burned right through the pages and had me reaching for a fan on numerous occasions... definitely one of Ms. Foster's hottest stories to date!! If you have not had a chance to acquaint yourself with the men of the Ultimate Series yet I must first tell you that you are truly missing out on some exceptional reading, and then tell you that you are also missing out on the opportunity to meet some very well crafted characters that are destined to leave an indelible impression on your heart!! Highly recommend this series it is by far one of my favorites from Ms. Foster!! ARC requested through NetGalley, and kindly provided by Harlequin (US & Canada) HQN Books, in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.
I cherished reading every moment in this book the good and the bad. I wanted to read it in one evening and I also wanted to savor every page. If you started with the beginning of the Ultimate series with Cannon’s book (No Limits) then you have definitely been waiting for the final book with Armie. We have watched Armie fight his attraction for Merissa for far to long!! Oh Armie where do I begin…. *sigh*. Armie is moving up in MMA he has just been courted by the SBC. If you have read any of Lori Foster’s previous books you would know it is another fabulous fighter series. I love how the SBC characters are back in play in this book!! I love hearing whatever crazy shirt or underwear Armie is wearing that day. Some of the sayings on the shirts were hilarious! Enough about Armie in his undies… *sigh again*He starts off still avoiding Merissa because of something that happened in the previous book (no spoilers read the book!!) Then Armie happens to be there when Merissa is in trouble after that he can’t even think about not being with her. Armie’s past is riddled with women some good some bad. He’s managed to build up quite a rapport with the ladies. One previous lady has left him with a scarred past that he doesn’t want Merissa to be linked to because she is so sweet and nice. Armie looks at her like a china doll (actually all of the ultimate guys look at their wives like that). When bad things start happening to Merissa he automatically thinks it’s his fault. Should he push her away and protect her or pull her close to protect her??? Merissa I didn’t know you had it in you girl!! I love how through most of the book even though Armie is the fighter Merissa is the one fighting dirty. Matter of fact when the phrase is first mentioned it’s for Merissa saying she’s fighting dirty. There are so many good parts with Merissa I didn’t know where to start. The fact that she has always and will always love Armie is amazing. I don’t think I could handle watching him walk away with woman after woman and still stand. She is made of tough stuff!! Cannon her brother has always been there to protect her but honestly any of the guys at the rec center would protect her because she is sweet, honest, and bakes for them all the time. All of the craziness that happens in this book to her and she holds up so unbelievably well!! I love how when Lori Foster writes women characters she writes strong independent women. I must say without going into to much spoiler detail that in the one scene where Armie is mad but Rissy doesn’t want him to kick her out she runs to the bedroom and starts to get naked! Genius!! No man can argue with a naked women haha!! Will Rissy be able to crack Armie’s heart open? Or has it been open to her this whole time?? extra thoughts… Ok so the family dynamic in Lori Foster’s series are fantastic!! They may not all be blood relatives but you couldn’t imagine not having them there. I love how she shows that while they do get on each other’s nerves sometimes they are always there to back each other up! Her characters are amazing so strong but not to strong that they don’t break every once in a while. I know while reading her books that I will always be on an emotional roller coaster ride. Leese really redeemed himself in this book for me I honestly can’t wait to read more about him. Will we also be seeing more of Bray?? My heart hurt for that kid… I received an ARC of this book from Lori Foster and HQN bo