Chelsea is smart, funny, gorgeous, and the best friend I’ve ever had. Ever since she left, I’ve been a wreck. I’ve been focused on keeping my family’s MMA gym afloat while I train and coach fighters, anything to not miss her more. But now she's finally back, along with her grumpy, possessive cat, and things are weird between us.
By weird, I mean I can’t stop thinking about her in that way. She’s in the room next door, and it takes all my control not to storm in there, sweep her up, and bring her back to my bed. Even stranger, I’m pretty sure she’d be into it.
And this time, I’m not going to stop fighting until we’re more.
Each book in the Fighting for Her series is STANDALONE:
* Until You're Mine
* Until We're More
About the Author
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He's my best friend; he's my best friend; he's my best friend ...
I inhaled another gulp of the ocean-scented air that'd welcomed me home and pushed inside the MMA gym where I'd spent countless hours sitting on the sidelines, forever suspended between whatever literary world I'd escaped into and a world of striking drills, sparring, and ripped guys talking about past or upcoming mixed martial arts fights. That beautiful junction used to be my home base, but thanks to a whole mess of complications involving one of the guys who ran the gym, I hadn't been here in way too long. Liam Roth was a light heavyweight contender, coach and fighter for Team Domination, and he also happened to be my stoic, laconic best friend.
My breath leaked out of me like a balloon that hadn't been tied, complete with the screechy noise. Liam stood in the middle of the caged-in area with no shirt on, the sweaty sheen coating his body accentuating all the muscles upon muscles. Really, universe? Couldn't you at least hook a girl up and help make my goal a little attainable?
I hadn't been back to San Diego in six months, and goal number two — right after proving I was upper management material — was to only think of Liam in the most platonic of ways. No more having romantic-type feelings for him. Nope, I was over that. Done being a slave to unrequited love. Of course, it was much easier to stay on track from hundreds of miles away.
The scent of rubber and worn leather invaded my senses and the familiar tap, tap, tap of gloved fists made me yearn to settle into my usual chair and turn into the girl I used to be. The one who avoided her actual home by watching her best friend train for hours. Past Chelsea hadn't had much of a social life besides that, but since it meant being around Liam, that version of me hadn't cared.
Current Chelsea was working on grabbing life by the balls, although she still preferred nights in, and there hadn't been much ball grabbing, which was a whole different issue. I've been doing so well, though. I went out on that date a month and a half ago.
For the record, I knew better than to grab the balls. Not that I'd gotten near enough to do that, and not that I wanted to do that. The point was to put myself out there and engage in life instead of letting it pass me by, which included dating with the intention of bedding. Eventually. When I found the right person. If that ever happened.
Full disclosure: I'd accidentally compared my last date to Liam, and naturally the guy fell short, but again, I was trying.
If at first you don't succeed, jump on a dating app and swipe, swipe again.
Vaguely I noticed no one was seated behind the front desk. Prying information from Liam — especially over the phone — was like convincing a baby to release their death-grip on a sucker, but I'd gleaned that nowadays, Liam's sister only occasionally worked at the gym yet still came in often, since her newish boyfriend was also part of Team Domination. As much as I wanted to see Brooklyn, I was sorta glad no one manned the desk right now because it made it easier to hang back and soak in the action. Aka, ogle the fighters, and I had my eyes on one in particular. The very same guy I'd watched strike and hit more times than I could count through the years, and my pulse skipped to the rhythm of his motions.
A digital clock on the wall ticked down the time the fighters had left in this training round — three minutes to go, which meant they'd started these drills two minutes ago.
Three minutes to figure out what to say to him, which felt so foreign and ... icky. After a few long months of hardly any contact when I'd almost given up on him, Liam had actually started picking up the phone once in a while. Things were still more stilted than they used to be, and thanks to that, a combination of missed calls on both sides, and then deciding it'd be fun to surprise him, he had no idea I was coming. Maybe part of that also stemmed from my worry that he wouldn't be as excited as I was, and I definitely didn't want to hear him tell me I should stay put, several states away.
My heart dropped and tightened at the same time, which left the organ struggling to function properly. Things hadn't been the same between us since shortly before I left. For years we'd fended off assumptions and accusations of being more than friends. Again and again we'd explain that we were just friends and why was that so hard to believe? Back then I'd even meant it, and I had no doubt he did, too.
Then, about a year ago, my feelings went rogue on me. I'd tried to stop them. But, hello, he was tall and buff and he had this longish, forever-tousled blond hair that made him look like a certain Norse god who wielded a hammer. While I'd always noticed Liam was hot, suddenly I couldn't notice anything but that.
I didn't have many friendships, and I couldn't risk messing up ours unless he felt the same. Problem was, Liam had never been what you'd call forthcoming with the emotions, and I debated the best way to test the waters, while also being terrified of what I'd discover if I actually got brave enough to dip in a toe.
One night he went to give me a goodbye peck on the cheek, the way he'd done dozens of times through the years. (Back in high school, I was the sole proprietor of the mushy farewells, but eventually he began reciprocating.) My daydreams got tangled up with real life, and in an uncharacteristic moment of impulsivity, I turned my head so that our mouths would line up instead. Last second, I came to my senses — with a side of chickening out — and he caught the corner of my lips.
I froze, my heart bruising my ribs with every too-strong, too-fast beat.
Visions of him pulling me closer for a purposeful, square-on-the-mouth kiss flashed through my brain as a sizzle worked its way through my veins.
He shook his head, a hint of confusion in his features. Then he gestured to the swollen, purplish-blue eye he'd gotten from a sparring session gone too far. "Sorry, my depth perception must be off."
He backed away, as if he needed to ensure no more accidental brushing ensued, and I pretended that my squashed hope wasn't twitching like a dying bug.
In order to keep myself from screwing up our relationship, I'd resorted to drastic measures. Not that I was testing him or anything, because an amazing job opportunity had come up, and in a lot of ways, it seemed like the escape I'd been looking for. If it hadn't been for Liam, I would've probably put more space between my toxic family and me the second I graduated high school. So when I'd mentioned the job and told him it included having to relocate to Denver, I'd watched his face, hoping to see anything that might lead me to believe his feelings ran deeper. I could stay for more, but I couldn't keep waiting and hoping and wrecking my career goals and social life on something that'd never happen.
Seriously, do you have any idea how hard it is to date when you have a ginormous, overprotective best friend? The few guys who'd actually hit on me ran in the other direction once they met Liam.
Instead of saying he didn't want me living that far away, Liam told me a fresh start would be good for me and that the job sounded perfect, and the fact that he was so blasé about it made it clear I needed some space before I went and did something that'd ruin everything. And the time away had been good for me. I'd grown a lot over the last six months. I'd learned how to be bolder — although I was still working on that, particularly when it came to my job — and how to make new friends.
It gave me a chance to attempt to date and experience what it was like to spend time with people other than Liam.
Naturally, the move wasn't without a downside or two. I occasionally missed the beach and the MMA gym and even my dysfunctional family, although that was a slippery, complicated slope. While the distance erected a natural barrier, I'd feel bad I wasn't there for my mom the way I should be, tell myself that maybe things would be better now that we'd had space, and finally answer one of her calls. Before I could fully get out the words "Hi, Mom," I'd be wrapped up in her net and end up sending money to placate her, as well as my guilt.
As for the number one con, though, the one that surpassed them all ...?
He was standing in the center of the caged-off rectangle, still hammering out fighting drills.
What if he's not excited? What if he's moved on and is Mr. Popular now, so many friends he doesn't have time for me? Even in my head that didn't seem right, not because he couldn't be a local celebrity with a nonstop social life but because it so wasn't him.
For the first time since I'd asked — i.e. practically begged — for my boss to add me to the team that would be opening a branch here, doubt over my decision crept in. Not great, since I already had enough doubt I could pull off showing the marketing firm I worked for that I was managerial material.
I have six weeks to prove that I'd be a great manager, and that I'm an asset to whatever team I'm on.
Six weeks to enjoy San Diego and spend as much time as possible with Liam — without falling for him all over again and making things weird. Again.
No big deal. I'm the picture of self-control.
Just ask that box of doughnuts I plowed through on my drive halfway across the country. Okay, so I'd meant to only eat a couple, but that was different. Doughnuts obviously loved me back.
First things first, I needed to summon some of that boldness I claimed to have gained over the past several months and see where Liam and I were even starting from.
My gaze returned to my guy — er, my guy friend — and blood rushed through my head in that way that made it hard to think straight, and I just ... Well, I was right there with every girl who'd ever swooned in Liam's presence, which was a lot. I used to watch in amusement as they would turn into babbling idiots around him, and I'd even teased him about his groupies, but right now, it didn't strike me as very funny. I had all the empathy for any girl who went and fell for Liam Roth. Especially since he was so damn hard to get over.
The five-minute buzzer sounded, Liam's unwavering focus on his training broke, and slowly — like that serious slow-motion-type shit you see in romance movies — his eyes scanned the area and landed right on me. My heart stopped for one second. Two seconds ...
A grin curved his lips, and then my feet were propelling me forward, and he was rushing down from the caged-in training area, and a floaty, fuzzy sensation took over my body.
Just when the hugging I desperately wanted to commence was finally within my reach, Liam stopped short, his arms dropping to his sides.
Oh no. My worst fears have come true. We don't even know how to act around each other anymore.
He frowned as he glanced down at himself — since he was looking at his muscles, I figured that made it okay for me to follow suit. You know, in case he had any questions. Why, yes, your abs do look crazy-amazing and I have imagined licking them.
So much for my thoughts behaving themselves. Self-control was ... a process.
"I'm all sweaty from training." Liam glanced over his shoulder, in the direction of the locker room. "I'll hit the showers real quick and then —"
I flung myself at him, not caring. Needing my arms around him and his arms around me, because conflicted feelings or not, I'd missed him with a nearly consuming longing that begged to be appeased. "You look ... I mean, training is obviously ... And I'm so happy to be ..."
Great. Now I was the babbling idiot in his presence, something I hadn't been since I was twelve. Guess that was karma, paying me back. In addition to being a bit flustered by his hotness, it went deeper than that. This was my Liam, my rock, my friend who'd always been there for me. The guy I could have fun doing absolutely nothing with.
He tightened his grip, hugging me so vigorously my toes left the ground. "Damn, I missed you." His deep voice rumbled through me, unfurling heat in my gut, and just like that, my goals turned hazy all over again.
He's my best friend; he's my best friend; he's my best friend ...CHAPTER 2
As much as I tried to deny it when my brother and sister claimed I'd been grouchy ever since Chelsea moved away, the calming sensation I'd missed for months washed over me now that I had my arms around her. We'd made do with texts and the occasional phone call — I'd never been great at small talk, and over the phone, my skills went from barely passable to nonexistent. Mostly she talked and I listened, which was one of the greatest things about Chelsea. Whenever I was with her, I didn't have to do any of the talking. I could just sit back and listen, and she'd make me smile as my stress and worries melted away.
I reluctantly set her down, not too keen on the idea of letting go, since after the last time I'd hugged her this tightly she'd driven away and it'd been six extremely long months. I didn't even mind her ponytail in my face. I'd missed her silky red strands and how I constantly found them on my T-shirt or couch or in my car, and now I had the oddest urge to run my fingers through them. Maybe even lift a curl and get a better whiff of the peach shampoo she used. When it came to Chelsea, "missed" was an understatement.
The door opened, and I shifted Chelsea to the side to make way for the group of women coming through. She looked from them to me, her forehead all scrunched up.
"We started offering classes," I said. "To help keep a steady source of income for the gym, no matter where we are with fighters and fights." Not my idea, and something I'd originally balked at along with my dad, but I'd do whatever it took to keep his legacy intact and the gym and my family financially afloat. Before offering the new services, I'd spent way too many sleepless nights wondering how to take care of everyone, including the fighters who'd also become family.
She arched an eyebrow. "You're teaching classes?"
"Don't say it all incredulous like that. You'll make me self-conscious about my teaching skills," I teased.
Chelsea's brown eyes narrowed, and she studied me as if she thought I was scamming her. "What are you teaching them? Grunted Responses 101?"
"Very funny." I reached out and pinched her side, grinning when she jerked away with a squeal — she'd always been super ticklish. "Self-defense mostly. Although I do cover the odd kickboxing and interval training class." I ran my fingers down her arm and couldn't help noticing how soft her skin was — apparently I also needed to touch her to prove to myself she was here. "You wanna stick around? Or I could meet you later? How long are you in town anyway?"
Chelsea smiled. "I think that's the most words I've ever heard from you at once."
"Well, it's been so quiet without your constant chatter that I had to take Grunted Responses 201, which included a few key phrases. 'Yes,' 'no,' and 'Why the hell did it take you so long to visit?'"
"That last one seems oddly specific."
I grunted, and she laughed. The happy sound danced across my nerve endings and settled deep in my chest. She eyed me again, her brain clearly working a mile a minute, and I sensed she was also double-checking this was happening and that things were okay between us, something I'd often wondered about since she'd moved. I wasn't sure how I'd managed to let my life get so wrapped up in the redhead next door, but over the past several months, it almost felt like I was missing a limb — not ideal when I needed every single one of them to fight.
"I've wanted to, but I've been really bus —"
"Chelsea Jessop!" Brooklyn pushed through the front door of the gym. "Oh my gosh, is it actually you?" my sister asked, and then she and Chelsea crashed into a hug.
They both started talking over each other, their words blending together, and I grinned and soaked in the happy chatter. For a while, life had been a monotonous loop of training other fighters and training for my fights and getting the new classes up and running, and I almost forgot what it was to smile. Something Brooklyn and my brother, Finn, accused me of not doing enough. Now that my sister was living here again, working full-time at an art gallery, she swung by whenever she could to pick up the slack and convince us to take a break. She didn't always succeed on the latter, but things felt less overwhelming with our family all together and mostly in harmony again. With Chelsea also here, it was like the old days, back when I experienced things besides stress and too many ticking clocks.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Until We're More"
Copyright © 2018 Cindi Madsen.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Madsen perfectly captures Liam and Chelsea’s conflict. They both are struggling with their attraction but their friendship is so massively important that just the thought of endangering that is unthinkable. And she makes sure that readers get that – we understand how they support each other and how they suffered with the recent distance in their relationship. But sometimes things are bigger than you can control and even though it takes a while they finally give in … and it is wonderful. For a while :) As is probably evident, there is a bit of back and forth here that might get old for some readers but for me Madsen uses it to really bring home how important this decision is for them. It would normally bother me, and I did want to smack them (especially Liam) more than once, but it works for this story. So while it may be a slow burn romance, Madsen makes sure that the journey is full of humor, cuteness, and touching moments to keep readers going. Before she turns on the steam! **Review given honestly and freely after receipt of a reader copy. This opinion is completely my own and was not influenced in any way.**
I thought this was a pretty good read. The writing flowed well, and I liked the characters for the most part. Liam and Chelsea were good together, and I thought they had great chemistry. While I love a friends to lovers book, this one too entirely too long to go from one to the other. Their thoughts being "I want them, but can't have them" lasted for almost half of the book. It eventually had me rolling my eyes. Chelsea was supposed to be learning to be assertive, but she never really stood up to her mom. Setting boundaries is okay, but she should have let her know how much she'd been hurt over the years. I was not a fan of Liam's mom. For her to make her opinion known about Liam and Chelsea's relationship when she hasn't been in his life pretty much since she left, was unnecessary. Just because she didn't want to have that life doesn't mean that someone else couldn't try. I loved Liam's close family, they were great. The end was perfect for these characters. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced readers copy of this book.
MMA Fighter? Quirky Heroine? Friends-to-lovers Slowburn? ummm... YES PLEASE! This was such a fun read, I'm so glad I got a chance to add it to my Summer reading list! The characters were so relatable and the dialogue between them (& a cat) was funny and swoony! Told in dual POV, we really got to experience the internal struggle of toeing the line between friendship and love of both characters. This is the second book of the Fighting For Her series by Cindi Madsen, the first book DOES NOT have to be read in order to enjoy this one. (Although I just bought the first one - Until You're Mine - to read because I'm not ready to say goodbye to these characters just yet)
This book easily made it on my favorite books by Cindi Madsen. It was fresh, funny, sweet, romantic and steamy all in one, but also heartwarming. Once I started it I knew I would love it and couldn’t put it down until I’m done and that is exactly what happened. I just fell in love with Liam and Chelsea, the story, their background and the nice tortures slow burn we know and love from Cindi Madsen . We get plenty of humor and banter between the two. But also some nice heartwarming moments not only between the two but also their friends and family and some we have met in book one. I loved both Liam and Chelsea separately but together they were almost too much cuteness and sexiness .Some scenes where just too funny but also super cute and hot. Both also were super easy to relate to and not just because she is a bookworm …lol Overall I really loved this book and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. If you are a fan of rom-coms, contemporary romance and/or Cindi Madsen, than his book is a must. I rate it 5 ★because it was just that awesome and cute for me.
Until We're More is told in the first person present tense, and alternates between Chelsea's POV and Liam's. This is a great friends to lovers, forced proximity story, and the leads have great chemistry both as friends and as more. They have a lot of really cute moments, and I related to bookworm Chelsea and her clutzy mishaps, like spilling coffee on her shirt her first day at a new office... Yup, that has "me" written allllll over it. Liam's family is also pretty great, and I'm excited to read more about them in the other books in the series. Chelsea's family can go sit on a tack - they suck. Also, George is the bestest best cat and I refuse to hear arguments otherwise. This one's a slowwwww burn as both Chelsea and Liam fight to keep their feelings for the other strictly platonic, thinking that the other person doesn't want a relationship or that they deserve better. I will admit, I'm getting mighty tired of men who decide their romantic interest deserves someone "better" and uses that as an excuse to push them away. You're willing to sacrifice your own happiness for the person you love, which is actually making THEM miserable too. At least let them make their own choices about how much they're willing to sacrifice for you, you giant dumbface. /endrant This is the second book in the Fighting for Her series. While Until We're More can be read as a stand alone, there are some spoilers for the first book in the series, Until You're Mine.
best friends liam and chelsea have never crossed any lines in their friendship. but that doesn't mean that they haven't been thinking about it. and now that chelsea is back in san diego for work reasons, she's determined to either get her crush under control or risk everything and tell liam what she wants. she's just not sure which way to go because she's terrified that he doesn't want her. he's never given her any signs that he's thought of her any way but platonically. and yet... until we're more puts liam and chelsea is close quarters and soon it's pretty clear that there is no denying what lies between them. it's clear that they love each other truly, madly, deeply and that if they weren't so afraid of risking their absolutely beautiful friendship, there would be no story at all. but they are afraid of risking it, and it makes complete sense that they are scared. because the friendship between these two characters is a really sweet, meaningful thing. their friendship makes this romance so worth the read. everything about their relationship was so well-crafted. I just absolutely loved it. **until we're more publishes on august 27, 2018. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/entangled publishing (embrace) in exchange for my honest review.
Liam really drew my attention in the first Fighting For Her book. I couldn't want to find out more what went down between him and his best friend that made her move so far away. Liam and Chelsea were always more than friends, but Chelsea was too worried about losing her best friend to say anything and Liam thought Chelsea deserved more than him. These two had great chemistry and this story was really a slow burn as Chelsea comes back to town and moves in with Liam for a few weeks. It take a while before she finally becomes assertive enough to ask for what she wants. These two characters were very loveable. I love Liam's family and I'm excited for Finn's story!
If you like a strong, over protective, very supportive, and selfless man, along with a heart so big, friendly, sweet, determined to be self sufficient woman, then you will love Liam and Chelsea. I loved their friendship and how both accepted and could be their true selves around one another. They truly have a gem of a friendship. But once they crossed that line, it was amazing and honest. It was such a great read seeing them realize their true wants and knowing they could be together. And Liam proved his point in a most fun and sneaky way. I truly loved their story. I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher through Netgalley.
As soon as I read the last word of Brooklyn and Shane's book, Until You're Mine, I had super grabby hands for Liam and Chelsea's story!! Liam and Chelsea have been best friends since they were little but couldn't be more different. He's an athlete, she's a book nerd; she's really chatty, he barely talks. When she comes back home for a work assignment, it seems like everything is right in the world. Except there's feelings and the potential to cross a line that shouldn't be crossed. What could go wrong with that? OMG!!!! I loved Liam and Chelsea so much!! Beck and Lyla from Lucky Number Seven have always been my favorite CM couple but Liam and Chelsea may have just stolen the top spot!! As per usual with this author, I finished the book in one sitting but I never wanted the story to end. I am so in love with this series and I am really looking forward to what comes next! *This is my voluntary review of an advanced reader copy*
LOVED this book! It has all the snarky sass and humor I've come to expect from this author all wrapped up in a fantastic slow burn second chance romance. Through in a little MMA hotness and I was a goner! Chelsea and Liam have sizzling hot chemistry that jumps from the pages and from the very first page you know that they can try and resist all they want but they were meant to be together. This is a an excellent highly entertaining read that needs to be on everyone's must read list. You don't want to miss it!
A compelling novel showing the benefits of a relationship based on log term friendship and trust. Liam and Chelsea built a solid friendship and when it crossed the line into lovers they had less issues to deal with. Chelsea’s inner monologues were a fascinating part of getting know her character and was a great tool to be used by the author.
The perfect slow burn that made you want to put your hand right back on that hot stove one more time. I had a serious book hangover after reading this, it pushed every single button I have and some I didn't know I had. The expletives flew like magic carpets around the kitchen as I was finishing the book. Sailing merrily along and someone lets the air of out my tires and I sink right into a pit. Damn I hate that. I want to lop off Liam's private parts, discard and throat punch for good measure. I'm getting ahead of myself. Chelsea is back from Denver for 6 weeks to help start a new office in San Diego. It's her chance to prove that she can be management material. She has a problem asserting herself. With her history it's pretty obvious why. She's spend the last x number of years mooning over Liam Roth and Liam and Chelsea are best friends since they were kids. Grew up next store to each other. His sister is her best friend. She's part of their family. Liam was always her protector. They really are good friends. Chelsea wants more. When Liam suggests she stay with him while she's here she agrees abut only if she can help out or pay, he'll hear nothing of the sort. Chelsea cannot cook. She's a smoke alarm away from disaster in the kitchen. Liam is busy helping his brother get ready for a fight and spends a lot of time at the gym. Chelsea brings them all food. Liam is helping her work on her assertiveness as well. Everyone knows that Liam and Chelsea belong together, except Liam. Liam knows but refuses to disrupt their friendship, his dedication to the gym and the family business and he's seen what happens when marriages take a dive, as evidenced by his own parents. Once they get over their little but of uneasiness loving together and the romance heats up it makes 5 minutes inside the cage look like kindergarten. These two are smoking hot. The usual broody Liam is now happy and more easy going. Problem is he thinks about Chelsea all the time. I have to give Liam his due when he keeps Chelsea from running overboard with her mother and even though she does do something, he doesn't throw it in her face, he's there to comfort her. Her mother is one lazy @#$%^&* and the sister is no better and let's just say her family is and always was one big #$%^&*((*%$. EOS. Liam has a little jealous streak, Alex asks for help with PR and that's right up her alley and she is more than happy to help. She is getting better at work and even handles a difficult employee. When she decided she wants to stay in San Diego, she talks to her boss and the boss offers her his job in Denver, which is a huge step up for her, a promotion and all the perks. Something she's been wanting since she left. She needed to prove to herself she could do this. When she comes home to talk to Liam, Liam .. lets just say doesn't respond the way he's been responding the past 6 weeks and Chelsea leaves. She disappears for a few days. This is where I wanted to drop kick Liam. Honestly, I have never read a better jackass written like Cindi pulled off with Liam. Let me add stupid to the jackass part. So what happens with these two? Good question right? Chelsea will take that job back in Denver? It's her dream come true. Even though she gets another job offer in Cali, does she really want to stay? This one will light your torch and keep fanning the flame. It's an absolute must read and it's stellar writing as always from Ms Madsen. Could not have been better and it deserves more than 5
UNTIL WE’RE MORE is the second instalment in Cindi Madsen’s contemporary, adult FIGHTING FOR HER, MMA romance series focusing on the Roth family- Finn, Liam and Brooklyn Roth who, along with their father Blake, own and operate the Team Domination professional MMA Club. This is MMA fighter Liam Roth, and PR consultant Chelsea Jessop’s story line. UNTIL WE’RE MORE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual first person perspectives (Chelsea and Liam) UNTIL WE’ RE MORE focuses on the friends to lover relationship between MMA fighter Liam Roth, and PR consultant Chelsea Jessop. Liam Roth and Chelsea Jessop have been friends since the day the Jessop’s moved next door to the Roth’s, and Chelsea has been in love with Liam since she was twelve years old. Six months ago, Chelsea was offered a prestigious management position in Denver, Colorado a position she was willing to forego if Liam Roth begged her to stay. With her return to San Diego for work, meant the opportunity to see the man who has starred in all of her fantasies and dreams, but a return that came with the anxiety and tumultuous relationship with her mother and step-father. When Liam offers up a room, to his bestie for the foreseeable future, Chelsea hopes to move past the friend zone into something more. What ensues is the palpable sexual attraction and denial between Chelsea and Liam, and the potential fall-out as Liam’s family history forces our hero to push Chelsea out of his life. Liam Roth doesn’t want to ruin his friendship with the woman that calls to his heart, a friendship that has spanned all of his adult life but a friendship that means more than any other relationship in his life. Living with Chelsea forces Liam to reconsider his friends-only rule, a rule that will be broken when jealousy, and family pressure push Liam into Chelsea’s arms. Chelsea Jessop’s earlier years were spent focusing on her less than attentive mother, a woman whose co-dependency on our heroine has been going on for far too long. Chelsea knows she has been enabling her mother’s dependency, and years of feeling beaten down and unable to push back, finds Chelsea taking a stand, one final time. A bookworm at heart, her less than aggressive, accepting personality finds Chelsea struggling to move forward on her chosen path. The relationship between Liam and Chelsea is a friends to lovers romance that struggles in the face of denial and the potential loss of friendship. Liam isn’t willing to risk his friendship for a temporary fling; Chelsea wants a chance at a happily ever after with the man she has always loved. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, and passionate, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. The secondary and supporting characters are colorful and charismatic. We are reintroduced to Liam’s brother and fellow MMA fighter Finn Roth; their sister Brooklyn and her MMA fighter boyfriend Shane, their father Blake, their mother Jennifer and her husband Larry Hendricks ; MMA promoter and fighter Carlos Guerra, as well as Chelsea’s cat George. UNTIL WE’RE MORE is a story of family and friendship; denial and acceptance; heart break and love. The premise is realistic and delightful; the romance is provocative and flirty; the characters are sexy, sassy and spirited. UNTIL WE’RE MORE is an energetic and uplifting tale of lovers and friends.
4+ “All the love” Stars Let me begin by saying that I don’t usually go for the whole “friends-to-lovers” trope as it is usually filled with what-if-I-risk-it-and-end-up-losing-my-friend back and forth thing that drives me completely crazy. But for Ms. Madsen’s MMA hunky fighters I was willing to make an exception, and I’m so glad I did! While Until We’re More does indeed have a couple of “oh, no! what have I done?” moments, Liam and Chelsea were so adorable together it more than made up for it. Chelsea and Liam have been neighbors and friends since childhood, but it wasn’t until much later that, unbeknownst to the other, they started seeing each other in a totally different light. In Until You’re Mine we know that Chelsea has moved away for a job opportunity and Liam is as happy about it as a grizzly bear just out of hibernation and being stung by a whole bee colony. Now Chelsea is back in town for a couple of weeks to help open a new office branch for the company she works for, and with no other really good options of places to stay she accepts to be Liam’s roomy. I had so much fun being in these two heads. Not only was their chemistry off the charts, but the way they knew each other made for some totally hilarious banter and a depth of relationship that was just lovely. Liam was absolutely dreamy. As the older sibling, he carried the weight of the world on his shoulders and wanted to do everything to keep his family’s gym afloat, no matter the cost to himself. When he was with Chelsea, though, he could relax and was funny, sweet and totally sexy. Chelsea was the shy, klutzy, avid book-reading dreamer. A less than stellar childhood had made for some insecurities and issues that she was set on overcoming. So, while a doormatish heroine is not my favorite type, Chelsea worked at it and gained a lot of spunk through the story endearing her even more to me. Until We’re More was a fun read, with extremely hot sexnanigans, amazing chemistry, adorable togetherness and a finicky cat named George. I completely adored the time I spent with the inhabitants of Team Domination and can’t wait to get to read Finn’s story. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
4 stars — I was really looking forward to Liam and Chelsea’s novel after reading book one…the allusions to their friendship and Liam’s grumpiness just had me intrigued. And this book totally fulfilled all of my hopes for their story…I just adore friends to lovers stories, you know? It’s definitely a favourite trope of mine. Chelsea was just plain adorable!! I loved her “chatty” nature, or as I would call it: a bit rambly. While that’s not my normal MO, when given the right opportunity, I can totally turn into a rambler. She was just endearing and lovable. I appreciated her mediating personality as well, always wanting to smooth things over and make others feel comfortable…THAT is TOTALLY me. It made it rewarding watching her attempts to become more assertive and bold without losing the best parts of herself. About the only thing I didn’t really connect with was her passion for her job…I was told she loved it, but I didn’t necessarily feel it. I know that part of her love was her desire for a steady income, but I just didn’t get the passion part…only glimmers here and there when she was talking to Carlos. Did I need more? Probably not…it was just something I noticed. Her family background hit me in the feels, especially as I know someone whose family uses them in a similar manner. It just broke my heart to see such a kind-hearted person such as Chelsea neglected and manipulated in this way. Strangely though, I felt like while I did connect with her on this, it also felt brushed to the side a lot in favour of the romance…which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there was a part of me that wanted to explore it a bit more. It just wasn’t quite satisfying…but that might be just me. Liam was a conundrum for me! I had a harder time connecting with him at times, but I think that’s because he was so conflicted about who he was. He kept talking about how he was too rough for Chelsea, but when they were together there was NONE of that! I think this mentality was a by-product of his broken family, and influenced by his parents. I appreciated the struggles Liam went through with being influenced by his childhood, and the relationships he observed growing up, versus the reality of his relationship with Chelsea. I was worried that his journey along that path wouldn’t have a satisfying conclusion, but it totally did. I also loved that Liam was the opposite of Chelsea, in that he was quiet, stoic, didn’t let his emotions out…and just like society tried to put her down for being too chatty, Liam constantly struggled with others bugging him about being too reserved. I appreciated that opposites connection they had, where the world tried to tell them they weren’t good enough as they were, but in the end it made them fit perfectly together. And that’s where this story shines: Liam and Chelsea together. I felt their connection right from the start, and I loved the way they were a safe place for each other. I really understood their friendship, even as I felt the tension of more bubbling under the surface. Occasionally I grew impatient with them, but in the end I appreciated the time it took for them to make those leaps, cross those lines. I also loved that the story didn’t end when they went from friends to lovers, and that they didn’t hide their feelings from one another. They had other communication problems, but we got to see them happy together. As I said — solid friends to lovers story, with two equally lovable characters…
After reading and loving book 1 in this series (Until You’re Mine) I was really looking forward to reading Until We’re More by Cindi Madsen. So, I was kinda bummed that I didn’t love it. The reason was mostly due to the repetitiveness of the story. If I read once that Liam was an MMA fighter with no time for a relationship due to a big fight coming up, I read it a dozen or more. Then there was Chelsea’s dilemma of not being assertive enough to land the job she desired. This was the jist of the whole tale, apart from the undisclosed feelings both of them harbored for each other. Liam is a big, tough, sexy guy who is overly protective of his best friend, Chelsea, they’ve been friends since she was twelve and moved in next door to Liam’s family. She was happy as his best friend until one day she had a epiphany and realized she wanted more, but did Liam? She was scared to ask incase he disagreed and took the easy way out when she was offered a job in Colorado. Liam encouraged her to leave town to pursue her career in Denver even though they’d rarely see each other, so that kinda proved where he was with regards to his feelings for her, or so she thought. He’s delighted when she surprises his with a return visit. Chelsea has come back to San Diego to help open a new office for her company. Liam offers to let her stay with him for the six weeks she’ll be back home and the feelings she’d tried to fight before she left months ago come back with avengence. This was a slow burning, slightly angsty friends to lovers story with a lot of internal debate about how they felt. Maybe a bit too much debate. For all that, their chemistry and connection was evident from the start and I loved how they interacted with each other. So, overall it WAS a good story, and we got to see a little of Brooklyn and Shane from the previous book, too which was nice. Liam’s answer to his problems concerning Chelsea and his whole life wasn’t one I was happy with, he could have handled that a whole lot better. Thankfully he came to his senses in time.
This is a sweet friends to lovers romance where both characters didn't want to admit how they felt towards each other but they couldn't fight the chemistry. The chemistry is there so there's no denying it. I enjoyed the main characters Chelsea and Liam, and I also enjoyed Brooklyn, Finn and Shane's characters. However, from the very beginning of this story I flow was just so slow and it never seemed to pick up for me. Yes there were funny, steamy and romantic parts, there was also a little bit of drama but the story flow was too slow for me. It wasn't a bad story because I enjoyed the characters and the storyline but the flow was the main problem; I really wanted the pace to pick up and it didn't.
The moment his best friend Chelsea left town Liam's life took a downhill turn, everything around him became a little duller, he's become moody and disconnected, and his friends are quick to point out the noticeable change. But he dismisses their suspicions, because he doesn't want to admit that their right; he knows he lost the best thing that ever happened to him when he let her walk away, and his feelings for her went way past friendly a long time ago! But now she has surprised them all by coming home momentarily for work, and Liam surprises her by offering her a place to stay while she's back in town... but little does he know she has returned with another motive... to finally make him see her as more than just his friend! Until We're More is heartwarming story that will bring smiles, swoons, and lots of feels; within the pages of this one you will find an literary adventure that is good for the heart and soul! I loved meeting this couple, their little love affair was easy to get wrapped up in, they pulled me right in, made me feel at home, and had me cheering them on the whole way through! If you are looking for a romantic toe curling tale, you will love this one, it's sweet, steamy, and just what your heart needs! I requested an advanced copy of this title from NetGalley, and I am voluntarily leaving my honest opinion.
4 1/2 Stars Chelsea and Liam have been best friends ever since she moved in next door to him when they were teenagers. But now she lives in Denver to pursue her dream career, get away from her leaching mother and to get over the crush she has on Liam. But when she returns home for a 6 week job to train new employees for her company, instead of moving in with her mother, Liam talks her into moving in with him. She knows moving in with him will eventually break her heart because she knows he doesn't feel the same way about her that she does about him. The last time Liam let a distraction get in the way of his winning a MMA fight, he lost and it took him a long time to come back. He knows he shouldn't have asked Chelsea to move in with him while she's home for the 6 weeks, but the words were out of his mouth before he knew it. And once again, she becomes a distraction he doesn't need right before a big fight. This is just one of those feel good books. Liam is the kinda guy everyone wants to be with. He's kind, hot, sweet ... did I mention HOT! And I couldn't help but fall in love with Chelsea ... she just wanted to be loved by someone. This book made me swoon, laugh and down right feel good. And the sex scenes ... absolutely no words. Not only do I recommend this book, but you also have to read the first book - Brooklyn and Shane's book. I received an ARC courtesy of Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Until We're More has a great formula for figuring out the mechanics of love. When dealing with heartbreak stay active, keep alert and if given the chance try to make things right. With an arrogantly aggressive cat, a determined ex and a suitcase full of untended baggage Cindi Madsen sets about making you smile while tempting your heart. Liam and Chelsea are hard to resist, but I'm sorry to say in my opinion were upstaged by a cat. It's hard not to love that.