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Winning Love by Abby Niles….Review

Winning Love cover

 

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

 

My Review:

Winning Love is the third book in author Abby Niles’ Love to the Extreme series and the first in the series I have read. I’m a little sad I hadn’t picked up this series earlier because this book was amazing. Like read in a day, can’t put it down, ignore all responsibilities kind of amazing.

Mac “The Snake” Hannon has been running from his past for four long years. He’s tried to push the nightmare aside and ignore it every time it rears its ugly head. The problem is, you can never truly outrun your past. It always comes back to haunt you. Never before has that been more true than right now when he returns to the very place that holds those nightmarish memories. Kansas. Where his hopes and dreams were crushed when a tornado came through and took it all away from him. The only reason he was back was because his old friend needed him and he would never leave his friend hanging. Hopefully he could be distracted enough while he was here to ignore the ever-present pain of his broken past. Enter Gayle. The feisty, fun, entertaining and beautiful neighbor. She could certainly be a great distraction for Mac while he was here. But he didn’t do relationships of any kind. Not anymore. He just needed to look to his past to be reminded of why.

Meteorologist and storm chaser, Gayle Andrews sure was intrigued by the handsome man staying with her neighbor…not only because he was built and gorgeous but because he had a permanent scowl that was just begging to be erased. Of course she would happily volunteer to do just that. She has learned the hard way to live life to the fullest, every day, because you never knew when it could be your last. She had a feeling he would be a tough nut to crack but she had plenty of time to work on it. Tornado season hadn’t started yet and even though she watched her neighbor’s, and Mac’s friend’s, daughter from time to time, she still had plenty of calendar to fill. Mac didn’t know it yet, but he’d be that filler, and he’d be doing it without a scowl…come hell or high water.

Together both Mac and Gayle have heartbreaking pasts and have both dealt with crushing loss in their own ways. Mac has tried to hide it, and shove it down inside while Gayle has tried to learn from it and come away stronger. With two very different ways of coping, can they be united in their grief and learn to live and love again?

I am typing this while in a serious book hangover. Man, I loved this book. This wasn’t the typical fighter book in the sense that Mac’s MMA fighting really took a back seat to the rest of the story. Mainly this was a story about healing and overcoming tragedy and it was done so damn well. (I don’t want to give away the reasons behind Mac and Gayle’s loss so bear with me) Mac has been trying, pretty unsuccessfully, to ignore his pain. He left his former career, got into fighting and hasn’t looked back. Which really only lead him in succeeding in letting the old wound fester and never truly heal.

Gayle has been through her own personal hell but has really risen above and turned it into the driving force behind her current work with tornadoes. Two very different ways of coping. Fitting because Gayle and Mac are two very different personalities. You know what they say, though…opposites attract. The attraction is almost immediate and even though Gayle has her work cut out for her, she didn’t give up on Mac. Little by little she worked her magic and it was beautiful to read Mac opening up. However there was that one subject that Mac had to warm up to sharing….his past. It almost proved to be the end of their yet-to-develop relationship. I was a nervous wreck that Mac would never be able to move on. But he had never had Gayle by his side, willing to help him, supporting him along the way. I went through so many emotions while reading this book. My heart broke for Mac. I wanted him to have his happy ever after and I wanted it to be with Gayle. Luckily Abby wrote one hell of a fantastic ending and it made all my angsting over the two of them worth it!

Also, another great aspect of this story was Abby’s writing on the storm chasing scenes. Whoa, they were intense and played out like a movie in my mind’s eye while I was reading. Well done, Abby.

Ok…hopefully I haven’t bored you with this really long review and you get an idea of just how amazing this story was. Full of emotion and intensity with just enough heat added in, Winning Love made it to my list of faves for this year. Thank you, Abby, for a phenomenal read.

5LovesRLBFive Loves

 

Book links:

 Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBooks  |  Kobo 

About the author:

Ever since Abby Niles picked up her first Sweet Valley High book in sixth grade and fell in love with Elizabeth and Todd, she’s been hooked on romance. By the time she reached high school, she was devouring meatier romances with pirates, cowboys and knights. She never imagined that those years of reading would one day lead to her becoming a published author.

In her late twenties, after having twins and becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started doodling stories to keep her sanity. Next thing she knew, she was actually submitting to publishing houses. And was immediately rejected. That didn’t stop her though. She found some kickass critique partners, honed her craft, and continued submitting.

And eventually sold.

Today, she juggles work, being a single mom, and writing. It’s not always easy, but hey, who said life was easy?

Abby is the author of the contemporary MMA romance, Extreme Love, the first book in her Love to the Extreme series. Fighting Love is scheduled to release in December of 2013 and Winning Love is scheduled for 2014. She is also the author of the dark paranormal romance series The Awakening: Aidan and the The Awakening: Liam and The Awakening: Britton. Both series are with Entangled Publishing. She also has a geeky romantic comedy, Defying Convention, with Carina Press.

She is represented by Maureen Walters at Curtis Brown, LTD.

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