Review: REAL by Katy Evans

Real

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A fallen boxer.

A woman with a broken dream.

A competition…

He even makes me forget my name. One night was all it took, and I forgot everything and anything except the sexy fighter in the ring who sets my mind ablaze and my body on fire with wanting…
Remington Tate is the strongest, most confusing man I’ve ever met in my life.

He’s the star of the dangerous underground fighting circuit, and I’m drawn to him as I’ve never been drawn to anything in my life. I forget who I am, what I want, with just one look from him. When he’s near, I need to remind myself that I am strong–but he is stronger. And now it’s my job to keep his body working like a perfect machine, his taut muscles primed and ready to break the bones of his next opponents . . .
But the one he’s most threatening to, now, is me.

I want him. I want him without fear. Without reservations.

 

If only I knew for sure what it is that he wants from me?

Review:

I received a review copy of REAL, and I thought I’d read it because the hero is a former boxer turned underground fighter.  There aren’t a lot of romances that I am aware of featuring fighters, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the usual billionaires or cowboys I am forever reading about (because I can’t resist the cowboys, especially if they are sexy billionaire cowboys with really nice horses).  Though Remy is a rough underground fighter, he is a very wealthy one, which made me wonder why he would put his pretty face in jeopardy, but whatever.

Brooke is a down on her luck rehab therapist.  She just finished school, has bills to pay, and she hasn’t found the job of her dreams yet. When her BFF Mel drags her to a fight, she is consumed with thoughts of Remy after sharing a soulful, scorching stare.  Her insides clench (more on that later), her interest is beyond piqued, and sexy Remy is wedged in her brain.  When he offers her a job, instead of the wild one night stand she’s expecting, she reluctantly accepts.  How is she going to massage those wicked muscles, and keep their relationship professional?  When her younger sister gets into deep, deep doodoo, staying out of Remy’s bed is the last thing on her mind.

I have mixed feelings about REAL.  On one hand, it is an engaging, totally in your face read.  On the other, the prose, while immediate and intense and oh so honest, occasionally Drove. Me. NUTS.  Brooke’s insides clench.  About a billion times.  There is also a lot of licking, biting, gripping, and squeezing.  So much that I was tempted to go back to the beginning and count how many times these words appeared throughout the pages.  Brooke’s relentless pursuit of a physical relationship with Remy consisted of her stomach and other organs clenching, squeezing, and dripping a distracting number of times, and it got so repetitive after a while.   While her obsession with Remy was telegraphed loud and clear and left no doubt how she felt, I was soon wishing for more verbs to describe her body’s reaction to him.

I’m not sure that I liked Brooke, or that she’s the girl for the noble, damaged Remy.  She spent most of her life training for the Olympics, but an injury sidelined her.  Permanently.  During those years that she was training  to be the best, she lived a very sheltered life.  She worked hard, studied hard, and competed hard, all the while staying out of trouble.  She didn’t need the distraction.  Now that her dreams left her cruelly disappointed, she wants to start making up for lost time.  Remy is gorgeous, and sweet, and there is a chemistry between them that threatens to combust every time they see each other.  When Brooke decides that she’s going to act on her attraction, she is bewildered.  Remy refuses to sleep with her, and their make-out sessions go nowhere. Frustrated and resentful, she doesn’t know whether he’s the problem – or if she is.  Despite his assurances that he wants her to get to know him better first, she is so angry with him she doesn’t know how to react.  I was willing to cut her some slack because she hadn’t previously known anyone like Remy, or felt as twisted and confused as he made her feel.  When her younger sister is sprinkled into the mix, Brooke makes some really bad decisions, and Remy is the one to pay the price every time. 

Remy is a character that I haven’t read about before, and I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil anything.  I wasn’t happy with message delivered here, though.  He refused for his condition, so he is always skating on a fine line between keeping control over himself and his actions and completely losing his sh$t.  He’s afraid of getting involved with Brooke, fearful that she will leave him when he loses himself.  That aspect of their relationship was fascinating.  How do you give your heart to a guy whose self-control is tenuous at best, and who forgets everything that he does during these episodes?  His condition ensures that he can’t really have a HEA, because Brooke can’t cure him.  It’s not realistic or possible, and that made the last half of the book even more compelling.

The final fight scene – Oh. My. God.  So intense.  It really made the book for me because is was brutal and gritty and showed what Remy was all about.  He is iron-willed and stubborn, and it’s impossible for him to back down from a challenge.

I enjoyed REAL, even though it didn’t completely work for me.  It felt genuine  and fresh, though some narrative quirks left me cringing and distracted. I am curious to see how Brooke and Remy’s relationship progresses, because I think they have a rocky road ahead of them.

Grade:   B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher