a fighting manRating: 2 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | All Romance
Length: Novella

Casper Kennedy is at his wits’ end. When he met Slater Cassidy, his boss’ fiancé’s brother, he was annoyed immediately, and even though Slater returns to his tour overseas, he remains a thorn in Casper’s side. A string of random gifts, including a singing telegram, seem to be Slater’s idea of courting Casper, but Casper isn’t interested. Or at least that’s what he tells himself. Three years ago, Casper lost the love of his life, his fiancé Mason, while he was overseas and no matter how attracted he is to Slater, Casper refuses to fall into that trap again. Then Slater announces that he will be home in June, at which time he plans on taking Casper out on a date, and Casper readies himself to say no, even though just the thought of spending time with Slater brings a smile to his face.

Army Ranger Slater Cassidy has always been known as a player with men and women alike, never spending too much time on one person. Until Casper. Something about Casper draws him in and Slater has to have him. For the first time in his life, Slater wants a relationship with one man, Casper Kennedy. Back in the States, Slater sets about his campaign to win Casper over. Meaning to surprise his soon-to-be lover, Slater walks in on the middle of a meeting between Casper and an important client. It could have meant disaster for Casper’s career; instead it was a turning point when the client offered a deal for Slater to be the face of an upcoming energy drink ad.

Forced together due to his work, Casper can’t help but want to be closer to Slater. And when Slater saves Casper from an attack by Mason’s family on Memorial Day, Casper realizes that there is no denying the ever-growing attraction between them. After weeks together, Casper knows Slater must return to duty, but his past experience with men in the military is painful, and when tragedy strikes, his loyalty and their relationship will be tested to the limits.

A Fighting Man is the third book in Sandrine Gasq-Dion’s Men of Manhattan series. If you’ll recall, I liked the first two books in this series, and I’m not going to say that I didn’t like this story, because the story itself is decent—a little cheesy, and definitely predictable, but the premise is good. It’s the storytelling that I have a problem with. It’s bland and telling. There is very little showing in this story. And before some of you take offense, because I know this author is very popular, I have examples:

Slater went straight for my dick and I cried out at the warm sensation of his mouth on my flesh. The tight suction on my dick was driving me insane. Slater played with my sac as he swallowed me whole and I came with a loud shout.

Slater kept at my cock, sucking and swallowing greedily. I closed my eyes and tried to regulate my breathing. Jesus I hadn’t come like that—or that fast—in years. Slater was over me, rutting against me as I opened my eyes. His eyes searched mine as if he was looking to see if I was ready.

God, yes I was ready.

And then:

The night of the party had arrived and I was nervously adjusting my bow tie. It was a masquerade, so I was also sporting a mask, which was on top of my head as I eyed myself in the mirror. I’d spent a few days with Casper before it was back to work for me. We shot a few commercials and I tried not to laugh at Juan-Carlos’ accent when he said Rush. The man loved to roll his Rs. I hadn’t had sex with Casper yet. I don’t know why.

Okay, I did.

I was so afraid that if I made love to the man, I’d never want to leave him.

Hell, I felt that way already.

Those are only a couple examples, but overall the story reads very dry.

Slater Cassidy is the brother of Spencer Cassidy, main character of the previous book in this series. Slater is an Army Ranger and an all-around playboy until he meets Casper at which point he decides Casper is the man of his dreams and puts everything he has into wining Casper’s affections. I like Slater. He’s very determined and fun. In real life, I would probably find him annoying in his persistence, but in this story his quirkiness and ego work. I like that no matter what, he goes for what he wants and what he believes in. He’s a very likable and enjoyable character.

I have a feeling that this author’s goal was to use Casper to pull at the heartstrings of readers, and I can see where it’s possible, but I was just simply frustrated with him. Casper has been hurt in the past. He lost the love of his life to war. Then Mason’s parents bodily forced him from the funeral. He’s a pretty lonely guy who focuses everything he has on his work and tries to ignore his personal life, choosing instead to mourn the loss of his love. Here’s my issue with Casper: he’s inconsistent. He practically shouts from the rooftops that he wants nothing to do with Slater, but at the first sign that someone else may be interested in Slater, Casper is all over him. Then after a kind word and pretty smile, Casper ignores all of his previous self-imposed rules and dives head first into a relationship with Slater.

One of my biggest pet peeves is making the “no condom” decision in the heat of the moment, and this story is the perfect example of that. In the heat of them moment, meaning when the characters are lubed up and ready for action, one guy says, “You know what, I’m clean. How about you?” And the other guy is all, “Yep. Let’s to this bare.” How responsible is that? In my opinion, we’re all grownups right? We know the risk and so do our characters. So why act as if the risk doesn’t exist for the sake of pleasure and true love? Especially in modern-day contemporary romance. In this case, Slater is the All-American bisexual playboy, never sleeping with a partner more than once and probably not recalling their names. Yes, he says he gets tested every six months, and he probably does, but why in the world would Casper believe that without proof? I’m dumbfounded. I’m not against barebacking in contemporary erotic romance, but rushing into it without conversation is a bit disconcerting.

Overall, this story was filled with issues for me. I tried to enjoy it. In fact, I really wanted to like it, but in the end, there were far too many distractions for me to wade through to get to the end. Unfortunately, this is not a book that I will recommend.

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