Going the Distance continues the Down for the Count series by Christa Cervone and picks up where On the Ropes left off. Make sure that you start with On the Ropes before reading this book, as Salem and Gabe's story starts there. I read this book right after I finished the first book, and I would really recommend reading these back to back if possible. There is a lot that happens in the first book that affects this book, and I think they are best read together. That being said, I had some issues with the first book and that was also the case here. Overall I liked the story, but it wasn't without some mixed feelings at times.
Gabriel "The Saint" Vega had a tough childhood and had finally reached what he had been working for. With his career taking off, he was thrown for a loop when he met Salem. Salem was his new sponsor's girlfriend, and although he tried to stay away he found himself unable to avoid her. But Salem and Gabe's relationship was over before it ever really began with everything standing in their way. Now he is focused on fighting and saving his brother as Jase attempts to stay clean. But when Gabe and Salem run into each other, they realize that the time and distance haven't changed their feelings for one another. Will they fight for one another, or will there be too many things standing in their way?
I hated Salem when we first met her in the first book, but about half way through she won me over. I figured at that point it was smooth sailing as far as her being a likable character. Apparently I figured wrong, because I spent pretty much the first half of this book hating her as well. I couldn't believe that we were back in the same situation, and honestly I was fed up. I didn't understand her reasoning for not breaking up with her cheating sleazebag of a boyfriend Blaine, and I didn't like what she was doing to Gabriel. Gabe had more than enough to deal with, and his feelings for Salem were true and unwavering. I hated watching him stick around because he loved her, all the while having to watch her repeatedly with Blaine. Gabe on the other hand I couldn't have loved more! He was sweet and caring, and even more of a good guy than he was before. He was great with his brother and he was determined to be there for Salem no matter what she put him through. I really felt like he deserved better, but I couldn't help but admire his devotion to Salem.
Overall, I thought that this was a good story even though I did have issues with it over the course of both books. Salem was one of my biggest problems, and her inability to end a toxic relationship that was long overdue. I also recommend that if you are not a fan of cheating that you probably don't read this series. There was cheating in both books, and I really felt like it was unnecessary. I didn't like it, and that was part of why I felt like Gabe deserved better than what he was getting. I will say that I liked how this book ended though, and I especially enjoyed the epilogue. It was great to see them years later, and I really loved everything that happened with Frankie and Gabe. He had always been a father to Gabe, and the way things went for those two was especially sweet. I think if you like sexy fighter stories that this is one that you might want to give a shot. It was enjoyable besides the few criticisms I had, and Gabe alone is worth the read.
**Review Copy Provided by Author**