This is the first book I have read from E.J. Shortall, and I have to say that I really enjoyed Prepared to Fight. I love a sexy fighter story, but this was so much more than that. I thought that E.J. Shortall did a great job with not only giving us a sexy hero, but also giving us a great positive story as well. This book had a great message, and I loved seeing the heroine find herself and embrace her life while learning to make better choices for herself along the way.
Olivia is used to being surrounded by men, and is focused on doing whatever it takes to succeed in her male dominated career. When she lands the job of working on the proposal for GO Sports and Leisure, she sees it as her chance to finally show them all what she is capable of. But when the owner Nathan Oakes walks in, she realizes that he is none other than the sexy and mysterious man that she previously met at the gym. Liv thought that he was a personal trainer, but it turns out that he is way more than she first thought. Not only is Nathan the owner of GO, but he is also a famous MMA fighter. So when he offers to personally train Olivia and for her to join him in France, she immediately questions his motives and begins to wonder if she should turn him down. But Liv finds herself unable to fight the connection she feels for him, and knows that this is a once in a lifetime chance. But as the two grow closer, things get more complicated than ever. With them both focused on their careers and keeping things professional, will they be able to avoid falling for one another?
I really liked these two together, and I loved seeing them figure things out together. Nathan was very private, and it was clear that he didn't let many people in. I wondered if he was good for Liv in the long run, and I will admit that his hot and cold routine got old. But he seemed like a great guy, and I really liked his positive support and encouragement. He pushed Liv to be the best she could be, and he seemed genuinely concerned with her well being and progress. So even though I was irritated with him and his wishy washy attitude, I did want him with Liv. Liv was so easy to relate to for me. She had insecurities with her body, and liked how her life was. She knew that she should change things, and yet she really needed someone to push her and to keep her committed to making that life change. But she was strong and feisty, and she was a fighter at heart. I loved that she allowed Nathan to help her, even if she didn't always like what he had to say. These two were so good for one another, and I enjoyed seeing Liv return the favor for Nathan later on in the story as he began to open up to her. Liv and Nathan fit together really well, and I enjoyed watching them figure things out together. They had a ton of chemistry and heat, but it was their growing connection that kept me reading.
Overall, this was a really good story and I liked how Shortall handled Liv's insecurities. She showed that it is okay to be normal sized and that not everyone needs to be a complete stick figure that never eats. But she also showed that with hard work and positive life changes, we can look and feel better about ourselves. I really liked the characters in this story, and I felt a bit bad for Liv's best friend Adam. I felt like he handled some things poorly, but I could tell how he really felt right from the start. It had to be hard watching his best friend move on with her life, knowing that he had never said anything or really acknowledged his feelings until it was too late. I really hope that E.J. Shortall will write a book for him, as I would love to see him get his own HEA. Plus it would be great to see more of Liv and Nathan as well. I would recommend this book if you are looking for a positive story with some steam. This isn't just another MMA fighter story, and I liked that it was different. I will definitely look for more from Shortall in the future.
**ARC Provided by S. B. B. Promotions**