A sexy but soft alpha male, a heroine that’s climbing to the top of her career, and a nosy family to keep everything entertaining — Until We’re More by Cindi Madsen has it all!
Until We’re More is the second book in the Fighting For Her series, which follows a family that owns and operates a gym specializing in MMA fighting. The first book in the series followed the story of the daughter in the family, but the second book focuses mainly on one of the brothers, Liam.
He’s very much invested in making sure that their family gym stays afloat, and although things are getting better, they’re still struggling to make sure the business stays profitable for the family.
Part of this means that Liam helps train other fighters, and runs self-defense classes, but he’s also an up-and-coming MMA fighter himself. He’s working his ass off to train for a fight that could elevate his career if he wins, but if he loses it would also be the end of the career.
In the middle of all of this, Liam learns that his best friend Chelsea has surprised him and come back home for a visit. She’s been gone for months, having relocated for a new job in the hopes to meet her own career goals.
What Liam doesn’t know is that Chelsea was also hoping that the distance would help her get over the crush she developed on her best friend, thinking that it couldn’t have been anything other than one sided. Liam was much better at hiding his feelings, certain that a relationship between them could never work.
But there’s no hiding the sexual tension and undeniable chemistry between these two, especially once Chelsea agrees to temporarily live with Liam while she’s in town.
This kicks off a really interesting take on the best-friends-to-lovers trope. Although Liam and Chelsea are extremely close, their time apart has altered the way they look at each other. They were already feeling the attraction prior to Chelsea’s move, but now that they’re back together (so to speak) they’re both finding it much harder to ignore those feelings.
As a reader I love knowing there’s so much history between these two, and yet at the same time we don’t have to wait around for them to realize their feelings. There’s still some back and forth while they figure out how to deal with these feelings, but they’re not in denial about them either.
Both Liam and Chelsea also have a lot of emotional baggage to deal with from their families. Liam is working through plenty of guilt about letting down his family gym by losing a previous fight, which is part of what stops him from wanting a relationship.
He’s also twisted up about what happened between his parents, and how he views their divorce cements his ideas of how happily ever afters aren’t meant for everyone.
On Chelsea’s part, she’s spent most of her life dealing with a family that only makes time for her when they use her. That means Chelsea gets guilted into helping her mom financially, as well as with her time and energy without getting much in return. It’s put a damper on her confidence, which has stopped her from reaching her goals in her career as well as her love life.
During their time living together, readers will get to see Chelsea and Liam working on themselves as well as their own relationship. Because both of those things are very much entwined with one another, once they both put in the emotional work to better themselves they can begin to see how they could make the leap from best friends to something much more.
At the same time, Cindi Madsen uses wit and humor to make sure that the story doesn’t get too heavy. There’s plenty of comic relief to balance out the emotional work that’s going on between Chelsea and Liam. Not to mention all of the sexy times when the best friends give in to their desires.
The best part about Liam is despite his tough exterior, he melts for Chelsea at every opportunity. Even before they take their relationship to the next level he doesn’t hesitate to put her needs before his own.
He’s there for her emotionally and physically. Offering her a place to stay, and ear to listen, and in any other way that she asks. Even when that means brushing the teeth of her cat while she’s on a date with another guy.
Is there anything better than a guy that will do anything for his girl?
Anyone who’s a fan of best-friends-to-lovers stories, or sports romances featuring hunky heroes that are still soft for their heroines, is going to want to pick up Until We’re More!
P.S. This book gets extra bonus points for the hilarious mention of Chris Evans’ sacred beard. 😉