Take Me On
by Katie McGarry
Read: June 2 - 3, 2014
Published: May 27, 2014 by Harlequin TEEN
Source: Kindle purchase
Category: Contemporary romance, YA, MMA, Kickboxing
Series: Pushing the Limits #4
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository
Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.
Haley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
What I love most about the Pushing the Limits series is that I've become invested in the lives of an ever increasing network of characters, who reemerge in later books and share their family and friends with me. I feel like I know this part of Kentucky well and the people who live there, both the dark and the light places. In Take Me On, I like how Rachel's story connects and informs West's, and the opportunity to see previous characters from his perspective - Rachel, Isaiah and Abby definitely, but also, his parents are more complex after viewing them from a new perspective.
West and Haley's story reminds me a bit of Rachel and Isaiah's, though instead of cars its focused on fighting. One night Haley is nearly jumped by two guys looking to steal the meds for her father that she's just picked up, and West steps in to help her, not knowing she's a champion kickboxer (though one who has sworn never to fight again). Still it's West who ends up defending her honor by agreeing to a mixed martial arts fight with one of the attackers. Not sure how else to get out of this mess, Haley decides to train him, determined to their relationship professional. Of course that doesn't work out so well for either of them.
I loved the slow building romance between Haley and West, as they began to trust each other and share their secrets. I also like that both of their families were complex and part of their stories. However, Take Me On got a little long in sections and it fell apart for a while in the latter half, when the momentum got lost for a time. This made me sad because until that point, I had been impressed with how each of them approached their friendship and budding relationship, despite the differences between them. After that section, it was hard for me to recapture the excitement, especially leading up to West's fight. I also wish we'd gotten to see a little more of Haley fighting or West training. Still, I'm a fan of Katie McGarry and I'll definitely read whatever she writes next in this world.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Companion/Standalone. So many more people need stories, but will we get them?