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★★★★ A Fighting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion★★★★

We are joined by the lovely Mishyjo with a review of A Fighting Man, the third book in The Men of Manhattan series by Sandrine Gasq-Dion. 4 stars!

  • A Betting Man (book #1) – click here for review
  • A Marrying Man (book #2)
  • A Fighting Man (book #3) – in this review

A Fighting Man

The blurb…

Army Ranger Slater Cassidy has a very special – very sexy – target in his sights. Meeting gorgeous, smart, uber-snarky Casper Kennedy was the highlight of Slater’s last trip home to New York. The soldier in him carefully plans his conquest. Unfortunately, Casper’s wearing some seriously strong armor and Slater’s charm offensives bounce right off. Casper’s refusal to fall for him is puzzling – not to mention incredibly annoying. When Slater gets leave again after grueling back-to-back tours in Afghanistan, all he wants is another shot at wooing Casper. He jumps right into the battle for the other man’s heart, but Casper does not intend to entertain the troops. A heartbreaking revelation changes the rules of romantic warfare, and Slater suddenly realizes he doesn’t just want Casper. He wants to capture his heart, too.

Casper Kennedy is fighting a losing battle. A certain outrageously demonstrative Army Ranger has been a thorn in his side since his last trip home – and the main character in his steamiest dreams. Now he’s back. He launches an all-out sensual assault and no matter how hard Casper pushes Slater away, the man somehow manages to inch closer. So close, in fact, that Casper’s once-impenetrable defenses are in danger of collapsing. Should he throw up the white flag and take a chance at love? Or start firing back and keep his heart protected? When the handsome Ranger shows his true colors, Casper just might have to surrender the fight.

So what did I think?

I loved the first book in this series, A Betting Man. Loved it. The second book, A Marrying Man, was a bit of a let down after the high of A Betting Man but still quite good. A Fighting Man, however, is right back up there in the “loved it” classification. Not quite the 5 starts I gave A Betting Man but a very solid 4 stars, maybe even a fraction more.

From book 2 I was already crazy about Casper and the way he rebuffed​ the sexy but overconfident Slater. In A Fighting Man, however, Casper and Slater become real people and Casper’s standoffish behavior towards Slater transforms from a funny side story to something more serious. Casper is heartbroken and has drawn certain lines in the sand to protect his heart from being broken in the same way again.

A Fighting Man was, to me, the most realistic book of the three stories so far. The issues of survivor’s guilt and dealing with trauma played out in a way that really connected with me. These issues were not too heavy yet they were not glossed over or resolved in a manner that seemed too tidy.

Family matters were also a fairly serious theme addressed in this story. Although we already know that Slater’s family is incredible, Casper isn’t so lucky in that regard. Not only is he missing the support of his own family when he needs it, homophobia robbed him of his right to properly mourn a previously lost loved one. He carries that pain with him and it interferes with his ability to let Slater in.

I am assuming (and hoping) there will be a book 4 to this series. Perhaps Drakon??? Perhaps Mr. Hawke? Perhaps Drakon with Mr. Hawke. I guess we will have to wait and see. One thing is certain though, I hope to be one of the first to read it.

Mishyjo x

Reviewed by Mishyjo

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A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

A Betting ManA Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

How bad could one harmless bet be? Kent Samson is about to find out. Raised in Alabama, Kent has hidden his past and now loves his life as a big time ad exec for a prestigious advertising company in New York. But when he makes a bet with his best friend, Blaine, Kent is thrown for a loop—for Kent has to make the next person to walk through the door fall in love with him.

Terry Barron is hiding out in New York. Raised in England in a wealthy family, Terry escapes to New York to avoid arranged marriages and the lifestyle he’s grown to hate. When he delivers a package to an advertising firm, he meets the unbelievably sexy Kent Samson. Suddenly, secrets and lies complicate everything and both men find themselves in uncharted waters. How will Terry feel when Kent is revealed as a betting man?

So what did I think?

I read this story for beginning to end in one go. Sure, its not really that long but it definitely had me hooked right from the beginning. It’s written in first person alternating between the two main characters.

The story revolves around Kent making a bet with his buddy Blaine. The bet states that Kent has to make the next person to walk through the office door fall in love with him within six months. That person is Terry the bike courier.

Kent is hiding from his past (to be honest I am not 100% sure why) and hides his southern upbringing. He is a very successful executive, with all the trappings of success, although it is clear that he is not truly happy. Terry sees through to the real man within Kent. “He’s a good man. You just have to look beneath that layer of bullshit.”

I loved the dates that Kent and Terry went on and the gradual evolution of their relationship. They seem to balance each other so perfectly. They work well together sexually and I loved the way Kent, perhaps a little subconsciously, referred to their first encounter as ‘making love’. “I had lost my straight man virginity last night. I’d made love to Terry.”.It becomes clear to everyone around them, just how much they have come to love each other. But of course, the bet gets exposed and Kent needs to win back his man.

The families play a role in this story and it is great to see that both men are accepted by their parents and both turn to their parents for support. “We haven’t stopped loving you yet, and you’ve been an asshole for five years,” my father drawled.

The story is written with heaps of humour with some of my favourite parts coming from Kent’s parents.
“We’re not naked!” I shouted. “Well hell,” my mom poked her head around the wail. “Your father and I will leave so you can be!”

The only part of the story I didn’t like were the early references to Kent’s sexual experiences with women. There are no actual sex scenes, just a couple of comments but I found the references to ‘tits’ and ‘pubes’ a bit crass but perhaps the language/tone was used to show Kent wasn’t getting much out of the experience. Or maybe I just didn’t like it because I didn’t really want any m/f component in the story? Anyway, it wasn’t enough to really detract from the overall enjoyment of the book.

Fabulous happy ending!

This book was provided by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

4 Stars

To find out more about Sandrine Gasq-Dion and her books, visit her Facebook page.

Buy A Betting Man from Amazon.

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