This is the second book in the
Hot Hard & Dirty books. There are 5 or 6 more of them. Alta’s book focuses on a boxer, a boxing gym, and the Filthy Fight. About the title, it gets used several places in the book, and I really like that.
Juelp’s dad always told her that she was named after his favorite drink, the mint julep. It looked sweet and packed a punch. Julep has spent her life trying to live up packing a punch, and she does. Since her dad died, she and her brother Danny have been running the boxing gym that he started. Danny does the training, and she does pretty much everything else. So when Danny runs off their best chance at winning a heavyweight championship, again, it’s up to her to fix it. That’s what she does, along with keeping Danny from completely losing it. So she starts figuring out who to get to come fight for the gym. One thing she does is call her friend Lola, who is a sports writer, and who suggests that she go talk to Mateo, the boxer who was known as The Matador, but who has been out of boxing for a few years. Lola warns Julep that there was some kind of scandal there, so she will need to be careful.
Mateo loved to box. His father Cisco loved boxing and taught him to love it and how to box. But a few years ago, he did a stupid thing and caused his career to crash and burn. So when Julep rolls up to his house, looking all sweet, and asks him to come and try out at their gym for the heavyweight spot, he tells her no. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t really, really, really want to do it. Especially since he’s doing a shitty job with his welding company. His dad talks him into it, and away he goes to the open tryouts, where he dominates.
Danny is worried about taking a chance on him because he threw a fight. He doesn’t want Mateo to reflect badly on the gym, and if Mateo does it again, not only will it reflect poorly on them, it will be the end of the gym. But Julep convinces him to do it because she knows that he is their best choice. She’s positive that Mateo won’t do anything like that again and she’s sure that there was a really good reason that he did whatever it was he did. Mateo has never talked to anyone about it, and no one knows what he was thinking or his motives.
Danny is a total prick. I can say that without insulting pricks, I think. But seriously, everything is always Julep’s fault, even when it’s his fault, but when something goes well, it’s always because Danny planned it, or whatever. That kind of thing is really exhausting to have to deal with.
When I went into this book, I was all excited about a nice, filthy, forbidden boss/employee romance. And that’s there. But to me, this is about so much more than just that. You get a story about redemption, second chances at life, love, family, and picking yourself up after you fail. And that all wrapped around some hot sex and some fighting. I loved how Mateo’s story and his journey made me feel. There’s a lot of emotion there. And that’s what made this book so glorious, in my opinion.
I personally think Nero and Danny had a little something going on in the background. I still don’t trust Danny at all. I know that kind of guy too well. Maybe Julep and Mateo can punch Danny around a little until he gets some sense in his head?
Oh man, Cisco’s whole storyline both makes me incredibly sad and incredibly happy. Sad that he was so sick, happy that he got to die the way he wanted to and where he wanted to. Not everyone gets that.
OK, that’s all that I have to say about this one. Go check it out! Happy reading!