Title: Fighting to Forgive
Author: J.B. Salsbury
Series: Fighting #2
Release Date: November 19, 2013
What do you do when everything you avoid, turns out to be exactly what you need?
Easy and predictable, just the way he likes it, Blake Daniels flies through life the way he burns through women: on his terms, no regrets.
With his fighting career in full swing, he’s on the threshold of title contention. But when his training is compromised by injury, the stakes grow impossibly higher. The rage that fuels his punches also chips away at his focus, and he risks losing everything he cares about.
He won’t let that happen. Not again.
Layla’s through with men. After a marriage that never should’ve happened, she hopes to reclaim the pieces of the woman she lost years ago.
Emotional abuse has left her insecure and terrified. A master at faking what she’s not feeling, she masks her self-doubt in false confidence.
She’ll never let another man hurt her. Not again.
Chased by shadows of the past, Blake and Layla know what they don’t want, but their hearts have a different plan. As a web of lies and betrayal threatens to destroy them, they’re forced to make a choice.
Is love enough to heal even the deepest wounds?
Or will they be left Fighting to Forgive?
J.B. Salsbury continues to blow me away with her Fighting series. I fell hard for Jonah and was excited to hear Blake’s story after meeting him in Fighting for Flight. I had no idea what I was in store for. The cocky, sarcastic, hilarious and hot ladies man I had him pegged for didn’t even begin to scratch the surface of Blake Daniels. As I read Blake and Layla’s story, J.B. took my heart and put it through a shredder. This book was pure heartache, driven by the thirst for a happily ever after. I rode this rollercoaster without hesitation, loving every second of Blake and Layla’s journey.
“What’s a girl like you doing in a dirty mind like mine?”
Layla is everything Blake always tried to avoid and I absolutely loved her for that. I knew from the start that everything about her was going to test Blake’s ability to love and protect. Underneath the scars of her past, this woman is incredibly strong and feisty as hell. She gave Blake back everything he dished out, fitting into his world flawlessly. J.B. didn’t hesitate to show us her vulnerability and insecurities, making her unquestionably real and completely raw in her emotions and actions. Watching her struggle for a better life left me feeling proud and hopeful. I connected with Layla effortlessly and it made this story so much sweeter.
“I know it sounds silly. But everyone needs someone fighting in their corner, Blake. I’ve never had that, and neither have you. You own my heart and everything that comes with it.”
Blake left me feeling like my heart had just gone ten rounds in the octagon. His story was entirely unexpected and emotionally gripping. J.B. Salsbury has taken the alpha fighter I adored and made me fall irrevocably in love with his heart and soul. She has carefully taken Blake apart until every piece of his was visible and exposed. The things he’s endured were heartbreaking, while his strength, kindness and protective nature took my breath away. I loved seeing the genuine emotional chaos of Blake’s mind (and heart) and I couldn’t have walked away from him if I wanted to. J.B. made sure this man had free reign of my emotions and kept me feeling for him every step of the way.
“Si vis pacem, para bellum. If you want peace, prepare for war.”
The storyline in Fighting to Forgive is dark in a way that is completely different from Fighting for Flight. Layla’s past was devastating to read about, but it’s a story all too real. J.B. took Layla’s pain and gave it the attention and compassion it deserved, if I could hug J.B. for that, I would. Blake’s past was just as heart wrenching and I ached for him and Layla to find the happy ending they both deserved. I don’t know how J.B. managed to balance the sadness of this story with the indescribable joy of falling in love, but she did so expertly. Caught up in the hurricane of emotions this book had to offer, I let these two capture my heart. Their story filled me with such love and strength. Fighting to Forgive is a definite MUST read.
I really enjoyed the first book, but this one was completely different and much heavier leading me to completely treasure it. This book dealt with spousal and family abuse and the effects of it and it made my heart absolutely ache for these characters.
“If a man murders for the sake of enjoying his kill, that’s homicide. Punishable by death.”
Fighting to Forgive is based on Blake from the first book. It was so wonderful to see a completely different side of him than what we got in Fighting for Flight. Where he was always joking and fooling around with women in the first book, we got a much more serious and torn-up side of him here. I really appreciated seeing the fuller perspective of who he is as a person. I loved learning what his insecurities were, and I also admired being able to see him transform in front of me throughout this book. The person he is in the beginning is a complete 180 from the person he is in the end, and it just made me absolutely fall in love with Blake.
“But if a man murders to protect his family, that’s justice. Commendable.”
J.B. Salsbury has a magical way of writing her female characters. They’re all facing demons from their pasts, yet they try to be so strong and independent, and Layla was no exception. I truly admired how much she fought to protect Axelle – even though she is almost an adult. Watching that relationship unfold and blossom was quite special to me, especially with the contrast of Blake’s past. Putting the two histories together just created something so unique, and really helped me as a reader to understand Blake’s hesitations, but also to see his growth. It also helped to see the other side of the coin and how Axelle’s life could have been so much different. Layla was a character that I honestly could have books written about because of how strongly I admired every little piece that made her who she was as an individual, but also who Blake made her to be.
“Same crime, but circumstances decide whether it’s right or wrong.”
This couple together was incredibly perfect and I couldn’t have asked for more. They pushed each other to change their beliefs while still knowing the limits of the other person. It was just a beautiful love and one that I could not get enough of. I also couldn’t have asked for a better ending. I think that Epilogue warmed my heart and gave me warm fuzzies all over. This book was much more about the relationships and love than the fighting, but it really worked for me. I would absolutely recommend this book – and now to see what Rex’s story is!
UFL Training Center
Las Vegas, NV
I’m cranking out my last tricep press when the door to the gym opens. From the reflection in the mirror I watch as Blake and his little brother Braeden head my way. Where Brae is all swag and confidence, Blake’s looking a little tore up.
I rack my weight and turn to them. “You assholes are late.”
Brae shakes his head and throws a thumb to his brother. “Because of this dickhead.”
Blake cringes and—shit, is he limping?
“You okay, B?”
He comes closer than drops down on the weight bench, his knees wide and an arm propped behind him so he can lean back. “No. I’m very much not fucking okay.”
Brae cough-laughs then covers his mouth with a mumbled apology.
Wiping the sweat from my face, I prop a hip on the weight stack. “What happened? You injured?”
“Yeah, bro.” The younger Daniels grins into his shoulder and clears his throat. “Why don’t you tell Jonah what happened.”
Blake glares at his brother and then shifts his ass on the seat and groans. “Valentine’s Day. That’s what happened.”
I know V-Day is a big deal to Blake and Layla, after all, it was the night their worlds fucking imploded and what ultimately brought them together. But that doesn’t explain why the guy is acting like he has a hot coal shoved up his ass.
“Um…” Braeden lifts his eyebrows. “That’s not exactly the whole story.”
“I knew I shouldn’t have told you, fucker.” Blake moves to get up and hisses through his teeth then drops back down.
“Someone better start talking. If you’re injured you need to see the doc.”
A giggle bursts out of Brae’s lips, but like before he covers it and shakes his head. “I’m sorry. I just…” More throat clearing. “I don’t think there’s anything the doc can do for my brother.” Annnd more laughing.
“What the fuck?” I’m practically growling and I swear I’d shake the information out of Blake if he didn’t look like he was hurting so badly. “Talk.”
Blake heaves out a heavy sigh and leans forward although the action looks hella painful. He eyeballs the room, the only other people in here are clear across the thousand square foot space working the cardio machines. Once he’s convinced he won’t be heard he mouths something to me.
I squint. “Your flow and flick?”
His eyes grow wide. “No!”
He mouths it again, this time in a whisper but I can’t hear shit over Braeden who’s choking on his own laughter.
“You…grow a stick.”
“Dude,” Blake growls.
“What? I can’t fucking hear you—”
“I broke my dick!”
There’s a collective gasp from everyone in the room, all except Brae who is now doubled over, hands on his knees, trying to suck in precious oxygen.
My hand instinctively goes to my junk where I cup and massage my shit saying a silent prayer of thanks that it’s in good health. “How the hell did you do that?”
He closes his eyes and does some labor breathing through what I assume to be a twinge of pain, then focuses on me after it passes. “I wanted to do something special for Layla, ya know, this being Valentine’s Day and all.”
Brae waves his hand around, his face red, tears building in his eyes. “I can’t…this is too fucking funny…stop…my stomach.”
Blake lunges, smacks his brother upside the head, only to fall back with both hands between his legs. “Damn, see what you did?”
Braeden’s laugh now has zero sound.
“Go on.” I cross my arms over my chest and focus on all the brightly colored tats on my forearms to keep from joining the younger Daniels. I haven’t even heard the story yet, but knowing Blake I can only imagine the dickface did something stupid.
“So I woke her up, ya know?” For the first time since he stepped in here, he smiles and it’s all kinds of dirty.
“Yeah, I get it.”
“Right, so I hooked her up first.” He winks. “Twice.”
“You can imagine how things were going…down there.” He nods to the space between his legs. “I was roarin’ to go, if you know what I mea—”
“I know what you mean.”
“But it’s a special day for us, so…” He glares at his brother who’s now crouched and still sucking air where he can get it. “I wanted to do something special.”
“Please tell me you didn’t put your dick somewhere it doesn’t belong.” I pinch the bridge of my nose feeling like asking Blake to explain might have been a bad idea. They don’t make brain bleach strong enough to erase the images he’s capable of burning into my head.
“No. I didn’t. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I’m not some kind of perv.”
Another snort from Brae.
“I…” His gaze slides around the room then he leans in. “I gave her a show, ya know?”
“A show.” Wait, did he…?
“The wiener dance.”
Okay, so not totally pervy. Any guy out there who says he’s never blessed his woman with a little dick-helicopter action is a liar. “That doesn’t make sense, I mean how…” My eyes widen when realization hits. “Oh shit…”
He recoils and nods. “Yeah.”
“Dude, Blake, you can’t do an aggressive wiener dance when you’re rock hard, man.”
He stares up at me with a dry expression. “You don’t say.”
“Tell him the rest.” Brae’s back to his feet, but he’s wiping tears from his eyes.
“I was braced, had good form, hands on my hips, great rotation, and then bam! It hurt like hell. Felt like someone took a Samurai sword to my good-n-plenties.” He huffs out a breath. “I dropped hard. Fell straight to the floor and rolled to my stomach—”
I suck in air through my teeth. “Ouch.”
“Exactly. And tonight is always the best night for us, but I fucked it all up.”
“I got this, dude.” Brae pats his chest and there’s humor in his voice. “I’ll take care of Layla tonight—”
Blake rushes him again, but Brae dodges him, which is easy to do since he’s moving at a slugs pace. “I hate you.”
“You love me.” His brother winks and moves to the leg press machine mumbling, “Fuck, that’s some funny shit.”
“You good to workout?” I’m fighting a grin.
“Hell.” He stands and hobbles to the weights. “It’s the only kind of workout I’ll be able to get for a while, so…fuck. This sucks.”
I clap him on the shoulder. “You’ll survive to fuck another day, bro.”
“Stupid helicopter,” he mumbles.
And then I proceed to lose it.
“Laugh it up.” He glares at me. “Happy Valentine’s Day, prick.”
Add to Goodreads
Don’t miss the rest of the Fighting Series:
Fighting for Flight (Fighting #1)
Fighting to Forget (Fighting #3)
Fighting the Fall (Fighting #4)
A Father’s Fight (Fighting #5)
Fighting for Forever (Fighting #6)
Fighting Fate (Fighting #7)
Fighting for Honor (Fighting #8)
The Final Fight (Fighting #9)
Uncaged: A Fighting for Flight Short Story