Title: Paradise Fought: Abel
Series: Paradise #1
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Genre: Contemporary New Adult Romance/MMA
Release Date: January 25, 2016
I’m not a fighter.
I was born into a fighting family. As the middle child, I was overlooked in favor of my older brother.
He took the negative attention, too. In comparison, there’s nothing special about me.
I’m not as big as Cobra. I’m not as strong as Cobra. He’s the alpha.
I’m a beta.
The second son.
The lesser one.
The one never encouraged to fight, never encouraged to do anything, but stay out of my father’s way.
I’m not a lover either – but I wished to be – that’s why I needed her.
I met a girl in the pouring rain.
Sounds cliché, but it’s true. It changed everything.
Because of love, I learned to fight.
Betas come second, but in this fight, my story is first.
L.B. Dunbar dives into a new series with Paradise Fought: Abel, a New Adult/MMA Romance. Abel is tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, determined to make a name for himself, when Elma crosses his path. Both of them carry secrets with the power to destroy the other, but their unlikely connection is hard to ignore when life seems to keep throwing them together. L.B. Dunbar has cultivated a truly unique chemistry with this couple. Although their situations are markedly different, Abel and Elma seem to share a similar pain. Inevitably drawn to the kindred spirit they discover in one another, this couple feels fated in a way I can’t quite explain. From the start I found myself rooting for them, even without knowing where this book was headed or what secrets they harbored. Paradise Fought shines with colorful imagery and thoughtful prose, allowing the readers to easily lose themself in Abel and Elma’s story. L.B. Dunbar artfully delivers a journey of heartache, loss, destiny, suspense, revenge, family, and love that will make you laugh, think, and feel deeply.
“Our names hung in the air. Biblical and rich in history, we stood as fated brothers. We did not control our destiny.”
Abel was such a contradiction and I absolutely loved that about him. He seemed to have a Clark Kent vibe about him, keeping his school life separate from the fighting world he grew up in. It was fascinating to see both sides of him battling for dominance. As the second son, Abel has been led to his role as the socially awkward nerdy college student. But there’s a fire inside of him that comes out when he fights, a passion that burns through the box his family has put him in. L.B. Dunbar did a great job depicting this inner struggle and allowing this character to grow into his own as the story and his relationship with Elma progressed. Elma, on the other hand, kept my head spinning for a lot of the book. Drowning in pain and consumed by the need for revenge, it was impossible to tell what kind of person she really was. I found myself wanting to yell at her for being so blind to the life that kept moving on around her while she clung to her feelings of loss and devastating grief. L.B. Dunbar slowly transformed this character through her relationship with Abel. The more time Elma spent with Abel, the more he forced her to feel the things that were happening now, eventually developing her into a character that readers could not only relate to but invest in.
“The fans wanted blood. A shark was in the tank, and the little fish was going down.”
L.B. Dunbar’s writing continues to surprise me with its intelligence and growth. With each new project her writing style becomes more refined, developing a voice that is distinctively hers. One of the things I’ve really come to love from L.B. Dunbar’s writing is the multitude of layers throughout her storylines. She weaves history, lore, and life experience into her own imagined world to create something truly captivating that feels fresh and yet fondly familiar. The beginning of the story was a tad slow with all of the groundwork that had to be laid down, but it quickly picked up as Abel and Elma’s relationship started to evolve. Once they became fixtures in each other’s lives, the story took off running delivering an exciting story with plenty of unexpected twists and turns. As always, L.B. Dunbar includes a multitude of secondary characters that are intriguing in their own right. I have so many questions about their relationships and what role they’ll play in this series. I look forward to unraveling their secrets as the series moves forward. Paradise Fought: Abel is intense, emotional, and full of surprises. A New Adult novel to the core, L.B. Dunbar serves up plenty of angst, steam, vulnerability and moments of self-discovery with Abel and Elma’s story.
If I thought I was going to make a speedy getaway, I was wrong. My savior caught up to me, half way down the walk, outside the finance building. He was quick and a large hand wrapped around my upper arm.
“Whoa, sister,” he said, slightly out of breath. “You almost got away from me again.”
“What?” I questioned. I had no idea what he meant: again.
“Never mind,” he muttered, his hand still on me. I looked down at it and he immediately released me. My eyes pinched as I realized I didn’t mind his hand on my skin. There was something nonthreatening about him. He seemed rather innocent, studious, actually. His shirt was buttoned almost to the top and tucked into his pants. The sleeves secure at the cuffs. His jeans were snug and hugged him well. He wore dark rimmed glasses that screamed smart. Brown boots looked too new on his large feet. It was like he had the right parts but the wrong combination.
His blue eyes were soft and easy to look into. They practically spoke to me, but I had no idea what he was saying. His dark hair was disheveled, a bit shaggy, but cool looking. He kind of looked like a pop star, which was a little too sugar sweet for me. His form was questionable. It was hard to tell what kind of body he had under those clothes. He looked rather preppy, like half the guys at this university. I didn’t want to think about it. I’d just sold my soul for another semester.
“So when do you want to do this?” I asked. His blank stare told me he had no idea what I meant.
“Us,” I said, pointing between him and me.
“I…” His voice trailed off as he gawked at me. His expression changed from confusion to shock.
“I didn’t buy you to sleep with you,” he said, a touch of disbelief in his voice. His face turned crimson, then fell. “Why, have you done that before?” It was my turn to be surprised and offended.
I turned on my heels and began stomping away from him. He was too quick and he caught me again. His hand on my arm halted me. This time he didn’t release me when I peered down at his fingers wrapped around my bicep.
“Look. I need help,” he blurted. His face pinked a little, and it was sweet. “I don’t need help with sex. I need help with before.” His tone dropped, and he looked side to side to see if anyone would hear him. I took his meaning.
“You don’t know how to do foreplay?” I questioned in a loud whisper, trying to hide my astonishment. How could anyone have sex and not know a touch of foreplay?
His face pinked again.
“Not that,” he said, sounding like a child. “The flirting. The dating. The…other stuff.”
I was stunned. I stared at him, taking in his features again. He was kind of cute, leaning toward the potential for good looking. He couldn’t possibly need help with this request. The confusion on my face made him speak.
“I don’t know how to flirt.” The words swirled between us.
“I don’t understand.” I didn’t. I didn’t know what he wanted from me.
“I need lessons how to be…cool: with girls. Call it a tutoring session. I need to learn how to be…seen.” His voice took on a touch of sadness. He couldn’t possibly be serious. I continued to stare at him. My mouth might have actually dropped open a bit, and I noticed he was watching my lips. It was a little exciting the way he stared at them. I licked them and his pupils dilated, filling in more black over the blue. His expression changed. Knowingly, he blinked when he realized I was teasing him. His lip quirked up and a dimple showed in his cheek.
“I need to date you,” he blurted. “To learn how to do, what you just did to me.”
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Don’t miss the rest of the Paradise series:
Paradise Tempted: The Beginning (Paradise #0.5)
Paradise Found: Cain (Paradise #2)
L.B. Dunbar loves the original legend of King Arthur. Inspired by this classic tale, she pulled over to the side of the road to take notes when it hit her that if King Arthur lived today, he’d be a rock star. A lover of fairy tales, myths, legends, and anything with happily ever after, she loves to read and write contemporary romance. Her Legendary Rock Stars series is complete with the final tale: The Trials of Guinevere DeGrance, but the story began with The Legend of Arturo King. She also wrote The Sensations Collection, which includes five stand alones based on the five senses in a small town setting near Lake Michigan. Raised on one side of that lake, she grew up in Michigan, but now lives on the other side, in Chicago. Mother to four, wife to the one and only, and teacher to hundreds of former students, she looks forward to sharing more stories in the future.