Purchase from Amazon: Fighting for Flight (The Fighting Series)
Fighting For Flight (Fighting # 1) by Jamie Salsbury
What happens when in order to win, you’re forced to lose? The only daughter of an infamous Las Vegas pimp, Raven Morretti grew up an outsider. Liberated from the neglectful home of her prostitute mother, she finds solace as a mechanic. With few friends, she’s content with the simple life. Flying under the radar is all she knows and more than she expects. Until she catches the eye of local celebrity, UFL playboy, Jonah Slade. Weeks away from his title fight, Jonah is determined to stay focused on everything he’s trained so hard to achieve. Undefeated in the octagon, he’s at the height of his career. But resisting Raven’s effortless allure and uncomplicated nature is a fight he can’t win. Jonah trades in his bad-boy reputation and puts his heart on the line. But when her father contacts her, setting in motion the ugly truth of her destiny, Jonah must choose. In a high-stakes gamble where love and freedom hang in the balance, a war is waged where the price of losing is a fate worse than death. Will the hothead Jonah be able to restrain his inner fighter to save the woman he loves? Or will Raven be forced into a life she’s been desperate to avoid?
Jamie Salsbury’s debut novel Fighting for Flight is a New Adult romance that should not be overlooked! The setting for the novel is glitzy, “sin city” Las Vegas, Nevada, which is quite fitting given many of the unsavory elements involved in this book. The author opens with a prologue that is so descriptive and well-written that I am immediately immersed into this fictitious world where love is a rarity and people are viewed as commodities. I am compelled to continue reading where the story jumps ahead to twenty years later.
The central characters are Jonah and Raven, two individuals who run in completely different social circles and who, most likely, would never have met if they both didn’t share an interest in classic cars. The story is told in present tense from both Jonah’s and Raven’s point-of-view. I found this effective, as using the present tense provided a sense of immediacy to the story and intensified the suspense, keeping me engaged until the end.
Jonah “The Assassin” Blade is a celebrity MMA fighter who is actively training for an upcoming championship fight. He has worked hard his entire life to reach this moment and plans to win against his undefeated opponent. Jonah has also established a reputation as a man who never gets attached to any one woman. Sex is as far as the relationship will go for Jonah, and sexual conquests come easy for him, given his fame and good looks. He never takes a woman home with him, and he never stays overnight. In his mind, “Just the thought of having some needy chick hanging on my arm, making me buy her crap, taking up my time with her petty issues about girl shit makes me shiver.”
Jonah’s attitude slowly begins to change after he meets twenty-year-old Raven Morretti, a quiet, beautiful, and independent young woman who now lives on her own, after severing ties with a mother who has always withheld affection and neglected her only daughter. Although Raven knows who her father is, she has never had any type of relationship with him. He has shown no inclination to get to know his daughter. Thus, Raven has never experienced the joys of having a loving, supportive family where she feels safe and protected. Now, Raven, an automotive mechanic by trade, sports a tattoo of birds in flight across her back. I think the tattooed birds are ravens and symbolize Raven’s own journey of overcoming her confining environment, where she has been unable to thrive and propelling her forward, so she can be proactive in taking control of her future. This flying motif is used effectively and consistently throughout the book, and readers learn early on that Raven’s journey really has only just begun.
When Jonah drops by a local garage looking for a mechanic to help him restore a ’61 Chevy Impala, he is pleasantly surprised to find that Raven is just the mechanic for this job. Their visual appraisal of each other, upon first meeting, reveals the sexual chemistry bubbling below the surface. Raven is stunned when she gets a close-up look at Jonah and can’t help but notice his “well-muscled arms are covered with brilliantly colored tattoos that beckon to be touched.”
Likewise, Jonah also finds himself fascinated with Raven: “The way she walked out the garage all rolling hips and sex. I had to cross my arms over my chest to keep from reaching out to trace the dip of her collarbone.”
However, after meeting her, Jonah finds that instead of merely lusting over Raven’s body, which is typical for him, he keeps picturing her face with “the aquamarine color of her eyes, so unique I had to fight from getting lost in them.”
As the two work together over the next week, restoring the Impala, they both move beyond their superficial attraction to find a genuine interest in each other. Their friendly banter establishes a level of trust where they both are able to share their deepest secrets. Raven painfully reveals that her mother is a prostitute working for infamous pimp, Dominick Morretti, who fathered her. Her fear that Jonah will reject her now that he knows the truth reveals just how deeply her sense of self-worth has been affected by her childhood circumstances. Hearing the pain behind her confession only brings out the alpha in Jonah, who longs to care for and protect this beautiful, lonely girl.
“Look at me Raven…You’re unlike anyone I’ve ever known. You’re kind, smart, funny, gracious…I want you. And that includes everything that makes you who you are.”
He wants me. This amazing beautiful man wants me. Have I ever felt wanted before? A lone tear rolls down my cheek.
Jonah and Raven’s relationship is so intense and they fall in love so quickly, I’m caught off guard. It just doesn’t seem realistic to me. Can you really fall in love with someone you’ve only known for a week? I suppose it is possible, but I think at this point they are more in lust with rather than in love with each other.
I think their intense passion for each other and growing intimacy provide a level of comfort and emotional stability that has been lacking in their lives . Raven craves love and attention since she has been denied that all of her life. Jonah offers to give her that:
“Baby I promise you that you’ll never want for physical contact again.” He bends down and his hazel eyes narrow into mine. “I’ll make it my life’s mission to make up for every single second you were neglected.”
When Jonah lost his father at the age of twelve, he became emotionally detached, determined not to get too close to anyone again, unwilling to risk further heartbreak and loss. Raven awakens feelings in him that he has long suppressed:
“I was cold. Dead on the inside from the time I heard about my dad’s accident. Never felt anything outside of kicking ass or a killer hit in the octagon. Fighting gave me my breath, but you brought me back to life.”
Then, the unthinkable happens. Dominick contacts Raven and finally wants to meet with her. Raven’s hope that he finally wants to be a part of her life as a father is crushed when he reveals his true intentions. His character is so sinister, it is unimaginable to believe the cruelty he is capable of inflicting upon his daughter after she turns twenty-one. Raven is beyond devastated:
“And just like that, right when my life starts looking beautiful, it disappears like a mirage in the desert.”
Later, Jonah finds Raven in her apartment curled up in a fetal position. She tells him, “It’s over…My life, no matter what happens is over.”
Jonah is determined to save Raven. He won’t let her go. He is willing to sacrifice everything he has worked for his entire life for this woman he loves:
“You’re a part of me now. I’d do anything for you. I’ll fight for your life as I’d fight for my own.”
The major conflict is whether both Dominick and Jonah will each hold up their end of the agreement they have made over Raven. The suspense increasingly builds to a surprising climax that literally left me holding my breath until the heart throbbing conclusion. Can their love survive the struggle they must endure? How far will Raven and Jonah go to stay together?
Fighting for Flight is a beautifully written, sensual romance that depicts the passion of one couple to fight against fate and shows the length people will go to in order to save someone they love. The theme of sacrifice is examined not only through Jonah and Raven’s relationship, but also in the secondary characters’ lives as well. The author has created a tightly woven, unified plot that provides a satisfying conclusion.
About the Author
Jamie Salsbury’s Profile on GoodReads
Music to Complement the Book
This playlist comes straight from songs mentioned throughout the book:
This song is a selection chosen by SoulMusik69 and myself for the championship fight:
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