Fighting Connollys Series
by Roxie Rivera
Genres: NA, Adult Romance, Suspense
In Kelly’s Corner (Fighting Connollys # 1)
Publication Date: September 2013
After a stalker breaks into her home, internet entrepreneur Bee Langston decides Kelly Connolly is the only man who can help her—but seeking help from the former Marine isn’t easy, especially after she made a spectacular fool of herself trying to kiss the sinfully sexy bodyguard.
When Kelly spots Bee weaving her way through the Houston nightspot where he’s working security, all those feelings he’s desperately tried to deny for his best friend’s sister come flooding to the surface. He’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if means getting up close and personal with the one woman he simply can’t have.
Soon, Bee’s stalker isn’t his only problem. His gambling addict father is tangled in a mess of debts to two of Houston’s toughest loan sharks. With the family gym on the line, there’s only one way for Kelly to make everything right. He agrees to fight for the Albanian mob in an underground bare-knuckle fighting tournament.
But winning the tournament and saving his family’s legacy comes at a high price—one that just might cost Bee her life.
The book description for In Kelly’s Corner provides an excellent summary of exactly what you can expect from the plot, and Rivera keeps her promise to readers by writing a well-developed story of a young couple brought together through their combined struggles with an array of imposing antagonists – creepy, blackmailing stalkers, merciless mobsters and greedy loan sharks who threaten their future and well-being.
The foundation for the romance between Bee Langston and Kelly Connolly is built on the familiar trope of the forbidden love between the hero and his best friend’s little sister, which is one aspect that drew me to the book. Kelly was best friends with Jeb, Bee’s older brother and they served together as Marines until Jeb’s untimely death in battle. Kelly promised Jeb to look out for Bee’s well-being but is tortured over the fact that she’s off limits to him even though he has been secretly attracted to her for years. Kelly does his best to honor his friend so he keeps Bee at a distance to avoid the likelihood of temptation. Bee, like many of the heroines of this trope has already fallen in love with Kelly and doesn’t understand the real reason he’s rejected her.
Although Bee’s advances have been rebuffed by Kelly, she wisely puts aside her wounded pride and turns to him for protection when she realizes she is being stalked. Kelly has been a part of her life since they were all children, and he’s the only one she trusts enough to turn to for help. As they spend more time together, their mutual attraction intensifies, and Kelly begins to let go of his guilt over pursuing Bee. When they finally do give in their desires their love scenes are erotic and graphically described.
The plot is filled with multiple conflicts that easily kept my attention, and I especially enjoyed the family dynamics in play with Kelly and his older brothers, Finn and Jack as they deal with the serious trouble their father has brought to the Connolly’s door. Nick Connolly’s addictions and past abusive behavior make him a difficult man to love and forgive, and Rivera does a good job in bringing to light the conflicting feelings the brothers have about their father. Despite the rifts among them, the Connollys have a strong family bond.
Rivera provides enough clues along the way so that it becomes easy to guess who is stalking Bee, but there are some surprises and twists that I didn’t expect. Although Jeb has died, his past still poses problems for Bee as she struggles to keep his secrets, even from Kelly. As close as Bee and Kelly are, and with their intertwining pasts, it’s easy to believe their love for each other is real, but I did not expect the shocking wedge of betrayal that arises and threatens to destroy their relationship.
Although I enjoyed the plot of the novel, there were some aspects that were troublesome for me. Much as I tried, I didn’t really connect with Bee’s character. At the age of 23 her success as a tech entrepreneur has already been established even though she has yet to graduate from college. She runs her own company and has already amassed a hefty fortune. I kept thinking she’s the female equivalent of the young Mark Zuckerberg, creator of the wildly successful Facebook social media site. While Bee’s circumstances aren’t unbelievable, they are unusual and I was sometimes surprised at how adept this young woman is at handling the complicated aspects of running a company already worth millions. Although she does display some weaknesses in learning to hold her own in negotiating business deals, I thought her character could have been fleshed out and more richly developed.
In addition, early on in the book, I felt bombarded with the inclusion and references to numerous characters that play a role in the story. I was a bit overwhelmed and even went back to double-check that this was actually the first book in this series. What I discovered is that the Fighting Connollys series is a spinoff of Rivera’s “Her Russian Protector” series, and many of these characters have already been featured there. I did struggle at first to try to keep up with all of these characters’ names and their connections to one another. Nevertheless, Rivera provides just enough details about these characters to help me understand their ongoing roles in the story, and I was able to follow Kelly and Bee’s story without confusion.
Source: I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
In Jack’s Arms (Fighting Connollys # 2)
Publication Date: January 2014
When pawn broker Abby Kirkwood discovers the evidence of a chilling drug cartel hit on one of the video cameras hocked in her store, she turns to the only man she can trust—Jack Connolly.
The smolderingly sexy former Marine runs a successful gym down the street and coaches her brother’s special needs baseball team. He’s the one man who is always there when she needs him. If anyone can protect her family, it’s commanding, capable Jack.
The moment he learns someone is threatening Abby and her brother, Jack sees red. To save the woman he’s secretly loved for years, he’ll do whatever it takes, even if it means facing off with a Mexican drug cartel and making deals with the same Albanian mob outfit that tried to ruin his family.
He finally has sweet, feisty Abby right where she was always meant to be—writhing with pleasure in his bed and safely sheltered in his arms. The vicious cartel assassin hot on her heels has no idea what he’s up against.
The Connolly brothers are standing strong together—and no one touches their family.
In Finn’s Heart (Fighting Connollys # 3)
Expected Publication Date: April 2014
When I’m not chasing after my wild preschooler, I like to write super sexy romances and scorching hot erotica. I live in Texas with a husband who could easily snag a job as an extra on History Channel’s new Viking series, a sweet but rowdy three-year-old with Tetralogy of Fallot, and Bosley, our Great Dane with major mommy issues.
I also have another dirty-book writing alter ego, Lolita Lopez, who writes deliciously steamy tales for Ellora’s Cave, Forever Yours/Grand Central, Mischief/Harper Collins UK, Siren Publishing and Cleis Press. (from Goodreads profile)
In Kelly’s Corner on Amazon: In Kelly’s Corner (Fighting Connollys #1)
In Jack’s Arms on Amazon: In Jack’s Arms (Fighting Connollys #2)