Series: Pushing the Limits #4 Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction Publication.Date: May 27, 2014 Pages: 544 (hardcover) Published By: Harlequin Teen Website: Katie McGarry Take Me On on Goodreads My review copy: Local Library
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Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she'd never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can't stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she'd stay away from. Yet he won't last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it's his fault his family is falling apart. He can't change the past, but maybe he can change Haley's future.
Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they'll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for. (Goodreads)
Two huddled forms skulk near the back of the building. I refocus on the walking, talking inferno in front of me, despite my Calc teacher's opinion on my intelligence, I'm able to do the math. "Is that trouble for you?"
Her eyes shoot to mine and in them is a blaring yes, but because girls make no sense she answers, "No."
Nausea disorients me and I lay a hand over my stomach. Is this all we are? Continual actions and reactions? No control over our futures? One pink slip and we lose our house and I lose my father? One decisions to date the wrong guy and I lose Jax and Kaden? One step off the wrong curb and my life is entangled with a strangers?
"You're not walking away, baby. You're growing up. But remember, I don't care if you're eighty and I'm a hundred and thirteen. I will always hold you, I will always love you and I will always be right here."
I don't think it's possible for Katie McGarry to write characters that don't have amazing chemistry. I devoured every book in the Pushing the Limits series and Take Me On was no different.
Hayley and West come from two very different backgrounds with one thing in common: They like to fight. Difference being that West fights because he can't control his temper and Hayley, once a championed fighter who holds a national title, hasn't fought in six months.
After a random chance encounter, and Hayley subsequently saving West from two thugs, West slowly enters himself into Hayley's life, despite her protests. Hayley and West's relationship differed from the others of the series because where our past couples initially started conversing for some sort of mutual gain, West more or less forces himself into Hayley's life.
Hayley is a definite bad ass, but refuses help from other with an innate need to handle things on her own terms while protecting those she loves and cares about. West on the other hand, has a desire to protect. He blames himself for Rachel's current hospitalization and feels himself a failure and outcast in the eyes of his family. But in his eyes, protecting Hayley is his chance for redemption.
These two characters have great chemistry and, despite her reluctance to train him herself, I love that they bond over these training sessions. Side note, I wouldn't mind Hayley training me to fight - girl is hardcore. And in their relationship, I really believe it is West who helps Hayley out more by allowing her to face her past and present demons and to deal with them instead of running. He helps her become that fighter she once was and allows her to gain the confidence to stand strong once more.
Katie never fails to make me grin like an idiot with her books. The boys are always swoon worthy, the girls are never damsels in distress, the romances are always spot on, and the plots engaging and thought out. I know she has one more book for this series coming out, Breaking the Rules, but nothing beyond that planned for this series. And while I'm going to be sad to say goodbye to these characters, I have to thank Katie for renewing my love of the contemporary/realistic fiction genre.