Heat Level: 4 Flaming Hearts!
For Nikko “The Bull” Del Toro, an ex-marine turned MMA fighter, only two things quiet the demons raging inside him—facing an opponent in the cage…and the memory of his hottest one-night stand. But when his PTSD resurfaces, causing him to lose control at a CFA press party, it’s his career that may be KO’d.
Dr. Violet Summers is stunned to discover her newest patient is the man who rocked her world—and put her heart in a clinch after her nasty divorce. She’s determined to delve deep into the darkness that haunts him and to keep all further encounters strictly professional.
Nikko doesn’t want a shrink. What he needs is Violet. With the memory of their passion blazing between them, it’s only a matter of time before they give in to desire. Can Violet help save this surly fighter from his own personal nightmare? Or will he forfeit his career and his last chance at love?
Lets roll out the red carpet line-up with character casting!
John Cena starring as Nikko Deltoro
Amanda Seyfried starring as Violet Summers
Perfect! Can I buy my tickets for the movie now?
Violet could feel her cheeks heating. Her heart rioted in her chest, fight or flight flooding her veins. Right now, all she wanted to do was run out of here and go home where she could put on her fuzzy slippers and drown her embarrassment in a bottle of wine while watching reruns of Gilmore Girls.
Nikko’s eyes never left hers, waiting for her answer. Oh, what the hell, her pride and self-respect was already shot to shit. Why not give him the truth? Let him know how ridiculous it was for them to be here together. Maybe then he’d see it for himself, and whatever this thing was between them would disappear. It’d be quick, not so painless, but she’d get over it. She’d dealt with far worse disappointments in her life.
“It’s just that if you knew the real me, you wouldn’t like me, Nikko. I’m quiet, safe, predictable and . . . well . . . boring. I always pay my parking tickets, I never use expired coupons, and my biggest pet peeve is when people don’t put their shopping carts away. Why are you laughing at me? I’m being serious, here. You and I, we’re like complete opposites.”
“I’m not laughing at you.”
He really was.
“I just didn’t realize that expiration dates were that important to you.”
“Well, they are,” she quipped defensively.
“I can see that. I hate it when people don’t put their shopping carts away, too. Pisses me off when they bash into my car. It’s just rude.”
A bubble of laughter broke from her throat. It was like a release valve for her tension, and possibly his, too, because his smile broadened. It was the second time he’d done that since she’d gotten here, and he’d better quit because it was doing funny things to her feminine places.
“As for the parking tickets, I have a stash in my glove box, and I don’t use coupons, so . . .” He shrugged. “One out of three’s not so bad. I’m not scared off yet. What else you got?” He arched his brow, giving her a flirtatious grin.
She never made the conscious decision to sit back down. Her knees just sort of went weak at the sight of him grinning at her. When her bottom touched the chair, he released the corner of the envelope. “Well . . . let’s see. I hate large crowds, keep to myself, and I never get drunk.”
“Large crowds make me irritable, I prefer to be alone, and I try not to get drunk because bad things happen when I do.”
“Is that how you got in trouble with the CFA?”
“Yep. Large crowd”—he held up one finger like it was strike one—“too much whiskey.” Second finger—strike two. “Equals you and me for the next six weeks, baby.” Up went his third finger—strike three.
In her attempt to prove to him how wrong they were for each other, he was proving to her how right they just might be. Or was he telling her what he thought she wanted to hear? “I don’t buy it,” she challenged. “An MMA fighter who doesn’t love the attention, the parties, the women?”
He leaned back in his chair, stretching out in a lazy sprawl. “That’s not my thing.”
“Then what exactly is ‘your thing’?”
“Uh-uh . . . We’re not here so you can get into my head. You were explaining to me why we’re incompatible, and I’m explaining to you why you’re wrong. And while we’re on that subject, I’d like to point out one glaringly obvious reason.”
“Oh, yeah? And what’s that?”
Her breath seized in her lungs, her response frozen on her tongue. She couldn’t decide whether to be flattered or offended. It pleased her more than it should to discover he thought the sex was as amazing as she had. Especially when she only had one other person to compare it to, while he probably had dozens.
“I thought you said that wasn’t why you asked me here.”
“It’s not. I’m just countering your argument. Oh, and you should also know that I like puppies, stargazing, and moonlit strolls on the beach.” His top lip twitched, barely suppressing his grin.
She gasped in mock outrage and reached across the table, cuffing his shoulder. “You’re teasing me,” she accused.
He chuckled, a low and throaty sound that heated the blood in her veins. “Maybe a little bit. That stuff is for chicks. But my point is, would you like me any more if it was true?”
She thought about it a moment and shook her head.
“Well, I don’t like you any less for your reasons. Now if you tell me you don’t want to see me because I’m a fucked-up mess, then that I understand, and I can accept it. I’m not saying I’m any good for you, Clover, I’m just saying that as much as I’ve tried, I can’t stop thinking about you. I don’t want to like you, but I do. So if you’re trying to scare me off, you’re going to have to try harder than shopping carts and paid parking tickets.”
Time to chat it up with the author!
Welcome to Chaps & Bustles! I’m excited to be hosting Fighting For Control. The teasers for this book are yummy! Tell me. How hot is it?
Hi Wilhelmina, thank you so much for having me on your blog and helping me celebrate the newest release in my Against the Cage series, Fighting for Control. I’m glad you enjoyed the teasers. It is a hot, emotional read. I’d give it four out of five flames. Last time I checked, Fighting for Control is currently ranking number five is Sports.
Hubba! Hubba! Congratulations on that fabulous ranking! Now I want to know more about Nikko! In the excerpt, he uses the line, “We’re not here so you can get into my head.” He's obviously a very stubborn man. So how did you get into the head of Nikko “The Bull” Del Toro, an ex-marine turned MMA fighter?
Melynda: Oh my gosh, Nikko was such an amazing character for me to write. I fell so in love with him during this story. I don’t know how it happened, but his character truly wrote itself. He had so much to say and developed so beautifully. I look back at his character now and think “How did I ever write you?” I think he is my most favorite character yet. He certainly stole a piece of my heart.
Wilhelmina: What parts of Violet’s personality can you identify with? What did you like most about her?
Melynda: I loved Violet’s strength. She isn’t afraid to stand up to a man any normal person would be terrified of. She never lets Nikko bully her, despite his harsh and sometimes offensive behavior. I like that she comes with her own hurts, habits and hang-ups, and she too needs to overcome challenges in her past if she wants to claim her future with Nikko.
Wilhelmina: Fighting For Control touches on PTSD. How did you research this topic?
Melynda: I don’t know what I’d do without the internet. You can find information about anything in the world wide web.
Wilhelmina: I’m curious about your writing habits. Any writing rituals? A pot of coffee and a bag of M&M’s? Lucky socks? Magic talismans?
Melynda: LOL. I love my cup of coffee in the morning and glass of wine at night. My Chihuahua is my little writing buddy and has spent most of his life on my lap. Otherwise, I’m pretty flexible.
Wilhelmina: Against the Cage. A unique and creative name for a series. Why MMA?
Melynda: I’ve been an MMA fan for years, and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of training, discipline and punishment these fighters put their body through. Every one of them has a story to tell and I thought it would be fun to write about a camp of MMA fighters putting it all on the line, inside and outside of the cage.
Wilhelmina: You’ve published paranormal romance in the past. What can readers expect with you next book?
Melynda: My next book is actually coming out in September. It’s a romantic suspense called Beneath the Surface, and intersects with Fighting for Control. It stars Violet’s sister, Quinn, and Nikko’s friend, Asher Tate. At this time I have no plans to go back to paranormal, but that always depends of the readership trends. My Against the Cage series will be at least four more books and with my new romantic suspense series coming out, I’m happy to be hanging out in the contemporary world right now.
Wilhelmina: Win by Submission, Passing His Guard or Fighting For Control. Which book is your favorite and why?
Melynda: That’s a tough question because I love them all for different reasons. But if I had to pick one, I’d say Fighting for Control is my favorite because of the depth and complexity of the storyline. This is a hot, sexy story packs an emotional punch for sure.
Wilhelmina: Melynda, it has been a pleasure chatting with you today. I will certainly be watching for Beneath the Surface in September. Readers, be sure to connect with Melynda on Facebook Twitter and Goodreads . And Be sure to enter Melynda's Rafflecopter Giveaway at the bottom of the page!
Thank you so much for you wonderful questions and for hosting me on your blog.
Have a wonderful day!