walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

_Simon Says_, Lori Foster

I've been reading Lori Foster for several years now. I think the first was probably _Too Much Temptation_, a loaner that I eventually got from TitleTrader and recently reread. I haven't read everything Foster's got out, but I have read a lot of it. This particular entry is in the SBC series (Supreme Battle Challenge, because no one wants to get into the trademark troubles that setting romance novels in actual UFC fights might get one into). Unlike earlier entries, Our Heroine this time around (Dakota Dream: mom is responsible for the first name; evil first husband is responsible for the last name) admires the fighters for more than their chiseled physiques. She is described as having trained in Muay Thai for, IIRC, four years. Don't hold me to that number tho.

In keeping with Foster's usual formula, her dad's nowhere in the picture. Her step dad is evil. She married over her mother's objections when very young (I think 16 in this one). Her mom was right to object, but they didn't make up before her mother had a chance to tell her she forgave her and still loved her. Husband abused her and expected too much of her. Eventually she left him, but he is stalking her. In addition to the evil-ex-husband stalker, there is also another male hovering in the background with unrequited love; in this particular case, he turns out to be a good guy and I expect we'll be seeing another novel about Barber in the future. The biggest problem in this particular novel is the heroine. She describes herself as not getting along with women (which is a pity, because the other wives of SBC fighters, Eve and so forth, were a lot of fun, and I would have liked to see more of them). She sings (sometimes) with Barber's band so *of course* all of the men in the audience are lusting after her. At the gym where the SBC guys are training, ditto. Foster goes to a little trouble to deal with some of this unreality (her Special Skill is spotting tells, which one might expect an abuse victim to be good at), but she leaves a little too much Wishful Thinking in place: Our Heroine who can barely stand anyone to touch her and has to be on top to not freak out having sex nevertheless goes from stand-up fighting only to grappling with every guy in the gym in one or her perhaps two easy lessons. Then there's the how-fast-she-adapts-to-sex thing, which is also somewhat worrisome.

I can tolerate abuse-background-formula (even as detailed as this one tends to be). The it-just-takes-the-right-guy-to-get-me-over-my-frigidity is a lot harder to deal with. The put-me-on-stage-and-I'll-wow-them-all is just silly. But it's the mixed martial arts thing that got to me most. I don't have nearly the kind of background Foster's heroines typically do, but I have a lot of empathy for the don't-touch-me thing. It was _great_ that Foster picked a stand-up style for the heroine. It was even better that people in the novel recognized that she had to develop a ground game. But it happened too fast. Disbelief could not recover.

Still fun. I'll still read Foster. I'll also go back to plotting my own getting-it-on-on-the-mats novel.

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