Grudge Match by Jessica Gadziala
Published by Self-published on October 5, 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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An underground fight club.
A woman who shouldn’t have been there.
And the man who owns it.
Ross Ward is bound by the chains of his past he never could seem to shake, leaving him living in darkness, detached from the world around him, and an obsessive workaholic with really only one rule: mind your own business.
Until one night, there was Adalind Hollis - scared, confused, in need of help. And for the first time, he couldn’t convince himself to walk away, to mind his own business.
Even after she was getting the care she needed, he couldn’t seem to make himself stay away. But keeping her close meant he would eventually have to let her in, would have to offer over the horrors of his past, and hope she could accept it.
But even if she would embrace his past, could she accept his plan to exact brutal, bloody vengeance against the man who hurt her?
You just never know what you’re going to get with a Jessica Gadziala book. It could be all sorts of rough crazy sauce goodness, or it could be completely sweet or maybe something in between. What I wasn’t expecting a book that strongly reminded me of Kristen Ashley’s Knight. Actually, this could be Knight’s story in an alternate dimension where his Mama didn’t find a sugar daddy who liked to crack heads to drag her out of the gutter, clean her up, and make her and her son’s life good. Where instead of having the world handed to him at 7, he got thrown even deeper into the pit of depravity and despair only to crawl out years later a somewhat rougher around the edges version of the Knight we all fell in love with.
Now if you are thinking that the book is a bit of a rough, gritty ride, you aren’t wrong but it had a super sweet rainbows and unicorns feel to it by the end.. Ross’ history was one heck of a dark cloud as was the way he met Adalind but all the sweetness and light chased the darkness away and I found myself smiling and saying “aww” a lot. That doesn’t mean there wasn’t an ass kicking or two involved, it is titled Grudge Match after all, but they were well-deserved ass kickings and quite badass so I considered them the sprinkles on top of this very sweet dessert.
I liked both Ross and Adalind. They were polar opposites of each other with Ross living a dark, horrific life that taught you never to let your guard down and Adalind being the super sweet, trusting girl whose glass is always full.
Of Ross’ fellow lost boys (that’s what I started calling them in my head) who endured that world with him, it seems only Ross and Adler are reachable which is a shame since I would have liked an HEA for all of them. Still, I’m hoping we get Adler’s story since I’m all kinds of interested in it.
I found myself torn when it came to rating this. I enjoyed the story, but I felt like I’d read it before at times. In the end, I went with my first instinct. This was a bit dark and gritty, but the sweetness and light chased away all the clouds leaving me with a smile on my face. I enjoyed it despite how familiar it was.
Rating: 3.5 Rainbows and Unicorns Stars
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