The final installment in Lori Foster’s Ultimate Series is now available!
by Lori Foster
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 23rd 2016 by HQN Books
He's the hottest MMA fighter in the game, but one woman is ready to try out a few steamy moves of her own in an unforgettable new novel from New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster...
With the life he's led and the muscles he's gained, Armie Jacobson isn't afraid of anything. Except maybe Merissa Colter's effect on him. It's not just that she's his best friend's little sister. Fact is, she deserves better. Women pursue him for one night of pleasure, and that's all he wants to offer. Until rescuing Merissa from a robbery leads to the most erotic encounter of his life.
Good girl meets bad boy. It's a story that rarely ends well. But Merissa is taking matters into her own hands. No matter how he views himself, the Armie she knows is brave, honorable and completely loyal. And as past demons and present-day danger collide, they're both about to learn what's truly worth fighting for…
Bestselling author Lori Foster shares a fighting scene from the last book in her Ultimate Series, Fighting Dirty...
Merissa loved her brother. She’d always seen him as Superman, larger than life, a rock whenever she’d needed one. He was only a couple of years older than her, but for as long as she could remember he’d seemed grown-up.
Right now, Superman was in her kitchen, insisting on getting her a drink when all she really wanted was the time alone to let go. She knew if she fell apart in front of him, Cannon would never leave her.
He didn’t need to be a savior, not right now.
“Here.” He returned with a cola over ice, urging her to the couch. He smoothed back her hair, his gaze drawn to the bruise. Yes, it hurt. But the physical discomfort was nothing compared to the fear.
And here she’d promised herself, long ago, that she’d never again let herself be that type of victim.
But this fear—it was more about Armie standing in front of her, using himself as a shield. Risking his own life.
Willing to die.
“Take these.” Cannon handed her two aspirin.
She tried a teasing smile. “This feels so familiar.”
He stalled, then shook his head. “Don’t think about that.”
She couldn’t help herself. They’d lost their dad when she was only sixteen. As the owner of a neighborhood bar he’d resisted the extortion of local thugs, refusing to pay their demanded fees for “protection.” Late one night when he’d been closing, men had come in and beaten him to death.
Devastated but determined, their mom had nearly worked herself into her own grave trying to keep them afloat. Merissa could remember it all like yesterday. The goons wanted her mother to sell but she’d refused.
Until some of those goons had cornered Merissa on her way home from school.
“It’s all the same. You coddling me, being the strong one for both of us.”
“You were a kid then.”
“You’re only two years older than me,” she reminded him with a shoulder bump. “You were a kid then, too.”
“Maybe. I remember feeling so damned helpless.”
“Like you feel now?” She knew her brother, knew he wanted to make things right for her when that wasn’t his responsibility. “I’m not a kid anymore, Cannon. I can handle it.”
“You don’t have to.”
“Yes, I do,” she told him gently. “Because I don’t want my big brother stuck taking care of me again.”
He folded her hand into his own. “You know I enjoy it, right?”
Her laugh sounded pitiful. But she still remembered how her mother had given in because of her. Cannon had found those men, and even at eighteen he’d made them pay with his fists—because of her.
She’d influenced him into becoming a fighter.
And it was because of her that he’d formed the neigh
borhood watch. Everyone loved Cannon, but no one could love him more than she did.
“Superman,” she teased. “This time, I promise I can take care of myself.”
A slight knock on the door made her jump.
“It’s just Armie,” Cannon said with a squeeze to her shoulder. “I’ll let him in.”
Nodding, she again thought of the way Armie had stood in front of her, willing to block bullets if necessary.
Emotion welled up, choking her, killing her.
She quickly took the aspirin and tried to get herself together.
Armie peeked in cautiously, saw her on the couch and came in farther. “She okay?”
“Yes,” Merissa and Cannon said at the same time.
Armie gave a slight, tilted smile. “Hey, Stretch.” He came over to her, laid her keys on the coffee table, then winced at the darkening discoloration on her jaw.
“I bruise easily,” she explained. “By tomorrow it’s going to look worse, believe me. But it was just a slap. I doubt you guys would have even noticed.”
Armie crouched down in front of her. “Hey, you’re not a fighter, hon.”
She liked it when he called her something other than Stretch. Something affectionate. “No kidding.” She hadn’t fought at all; fear and the furious beating of her heart had kept her malleable and weak. It infuriated her. “I may be big, but I lack muscle.” And guts.
“Tall,” Armie corrected. “You’re tall, but far from big. More like…”
He thought about it. “Delicate.”
A genuine smile took her by surprise. So Armie Jacobson saw her as delicate? Huh.
Knowing she needed to get this over with, Merissa took another drink, then set her glass aside and stood.
Armie slowly did the same, his cautious gaze never leaving her. Cannon stood near him, strangely quiet. They both watched her as if expecting her to lose it at any second.
And maybe she would—if she didn’t have an audience.
And don’t miss the previous books in the Ultimate Series!
About Lori Foster:
Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN. Visit her online at LoriFoster.com.
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