ARC Review: Beneath the Surface‏ (Reluctance #1) by M.A. Stacie

Kyran Reese is a man in control. Driven when it comes to work, focused when it comes to play. From his office to the chalk circle of the bare-knuckle boxing ring, his only thought is to win. That thirst heightens when Dale Porter enters his life. His brother’s assistant should be off limits, but her witty comments and sarcastic comebacks have him desperate to get her between the sheets.

When Dale agrees to Kyran’s relationship stipulation of no labels she’s sucked into a whirlwind of lust, money, and underground boxing. Dale fights her growing affection, trying to hide it when the world around them spirals out of control. All too soon she realizes she can’t hide her true feelings any longer.

Has Kyran finally met his match? Could playing to win mean playing for keeps?

This is an ARC review.

Expected publication is August 29th 2013.


When I requested this book from NetGalley, I was in the mood to read books about fighters. As usual I was initially interested because of the cover and the blurb had me wanting to read the book.

Two words came to mind in regards to Kyran: Baser Instincts. I believe any man that loves to fight is more in touch with their baser instincts than the average man. I think that is hot. A woman doesn’t want a guy that is a total pushover. (Not all women feel that way but we are talking about book women here. Don’t make this into something else!) Women want a guy that knows what he wants and goes for it and doesn’t let his sensitive side take over.

I thought that Kyran was going to be an awesome alpha male. And he was… in certain aspects. *cough* The bedroom *cough* When it came to actually interacting with a woman on an emotional level not so much. He had his reasons but boy is he stubborn!

I thought the book started out great. Kyran and Dale’s interactions were intense. Kyran in an underground fighting ring was also hot. I am not sure what happened but the book didn’t have me hooked through the whole thing. The story was good but I wasn’t compelled to read nonstop. I am thinking maybe the dynamic of the book wasn’t what I am used to.

Let me try to explain. Typically the two people meet and have an instant attractions. They may or may not fight it but, of course, they end up hooking up. One or both of them also might not be into having a relationship but they eventually realize they don’t want to live without each other and accept that they are meant to be together. At this point an outside person then tries to keep them apart by trying to harm one of them (usually the woman) physically or mentally.

Don’t start this book expecting all of those things to happen. Some of them do but not all. I won’t say which. You gotta read the book to find that out!

Find author M.A. Stacie on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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