Review: ★Love Hurts★ by Mandi Beck

 
Love Hurts
(Caged Love #1)
Author: Mandi Beck
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Fighter Romance
Release Date: January 18, 2015

Even when she won’t fight for us, I’ll go to war for her…

Inside the Octagon, I have no fear. I’m at home, in my element, inflicting pain onto men trained to hurt me just as badly. Making them submit, knocking them out, maiming them, because it’s them or me. And I choose them.Outside the Octagon, my only weakness is a five-foot-two, classy as fuck woman that I’ve loved for most of my life. She’s the one that brings me to my knees, fills my arms, my heart, and one day soon, my bed. She makes me reckless. Volatile. I drink too much and try too hard to fuck my way out of feeling—all because of her.

Frankie De Rosa is my girl, my best friend. I haven’t earned her yet, but I won’t stand by and let anyone take her from me. She will be the greatest fight of my life, but she’s worth the battle.

Love hurts, but anything worth having does, right?

I’m Deacon “The Hitman” Love — Welcome to the Cage.

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 Review4 stars


We flamed bright and then crashed, losing everything in the process.

You know how sometimes you stumble unto a book that while it’s a little rough around the edges, you can just tell that with a little more time honing their craft, you’ve just discovered an author that’s about to go straight to your auto-buy list? Mandi Beck is definitely that author for me. Was this book perfect? No, there were quite a few parts that didn’t really work for me and didn’t quite add up. But for a debut novel, this was fantastic. I’m always more lenient in my ratings of a debut novel and author simply because it takes time to truly discover your perfect formula. I can also tell you that Mandi definitely has hers with the dirty talking OTT alpha male that Is Deacon. I loved it! It has a few of your typical New Adult circumstances that may not work for everyone, but this angst whore just gobbled it right up.

You can’t lose someone that makes up a part of who you are. We are a part of each other, Princess. That’s never going to change.

Deacon “The Hitman” Love is a successful MMA fighter that’s never lacking for female attention. Unfortunately no amount of faceless women and a few sweaty hours spent between the sheets will never erase his longing for the one woman he truly wants; his best friend, Frankie. Deacon has been in love with Frankie for almost as long as they’ve been friends. She’s been a part of his life and his family’s for years. While she may be like a sister to his brothers, the way he feels for her is anything but brotherly. But Frankie doesn’t see him that way and she’s been dating a royal douchebag that Deacon can’t help but rile at every chance he gets. But then one stolen kiss changes everything…

I loved you, but I wasn’t ready for you. I hadn’t earned the right for you to love me back yet.

Frankie doesn’t trust Deacon and his love-them-and-leave-them habits not to break her heart. Her boyfriend is the reasonable choice for her or at least that’s what she makes herself believe. But when Frankie gets hurt, nothing will stop Deacon for fighting his way into her heart.

Frankie is terrified of letting Deacon in, but it’s not long before she realizes that her feelings for him are much deeper than she’s let herself believe.

My mind is screaming at me to run, run far and fast because in the end, he’ll burn me. It’s what he does, even though it’s not what he sets out to do. My heart though, my heart is swelling, weeping, and singing all the time.

The relationship between Frankie and Deac was definitely a volatile one. Deacon is hot tempered and Frankie isn’t much better with her flip-flopping feelings. But it just worked in this book. Maybe it was all the delicious dirty talk?

Because I have to say that Deacon really delivered on that end.

I struggled a bit in the first half of the book to really understand the dynamic of Frankie and Deacon’s relationship. I would have loved to have more development on that and really getting a better look into their past that led to the certain quirks they currently have; him kissing the inside of her wrist, buying her expensive jewelry for her birthdays, his whole family calling her “The Princess” etc. I’m not sure if this will be something that Mandi may give us in the next book, but it would have been great to have here. As it was, I struggled a little to really develop a connection to Deacon and Frankie’s friendship. Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely chemistry between them, and the author does a great job with that.

I am a strong woman, Deac. I have overcome a lot in the past few months, but I don’t think I can be strong enough to survive you.

Deacon also definitely has his share of bonehead decisions here. There were times where I wanted to reach through my kindle and beat him with it just to make him see sense.

Frankie was a big question mark for me for a good portion of the book. Considering the majority of the story is told in Deacon’s POV, it was tough to get a good grasp on her. Does she truly care for Deacon the way he cares for her? Is the presence of another guy going to introduce a love triangle? (shudders). Luckily this more or less gets ironed out in the second half, and I found myself warming up to her. Although she is dating someone in the beginning and there is the ex boyfriend that suddenly entered the picture, I never felt that dreaded love triangle situation. Frankie and Deac are definitely the main focus, and I’m so happy about that.

While I could sit and nitpick at certain parts, the bottom line is that I enjoyed the heck out of this book, minor quibbles and all. It was angsty, sexy, and with a little element of suspense. Plus it’s set in my home town of Chicago. How do I not love that?

My biggest quibble? That. Fucking. Cliffhanger. OMG! I swear it almost made me stroke out. How could you leave me like this? HOW? How, I ask you?!! That was just cruel. I need the next book like yesterday! But as much as I hated the cliffhanger, it also made sense. A lot of times I read books and it feels like an author cuts it off suddenly for shock value or for no other reason but to split a book that could have easily been one longer novel into two. This was not the case here. You can tell that these characters had come a somewhat full circle and it needed that break. So as much as that cliffy made me a stabby shouty mess, I get why it was necessary.

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this couple next!

He’s like a feather floating on a breeze, weightlessly riding the wind, until that air starts to swirl around him violently and the lightness of the feather no longer matters, because now in the tempest, it is a deadly, living thing. That’s our Deacon. pain is his art and he’s incredibly adept at it.

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