Release Day Review: Tough Enough by M. Leighton

Tough Enough by M. Leighton

Tough Enough by M. Leighton
Series: Tall, Dark, and Dangerous #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Links: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

He’s a fighter who never loses, but is he tough enough to win her heart?

There was a time when I had everything–a wonderful family, a bright future. Love. But all that was taken away in a single night, torn from me like flesh from bone. Since then, I’ve hidden away in my second-choice job as a makeup artist. But I prefer it that way, actually. I’m comfortable in the shadows, where no one can see my scars.

Kiefer Rogan literally took my breath away the moment I met him. MMA champion-turned-actor, notorious playboy, charming to a fault—he’s everything I vowed to avoid.

But he just wouldn’t stop until I opened up and let him in. Maybe I should’ve tried harder to resist him. Maybe I shouldn’t have fallen in love with him. Because I, of all people, know that everyone has secrets. Scars. And that they’re usually ugly and painful and destructive to the people we love most.

I just never guessed that they could be deadly, too.

Pugnare superesse. Vivere pugna. Fight to survive. Fight to live.”

Tough Enough is so, so, sooooo sweet!!!! I love Rogan so freaking much! He’s one of the sweetest heroes I’ve ever read, and I absolutely adored him. I actually wasn’t expecting this book to be as wonderfully romantic as it was, so it was such a great surprise to find out that Rogan is as sweet and heart-melting as he is sexy and alpha. He and Katie are perfect together – I simply adored their story. The romance in Tough Enough swept me away and had my heart swooning and sighing. I highly recommend this book for those who love romances!

“You think I don’t see you, don’t you? But I do. I see you. I could watch you and see you all day and never get tired of it.”

M. Leighton always writes the most wonderful heroes, but I have to say, Rogan is now my top favorite hero of hers. I LOVED HIM! Sweet, utterly smitten with Katie, but also powerful and dangerous. He may be a fighter, but he’s a lover at heart, and the second he sees Katie, he’s totally gone for her. But Katie has her own scars and an abusive past that prevents her from jumping into anything with Rogan, no matter how much she wants this man, who’s gorgeous inside and out. She’s the kind of girl I instantly related to – down-to-earth, sweet, self-conscious. She’s amazed that someone like Rogan could want her, and while I normally would’ve been annoyed by that attitude, it worked with her. I understood her so well and my heart broke at the painful past she has. But being with Rogan changes everything for her, and where she was once existing, he now makes her start to truly live.

“This . . . you are the closest I’ve come to living in a long time.”
“Then let me bring you back to life,” he whispers, brushing his lips over mine in a kiss even softer than his words. “Inch by inch, day by day, touch by touch.”

Katie and Rogan were both fantastic, dynamic characters that I grew addicted to reading about. And the chemistry between them is on fire! My heart grew invested in their characters and story because I loved them so much. I also enjoyed being in both their POVs. I especially appreciated the individual journey that Katie goes through. She learns to love herself and grow confident in herself, thanks to Rogan. Ah, I just want grab Katie and hug her, she’s such a sweetheart of a heroine!

The main reason I can’t give this book 5 stars is because I was expecting something… different. After reading Strong Enough, I thought Tough Enough would also have a strong romantic suspense theme, but this book is very much just straight-up contemporary romance with only the barest hints of suspense. If I’d known that going in, I’m sure this easily would’ve been a 5 star read, but since I was kind of looking forward to some action, I was a little let down. Still, I really did love this book – M. Leighton knows how to write romance, and she’s blown me away with Katie and Rogan’s heart-wrenchingly sweet love story.

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Tall, Dark, and Dangerous series

Strong Enough by M. Leighton Tough Enough by M. Leighton Brave Enough by M. Leighton

#1 ~ Strong Enough: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Tough Enough: EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Brave Enough: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • AudibleGoodreads


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Exclusive Excerpt: Tough Enough by M. Leighton

I’m thrilled to share an exclusive excerpt from Tough Enough by M. Leighton, out Nov. 3rd!
I’m currently reading an early copy right now and LOVING it!

Tough Enough by M. Leighton

Tough Enough by M. Leighton
Series: Tall, Dark, and Dangerous #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: November 3rd 2015
Add to Goodreads

He’s a fighter who never loses, but is he tough enough to win her heart?

There was a time when I had everything–a wonderful family, a bright future. Love. But all that was taken away in a single night, torn from me like flesh from bone. Since then, I’ve hidden away in my second-choice job as a makeup artist. But I prefer it that way, actually. I’m comfortable in the shadows, where no one can see my scars.

Kiefer Rogan literally took my breath away the moment I met him. MMA champion-turned-actor, notorious playboy, charming to a fault—he’s everything I vowed to avoid.

But he just wouldn’t stop until I opened up and let him in. Maybe I should’ve tried harder to resist him. Maybe I shouldn’t have fallen in love with him. Because I, of all people, know that everyone has secrets. Scars. And that they’re usually ugly and painful and destructive to the people we love most.

I just never guessed that they could be deadly, too.

Buy Links:
Amazon • B&N • iBooks • Kobo • Google Play

Now here’s an excerpt from Tough Enough! ❤

excerpt button

She gets all fidgety and nervous and adorable under my scrutiny, so I release her. Albeit reluctantly.

“So, a minivan,” she says, dropping her eyes and clearing her throat. I love that I put her off balance. I doubt much gets under this girl’s skin and I’m happy as hell that I appear to be making my way in, slowly but surely.

“A minivan,” I confirm, raising the wine bottle and glass questioningly.

“Oh, sorry. Kitchen’s through there.” Katie points to the most obvious doorway and I head in that direction. She follows after a few seconds. When I stop at the small island, she breezes past me, setting down the glass that I brought her and keeping her face averted. Makes me think she might be blushing again. After she rummages through a drawer for another minute, she turns her composed self back to me, a corkscrew in one hand. “There has to be a story behind it.”

“Behind what?” I ask, content to just watch her rather than talk. Or think.

Her grin is more pronounced this time. “Behind the minivan.”

“Oh, right. The minivan. I have a brother who came with me. He’s handicapped. I dropped him off at the gym on the way to the park.”

Her expression softens. Visibly. “Y-you have a handicapped brother?”

“I do.”

“And you . . . you take him places with you? You take care of him?”

I shrug. “Well, I don’t know about that. I mean, he’s grown, so . . .”

“Does he live with you?”

“For the most part.”

“That’s . . . that’s . . .” Katie is looking at me like she’s just now seeing me. Really seeing me. After several seconds, she glances down at the counter, at the glasses she’s arranging in a straight line with the bottle of red. “That’s very kind of you. I’m sure he appreciates it.”

“I’m sure he does, but like most guys, he’s got a piss-poor way of showing it.”

“Just like a damn man,” she says softly, glancing up at me from beneath her lashes, the hint of a playful smile still curving her lips.

“Bastards,” I reply.

Her eyes sparkle up at me and it takes every ounce of willpower I have not to haul her into my arms and kiss her senseless. Which might take a while. She’s got plenty of sense about her. Too much, maybe.

After a minute, when the temperature in the little kitchen is rising noticeably, Katie clears her throat again, pulling that swath of rich auburn hair over her shoulder like I’ve seen her do before. “So what is it that you drive when you’re not carting your brother around?”

“Maybe if you’re nice to me I’ll show you one day.”

She grunts indignantly, her lips parting yet still curved. “I’m always nice to you.”

“But you could be nicer,” I tell her with a half-grin.

She raises one dark brow, the sexiest damn thing I think I’ve ever seen on a woman. Besides her licking the corner of her mouth when she’s concentrating or nervous, that is. “And just how . . . nice are you expecting me to be?”

“Not that nice,” I answer. “Unless you just want to be that nice. I would never argue if you wanted to be extra, extra, extra nice to me.”

I give her my widest, most innocent smile. She laughs outright, an action that fills the kitchen with a delicate tinkle and turns her face from beautiful to breathtaking. A display like this from her is pretty rare, so pulling it out of her makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery.

“Do that again,” I request quietly, so drawn to her that I can’t stop myself from moving closer, from reaching out, from touching.

“Do what again?” she asks. When I cup her silky cheek in my palm, she straightens, but she doesn’t back away. A good sign.

“Laugh.”

“I can’t laugh on command,” she explains, her eyes flickering up to mine and away, up to mine and away.

“I swear to God, I think I’d do just about anything to hear that again, to see your face light up like that.”

My thumb blindly stroking the crest of her high cheekbone, I catch and hold her eyes this time. They’re like melted sapphires, a fathomless liquid that I could easily let myself drown in.

Katie’s lips open and close a couple of times, like she’s trying to find words where there are none. But the time for talk is over. I feel like I’ve waited patiently for an eternity to taste, and now it’s time for my reward.

Slowly, I bend my face toward hers, hoping she won’t move away, praying that she won’t stop me. “You’ve been on my mind since the first day I saw you, Beautiful Katie. It’s time you give me the answer to a question that’s been haunting me for weeks.”

I can feel the sweet, shallow puffs of her breath fanning my lips as I get closer. “W-what’s that?”

“Do your lips taste like cotton candy?”

“How would I know?” she asks a bit dazedly.

“Give me five minutes and I’ll tell you.”

I bring my other hand up to hold her face still as I brush my mouth over hers. When she doesn’t move away, doesn’t push me away, I sink into her lips like I might sink into a bed made of marshmallows. Sweet, plump, light-as-air marshmallows. And, God help me, Katie sinks right back.

Reading Order: Tall, Dark, and Dangerous series

Strong Enough by M. Leighton Tough Enough by M. Leighton Brave Enough by M. Leighton

#1 ~ Strong Enough: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Tough Enough: EbookPaperback • Goodreads (Nov. 3, 2015)
#3 ~ Brave Enough: Ebook • PaperbackGoodreads (April 5, 2016)

about the author button

M. LeightonNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author M. Leighton is a native of Ohio. She relocated to the warmer climates of the South, where she can be near the water all summer and miss the snow all winter. Possessed of an overactive imagination from early in her childhood, Michelle finally found an acceptable outlet for her fantastical visions: literary fiction. Having written over a dozen novels, these days Michelle enjoys letting her mind wander to more romantic settings with sexy Southern guys, much like the one she married and the ones you’ll find in her latest books. When her thoughts aren’t roaming in that direction, she’ll be riding horses, swimming in ponds and experiencing life on a ranch, all without leaving the cozy comfort of her office.

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