ARC Review – Bare Knuckle (Vegas Top Guns #5) by Katie Porter

I was beginning to feel like I was in the middle of a battlefield and might not ever get out. That’s not a bad thing, but this book is complicated and the relationship was far from easy. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures

Skin deep is never deep enough.

After a near-fatal plane crash, fighter pilot Captain Eric “Kisser” Donaghue is a changed man. By day he labors to regain his confidence in the cockpit. By night he moonlights as an off-Strip boxer, fighting for prize money to pay for his younger brother’s third stint in rehab.

In the ring, no one cares he once had a face that launched a thousand one-night stands-and neither does Eric. He’s only there to win. Yet he can’t take his eyes off the new ring girl, a glitz-meets-pageant-queen vision of blonde perfection.

Down on her luck but not quite out, Vegas showgirl Trish Monroe lives for the spotlight. The scarred, steely-eyed loner who stares at her from his corner of the ring gives Trish an extra reason to strut her stuff.

Curiosity and the temptation of a no-strings good time bring them together. The discovery of their secret fetishes-she likes to show off, he likes to watch-turns mere sexual chemistry into a fiery exploration of matched passions. They’re a natural fit. Trust in love, however, is harder to earn than trust in bed, especially when this beauty and beast hide even from themselves.

Warning: This book contains a Sin City-style Beauty and the Beast love story, lots of naughty pics and vids, adrenaline-pumped base jumping, and a set of “very” important note cards. Oh, and as always, an incredibly hot fighter pilot.

Review copy provided for an honest review


I shouldn’t be surprised, I really shouldn’t because I have read and reviewed every one of Katie atruegemawardPorter’s Vegas Top Guns books and the writing duo once again has proven they are masterful writers. You get a little bit of everything in this book; light bondage, heavy duty exhibitionism and voyeurism, and some pretty hot and heavy F/F action. Being somewhat of a voyeur myself, this book absolutely fascinated me because our hero Eric Donaghue not only likes to watch, he likes to photograph something else I love doing. This story is complicated, kinky, and the main characters are really messed up but it’s also enthralling, engaging, and hopeful not to mention one heck of a thrill ride from start to finish.

Eric Donaghue was seriously injured in the last book in this series during a training mission. Months of rehab and he’s not back with his squadron but with his younger brother in rehab for the third time, he’s forced to box in unsanctioned fights for cash to pay for the treatment. He knows it’s a risk but it’s one he’s willing to take for abandoning his brother years ago. His life is nuts, and he’s relied on cheap and easy women to release the tension that surrounds him. When he meets ring girl Trish Monroe, he assumes she’s a plastic “Barbie” girl like all the rest. He soon finds out he underestimated the woman and she doesn’t let him forget it.

Trish Monroe was taught to use her looks to make money since she was a little girl. Her mother has never let her forget that she “owes” her because Trish ruined her body. For the most part Trish doesn’t mind her life; she enjoys being on stage and the center of attention with people admiring her but she longs for more and her college classes are showing her she’s smart enough to make it. When she meets Eric, she expects a one night stand and while she gets that she gets way more than she bargained for when they discover they both have kinks the other one would love to exploit.

Let me state flat out these are two ridiculously ‘effed up people. They’ve been dealt blow after blow and like the fighters they are they keep getting up and waiting for the next punch. They deal with it and move on so it’s no surprise when they decide after just meeting and feeling an instant spark to have a one night stand. Part of this comes from neither one of them thinking they deserve more and part because we see these are two very lonely people. The connection they have from the beginning is very evident and despite the fact that neither one will admit it; they connect on a much deeper level than they expected. When they figure out each other’s kink and how they complement each other, things get really interesting.

So as to not ruin the story I’m going to stop but suffice it to say these two battle job issues, physical trauma, messed up family relationships, well meaning friends, and some heavy duty insecurities. I was beginning to feel like I was in the middle of a battlefield and might not ever get out. That’s not a bad thing, but this book is complicated and the relationship was far from easy.

I really loved seeing all the players from the first four books and this book seemed to have finality about it, like it was the last in the series or at least this series as we know it. I hope not, but if this was the final book this series goes out on a very high note.


4.5 Stars

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