Fighting for Irish by Gina L. Maxwell

Kat MacGregor has forty-eight hours to make good on the debt her ex-boyfriend owes a crime boss. Unfortunately, the measly tips she makes waitressing are barely enough for her to live on, much less cover the twenty-thousand needed to keep her breathing. With time running out, Kat ‘s forced to accept help from the only man who’s ever made her feel fire rather than fear.When he learns a friend’s sister is in trouble, former Boston MMA fighter Aiden “Irish” O’Brien heads to Louisiana to offer himself up as collateral to keep her safe. But to satisfy the debt, he has to do the one thing he swore hed never do again: fight. With more than just money on the line, will Irish have what it takes to not only reclaim the man he once was, but become the man he needs to be for the woman he can’t live without?
Pierced, tattooed MMA fighter with a Boston accent and an intense devotion, protectiveness, tenderness and desire for the object of his affection?  SIGN ME UP!
Fighting for Irish is the second book in the Fighting for Love series.  It can be read as a standalone, but I wouldn’t miss the first “Rules of Engagement” if I were you.  HOT.  I have to say though, I think this one might have been even better!  This is the story of Aiden (aka “Irish”), a friend of Jax’s (from the first book).  He’s been sent to look after the situation of Jax’s fiancé’s sister Kat.  She’s on the run from a mobster to whom she owes money, so she’s in a backwater town in the south trying to disappear.  Jax rolls into town and finds her, then positions himself as the cooler in the same bar where she works so he can keep an eye on her.  He didn’t count on being so attracted to her.  But she’s in danger and her life may depend on him.  Can he keep her safe?  Can they make it when secrets come to the surface?
The best part of this book for me was Aiden.  He’s a bit damaged, but he’s just a really good guy…he’s perfect in his imperfections.  What starts as a favor to a friend morphs into a lot more for him.  In Kat, he finds a kindred spirit.  She stirs something in his soul that he’s not experienced before, but he perceives himself as bad for those with whom he becomes close, so even though he feels a pull towards Kat and gives into it, in the end he doubts himself too much and may lose the only good thing he’s ever had.  It’s heartbreaking.  But he was such a real and visceral character; you couldn’t help but want everything to work out the way both he and Kat deserve.  He’s awesome, and definitely fell in the goldilocks zone of alpha males for me; he was just right.
Kat has a really heart wrenching story, and you can’t blame her for the life that she’s lead up to this point.  She has been used and abused in the worst way, and little does she know that in finding Aiden, she is finding salvation.  I loved their story, and the buildup and chemistry between them.  This isn’t a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of book.  Aiden has to really work for not only Kat’s mental trust, but physical as well.  It was a nice journey to follow, and Kat really finds redemption for herself in the end.  I liked that.
The story was solid.  It was exciting and full of action and some very hot sex.  You really can’t go wrong, in my experience, with a Gina Maxwell book.  The plot’s may not be the freshest in the world, but she excels in her character building, which makes it easy for me to overlook some of the overused subplots found in books of this genre.  It’s simply written really well, and is an enjoyable story.
You can’t ask for much more than that.  4.5 stars.