Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Modern Gladiator
Author: S.A. Stovall
Series: Modern Gladiator #1
Heroes: Corbin & Keon
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 26, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: A prim and proper aspiring doctor and a destitute martial artist—both with hurts to comfort. Each with just the cure the other needs.
Corbin Friel hates mindless sports, especially fighting and boxing. As a medical student, he wants to help others, not watch them beat each other senseless. But his sister, Lala, can’t get enough of rough-and-tumble sporting events, and she drags her brother along whenever she can.
Keon Lynch doesn’t have much going for him. He’s broke, he lives alone in a new state, and he’s estranged from his family. But at least he has his dream—becoming a professional UFC fighter. Keon trains every day, and if he can just score a few more wins, he’ll get his ticket into the ranks of professional competitors.
But an unexplained pain jeopardizes Keon’s dream. During a backstage meet-and-greet, Corbin recognizes the telltale signs of a bone infection, which could cost Keon his leg. Unable to ignore Keon’s situation, Corbin begrudgingly decides to help. And while he gets to know Keon, finding him more desirable with each interaction, Corbin’s ex-boyfriend isn’t pleased with the development….
And he’s determined to keep Corbin for himself, no matter what.
When I read the blurb for this one, I was very intrigued. You don’t see a lot of stories on MMA fighters so I was really excited to read this one and I wasn’t disappointed. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down. I loved that Corbin and Keon were total opposites. Where Corbin is stuffy and preppy, Keon is rough around the edges and not sophisticated at all. Corbin’s in school and Keon is working a full time job and aggressively doing MMA fights so he can qualify to be a professional UFC fighter. I really loved how different they were but they also had things in common. Like they’re both stubborn, they’re both dedicated and determined to get to where they want to go. Keon wants to be a UFC fighter and Corbin, after realizing why, is determined to get Keon there. It was intriguing to see their relationship develop from Corbin shouting out ‘you suck’ to Keon to Corbin being there when Keon is so close to obtaining his dreams. I honestly loved them together. I loved how sweet Keon could be and how well they both fit together.
While this book drew me in right from the beginning, towards the end I grew aggravated with the way the story was heading. For one, I’m not a fan of ex lovers showing up so it really annoyed me that Corbin kept allowing Justin to walk all over him. Then when Justin blackmailed him, I couldn’t feel sorry for Corbin because, as a student trying to become a doctor, he should have realized what was happening with Justin way before he was forced into facing it. So, it really pissed me off on how things progressed. Add to that, there was too much smut for me. Smut with no prep at all and that made even less sense to me considering, again, that Corbin is an aspiring doctor, shouldn’t he have been more careful and known better?!
All in all, though, I really did enjoy this one. I loved Keon as a character and while Corbin annoyed me at times, I did like him as a character and the relationship that developed between them. I wished things had progressed a little different because I honestly hated Justin and that storyline was just a bit predictable but I did love how it ultimately ended. I can’t wait to see what comes next in this series. Definitely give this one a go if you’re looking for a good MMA story with two characters that have a connection that’s off the charts.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*