Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Fighting Chance by A.J. Sand

A Fighting Chance

Jesse Chance is a bastard.

And that’s all he heard his entire life growing up once news got out that he was the illegitimate child of womanizing ex-con, Henry Chance.

Stuck in Glory, Texas, a town too small to escape the sins of his parents, Jesse turned into exactly what everyone expected him to be: a lover of liquor and women, and so good with his fists, he became a teenage champion of the secret underground fighting rings that float around the South, while doubting the only people who ever believed he could be more, his ailing mother, and his girlfriend, Drew Hallisay.

But determined to make his mother’s dying wish come true, he enrolled in a college on the East Coast, far away from his past. Jesse Chance is reborn into a new life, and set on keeping Glory, Texas--and Henry Chance--in his rear view.
Until a visit from his father in the middle of the night changes everything.

Forced to return to Glory to prevent a tragedy, Jesse is soon back on the fighting circuit with Drew's help and facing the history he was so desperate to escape, the part of him he would prefer to hide.

As he slips back into his old ways--Henry Chance's ways--he finds himself torn between the guy he was and the one he’s been struggling to become. And in a world dead set on betting against you, can you ever really overcome your past… or your destiny.
My first thoughts after reading this book were "wow, that book was so totally not what I expected - but way more than I could have imagined." 
Jesse was such a tortured young man – trying to forget his past, and make a new life for himself as he goes through college.  And, he does just that – he makes new friends, has a girlfriend, and has a new job lined up after graduation – leaving Glory, TX and everyone there in the dust.

  Except somehow the dust got kicked up, and his father shows up needing a favor.  Jesse struggles with his decision to help, but because of the person he truly is he can’t say no – so he puts his entire life on the back burner – to help his father.  I asked myself so many times “why are you helping this jerk”?  Jesse’s father, Henry – is in no way going to win “father of the year” – because he is a total bastard.  He never even acknowledged that Jesse was his son, never did anything for him, except use him when it benefitted himself. 
By helping his father out, Jesse is forced to go back to Glory, TX and face his past.  The past that includes underground fighting and his first love, Drew.
But even though Drew is pissed that he never had contact with her again after he left for college, and they have both moved on – she decides to help Jesse as he goes in to the underground fighting world in Mexico.  I can’t even imagine how she felt when he showed back up in town – so conflicted – but he was her first love, and she just couldn’t leave him to do this on his own.
Setting off for Mexico - this is where the story totally gets interesting - and let me say - hold on!!
I had no idea where this story would go – but it took me on a journey that had me captivated the whole time.  The twists and turns were unexpected and perfect.  The journey that Drew and Jesse take to make money to help out his father is crazy – and goes places I could have never imagined.  It's not your typical romance, to me the romance is more in the background story.  To me this story is about a young man finally accepting where he came from, living with how he got there, and learning to love himself along the way. 



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