Fighting Myself by Shae Michaels (Fighting for Love)

In the Fighting for Love MMA combined universe we find all sorts of queer people take their shot for love. With FIGHTING MYSELF we have the 2 mcs learning to accept who they are so they are able to find who they were always meant to be. Someone has to be straight in Emmit's family so it might as well be him. But when Emmit catches the eye of a sexy MMA trainer Emmit struggles to decide if he should seek his own happiness with Alfie no matter what that label is if it involves love.

From the blurb:

Emmit Novak has spent his life trying to be something other than just ‘one of those Novaks’. And with four
older, queer siblings, that means holding tight to his straight identity with both hands. But when life knocks him for a loop, a new job as the receptionist at the LGBTQ-friendly Knockout Gym brings new people into his life. One in particular, an MMA fighter and mentor named Alfie, has Emmit questioning whether it’s time to stop fighting his own heart and desires.

Alfie Diamond knows all about life knocking you around and he’s learned to settle for coming out as the loser. However, the new receptionist at the gym he trains at has him thinking it’s time to re-enter the fight. He won’t let anything stand in his way; not his own demons, an unexpected reminder of his troubled youth, or even Emmit’s own pre-conceptions. Not when Alfie has the chance to win the most important fight of his life—winning Emmit’s heart.

Fighting Myself is a standalone MM novella in the multi-author series Fighting for Love. All the stories take place in the shared world of the Knockout MMA Training Facility. At Knockout Gym, happily ever afters are hard-won.

Molly Otto's review:

The Novaks' are that family you hope to be a part of even when they can be at times a little much. Emmit the sweet summer child that he is in complete denial of being the only "straight" Novak sibling, that is, until he stumbles into Alfie. Alfie is the most patient, beautiful soul who deserves nothing but love and appreciation, and oh boy, is he not ready for the Novaks'.

It is great coming into accepting sexual identity without the partner being pushy and just being encouraging throughout. The Knockout Gym is that beautiful place to work or work out to fit in and be accepted no matter how a person identifies. I, for one, cannot wait to read the rest of the offerings from this combined series.

Nedra's review:

Not sure how to feel about this one, even though I could appreciate the dynamic between family members and their acceptance of a lifelong friendship. But, there was no connection between the couple for me that drew me in and made their relationship believable.

Besides the lacking connection, Alfie’s patience with Emmit while he was fighting himself to accept his own sexuality was beautifully written, and flawlessly executed by the author. Their entire intimate scene was very detailed, leaving nothing to the imagination, and was more than appreciated!!

Excited to continue with this journey through the couple’s fighting for their future with Knockout Gym 🥊

SNik's review:

Part of a multi-author series (Fighting For Love), but can be read as a standalone. Age gap. Quick read. Dual POV.

Out of a job, Emmit finds a new position at the local MMA gym, where he meets a trainer named Alfie who makes him question his long held position that he’s the straight one out of his rainbow family. When Alfie sets his sights on Emmit he definitely wishes for more, and if he offers friendship and then kisses, maybe Emmit will want more with him too. While Alfie fights his own doubts of self worth, Emmit struggles to hold onto his label of being straight but soon cannot deny his attraction to Alfie.

Patience and sweetness is a big part of the building relationship between Alfie and Emmit and when they eventually share steamy times it doesn’t seem rushed or pressured. It’s realistic to want to deny your siblings “I told you so”, but luckily Alfie is caring enough to wait for Emmit to discover his own wishes and overcome his stubborn doubts enough to allow himself to love Alfie.

Angel's review:

I am a big fan of Shae's writing, each and every story I've read of hers is always well written, and full of wonderful characters. The main storyline in this book was done well, and I really liked the pacing in this story. Nothing happened too fast, or too slow, it was a good progression.

The characters themselves are great! I liked both Emmit's and Alfie's characters, they both were different from one another, which worked well for this story. I really appreciated how Alfie's character didn't rush Emmit, or make him feel like he had to do something he didn't truly want to do. I adore Park's character, his character adds that humor and lightness to the story, I really hope he gets his own book eventually!

Overall a really great addition to the knockout series!

Fighting Myself is currently available as an e-book and paperback and can be read as part of your Kindle Unlimited Subscription