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Choke Hold - Christa Faust Working in a diner, Angel Dare thought she left her past behind her, both her former career as a porn star and as a vigilante taking down the men that left her for dead. All that changed when a former co-worker, Thick Vic Ventura, walked into her diner to meet his son, an up and coming MMA fighter, for the first time. Seconds later, Vic is mortally wounded by gunmen and asks Angel to take care of his son. Can Angel protect Cody and keep one step ahead of the men that want both of them dead?

Over a year ago, before Dorcester started going tits up, I pre-ordered this book, the second in the Hard Case line by Christa Faust. It was worth the wait.

This time out, Angel Dare's path intersects with the seedy underbelly of the mixed martial arts world. Much like the porn industry, there's a lot of unsavory elements lurking in the shadows and Cody is caught in the middle.

Angel is much as she was in the previous book: tough, crass, and more than a little randy. The dynamic between her, Cody, and Cody's trainer, Hank, was well done, as was Angel's conflicting feelings about Cody. The main characters went from the frying pan to the fire so many times it was almost like reading one of Norvell Page's old Spider pulps. The action was fast and frequently brutal.

Since Choke Hold takes place around the MMA world, you might think it has less smut than the previous Faust offering, Money Shot. You'd be wrong. Angel has needs, after all. One of my favorite parts near the end of the book is when Angel and company wander into an adult film convention while on the run from the bad guys.

The ending was shocking and more than a little abrupt. If I had a complaint, that would be it. Then again, it's a Hard Case so you know things will likely not end well.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I enjoyed this even more than Money Shot. The return of the Hard Case Crime series is a success so far in my book.