Title – Down and Out
Author – Kelley R. Martin
Publication Date – September 30, 2014
Series – Knockout Love, #1
“Tattooed package of sin.”
That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and–depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day–an asshole.
It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it–and him–very, very hard.
Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”
This book, without a doubt, left me anything but down and out! It’s the first I have heard of Kelley Martin, but I can definitely say that it will not be the last. Once I read that the story took place in Boston and was about a hot fighter, I was sold. Little did I know, there was excellent character development and actual substance to support that!
“Growing up, you’re told over and over that monsters aren’t real, but that’s bullshit. They’re real, they just don’t look like the snarling, fanged, horned versions we conjured up as kids.”
Down and Out introduces us to the underground fighter and gym owner, Declan, as well as the struggling, fiercely independent Savannah. Declan felt so different than most male characters I have come across, particularly in the fighter category. He had some anger issues, but we never saw that outside of the ring; he truly channeled it into his talent. Furthermore, he was incredibly intuitive when it came to Savannah. He knew how to respond to her before she even realized her actions, and became her knight in tattooed armor. Protectiveness is one of the qualities that I look for in my book heroes, and Declan oozed it with every fiber of his being!
“I don’t know what you’re running from, but you’re safe here. You’re safe with me.”
Then we have the independent, sassy Savannah. She was so stubborn and pig-headed which made for a wonderfully executed reversal of the traditional roles we tend to see. While Declan was sure about what he wanted and desiring more from her, she was the one who wanted sex only and no relationship. I read her points of view, and all the obstacles life has handed her, and I couldn’t help but develop a huge soft spot for her. She’s a particularly strong female who takes no nonsense, especially not from a guy, and she’s not going to listen to what any man has to say. It was one of my favorite parts about her. She embodied strength and perseverance, and wanted nothing more than to stand on her own two feet — even if she had nothing underneath them.These two could not have been more opposite, yet they somehow just worked together. Their chemistry was sizzling, their banter was hilarious, and the instant connection was perfect. From the very beginning, I was rooting for these two characters to overcome whatever obstacles got thrown their way.
“Because you’re a fighter, son, and she’s gonna be the first thing worth fighting for.”
I also really loved the dual points of view and thought that it added to the story. I may be odd, but I love getting into the male psyche and because he was so different than a lot of the males I come across, being able to see inside his head was incredibly beneficial. Further, there were a lot of instances of miscommunication or not seeing eye to eye, so the dual voices made it easy to not pick sides, but understand more in depth. Overall, this book absolutely worked for me and I truly enjoyed it. It had incredible development and held my attention from the first to the last page. The characters all felt complete and built on; they were like friends I’ve met before rather than people I met in a book. Each had a background and a story to tell. The writing was superb, making you feel like you were actually in these places through its descriptions. I was so impressed with Down and Out and I definitely can’t wait to see what Kelley comes up with next – particularly when it comes to these characters!
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Don’t Miss the Other Books in the Series!
Sink or Swim Novella (Knockout Love, #1.5)
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Sucker Punched (Knockout Love, #2)
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