Title: Knock Out
Series: Worth The Fight Series, #1
Author: Michele Mannon
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: December 2nd 2013
Page Count: 235 pages
Age Rating: Adult (explicit sexual scenes)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: Knock Out
Logan Rettino never imagined she’d fall so far. Dropped by her ex on national TV, she’s gone from prima ballerina to ring card girl, reduced to revving up the crowds before MMA bouts. However distasteful she finds her new job, it pays well…and she needs the money if she’s ever going to rebuild her life. Promised a huge bonus if she can convince a brooding, gifted welterweight to keep fighting, she’ll do whatever it takes to earn his trust.
Keane O’Shea is unbeatable in the octagon. A former marine, he fights with a ruthlessness no gym jockey can match. He knows his brutal strength is too much for the delicate ex-ballerina, regardless of how fascinating he finds Logan’s tight dancer’s body. But one private performance and he’s drawn to her in a way he can’t—or won’t—resist.
As Logan discovers the heartbreaking truth that lies beneath this handsome warrior’s rage, she’ll need to forfeit everything she thought mattered for the one thing that matters the most: saving Keane from himself.
Logan used to be a prima ballerina on the top of her game, until her ex dropped her on America Gets Its Groove On. The incident leaves her injured and unable to perform professionally anymore. To add insult to injury, her ex turns into a media darling/famewhore who blames the drop on Logan’s cup size.
Keane used to be a Marine Corps Martial Arts teacher before a tragic event turned him into a hardened man who uses fighting, drinking, and women to forget. Now a welterweight MMA fighter, Keane doesn’t want to fight anymore – until an ex-ballerina turned ring card girl does everything in her power to talk him back into it.
My favorite part of Knock Out was how imperfect Logan and Keane were. These characters had depth. It would have been so easy for Logan to be a Pity Party Princess with all the crap her ex put her through and the way the media wanted to exploit her and her boob size (which- rude), but she was stubborn and she owned it. I felt at times she was a little selfish in the way she was really pushing for Keane to fight in most of the book, when it was obvious he really didn’t want to, simply so she could keep her job and earn a cash bonus, but that was just another facet of her character. She was walked on by her ex and now she pretty much had nothing, she needed that money and it was time for her to be a little selfish.
While Logan started to see outside herself as the book went on, Keane never really changed all that much – and I like that. Keane was as grumpy as a grizzly (with a secret soft heart) from beginning to end and whenever Logan kept up her stubborn invasion of his life I wanted to warn her not to poke the bear, but she did. And they fought. And then had lots of steamy, incredibly detailed, naughty times.
While I enjoyed this book and the well-rounded characterizations of Logan and Keane, there was one thing that time and time again dragged me out of the story – Logan’s ballet-inspired exclamations. She said things like “sweet pirouette!” or “leaping leotards!”. She said “twist my tutu” five times and by the eleventh time she uttered “bleeding leotards”, I almost started to grind my teeth (seriously, 11 times!). She also said “crinkle my camisole” five times, but that wasn’t ballet inspired. Of course, this is just a matter of personal taste. I am positive other readers may find this a quirky habit of Logan’s and quite charming – just not me.
Despite the aforementioned exclamations, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to other romance lovers who like their main characters sexy, stubborn, and strong. I’ll definitely be picking up the next book in this series – it revolves around the relationship of two characters who had a bit of an altercation in Knock Out and I can’t wait to read it.
Keane is tough and strong and has a grumpy nature that keeps Logan on her toes (see I can make ballerina puns too 😉 ). Finest Coffee Fighting Blend is a coffee that packs a punch of caffeine and holds a lot of natural acidity – it’s not a blend for just anyone, it takes someone with a strong disposition to enjoy a cup of this coffee, just like it takes a women with a lot of backbone and her own mile-long stubborn streak to love a man like Keane.