Thursday, April 23, 2015

#Review: Below the Belt by Jeanette Murray - 4 Wine Glasses

22668737Title: Below the Belt 
Series: First to Fight #1
Author: Jeanette Murray 
Format: eBook/Paperback, 304 pages
Published: April 7th 2015 by Berkley
ISBN: 0425279251
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Reviewer: Crystal
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series…

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking.

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery.

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…

Crystal's Thoughts:
Below the Belt was a delight to read, an absolute feel-good romance. This is the kind of story I look for in a contemporary romance! 

Just when First Lieutenant Brad Costa Marine Corps finally gets his chance at the Marine Corps boxing team, an injury threatens to side-line him. He isn't going to let a busted knee divert him from his dreams though. Brad just has to keep it hidden from the sharp-eyed new athletic trainer until he makes the team, then he can get the injury taken care of. But Marianne Cook is no fool. She's darn good at her job and hopes to make this a stepping stone to training professional athletes one day. She know's something is up with Marine Costa, but he's remaining tight-lipped about it. Her frustration with his duplicity doesn't hinder the sparks flying between them from the get-go though. Soon Marianne is getting an up-close and personal look at every inch of Costa's body, but when he still refuses to come clean not only is her heart put on the line - but her career as well. 

This was such a sweet romance! The story-line of Below the Belt is all about finding love when you least expect it. Both Marianne and Brad are career oriented at the beginning of the book but as their attraction towards one another sizzles, feelings begin to bloom, and the heart becomes involved, those former drives are moved to the back burner inch by inch. I loved how Marianne and Brad had such a full relationship outside of the bedroom. It made their romance well-rounded and believable. Don't get me wrong, there is some strong sexual chemistry between the two, but there is so much more as well! 

Fun secondary characters help move the plot forward at a good clip, adding humor and support to the main characters. I enjoyed the world of the Marine Corps boxing team as well, it was interesting and I look forward to delving into it more in future installments, as well as seeing more from each of these characters! There was a smidgen of suspense woven into the plot that I'm not sure was really needed except to introduce a secondary character, maybe this will play out more in future books. All in all, Below the Belt was a enjoyable and entertaining read that I would recommend to contemporary romance fans who like a good dose of sexy military men in their stories.

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