Melissa reviews In the Ring (Boxer #1) by Rie Warren Published December 5th 2016 by Rie Warren, 280 pages.
Currently on sale for $.99 cents – for a limited time.
The biggest fight of his life isn’t . . . In the Ring.
The bright lights. The roaring crowd. The chance at a championship belt. The not-so-little secret Liam Shaughnessy—the Bonny Bruiser—is fighting to keep tucked far away.
Liam got the pussy pounded out of him on the mean streets of Cin-city—the other Sin City. The oldest in a Catholic clan where his da never pulled any punches, he went from geek boy to the golden boy of the boxing world care of his fists. Liam’s on the fast track to having it all . . . all except the one man he wants.
Michael Fairweather makes pretending to be hetero goddamn difficult for Liam. The man is blond and beautiful and just so happens to be Liam’s trainer. With a penchant for doing shirtless yoga, giving midnight massages to loosen Liam’s muscles, and sometimes even taking it out in the ring with him. To say Liam has porn-style fantasies about Michael is an understatement.
Michael’s out and proud. Liam’s only proud of what he can do in the ring. He can’t risk his career, least of all for someone unavailable. Michael has a lover. Liam has the lies he lives every day. And when his money-grubbing manager gets involved as the title win approaches, Liam doesn’t know what hit him.
Fight to win. Fight with honor. It won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Nothing worth fighting for ever is.
A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I decided to read this story because I wanted to see these two strong and tough men find love with each other. It was beautiful to watch (though at times I wanted to smack both of them because it’s obvious to everyone around them there are sparks flying between them) and I found the torture each endured as they danced around each other entertaining.
Liam Shaughnessy is a street fighter who has made his way up to professional boxer and we meet him just as he getting his shot at the big time. He’s going for the Heavy Weight Champ. Michael Fairweather is Liam’s trainer and friend. Michael is also gay and out, with a boyfriend. The two men train together, work together for two years and it’s clear that Liam’s willpower has been taking hits along with Liam in the ring.
Not only is Michael Liam’s trainer, he also gives him massages after fights and whenever he needs them. These massages are torture for Liam because he is seriously attracted to Michael, but of course, Liam is not out. In fact, his manager, Devlin, has made it his job to make Liam appear to be a womanizer, practically having orgies every night. Devlin, who has known Liam for years from the old neighborhood, knows Liam is gay and has told him many times that he cannot come out. It would ruin his career, blah, blah, blah. Liam listens to him, partially because he thinks it’s true. However, now that Michael is proving to be a hard man to resist, Liam’s resistance to coming out has waned.
Liam and Michael have several sexual innuendo filled talks, and you are given the impression they are doing it on purpose, fully knowing the other man is interested, and yet they seemed shocked and surprised when they have a hot and sexy encounter in the gym shower. Sadly, this isn’t the HEA moment Liam was hoping for.
The rest of the book follows Liam on his training journey to become the Champ, his to and fro relationship with Michael, and Liam’s worries about his family (mom, and younger siblings – the dad is a drunk). There are some really heavy moments in the story, but there are some light hearted cuddles mixed in. These men put up one hell of a fight to find their forever love, and I am happy to say, they do get it in the end.
I did have a few issues with the story, but those are personal pet-peeves of mine and I’m sure not everyone will be as bothered as I was by them (and since I don’t want to spoil the book, I won’t go into details, sorry).
Overall this was a sold 9 pots (4 stars) for me. FYI, the boxing and training do play a big part of the story. I will admit to skimming some of the boxing scenes as that’s not my thing however I still fully enjoyed myself.
Where to buy: Amazon
Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Her latest endeavor, the Carolina Bad Boys series, is fun, hot, and southern-sexy.
A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy, daring, and some of the sexiest smut around.
You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website https://www.riewarren.com.