Below the Belt (First to Fight #1)
by Jeanette Murray
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…
Below the Belt was a fun, light, angst-free read that was completely unexpected. I went into it with one thought in mind... A boxing Marine? Yes, please! But this book turned out to be so much more and I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series!
Marianne is an athletic trainer who dreams of making it to the big leagues and the Marine Corps boxing team is just another step to achieve her end goal... What she doesn't count on is falling for one of the boxers that's trying to make it onto the team.
Brad has wanted to be on the Marine Corps boxing team for years and he finally has his shot, unfortunately an injured knee on his first day of training might just keep him from reaching that goal. When Marianne starts questioning him about his knee he's quick to ask her out to dinner to stop the interrogation... Dinner leads to a steamy kiss and that's where the relationship that neither was looking for begins.
I wasn't expecting this book to be so fun, but between Marianne's sarcasm and the banter between not only Marianne and Brad but also between Marianne and her parents (LOVE her mom!) and Brad and his teammates, I found myself cracking up on more than one occasion. Of course the fact that the characters are all so likable definitely helps.
There was even a little suspense added to spice things up a bit, and while it wasn't exactly solved by the end of the book, I'm thinking it'll play a bigger role in the next book which I'm definitely looking forward to. My only complaint would be the lack of an epilogue, but again, I'm sure we'll see more of Brad and Marianne in Against the Ropes so I'm not too disappointed.
If you're looking for a fun, entertaining read with sexy marines, a witty heroine, and great camaraderie, you should definitely check out Below the Belt.