ARC Review – Below the Belt (First to Fight #1) by Jeanette Murray

Author Jeanette Murray has created a wonderful world for this series, created a cast of characters that are fun and entertaining and has added in a sensual romance making Below The Belt a not to be missed story. ~ Slick, Guilty Pleasures 

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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…

Review copy provided for an honest review

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Sometimes you read a book and you just fall in love with the whole package and that’s exactly purestdelightawardhow I feel about Jeanette Murray’s Below The Belt. I loved the characters from the hero and heroine to the supporting ones, the dialog was smart and witty, the plot was entertaining, and the love story was unexpected and fun and it was all rolled into a fantastic first book in the First to Fight series.

There was so much to like about Lieutenant Bradley Costa from the start but what I really appreciated is that despite being a good Marine, and a hard headed man he wasn’t above listening to other and making changes in his life when he realized it was the right thing to do. He might be all alpha male but he has a good head on his shoulders and I really admire him for realizing he needed to make some changes to be successful and make the USMC boxing team. That’s not to say he didn’t make some mistakes along the way, but I have to give him credit for realizing it and making amends in a very public way.

I love any character who has a great sense of humor and that describes trainer Marianne Cook perfectly. She is funny, quick witted, and doesn’t take a whole lot personally unless it comes to “her” athletes or her job and that is something you don’t mess with. She is strong, she is dedicated, and more than anything she wants a job where she is considered a member of the team.

There is nothing about this couple that is easy; the meet in an unusual situation, she’s the trainer for the training camp he’s a part of, he’s injured but doesn’t want to tell her for fear he’ll get kicked out, she knows he’s injured but can’t get him to admit it, and to top it off they have this crazy chemistry they can’t deny that turns in to more. Sometimes a couple just fits right from the start and that’s how I felt about Brad and Marianne; they had so much in common, they found it easy to be together, they talked, they were mature about their relationship and they respected each other’s dedication and hard work.

There was so much that was entertaining and fun about this story and a lot of revolved around the training and the men hoping to make the team. There was some good natured ribbing, some bone head mistakes, and through it all these men learned a lot about themselves and each other and I’m sure as the next books in this series takes place we’ll see more of these men as well as the suspense/crime situation that wasn’t concluded in this book.

It’s easy to love a book that has you smiling through most of it. Author Jeanette Murray has created a wonderful world for this series, created a cast of characters that are fun and entertaining and has added in a sensual romance making Below The Belt a not to be missed story.

4.5stars

4.5 stars


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