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Tina's Reading Books

Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Stone Cold Knockout

Stone Cold Knockout (House of Pain Book 1) - Lavender Parker, Katy Farrell

The only other book by this author that I have read, Kiss of Fire, I very much enjoyed. Enjoyed enough to keep the author's name in my mental 'keep in mind' file.

With this book, the author has now advanced to my mental 'actively be on the look-out for' file.

When we first meet Gennifer in this novel she at a gym fighting. It is one of those old skool, no frills boxing gyms that is owned by a tough talking no nonsense guy named Jimmy and is populated by serious fighter types. Gennifer is a woman who grew up out of tragedy, has a few anger issues but has made a good productive life for herself.

Her goal is to be able to compete in a big boxing tournament that happens each year, but he owner of the gym (also the man she considers her father figure) refuses to consider it. He is over protective, for good reason as we learn in the course of the story.

But a new guy at the gym catches Gennifer's eye. He is Mikhail, a handsome Russian of very few words. He has great fighting technique and agrees to train her.

The two of them are immediately attracted to each other and fall into a hotly sexual and oddly sweet relationship during their training.

A lot happens to Gennifer and her 'Misha', which I won't spoil because the story hits some great plotting & character beats.

The book is unabashedly sexy. I enjoy how much Gennifer owns her own sexuality. The author is able to tread the line where Gennifer comes across as confident and proactive in having her desires met without feeling off-puttingly aggressive.

But even through the sexy times, you watch as they build an interesting, at times, intense relationship where their connection is well constructed and their chemistry is well developed.

As in any romance novel the conflict that the author chooses to create is often times the thing that drives the romantic tension and the plot. I loved the little spanner the author threw in the works mid-way through the book. It wasn't cliche at all and created a believable obstacle that kept our hero/heroine apart. This is they type of constructive storytelling I am thirsty for in IR romance that is very often missing.

Good story. Good characters. Good romance.

Much recommended.