Wednesday, April 8, 2015

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

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…

Type: Contemporary
Heat: 3 out of 5
Rating: 4 out of 5

Amazon | All Romance | Book Depository | BAM | Goodreads
Read it. Loved it. Can I have the next, please?! OMG Below the Belt (I so will NOT turn this dirty) was so so good. The quick of it...Sexy shirtless Marines. Really. Need I say ANYTHING else?!

Okay, okay. The quick of it is that Brad is trying out for the Marine Corps boxing team-- which has been a lifelong dream for him-- and dammit he's hurt himself but of course...being a man...and an alpha one at that the fool tries to hide it. Too bad that while trying to hide it from the sexy team trainer he kinda falls for her instead.

So. I may have twitter bombed Murray over these guys. I lurved them. Brad's got that whole broody alpha male thing happening that totally curls my toes and Marianne was just my kind of girl. They're hard workers, don't play games, know what they want in life and are determined to make that happen. Had the humor and the sexy and even some sweet. I just fell in perfectly with them.

And then the rest of the guys that were trying out for the boxing team too. They turned me into a total hussy. "Oooo I'll take him...and him..and him. Oh, yes. And one of him." The guys were hilarious and cheeky and entirely sexy. It was fun watching them all find their flow with each other from coaches to the Baby Marines to the older guys trying out for the team like Brad. I so want ALL of their books. *hint hint*

But back to Marianne and Brad. The connection between them. Can I say OMG yet again? Murray knows how to bring the heat and make it sweet, sexy, decadent and just a little dirty. Yeah these two had me squirming. Hot damn it was sexy as hell. But that connection shined through outside of the bedroom too. These two just had it in spades. I loved watching them get to know each other. From the hot loving to just every day things like meals and catching a movie and talking.
"Marianne," he whispered, hoping to slowly drag her out of sleep. "Come on, sweetheart, time to talk."

She mumbled something and turned away from him.

"Oh, no you don't." He pulled on her shoulder until she was flat on her back. "Open up those beautiful eyes for me."

He bent down to nibble at her neck, and she swatted him in the face. "What the hell?" Rearing back, he realized she was still unconscious to the world. He grumbled about uncooperative women, then made her sit up. "Up and at 'em, sweets. We need to chat."


The word came out like gravel run through a coffee grinder. He couldn't help but laugh. "Sorry, no can do. I'm pretty sure even your stellar skills can't bring a guy back from the dead. Just chat with me a bit."

Eyes still glued shut, she slapped at his hands, which were pulling the sheet away. "Die." she said more firmly. "It's not even light out, and it's our day off. What the hell is the matter with you?"

"How can you tell it's not light out when you won't open your eyes?"

"There's no light bleeding through my eyelids. I need more sleep."

Smoothing down one side of her messy hair, he dodged another elbow. "We can talk and go right back to bed."
"You're an ass," she said on a sigh.

"Probably. But give the ass a minute before you kick him out, would you? I want to talk about how we're handling things outside of the bedroom."

"I thought we made my couch very proud." A tiny smile kicked up the corner of her lips. He kissed the corner. She'd yet to open her eyes.

"No doubt there. But I meant more generally, how we're handling this in public. As in, what are we disclosing to people?"

She tensed up, and he hated to lose that loose, warm, snuggling Marianne. But in an instant, the no-nonsense athletic trainer Marianne took her place. She eased out of his hold and rubbed at her eyes with the heels of her hands before blinking them open. It was sort of like watching a mole emerge from being underground for three weeks or something.

"Okay." She blinked rapidly, then focused on the clock. "You're a dead man when this is over."

::snorts:: I just loved all of their exchanges and how real they all felt. There's not much outside of their relationship and the guys training with the couches and becoming a team but it was perfect and comfortable and fun and OMG OMG the ending! You guys! I was laughing and crying and totally smitten over every single bit of it. Murray absolutely charmed me with Below the Belt. This is so going to be one of those drop-everything-the-second-a-book-releases types of series for me. No question.

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