Series: First to Fight, Book 2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
As a troubled teen, Gregory Higgs channeled his energy into boxing instead of breaking the law. The ring gave him purpose and something to strive for. So did the Marines. Combining the two seemed like a natural fit.
Another natural fit? Reagan Robilard, the sweet athlete liaison who keeps all the fighters out of trouble and manages their PR—a job that gets more challenging when someone digs up the truth about Greg’s not-so-shiny past after equipment is vandalized at the gym.
Even if it wasn’t her job, Reagan can’t let Greg take the fall. Because passion doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to matters of the heart…
Against the Ropes is a fast-paced, sensual romance with plenty of action and a whole lot of heart. Greg and Reagan are strong, likeable characters with hidden vulnerabilities that will call to you and their romance is one that will leave you with a smile on your face.
Greg captured my interest in the first First to Fight book, Below the Belt. To all the world, Greg is a man who is quick on his feet and has charm to spare. He laughs easily and rolls with the punches. That first impression – Brad and Marianne’s image of Greg – is only part of the story. In Against the Ropes we see the whole of the man. Greg has a painful past, one he wishes he could wipe off the face of the earth. And though he swears his life began when he joined the Marines, he has undoubtedly been shaped by his childhood as much as he has by what he has done to change his life since. I loved peeling back the layers of Greg’s character and I was rooting for him to find peace and happiness.
A loveable hero like Greg deserves an equally endearing heroine and he got one in Reagan. Like Greg, Reagan has built an image around her – in her case the confident professional – that is only part of who she is. Reagan has worked her butt off to break out of the life her family thinks she should have. Managing the boxing team’s PR is her first real job and she’s desperate to do her best. Reagan is a smart, caring woman who sees the best in people and sometimes struggles to find her way. She and Greg have an instant attraction, but their romance is a slow building one. Author Jeanette Murray doesn’t let Reagan and Greg slide through without overcoming obstacles, but there’s no doubt that the two of them are meant to be together. There’s a sweetness to their romance that, when mixed in with the sensuality, made Against the Ropes sigh-worthy.
Against the Ropes is the second book in the First to Fight series, but it can be read as a standalone. That being said, I defy you to see Brad and Marianne after their happily ever after and not want to dive into the fabulous Below the Belt. There is also an overarching series plot involving someone targeting the team, and the vandal ups their game in this book. This time, the attacks threaten to damage Greg’s reputation and ruin Reagan’s career, which makes the plotline all the more compelling. The only downside to the blending of the romance and mystery threads was that it made the ending of the story feel rushed. Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I would have liked to have spent a bit more time with Greg and Reagan at the climax. Still, the added mystery keeps the book moving at a quick clip and I thoroughly enjoyed the book as-is.
Greg’s relationships with his fellow Marines and Reagan’s with her new friends adds an extra layer of entertainment to the story. The men of the Marine Corps boxing team and the woman who love (or will love) them are all smart, interesting characters you wish were real just so you could know them. I absolutely adore the First to Fight series and after finishing Against the Ropes I am on the edge of my seat, waiting to read Graham’s book, Fight to the Finish!
FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.