Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Contemporary Romance Review: The Knockout Rule by Kelly Siskind

The Knockout Rule (Showmen #4) by Kelly Siskind
Published: February 24th, 2021

Publisher: CD Books

Genre: Contemporary romance

Tropes: Forced proximity, friends to lovers, sports romance, opposites attract

Heat level: 🔥🔥🔥

# of pages: 340

Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy on Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

Growing up with an adoring father for a boxing legend isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It looks more like hospital visits, bloody noses, and cracked ribs.

Isla Slade now works as a physiotherapist, helping athletes heal their bodies. Except for boxers. She has no interest in reliving the stress of her teen years. Dating someone in the boxing world? She’d rather snort wasabi powder.

Until she meets Preston Church.

Preston manages heavyweight boxing darling Brick Kramarov. A brute who’s built tougher than his name, with a cocky attitude to boot. She wants nothing to do with either man, but her father begs her to help them prepare for a huge Vegas fight.

She doesn’t expect Preston to recite romantic poems and slowly break her resolve. His fascinating mind gets under her skin, even if his star athlete reminds her how much she hates boxing.

Too bad it’s Brick coaching Preston how to woo Isla, falling for her from the sidelines. Once she finds out, she’ll have to decide if she can risk loving another man who puts it all on the line for the knockout.

Kelly Siskind’s Showmen standalone series have quickly become favourites of mine. They feature unique characters, lots of heart and humour, and swoony romances. The Knockout Rule was quite different from the other three books - it was slower paced, more intense, and didn’t feature the quirkiness I’ve come to expect from Kelly’s characters - but it was a beautiful story about life, family, and love, and I know Isla and Eric will stick with me right along with all the other characters from this series.

Isla and Eric are such passionate characters who did things with their whole hearts. Their relationship started out with each of them assuming certain personas and making assumptions about each other. I loved that Eric was this big brute of a guy whose boxing persona was all brawn and no brains, but he was incredibly intelligent, sensitive, thoughtful, and loved his family more than anything. Everything he did was for them, and that made me love him so much. Isla was strong and resilient because she’d had to be; with a professional boxer for a father and a mother who found it too easy to walk away, she’d had to learn to take care of herself and do what was right for her. That meant not allowing boxers into her life because she knew how damaging the sport was and she refused to let herself get close to anyone who was willing to do that to themselves. And then Eric came along…their chemistry was undeniable (and so hot!), and I loved the connection and friendship they formed before they took things further.

There was just so much to love about this book. The characters were so deep and real, and we got to know them slowly and thoroughly. I knew next to nothing about professional boxing, so I found that interesting, along with the physiotherapy aspect from Isla’s job. The Vegas setting was fun, and I absolutely loved Eric’s dog, Whit. He had so much personality and by the end, I was as in love with him as I was with Eric and Isla. I also really appreciated the mental health rep; as someone with anxiety, I thought it was handled compassionately and realistically, and added even more depth to Isla’s character that made me connect to her on a deep level.

If you want to take a deep dive into a slow-burn romance with a ton of heart, The Knockout Rule is perfect for you. These characters are sure to leave an imprint on your heart.

Have you read The Knockout Rule or any of the other Showmen books? Do you enjoy sports romances? Have a favourite?

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