Knockout by J.C. Valentine


 From the wrong side of the tracks…Alyson Blake had learned early on that the only one she could depend on was herself. The only light in her life was a boy whom everyone agreed was destined for prison; but with his first kiss, he had set her soul on fire. Since the day the police dragged him away in handcuffs, she had managed to lead a quiet life, but when she attends an event fraught with mayhem, trouble resurfaces.

The one person she can’t forget…

Jamison Weston is the kind of guy dads load their shotguns for; endowed with a hot temper and a rap sheet as long as both tattooed arms. Known as “The Judge,” Jami’s hot temper, lethal fists, and cocky attitude have earned him respect and admiration both in and out of the ring. But just when he thinks he’s pummeled his past to death, Alyson Blake reenters his life.

Two paths collide…

After years of separation, Alyson is eager to reexplore the man who’s never left her thoughts, but for Jamison, she’s both the distraction he wants, but doesn’t need. As the two embark on a relationship that neither of them expected or bargained for, an outside threat closes in. When Alyson crosses the line of professionalism and takes her work home with her, her life is put in danger, leaving Jamison with no choice but to once again step in and become her protector.

WARNING **Book One in a two part story.** This book contains a mild cliffhanger ending that will be resolved in book two. The release date for book two has been moved up to July 2014. If you do not like cliffhangers, you might consider checking out my Night Calls series instead.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18507917-knockout?ac=1
In Knockout, we meet Ally and Jami as they reconnect after years of separation. As children, they were the only person in the other’s life they each felt they could trust and depend upon. Despite the years that have passed, they both still feel that connection that bonded them as teens and find themselves spending more and more time together as they establish their friendship … and possibly more.
I must state that I absolutely loved that the author did not make Jami the stereotypical player that I tend to find with MMA characters. No, he’s not a virgin, but he’s not the manwhore his buddy Spence is and not once did he appear to be tempted by the blatant offers he got from other women. As a result, Ally wasn’t forced to be the stereotypical insecure woman always wondering if she was pretty enough to keep her man. In fact, she’s almost too independent and secure, which is what allows Tony to get
too close and led to the only part of the storyline that bothered me; seriously, has she never heard of Google? It made absolutely no sense to me that she didn’t look Tony up when she moved Tori and Miles in with her. And except for that small plot point, Knockout was fabulous.
Ms. Valentine has created great cast of characters and the chemistry between Ally and Jami is palpable. The sexual tension between the two is so intense that I was surprised that I was so far into the book before they finally hooked up, and I must say that I will never look at a boxing ring the same way again. Knockout is a great start to the series and I’m looking forward to reading Tapout as I cannot wait to see what happens next.