Down and Out (Knockout Love #1) (Kelley R. Martin)


*Don’t read this book if you don’t like snarky, dominant, tattooed men who say things like “Open your mouth, and I will,” after you tell them to shove it. And don’t read this book if you don’t like sassy, strong-willed, fiercely independent heroines who use phrases like “bossy asshole” as a term of endearment. You have been warned.*

“Tattooed package of sin.” 

That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and–depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day – an asshole.

It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it – and him – very, very hard.

Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”

I’ll be honest, I don’t even know how I came across this book, I know that I came across it on amazon and liked some of the dialog, and decided to buy it. People, let me tell you this: THIS IS MY FAVORITE NEW ADULT BOOK (so far). Don’t get fooled by the half naked men on the cover, or even the weird and vague title, or even the blurb, because neither does this book justice.

I loved the writing, and OMG, this had the best dialog ever! The banter between Savannah (who I really want to call Kitten) and Declan is the best. They push each other’s buttons, they’re funny, raw, sexy, and they don’t take any crap. Oh my, it was such a pleasure to read this book, and the main reason was this, the back and forward between the two main characters.


Speaking of characters, don’t be fooled by the blurb, Declan is a teddy bear, he’s like this big, muscled, tattooed and pierced marshmallow. He would do anything for Savannah and he’s not afraid to show her how much he cares, not once. And he knows when he does something wrong and he tries to fix it… poor guy. I really liked him. Savannah is a bit of a mystery throughout most of the book, she’s fierce and strong, and she says that she doesn’t want a relationship with Declan and so on, and even though we know that’s not true, the reasons behind it all broke my heart… even if I was seeing them coming.


I liked most of the plot, I never read a book about underground fighting, but I’m glad that it didn’t focus much on that, and more on their day to day and their struggles, within themselves and with each-other. I have a sense that some of the plot was left open because the second book (which will be about Declan’s brother) will touch on some aspects of his family and so on.

** Spoiler alert! **

The only reason that this book doesn’t take the 5 stars is because of the pregnancy, though I almost understand its presence, it was only the only way for Savannah not to fight and enter herself in a world that she would have trouble stepping out from. And they were together and well (as well as possible) when they found out, so my problems with it were mild.

I really loved how the book dealt with such a huge topic as it is rape, and the misconceptions that some people have about it. I watch Law & Order: SVU religiously, so some of the doubts and blames that Savannah put on herself were not new, but they were real. Just because you didn’t voice your NO, doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape. And your body can react against your brain, and it’s not your fault. These are important issues. And seeing what that weight was doing to her, broke my heart, but I loved how Declan reacted and how he wanted to do right by her, even if he didn’t know how to touch her, which I guess is normal too.

17 thoughts on “Down and Out (Knockout Love #1) (Kelley R. Martin)

  1. Aneta says:

    Putting this on my TBR…I love when books have great dialogue. That’s what I aim for when I write my novels is for great banter 😀
    Thanks for the recommendation!

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