Down for the Count

Christine Bell
Down for the Count
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Entangled Publishing
Release Date
October 2012
Contemporary Romance

Truth or dare…

When Lacey Garrity finds her groom in flagrante delicto in the reception hall closet with her bridesmaid, she's saved by her best friend's older brother—childhood tormentor, crush, and boxing bad boy Galen Thomas. Galen's solution is both exciting and dangerous. What better way to forget the mess of her life than go on her honeymoon with a hot guy who can't promise anything beyond today?

…or TKO?

Galen had been counting on Lacey's wedding to put her out of reach—and out of his mind—once and for all, but their steamy Puerto Rican escape is testing all his boundaries. Now that Lacey's embracing her inner bad girl, Galen is tempted to throw in the towel and claim her for himself. But with the biggest fight of his career on the line and an important business merger threatening to derail Lacey's resolve, their romance might be down for the count before it even begins.

Book Review by Ashia (reviewer)
Jan 24, 2013   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
248 people found the following review helpful
DOWN FOR THE COUNT is a mix of delightful and engaging, and at times, hilariously funny.

Lacey Garrity received an unpleasant shock on her wedding reception--her husband and one of her best friends are involved in an affair. She desperately wanted to leave, and concerned and fearing for her sanity, her other best friend's (Cat) brother Galen Thomas brought her to the Thomas's cottage by the lake, where she had happy childhood memories. As they drank and talked that evening, Galen started to see that straitlaced Lacey needed to let go and live, and hence, he talked her into going on her honeymoon alone, er, well, just not with her husband, because he was going with her.

The social divide between them was huge, but Lacey didn't think much of it; only her mother would pay attention to something like that. It certainly didn't stop their mutual attraction or the ensuing encounters, yet when Lacey's mother arrived and issued an ultimatum, would Lacey go back to her previous life or would she fight for what she had with Galen? Yet, did Galen truly want her? Or was she merely a convenient fling?

Right from the start, we feel for Lacey. She so totally didn't deserve to see her husband and bridesmaid in flagrante delicto, and immediately, we sympathize with her and we want her to win one over them. I thought her progression from being shattered to being friends and becoming sexually aware of Galen to their fling was done well and believably. Their chemistry was hot and intense, and I especially like the scenes where Galen was teaching her to box.

The story also contains some funny, laugh out loud moments that balanced the serious tones, such as when Lacey jumped Galen and their mouths mashed together. Ouch! Then she opened his mouth to see if his teeth were damaged. I thought that was hilariously funny, and I can't imagine anyone doing that.

Ms. Bell draws her characters well, even her secondary characters, especially Lacey's mother. The story flows well and the pacing just right. One quibble was that if it were not for Cat to push things along, I'm not sure if there would be an HEA in this book. Or, maybe there would still be, but it might not happen so fast.

Still, DOWN FOR THE COUNT is worth a read.
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Book Review by Bridget (reviewer)
Jan 27, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
214 people found the following review helpful
Scorchingly hot, deep emotions and a hideaway in paradise—Christine Bell's first Dare Me book offers a little of everything. Her unlikely couple's journey from heartbreak to happily-ever-after will keep fans and new reader alike engaged to the final delightful scene.

Lacey Garrity's marriage is dead-on-arrival when she finds her new groom in the most compromising of situations in a broom closet with her bridesmaid. Heartbroken and furious, she begs for a ride away from her wedding with her best friend's brother, boxer Galen Thomas. Though Lacey's harbored a crush on Galen for as long as she could remember, he's always been out of her league and hardly interested in his little sister's friend—or so she's thought. But when she wakes up the next morning, on her honeymoon…with Galen….Lacey decides to enjoy every moment that her drunken bravado has earned her.

Galen was hoping that Lacey's marriage would put her out of reach for good, but now that they are sharing a beachside cabin on the most romantic beach he's ever seen, it's getting harder and harder not to claim her for his very own. But Lacey is determined to explore her inner bad girl, the side she has kept locked away all her life, and Galen is the perfect person to take on this exploration. But when reality intrudes into their paradise, will they go back to the way things have always been, or take a chance on something more?

My love of "left at the altar" stories is well documented—though a heart-wrenching situation, it is one that forces the heroine to strike out on her own, often with some pretty remarkable results. Lacey's courage and her subsequent transformation are pretty remarkable, and kept my interesting through every scene. She and Galen handle some pretty embarrassing, utterly unforeseen circumstances together, but she handles each and every one with her newfound strength and indomitable sense of humor, and shows what a worthy heroine she really is.

For his part, Galen is a wonderful blend of strength and humor, alpha male and sweet sidekick, making him the perfect person to bring Lacey out of her shell and encourage her evolution. It took a awhile for the heart beneath all his strength to emerge, but there was a never a time when I doubted that he was the perfect man for Lacey. I also loved the fact that we got to see details of Galen's training regimen and the stress of life as a professional boxer. The scene where he teaches Lacey some of the finer points of boxing was a fun and touching and a phenomenal way to explore the bond growing between them.

The chemistry between these two is off the charts from early on, and only grows stronger as their connection grows deeper. They bring out the best in each other, challenge the other, and, in the end, show the best sides of themselves when together, and that, for me, is the hallmark of a terrific romance. The plot twists and turns were fantastic, throwing unexpected visitors, confrontations and revelations into the mix that I wasn't expecting. On top of the humorous incidents that Lacey and Galen encounter, more heartfelt moments truly made this plot come together into something that was constantly surprising and consistently interesting.

Entangled's Brazen line is quickly becoming one of my favorite line of books, and Christine Bell's story showcases the best of what it has to offer: blistering chemistry, strong, multi-dimensional characters, and a plot that moves with speed and skill to deliver a perfect diversion from the everyday. I can't wait to get my hands on the rest of her Dare Me series and explore the rest of the characters in this super fun series.
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