Monday, December 5, 2016

Blog Tour ~ In The Ring by Rie Warren ~ (Review + Giveaway)

Blog Tour ~ In The Ring (Boxer #1) by Rie Warren ~ (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)
Title: In The Ring
Series: Boxer #1
Author: Rie Warren
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: December 5, 2016 Available on Kindle Unlimited Special Limited Price $0.99
The biggest fight of his life isn’t . . . In the Ring.  The bright lights. The roaring crowd. The chance at a championship belt. The not-so-little secret Liam Shaughnessy—the Bonny Bruiser—is fighting to keep tucked far away.  Liam got the pussy pounded out of him on the mean streets of Cin-city—the other Sin City. The oldest in a Catholic clan where his da never pulled any punches, he went from geek boy to the golden boy of the boxing world care of his fists. Liam’s on the fast track to having it all . . . all except the one man he wants. Michael Fairweather makes pretending to be hetero goddamn difficult for Liam. The man is blond and beautiful and just so happens to be Liam’s trainer. With a penchant for doing shirtless yoga, giving midnight massages to loosen Liam’s muscles, and sometimes even taking it out in the ring with him. To say Liam has porn-style fantasies about Michael is an understatement. Michael’s out and proud. Liam’s only proud of what he can do in the ring. He can’t risk his career, least of all for someone unavailable. Michael has a lover. Liam has the lies he lives every day. And when his money-grubbing manager gets involved as the title win approaches, Liam doesn’t know what hit him. Fight to win. Fight with honor. It won’t be easy, but that’s okay. Nothing worth fighting for ever is.

“Stars: Five,a great read, full of real issues and a perfect HEA..” - Jeannie Zelos book reviews “Smart. Gritty. Dirty. Kind of fabulous.” - Reader Review “.this, by far, is the absolute hottest M/M book I have ever devoured.” - Romance Ever After Book Blog
“You boys ’bout done?” the ref called over.
I breathed long and deep, peering through damp hair at Michael.
He shook his head. “Nah.”
The total body torment went on and on. Neither of us cried mercy. If he was pissed off, so was I. I just wasn’t sure what I’d done to make him go all pow-pow-pow on me. I didn’t really much care. The scent of his clean perspiration was as much of an aphrodisiac as the visual of his sweating body.

I blocked a vicious jab to my face. “You’re being a dick.”

He spun away before my fist connected with his stomach. “Back atcha.”
If he wanted me, he sure had a funny way of showing it. Killing someone via sheer bodily torture didn’t usually lead to love scenes or make-out sessions. Anya was way the fuck off the mark there.
“What’s your beef, bro?” I gasped after a particularly stinging punch.
“I think you should be more discreet.” He whipped his head out of the way just as my left hook whistled past.
“With Anya. And the other women. Or all the women, if you really like Anya.”
“Kidding me?”
He jogged in front of me on his feet. Left, right, left, right. “Nope.”
“This is about Anya?”
“Bull and shit.” I kicked his legs out from under him and followed him down to the mat.
I didn’t cock my fist to beat his face, but only because it was too pretty to injure.
I restrained his massive thighs with my knees. “You’re beginning to sound like Dev.”
“Call! That move is not allowed,” the ringside ref shouted.
“’S’okay. We’re not playing by the rules here, are we, Michael?”
“Nope.” His hips bucked up, and his crotch hit my growing hardness.
Holy shit.
I aligned my torso with his. Lowering myself another inch over him, I imagined Mikey bare and begging beneath me, our cocks thrusting together.
“Dev’s a slick Mick.” His chest pumped up and he tried to push me off him.
“He’s not even a true Mick and PS. that’s an insult to my Irish upbringing, preppy motherfucker.” I pushed down on his shoulders.
“Get up, you big bastard.” With no warning at all Michael spanked my ass hard.
A resounding smack rang through the air.
His eyes widened.
Mine almost rolled back in my head.
That was so hot. I’d never imagined him slapping my ass before.
I pumped against him once then reared back in horror.
Finally the pinched-sphincter expression he’d worn all day relaxed. He licked his lips in a slow motion move I wanted to repeat with my tongue on his mouth.
“Come on, man. Let’s hit the showers.” He bucked against me one more time, and I swear to fuck there was an extra, slow-grinding motion to his hips.
“What?” I croaked.
“You stink, you fucker. Get off me so we can get showered up.”
Oh yay. Because both of us getting naked with water and suds is a great idea. You’ll drop the bar of soap between my legs and stoop down to scoop it up . . .

I inhaled and closed my eyes, soaking in the feel of Michael touching me, so close. He moved away, leaving me with a cold wash of air in his wake. Around the corner, a shower turned on, and when I looked again, Michael was gone. His discarded clothes sat on the bench in front of me.
I hated this feeling, this vulnerability and insecurity inside. Everyone expected me to climb higher, do better, be bigger—never weak. I wanted to be less than what I was for just one minute. More than I was, in someone else’s eyes.
I padded naked to the showers. There before me was Michael, back-to, soaping up. Foam ran down his traps, delts, glutes, quads.
Michael spun around. Suds, chest, cock, balls. “You checking me out?”

“I’ll go.” I turned to leave, but he grabbed my arm.

“Don’t.” He slinked forward, and every effort I’d put into shutting this unwanted thing down melted away as his hand curled around my bicep.
My body was on fire for him. “Michael—”
“Don’t,” he repeated, running a hand down my bare chest.
My heart skipped, and my cock surged. Sensation weakened me, the sheer sexiness of his wet touch swirled inside my tummy, gripped my groin like a fist.
I stepped inside, under the hot rain of multiple showerheads. My erection leaped to my belly, big, hard, unmistakable. Diamond droplets of water slid off Michael’s hair, dripped into his eyes, and ran down his chest. Down below, the torrent gathered in his curly golden pubes that circled the base of a shaft that reached upward. Pink, wrapped in pulsing veins, the entire picture of his cock was so much sexier than any man I’d ever fucked or any porn I’d ever watched.
“You are gorgeous, you know that, right?” Michael stood so close his heat clung to my skin.
“I . . .”
Tilting my chin, he brushed his knuckles against the black stubble on my jaw. “Liam, are you just curious—or gay? Because this”—his fingertips drifted down my abs which jumped on contact—“is really dangerous.”
My skin burned from his touch. Heat scorched down to my cock. “No.”
“No what?” He reached low.
His thumb rubbed just beneath the flared head of my dick.
I shook my head, then nodded, trying to get closer to his reddened lips. To feel them on mine.
“No, you’re not gay? No, you’re not curious?” His tongue darted to my earlobe.
My hands clamped onto his biceps.
“No? You’re in denial?” His thick whisper trailed along my neck.
I wrapped one hand around his hip, slick and wet, and the other into his hair. “Kiss me if you wanna find out.”
Michael gasped. His lips parted and found mine. Not like a girl. Nothing near a woman. Stubble, rough mouth, harsh groans, all man. But for all the force our bodies contained and all the months of desire coursing through me, our first kiss was sultry, liquid, languid.
“Ahhh.” I leaned away to look at him.

4.5 Stars!

Liam grew up fighting, whether with neighborhood kids or his father, he had to learn how to be tough. Training was his out of his house, out of Cincinnati and a chance to make something of himself and take care of his mother and siblings. But being the best comes with a price and it's getting harder and harder to pay it.

Michael is Liam's trainer and while the man is one of the best at what he does, he might be Liam's ruin. Michael is gay and does not hide it. He's proud of who he is and what he's become. Liam wishes he could be that brave, that he could admit to the world what only a few know. That Liam is gay and he wants Michael more than almost anything in this world. But the public can't know that secret and neither can Michael. No one will accept a gay man in the ring.

When pretending becomes too hard and Liam admits how he feels to Michael, the two begin a passionate yet tumultuous relationship behind closed doors. However, Michael refuses to be shoved back in the closet and Liam can't seem to find his way out.

I really enjoyed In The Ring. This book was full of emotion. Liam really tore at my heartstrings because he was facing what seemed to be an impossible decision. He needed his career for not only himself but his family and it's a very realistic concern to admit to being gay in the sports world. I really hated how he made himself sick over it.

While I liked Michael, he lost a lot of points for the way he treated Liam's aversion to coming out. They weren't together long enough to put that kind of pressure and guilt on Liam. I want to rant and rage about it but, obviously, I don't want to give too much away. So I will simply say, I didn't love Michael.

Together these two are hot! I definitely felt the heat pouring off the pages from just their workouts not to mention the bedroom. If only Michael didn't piss me off so much I wouldn't have been able to put it down.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author/publisher for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the publisher/author for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Liam grew up in a bad section of Cincinnati and had to learn to defend himself at a young age. His father is a drunk, and his mother works hard to support the family with two jobs. Liam is a fighter and has ended every boxing match by knocking out his opponent. Liam has known he's gay since he was young but he's kept it a secret except for his manager, Devlin. And Devlin has forbidden Liam to be gay and instead spends all his time picking women up to spend time with Liam. Liam allows Devlin to control his life and goes along with the charade, even though he never does more than talk with any of the women. Liam just wants to become the best and make enough money to take care of his family and make life easier on his mom. And Liam is doing well with keeping on his path, except for his attraction to Michael.

Michael is Liam's very hands on trainer. They spend a lot of time together working out and pushing Liam's physical boundaries. Michael plans all of Liam's meals, makes him do yoga, drink protein shakes and provides massages. Michael is gay and has a long-term partner back home. This story is told from Liam's POV, so I don't feel like I know Michael, as well as I know Liam.

I hated, hated, HATED Liam's manager Devlin. Don't think I didn't notice how close that name came to devil, an accurate portrayal. There was absolutely nothing redeemable about this guy. I don't know that I've ever hated a character more. Every time I had to read any dialogue from this misogynist, it made me wish I was reading a murder mystery that would allow me to pick the victim. Then everyone would decide that the victim deserved it and allow the murderer to go on her way with a pat on the back and a job well done.

I love a story set around fighters and it's not something I get to read that often in the MM world. This was the first book I've read by Rie Warren, and I would definitely recommend it! This is not a light, easy going read. There's a lot of conflict and angst around Liam and his closet and once he and Michael begin a relationship, there's even more angst and conflict.
Rating: 4 stars

Rie is the badass, sassafras author of Sugar Daddy and the Don’t Tell series–a breakthrough trilogy that crosses traditional publishing boundaries beginning with In His Command. Her latest endeavors include the Carolina Bad Boys, a fun, hot, and southern-sexy series. 
A Yankee transplant who has traveled the world, Rie started out a writer—causing her college professor to blush over her erotic poetry without one ounce of shame. Not much has changed. She swapped pen for paintbrushes and followed her other love during her twenties. From art school to marriage to children and many a wild and wonderful journey in between, Rie has come home to her calling. Her work has been called edgy, daring, and some of the sexiest smut around.  You can connect with Rie via the social media hangouts listed on her website She is represented by Saritza Hernandez, Corvisiero Literary Agency. 

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