Series: Showmen, #4
Release Date: February 24th, 2021
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.
“She was his knockout rule. His loophole to true happiness.”
Let me start by saying that everything about this book was beautiful. It is officially my favourite Kelly Siskind book, even if I haven’t read all the others. There was just something so poignant and powerful about this story that makes The Knockout Rule stand out. And it also might just be my favourite book I’ve read this month.
There’s so much to write about when it comes to this book, so I’m going to try and keep it concise, but also make sure that you get just how wonderfully crafted this story is. Kelly Siskind writes great characters, she makes them complex and interesting and every single minute of reading about them makes you fall in love with them. Isla and Eric are two gorgeous characters, people who in any other situation would meet and fall in love almost instantly. Their lives haven’t been easy, but these two characters have picked themselves up and moved forward with their lives.
“If a picture of him popped up on the dating app, she’d swipe right so hard, she’d send her phone flying.”
I want to take a minute to talk about Eric, because he is such a fantastic book boyfriend. Add him to your lists already, everyone, because you are going to love him. He’s this guy with a tough exterior because he’s a boxer and he puts on this show for those who are watching, but on the inside, Eric is soft. He’s a linguist, he’s interested in poetry, in talking to people, in being around Isla, he’s so interesting. And at first glance, you don’t see any of that. But that’s the persona they’ve built for him – Brick Kramarov – and he plays it well. Eric doesn’t like it, but he does it because it pays the bills. It keeps his family safe and secure and honestly, that’s enough for him. From the moment he’s introduced on the page, I was absolutely and completely in love with everything Eric.
And then there’s Isla. Man, she’s also so brilliant! Growing with a boxer for a father, Isla’s spent a good part of her life battling panic attacks and anxiety. I am really glad that Kelly included these moments of panic, showing Isla fall apart and picking herself up, because panic attacks are hard to move through and sometimes, they’re rougher than anything else in the world. Her love for her father never wanes, though. She’s so devoted to him and she loves him so intensely, especially since he’s her only parent now. So naturally Isla has something against boxers and she’s not going to let herself fall into that trap again. She’s focused on her physiotherapy business and setting up her own clinic and she doesn’t need anybody or anything coming in and messing that up. She’s a true badass babe and a character that I connected with so hard and so much that I wanted to scoop her up and wrap her up in my arms forever.
“My craving for you is ether. Seeping into me, bleeding out from me. Consuming me with insatiable hunger. Our story begins in a burst of flames.”
But of course her decision to avoid boxers can only last so long and when she meets Eric and he drops his facade to give her a glimpse into the real man beneath the name ‘Brick’, it’s instant attraction. My god, their chemistry. It’s so torturous watching the two of them work together while they feel for each other. Isla’s decision to never have anything to do with boxers weighs on both of them, especially when Eric proves to be much more than just a boxer. And I absolutely adored how deeply rooted their relationship was. It wasn’t just physical, it was about the emotional connection they share from the start. The poetry, the horrible jokes, the soft smiles and the gentle touches – they get to see the real sides of each other and I truly believe that’s something that we need more of. Sure, the slow burn was a torture, but it was worth it. EXPLOSIVE is the word that comes to mind when I think about how incredible the two of them were together. The tension, the sex, the chemistry, it’s all so delicious and exciting.
I really enjoyed all of the supporting characters, but especially Preston and Heather. They were the best kind of friends and support system the two leads could have. I liked that Preston stepped aside the minute he realised Isla and Eric were attracted to each other, that made him grow 10 times in my heart. I would most definitely enjoy a Preston Church book and honestly, if he’s paired off with Heather, I wouldn’t hate it either. I was so frustrated with Graham, Isla’s father, at first. But I understood his reasons and I loved how real and genuine his reactions to everything were. And then there was Eric’s family and how much they all just love each other. It’s such a pure kind of love and one that I wish we got more of.
Kelly Siskind not only wrote a book about love, but she wrote a book of poetry to go with it too. She wrote a poetic masterpiece about love, about real life struggles, about family, about choices and about following your heart.
Thanks to Kelly Siskind and Social Butterfly PR for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.