REVIEW: Down and Out (Knockout Love #1) by 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.*

Upon reading the above warning in the blurb, I was expecting Declan Whitmore to be a wholly different type of hero. You know the type…the alpha-hole that readers love to hate; a hero who ends up being sweet and tender with his heroine, but he takes some times to grow on you. Not the case with Declan AT ALL. Declan was sooo easy to fall in love with from the start because he’s so caring toward Savannah.

Savannah is twenty years old; she’s had it rough her whole life. Bouncing around in foster care until she aged out at 18.  Since that time she’s been on her own. Savannah’s currently living out of her old car and has only a few dollars left to her name. She’s made some mistakes and is determined to stay on the straight and narrow now. That’s how she ends up at Declan’s gym for a job.

Declan sees something in Savannah that needs protecting right from the start and he gives her everything – a job, a place to stay and eventually — his heart. Unfortunately for Declan, Savannah is very reluctant to take what he’s offering, beyond the physical.

“Love’s a myth. It’s just a bunch a chemicals wreaking havoc on your brain.”

What I liked most about Down and Out is that there’s great snarky banter between Declan and Savannah. Even though there’s immediate attraction between them, they start to build a friendship before they jump into the sheets, which adds nicely to the overall tension and angst of the story.

Although I empathized with Savannah’s plight, she sometimes got on my nerves by acting like an ungrateful child.

There’s a point in the story where all I wanted was for these two to talk it out and fix their issues instead of letting the conflict and misunderstandings fester on and on. By the end, we find out what exactly from Savannah’s past is still affecting her and my heart broke for her and Declan.

The ending is sweet and everyone gets redemption.

Down and Out is in many ways a typical New Adult romance story; 1) there are two damaged characters,

2) there’s some conflict that could have been easily fixed with some mature conversation

3) there’s some syrupy, sweet dialogue once the hero/ine finally fall in love.

But somehow it didn’t annoy me as much as other books have in the past. I was enthralled by these characters and their journey to HEA.

The author has confirmed that there will be a novella to wrap up Declan and Savannah’s story before moving onto books for supporting characters we met in Down and Out.  I look forward to continuing with the series.

 Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️