Book Reviews

Below the Belt (Baum's Boxing 1) by E.M. Lindsey

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Disability / Military/Former Military / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 16-October-2019

Book Blurb

Noah Avidan has not led a charmed life. His first serious relationship crashed and burned with his boyfriend in the bed of their dog-walker. After achieving his dream job working as a Classics Professor at the University, his life is derailed by a car accident, leaving him blind in one eye and battling to lecture through a stammer. Whatever his luck, though, Noah is bound and determined to pick up the pieces and find his own way to happiness.

The day Noah walks into Baum’s Boxing is the day everything changes. Adrian Flores, an ex-Marine boxer with his own story to tell and his own struggles to overcome, is immediately taken with the timid man taking his first kickboxing class. It seems like a fairy tale waiting to happen, until the day it doesn’t. A miscommunication between both men leaves them vulnerable for one cruel, obsessed man to take matters into his own hands. Will their relationship survive blackmail, violent attacks, and a promise to destroy their livelihoods? Or will the two be forced to part ways and accept that fate is just not on their side?

Book Review

A friend recommended this book to me and even though the author is new to me I liked what the blurb hinted at enough to want to give this a try. I am so glad that I did. Military, ex-or otherwise, is a weakness of mine along with nerdy, cute guys so I was drawn to Adrian and Noah immediately. The fact that these two men clicked so incredibly well right from the beginning and knew what they had found with each other was truly special, pulled me in, and kept me focused on their story.

“Adrian was terrible at casual, but more terrible at serious, and he couldn’t see a way out.
And yet…”

Noah and Adrian meet when Noah starts a beginner’s kickboxing class at Baum’s Boxing gym. Adrian’s twin, Anna, is the teacher and her husband (and Adrian’s best friend) Wes, is the owner, a fellow Marine, and disabled as well. Baum’s is a haven for people with disabilities and I was incredibly impressed with the sensitivity with which the author wrote about them but also her no-holds-barred reality of what life is like when you’re no longer “perfect” in able-bodied eyes. Noah and Adrian have both struggled, a lot, with getting to where they are in their lives and understanding one another on a deeper level because of their individual circumstances brings them together in a way neither has experienced from prospective partners before.

“Three weeks. Three fucking weeks and his entire life had been rearranged by this man, and now he was expected to contemplate living without him.” ~ Adrian Flores

I’m not going to delve into the drama portion of this story except to say that some people are simply vile, reprehensible, disgusting creatures who don’t deserve to exist and if I’d been Adrian, I would have taken this person into the ring and beaten the ever-living sh*t out of him. This man used his position as a means of forcing Noah and Adrian to comply with his wishes simply because he wanted to and he didn’t like being rejected romantically. Boo-Effing-Hoo! This portion of the plot didn’t come as any big surprise but I still really enjoyed the way the author wrote it.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit and I’m jumping immediately into the next one in the series. Adrian and Noah are both strong, complex, interesting men, the cast of secondary characters are wonderful, and I look forward to seeing some of them featured in stories of their own. The ending to this book was very well done although I could have used a little as*-kicking for the protagonist. *grins* The love story is beautifully written and I do so love a happy ever after!





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 200 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-December-2018
Price $2.99 ebook, $9.99 paperback
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