Review: ☆Shadowboxer☆ by @cariquinn

She’s in for the fight of her life…with the man who only wants to be her lover.

Fighter Mia Anderson has faced the dark side of life and survived. But just getting by is no longer enough. To fund her new life with her baby sister, she’s determined to beat the reigning king of the male fighters in New York’s underground MMA circuit, Tray “Fox” Knox.

Tray refuses to fight a woman, until he learns Mia’s tougher than anyone he has ever known. He soon realizes he wants more from her than blows and blood, and he’s willing to hit below the belt to get it. He’ll fight her, but if he wins, she spends the night in his bed. All night long, his rules. No tapping out.

Mia agrees, certain that he’ll lose. What she doesn’t realize is that Tray loves to fight dirty…and that this match may end up being the most important one of their lives.

Warning: Please be advised this book contains content some may find triggering (past sexual trauma) and also contains graphic sex and language that may not be suitable for underage readers.

4.5 Hard Hitting Stars

Pretty enough shell, empty insides. Now my shell wasn’t so pretty anymore, yet I still used it to accomplish what I needed to.

I’ve had this on my TBR forever, but have been putting off reading it due to mixed reviews. I finally decided to bite the bullet, and am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I LOVED IT. I can see how this may not be for everyone, but I loved everything about it; the writing style, the story, the characters, EVERYTHING

Gritty. Emotional. A little dark. And entirely enthralling.
Shadowboxer takes the reader beneath the bustling city of New York,

into the dark corner of underground MMA fighting.

But here’s the kicker, both the hero AND the heroine are fighters.

Mia Anderson is used to doing whatever it takes to support herself and her younger sister. She lives in the shadow of her devastating past and uses the physical pain to drown out the memories. She fights and she’s not afraid of taking punches. But she wants out of the underground MMA circuit, and her ticket out is to fight the reigning champion of the male fighters, Tray “Fox” Knox.

I bruised faces and occasionally broke bones for a living, but I’d never left a woman feeling bad about herself. My dignified Long Island upbringing hadn’t left me even though I now lived in a walkup in Brooklyn.

While Mia was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, Tray seemingly has it all…he just doesn’t want it. Going against the grain and everything his rich parents wanted for him, he turned to underground fighting to beat his demons. But he draws the line at fighting a woman. Mia is desperate, and as infuriating as the sexy fighter is, she’s determined to ignore the sexual chemistry that instantly ignites between them and convince him to change his mind.

Guys like you, you think you know everything. You’ve got the world by a string, and it only ever unwinds the way you want it to. That’s not how it is for the rest of us. We have to fight for what we want. We have to bleed.

Mia is a character that’s difficult to understand at first. The book is a bit of a slow build, but it really takes off after the 30% mark. The more you find out about her past, the clearer her actions and thoughts become. My heart absolutely broke for her and what she had to go through. As much as I wanted to hate her for her treatment of Tray at times, I just couldn’t help but feel for her. Sure some of her methods of survival weren’t exactly orthodox, but I thought that Cari Quinn did a phenomenal job of painting a picture of a truly broken woman with an extra tough shell.

As for Tray? I fell in love with him from the first few pages. He was this perfect combination of a dirty talking badass

and a man that falls for the last woman he would expect to capture his heart.

My lungs seized up and I couldn’t haul in enough oxygen. She surrounded me, drenching me in everything she was…that had somehow become all I wanted.

I was completely enraptured by this story. It wasn’t a light read, though I wouldn’t exactly call it dark. It was somewhere in the middle, but incredibly entertaining.

While Fox gives into his attraction and feelings for Mia, Mia fights her feelings as long as she can. Her past has always paved her future, and her past was not a light one.

I wore my scars on my body because the internal ones had scabbed over and gone numb. If all I was destined to feel was pain, at least it was mine. This wasn’t real. It couldn’t be. Stuff like this didn’t happen to girls like me.

I devoured this book from beginning to finish. Cari Quinn throws in some unexpected twists and turns, and all of it packed a hell of a punch. I couldn’t get enough. By the end of the book I was so invested in the couples relationship, I simply didn’t want it to end.

I am absolutely dying for the next book in this series. Mia’s sister and the baddest of the bad boys, Giovanni? I’m practically salivating for it.

If you enjoy MMA books that are different from anything you’ve read lately, emotional, gritty, and STEAMY AS FUCK, I can’t recommend this enough! I know I’m the odd one out within all the mixed reviews, but I really encourage readers to give this a shot. Who knows? You just may love it as much as I did!

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