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Shadowboxer - Cari Quinn SHADOWBOXER is an enthralling, emotional and gritty story about Mia an ambitious underground cage fighter who lives and works in Brooklyn. Her driving force in life is to fight Tray Knox. Mia has been preparing for months, winning as many fights as possible and getting into perfect condition. Although women aren’t taken seriously in the fight world and men and women don’t fight each other, Mia hopes to somehow convince Tray to fight her. She is trying to work through the demons of her past and has a tough exterior, but her vulnerability makes it easy to connect with her.

Tray is my hero and I couldn’t help falling in love with him. His fighting name is Fox and he looks more like a model than a successful cage fighter. I love a guy who isn’t one dimensional and Tray has many facets to his personality. Underneath his tough, alpha male veneer, he is honorable, smart, caring, charming, and protective. On top of all that, he has a fabulous body. There is a sizzling attraction when Mia and Tray meet for the first time. They are drawn to one another, even though they don’t want to be. Mia tries to keep her distance from Tray, because she wants to fight him, but she finds it difficult to resist his charms. I enjoyed all the bantering, funny lines and sarcastic quips between Tray and Mia.

The story is told from both Mia and Tray’s point of view, which makes it easier to understand both of their perspectives. Cari Quinn made me feel as though I was right there, in the middle of the gritty world or underground fighting. In this world, everyone is tough and they settle disputes with their fists and there is a lot of trash talking, which I always find entertaining. This is the first book in the Tapped Out series and each book is a standalone. There are many engaging secondary characters which add to the story and I can’t wait to read about all of them in future books. There is angst, Mia is carrying a boatload of emotional baggage, but it never scared Tray and I love all the humor between them. Cari Quinn is an accomplished writer and I found myself immersed in Tray and Mia’s world from the moment I started reading. Well done!

Reviewed by Karen for Cocktails and Books