Kathy's Reviews > Below the Belt

Below the Belt by Sarah Mayberry
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Sep 15, 12

bookshelves: romance, strong-women
Read from September 12 to 15, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Setting:
Australia - Fitzgerald Fighters’ Gym; home in poor neighborhood and another in a nice neighborhood 10 minutes apart; fighting rinks

Theme:

Character:

Jamie Sawyer – 2 year champ of Tai kwon Do; daughter of Jack Sawyer, famous boxer who took a dive in his comeback match, then committing suicide, disgracing the family; granddaughter to Arthur Sawyer, who fought 8 rounds with Mohommad Ali. Frightened when her grandfather had a heart attack, and wanting to bring him a measure of pride back, she decides to go after the Women’s Boxing Championship. She has a casual attitude toward sex… especially after being betrayed by Kyle.

Cooper “The Fist” Fitzgerald – fighter who had to retire at 35 because of retina – would be blind when hit in the face again… so he dedicates himself to the gym he purchased and to training other fighters. At 15, homeless on street, mother a drug addict (saw his mother hit by the men in her life, and hated it), he was taken in by a trainer who saw something in him.

Arthur Harrison Sawyer –
Jamie’s grandfather – ex-fighter, loves and supports his granddaughter, training her as best she can.

Kyle Vandenburg –
Egotistical, selfcentered, dirty fighter. Angry at Jamie’s father who would not give him a hand when he was starting out, he took it out on Jamie and her mother after her father’s suicide, acting her lover and taking their money to ‘invest’ – they lost it all.

Summary:
Jamie goes to Cooper to ask him to be her trainer (he is ‘courting’ her lifelong friend, also a boxer, and gets the intro through him)… he says no, but is at her first fight…and in the 4th round, goes to her and tells her how to take advantage of the other’s opening, and Jamie knocks out her opponent.

There is attraction between them… and she is willing to go with it, but he knows she needs to trust him fully as her trainer, and that would not be good… but of course they slide into it bit by bit. Her first fight is against Kyle’s woman… and she wins, and has sex in the dressing room… and Cooper knows he can’t train her anymore… the sex, and his pain in seeing her get hit – and he tells her he cares for her, but she wants to keep it scratching an itch… at the bar afterward, she pushes, he tells her he can’t anymore… he leaves, she gets drunk, Kyle and his boxer woman come in, Kyle has words with her and she tells him off, the woman challenges her, she walks away, the woman comes out into the parking lot, they start to fight, Cooper shows up and he and Kyle fight… both win, but Kyle returns with a pipe to hit his head – separating his retina again.

Jamie nurses him back to health, she realizes he is hers and that she loves him… but after a week of bliss, she accepts a fight in the US against his agreement (too soon, no trainer, etc)… she goes her own way… but after she leaves, grandpa and Cooper (neither that would go) talk, and Cooper finds out that grandpa never knew about Jamie’s promise… they both go … it’s an hour before the fight, Cooper steps into the room, they talk – he tells her she doesn’t have to fight for her family’s reputation, or to cancel out her father – a father she loves, though she is angry… and she cries, and makes it through… and he coaches her … and she wins… and he’s in her corner all the way to the top, as long as she’s fighting for the right reason…. ahhhh
Memorable scenes:
Cooper’s ongoing dialogue before Jamie’s first fight…
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