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Below the Belt

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  544 ratings  ·  47 reviews
To outfit his new gym, trainer Cooper Fitzgerald is looking for fresh boxing talent. Male boxing talent, that is. So what on earth is he thinking by taking on Jamie Sawyer? She's stubborn, difficult, aggressive--and far too hot for the kind of close contact training requires. But her skill in the ring is turning his professional head.

Too bad his isn't the only head that's
Paperback, Harlequin Blaze, #404, 218 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Harlequin Blaze (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  544 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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5 stars – Contemporary/Sports Romance

Of all the Blaze books I’ve read, this had the best story and most well-developed characters, and yes, it still managed to be blazin’ hot too!

Cooper Fitzgerald, a former heavyweight boxing champion forced into early retirement because of an injury, is beginning a new career as gym proprietor and boxing trainer and looking for champion contenders. The last thing he wants is a feisty, stubborn, aggressive, and hotheaded woman demanding that he take her on, but

4 star Harlequin Blaze Romance

Though I have enjoyed reading a couple of sports themed romances (they have been far and few in between) this is the first of its kind for me. Even being not much of a sports buff in reality this book turned out to be delightfully good, no doubt a testament to Sarah Mayberry’s extremely talented writing abilities.


1- Jamie Sawyer. She is one of the most different heroines that I have come across in the romance world and because of that I loved her to bits. Sh
A former boxer champ training a would-be-boxer chick, but their intimate trainer-fighter relationship is about to get even more intimate. In a different, and much more satisfying, way.

I have to give kudos to the author for creating one heck of a couple of well-developped characters with unseen depths and loads of layers.
But since I was in the mood for something a bit more frilly and relaxing (after two books that weren't satisfying at all), I just couldn't cope with the amount of angst and emoti
Brianna (The Book Vixen)
Aug 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is the 4th book by Sarah Mayberry I've read, and one of the better ones. I really enjoyed this one.

“For what it's worth, you're the hottest damn thing I've ever said no to,” he said.

What was she supposed to say to that? She flipped him the finger. “Thanks a lot,” she said.


“Hey, for all you know I could be hung like a hamster and it would all be over in five seconds flat” he said.

She rolled her eyes. “Puh-lease, you think I'm feeling impaired? I had my hands on you last night, I know wh
Feb 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: mr
It’s annoying when the leads think of getting rid of their attraction to the other lead by finding the next available person. I thought I would like this one since it included a unique topic of boxing with romance. But, I couldn’t seem to get into it because of the heroine. She’s strong and determined and I like that she’s sticking with her goal to become a boxer when female boxers don’t easily get the approval of male boxers. But I didn’t like her belief of just easily sharing her body with any ...more
Oct 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who need a change and like sexually aggressive heroines
I picked this book because it was written by Sarah Mayberry and because the premise is so different from anything I've read before. A female boxer trying to set right her father's wrongs, paired with the most amazing, honorable man/trainer, Cooper. Cooper is sexy as hell. Jamie is a little harder to like. She's driven and tough, and unlike every other romance novel, she's the jaded one.

It was an interesting change, but it was also hard to understand Jamie. Her reluctance to get into a relations
Jul 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: erotica-romance
This was pretty decent for a Harlequin romance novel. I liked the characters and the mix of boxing/sports in there was a welcome change to some of the other obstacles the heroines face. I liked all the characters and there was some good sex scenes! It didn't stand out a ton for me, but I enjoyed it!
May 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was ok. Got bored of it after awhile and skimmed the rest.
Mar 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Good book. There was a little too much detail about the boxing matches for me. It made me hurt just reading about it.
Nov 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: hot-as-hell
Another good one from Sarah Mayberry. I'm a fan.
Dec 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
loved the story and the stubbornness of the characters just add to it :)
Jul 14, 2011 rated it liked it
This book started out really good, got a little better and then disappointed me. I think it went too far for me. A little too nice and neat. I was left wishing it had ended sooner.
Jan 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-reads
Found this book from here, and in the name of ~research, I knew I had to get it. No regrets~ Learned a lot in terms of plotting, exploring the enemies-to-lovers trope, sexual tension!
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, contemporary
Love Sarah Mayberry. Entertaining contemporary romance with boxing. I love the main characters and their arcs, especially Jamie's. She is definitively badass.
Apr 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, strong-women
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacey O'driscoll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksfree-com
Below the Belt was good for a short book. I am not at all interested in boxing, so the storyline wasn't terribly appealing to me. The hero, Cooper Fitzgerald, was very likeable. He had accepted the loss of his boxing career with equanimity and moved on with his life. I enjoyed the way in which he quickly acknowledged his unexpected feelings for the heroine without fighting them. I had a more difficult time relating to the heroine, a female boxer. Jamie Sawyer was sometimes abrasive and made rash ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rose by: Goodreads, Harlequin recs
I'm a bit torn as to what I think about Below the Belt in retrospect, because having a love for sports and an appreciation of boxing in general context - this book was definitely a different venture into what I've read in the Blaze line. I really liked the attention to the sport and fight scenes in the work.

On one hand, I enjoyed reading about the relationship and dynamic between Cooper and Jamie. Jamie was just a bit too hot-headed/headstrong for me to really align with her character, though s
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, romance, e-book, 2013
The boxing ring is an unusual setting for a romance novel, but pretty much every character in this book spends, or has spent, a significant amount of time in one. The heroine is a would-be boxer, whose father and grandfather were both fighters. Her ex-boyfriend is a boxer-cum-trainer, her new trainer-cum-boyfriend is a retired champion, the friend who introduces her to the new trainer is also a fighter.

There is a lot of fighting in this book, both in the ring and out of it, punctuated by steamy
Feb 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I surprisingly enjoyed this even though I dislike boxing. There's a human side to all characters in Sarah Mayberry's novels which makes things more interesting instead of just another romance novel with porn scenes lol.

Oh, and I really liked how the female character wasn't just strong physically but also emotionally and mentally strong. Her character is unique to typical romance novels where usually women characters may be "independent" but don't have much else to show for it. In this novel, ho
Jun 07, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: category
This was a new one for me, but then, I've come to expect the unexpected from this author.

The hero is an ex-boxing champ turned trainer. The heroine is an ex-martial arts champ who wants to go pro as a boxer. The whole setting is unlike any I've ever seen in a romance before, never mind a series one. The author does not take any short cuts, piling as much character development and emotion as many a longer story wish they could! Even the ending is unique.

Even though I admired the story, I had a h
Miranda B
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: harlequin
I don't like boxing but I trust Sarah Mayberry so much as a writer. This book did not disappoint! Trust SM to always deliver. I loved the story very much! I love Cooper! I want someone like Cooper in my life!!! I love how SM builds up the characters in her every story. This is a story where the heroine does not second guess if the hero loves her. I was smiling after reading this one. Sigh, till my next SM's book.
Sep 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Loved this book - inspired by "Million Dollar Baby", with super-awesome Cooper in the role of the Eastwood trainer, except younger and cut and oh so in touch with his feelings. Jamie was good, too, driven to redeem her family name and her hatred of her father that she once loved. This is a great book, and finally a realistic portrayal of how those fit bodies on the book covers keep in such great shape.
ms bookjunkie
Powerful, emotionally satisfying story. I loved it! Awesome hero, relatable heroine (driven, emotionally scarred), interesting story. How many times do you get to read about female boxers? Fascinating!

(The reason it took me a while to finish is because it's not prudent to read Sarah Mayberry books in public. In this book alone, she made me seethe with fury, snortle with glee and bawl out loud. Several times.)
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2012
I bought this one from eHarlequin.

I bought this book for two reasons: 1) I like Sarah Mayberry's books, 2) I'm not a boxing fan and wanted to see what Ms. Mayberry could do with the theme.
Short version: this book is so good. Read it. Now.
Longer version: the heroine is kick-ass strong. She is confident and strong throughout the book. The hero is the perfect compliment to her
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: romance
I had a fantastic time reading Below the Belt. Sarah Mayberry has an amazing way of pulling me directly into a story with fully realized characters. I really liked Cooper, Arthur, Ray, but I especially loved Jamie.
Dec 26, 2012 rated it it was ok
One day I should unpack my feelings about this book but not today. I suspect I've held it to a double standard compared to its genre-mates (HP not sports romance... maybe it belongs in sport romance though?) and I'd like to think through that more sometime.
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Sarah Mayberry was born in Melbourne, Australia, and is the middle of three children. From the time that she first “stole” paper from kindergarten and stapled it together to make “books,” Sarah has always wanted to be a writer. In line with this ambition, on graduation from high school she completed a bachelor of arts degree majoring in professional writing, then sat down to write a book. When ins ...more
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“He foll0wed her as she crossed to the four-station apparatus. His attention was glued to her butt the whole way. realizing what he was doing, he snapped his gaze away and checked to make sure no one had noticed.
Nope. They were all too busy staring at Jamie's butt.”
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