Blog Tour - On the Ropes (Down for the Count #1) by Christa Cervone ~ Excerpt, Derna's Review and Giveaway
A murderer’s child…A foster child…A troubled teen…Gabriel ‘The Saint’ Vega has never had an easy life. Being shuffled from one foster home to another after his father murdered his mother, he found himself in and out of trouble with the law. Never giving a damn about himself, let alone anyone else, his life was spiraling out of control; fast. Until one man and one sport changed everything.
Frankie Carbone taught Saint how to handle his anger and rejection; by fighting it out in the ring. On his way to stardom, Saint finds himself pushed into the spotlight and into the arms of more women than he can ever imagine; he’s completely content with one night stands and random sex.
Then Salem Harris comes walking into his life and changes his game plan. Saint finds himself wanting Salem in all the ways that scare him. She is off limits; taken. But that doesn’t stop Saint from going after what he wants, and he wants her.
Frankie showed Saint a new way of life with Boxing, but will Salem give him the one thing he's never known – love? Will Saint find himself fighting for the one thing he thinks he doesn't deserve or will Salem end up breaking his heart? Gabriel ‘The Saint’ Vega has had to fight for every good thing he's gotten in his life. Can he go the distance?
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.*
On the Ropes is Gabriel ”The Saint” Vega’s story. Gabe is the hot sexy fighter, who didn’t have an easy life growing up. Tragic circumstances meant that, at the age of ten Gabe ends up in foster care. Growing up with lots of anger and hurt, he learns to shut everyone out, he was never far from trouble, and that's how he lived most of his teenage years until he meets Frankie Carbone who introduces him to boxing.
“I had been told by my father, my teachers, and my foster families that I was never going to amount to anything. So I set out to prove them all wrong.”
Fighting and Frankie are what ultimately turns his life around, and now he is a great fighter with the chances of becoming pro.
“Throughout the years, I’ve learned to take my anger out in the ring and not on others”
I loved Gabe! Yes, he’s your typical cocky, arrogant fighter, but he has a heart. Loved the way he is with the younger kids from the neighborhood. Gabe still has some issues, and rejections from his past still run deep. Gabe's never been in love, he doesn’t do relationships, his life is filled with one-night stands, with no emotions, making sure no one get close.
“I don’t need anyone. I do just fine on my own”
“How do you know if you have never tried?”
When Salem Harris walks into his life it changes everything. Gabe wants Salem, but he knows she is off limits, but she is all he can think about.
“Salem…there’s just something about her…I’m not sure if it’s her beauty or the fact that I’ll have to work to get her. But, whatever it is, she will be mine”
“I’ve never met a woman that that makes me feel like I want to both Kill and fuck her senseless at the same time, until now. It’s aggravating as hell.”
I liked Salem, she’s feisty, but did comes across cold with an attitude, but as I started to learn more about her, and her story I could understand why. She has a tough exterior, but also a fragile side, and one that Gabe wants to protect. I loved the love/ hate relationship that Salem has for Gabe. Salem tries hard to resist his charms, but every time she sees Gabe understandably he becomes harder to resist.
“I couldn’t say no, Gabriel. I feel it too. I wish I didn’t but I do”.
The storyline had its fair share of steam, lust, angst, drama, romance, emotions, alpha action, and laughs. Written mainly from Gabe’s POV, but you do get Salem’s POV every so often. With Gabe's POV you get a real sense of how he feels about himself, his past, his family, and Salem. I liked the way the author make you see how Gabe and Salem think about each other, and how their heads are fighting with their hearts especially Gabe who has never experienced feeling this way about someone.
“With Salem, its different, everything is different. I don’t’ want her to be just another notch on my bedpost”.
“It’s not all about having fun, Saint. It’s about giving your heart to someone, letting them in”
There were some fun secondary characters that added to the story. I really like Frankie, and what he does for troubled kids. And don’t worry there isn’t a cliffhanger as such, but as Christa give you the first chapter of the next book “Going The Distance” at the end of the this book, you are left with the notion that Gabe & Salem’s Story is not over just yet. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment, and catching up with some of the other characters.
Overall, I enjoyed On The Ropes, I liked the writing style and the pace of the story, the real life feel of the characters, and the chemistry that they shared. I absolutely loved the quotes from famous boxers at Christa puts at the start of every chapter being a lover of quotes this was a firm favorite of mine.
“Everybody wants to be somebody. The thing you have to do is give them confidence they can. You have to give a kid a dream” ~ George Foreman
“He who is not courageous enough to take risk will accomplish nothing in life” ~ Muhammad Ali
“It’s not the size of a man but the size of his heart that matters” ~ Evander Holyfield
It was the first I have read by Christa Cervone, and as soon as I had finished I added her other book Broken to my TBR list. So when looking for a hot sexy fighter to spend a few hours with then I think Gabriel ”The Saint” Vega is just the fighter for you.
My thoughts drift to creating a fantasy of Salem and me. We’re in the locker room at Frankie’s gym and I’m all hot and sweaty from training. I have her pinned up against the wall and she’s completely defenseless against me, but she’s into it. Her skirt is up around her waist and the little piece of fabric she calls underwear is interfering with what I want. I grind my body up against hers and my dick is swelling as I rub up on her thigh. My hands roam freely over her body, finally landing on her tight ass. Our tongues are dueling and I’m drunk on her taste. The scent of the perfume or body spray she’s wearing is tormenting me until I’m at my breaking point. “God, Salem, you smell so fucking good; it makes me wanna fuck you until you can’t remember your own name,” I growl. Her hands tighten in my hair and a stronger wave of her scent drifts into my nose as I inhale. My chest is heaving at my thoughts and my breathing is labored. Sliding my hand into my boxers, I adjust myself to get more comfortable and my thoughts are almost immediately back with Salem. Her perfectly manicured nails are clawing at my back now as I dig my fingers into her legs. I kiss her neck roughly as she pants in my ear, “Make me come, Saint.” Then she bites my earlobe and I lose control. I’m so anxious to have her that I rip off the expensive panties she’s wearing and slam my cock into her like her pussy is my saving grace. I smile when she screams in pleasure as she comes apart in my arms.
Unconsciously, my hand slides back down into my boxers until it meets my aching erection. This time I begin stroking myself; I just can’t help it. Salem…there’s just something about her…I’m not sure if it’s her beauty or the fact that I’ll have to work to get her. But, whatever it is, she will be mine.
I was born and raised in Western Massachusetts and I'm a married mother of three who married her high school sweetheart, Frank. I don't really have too many hobbies. I like to watch my kids play sports. I do photography on the side (weddings, families, babies etc). I'm Minion & Adam Levine obsessed. I enjoy listening to all different types of music, Maroon 5 & P!nk being some of my favorites.
Achievements -- I was on the Top 20 Erotica as well in being on the Movers and Shakers List on Amazon with "Broken."
I'm currently working on her second novel titled "Going the Distance" which will be released Fall 2013 as well as a third novel titled "Saved."