Perri Forrest is another author whom I met at the Atlanta Kick Back this past July. She was kind enough to gift me a book of my choice and I chose In The Ring. It is an interracial romance novel with a healthy dose of conflict and plot twists (Right up my alley!). Here’s the synopsis:
“In the Ring” introduces Dario “DC” Caivano, heavyweight champion, who is also a man with a heavy heart. It isn’t without reason, however. As a teenager, Dario witnessed the murder of someone that he loved like a brother, and it took a lot out of him. It hardened him and left little to trust. Years have passed since the horrific crime, but it hasn’t gotten Dario any closer to being a man that can love . . . or be loved. In fact, he’s his best self when he’s in the ring where he can release his aggressions, if only for twelve rounds of “play”, to escape to a world where he can repeatedly annihilate the person responsible for his cousin’s death.
But what happens when he allows himself to come up for air?
Chanel Norwood is a single parent and club owner who is something like a “Boss”. She’s fiercely independent and knows exactly what she wants out of life, and right now it isn’t to be in an intimate relationship. She’s too busy taking care of business and raising a preteen son. After a failed relationship, Chanel has sworn off men—especially athletes. In her eyes, she’s already had one too many.
But how long can you fight fate?
When Dario and Chanel are thrown together, while the attraction is there, sparks don’t immediately fly. Both of them have lives and hearts that they’re very protective of. But as time goes on, they find there’s more to guard than just emotions when their worlds collide in a way that no one ever expected.
“In the Ring” is not without its share of secrets, drama, and ah-ha moments. Overall, it’s a story of love, loss, life and paths to new beginnings.
I was very excited to read this novel, mostly because I really liked the cover art and the fact that the male love-interest is a boxer. Once I got started, however, it was very easy for me to get into the story. It was very well-written and it flows well. I really enjoyed getting to know Dario, who, despite his history was pretty perfect.
As I review the story in my mind, I can’t recall any major missteps that would turn me off from his character. His biggest flaw was his issue with anger, which was an understandable issue that he addressed at the beginning of the novel and managed to control via his chosen profession of boxing. His anger and pride eventually gets in the way, but is the least of his problems in his relationship with Chanel.
Chanel was pretty likeable, as well. I liked that her character was intelligent and successful, but not unbelievably so. What do I mean by that? In many stories that I’ve read the female protagonist is beautiful, street-smart, rags-to-riches with an ego out of this universe and no other woman in the world could possibly compare to her. Chanel is humble and knows who she is—flaws and all.
The scenes that included members from both his and her families added to the story and were great in setting up the more pivotal scenes. The disdain that Chanel had for her sister and vice versa was fleshed out and gave the readers a feel for why that animosity existed. I could certainly understand why they disliked one another and it added an interesting angle to the story as a whole.
I loved the way Dario treated Chanel. He’s a bit cocky, rightfully so, but he puts Chanel on a pedestal, which made me dislike her a little when the conflicts did begin to appear because about half of them were her fault. The other half came as a result of Dario wearing rose-colored glasses and not being able to see past the pedestal that he put Chanel on to notice that there was a problem brewing. But that also made him even more likeable to me because he was so enamored with her that the rest of the world could kick rocks. No matter what life had to throw their way, crazy exes, racism, rivalry, Dario only had eyes for Chanel.
My biggest dislike was Chanel’s secret. I felt that that secret wasn’t worthy of being a secret and brought a lot of unnecessary drama. Why wasn’t it worthy of being a secret? Because even if she had let the truth stay the truth from the beginning, nothing would’ve been different about any of the lives involved in the secret. There wasn’t anything to lie about on her part, in my opinion.
I thought that this was a really great read. I recently learned via the author’s Facebook page that there will be another installment soon. I’ll definitely be picking that one up. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Available for purchase on Amazon.
LeTara Moore is an author and blogger who shares her work at letarawrites.wordpress.com.