Reviewed by JustJen
Author: Cat Grant
Series: Banon’s Gym #2
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 188 Pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Release Date: July 29, 2014
Available at: Samhain Publishing, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Home may not be what he remembered, but it might hold what he needs.
An abusive father drove Tom Delaney away from Lincoln Beach. Now that he’s back to settle his family’s affairs, he’s finding that not even the good things he left behind are the same. The old neighborhood is a dangerous slum. Eddie’s diner is on its last legs. Gloria, who looked after him like her own son, is seriously ill.
His only refuge is Bannon’s Gym, where Danny Bannon nurtured his talent for mixed martial arts. Bannon’s also harbors Travis, his ex—as in ex-sparring partner, ex one-night stand. The man who, the last time they faced off in the ring, left Tom with a broken jaw and a concussion.
The sparks are still there, in the ring and out of it. But when Travis’s own troubles quite literally explode, their only chance to build something solid on their broken past could go up in flames.
Warning: Hot guys slugging it out. Heaps of sexual tension and cursing. Fighting. Grappling. Kicking. Throwing elbows. All drenched in buckets of manly sweat.
It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for this one! I adored the story of Bannon’s Gym in book 1, where we met Danny and Eddie. They, along with Eddie’s mom, Gloria, had taken young Tom in and made him a part of their family. Poor Tom, and his mother, had been abused by Tom’s father for many years. He had run away and was on the streets when Danny, Eddie and Gloria had taken him in.
Fast forward to this book, and Tom has now returned after graduating from college. Apparently, he had shared a night of passion with Travis, but they ended up fighting one another in a tournament which didn’t end well at all. Tom was injured pretty badly, and ended up taking off for two years until the death of his father prompted his return.
As with the first book, this one doesn’t focus entirely on the main couple. Tom and Travis and their relationship make up a fairly small part actually. Tom is still dealing with a lot of issues from his past where his father is concerned, and some issues that have arisen involving his estate. Gloria is not doing well health-wise, and Danny’s diner is pretty much in shambles, as is the gym. It was sometimes hard to remember Tom was still fairly young at 22, given everything he was having to deal with. He had a lot of guilt throughout believing he was the cause of everyone’s problems. Travis is dealing with a few issues of his own, namely his ex, Aaron, and his drug addiction and all the problems that brings to the table.
I think my biggest issue with this story were the time gaps where I felt like I missed some important details, such as Tom and Travis’ beginning. I had thought Eddie, Danny and Tom had been a little closer, but was missing that connection a bit this time around. Also, with so much going on, I kind of missed there being a more central focus. I actually liked seeing Eddie and Danny again, and loved the fighting action and stuff at the gym. Tom ends up teaching a class to kids that was really cute, and the sparring and tournaments were exciting.
I still enjoyed this installment quite a bit and am really looking forward to the next, Tap Out, to see where things go now that everything seems to have settled a bit at this point.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*