Title: Takedown and Tap Out (Bannon’s Gym)
Author: Cat Grant
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages/Word Count: 188 Pages/168 Pages
At a Glance: Score a KO and well worth reading
Blurb – Takedown: Home may not be what he remembered, but it might hold what he needs.
Bannon’s Gym, Book 2
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.
Blurb – Tap Out: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.
Bannon’s Gym, Book 3
As a child, Tom Delaney did the best he could to protect his mother from his abusive father, but her eventual suicide left him a guarded and wary man who’s still carrying around a metric ton of baggage.
aAt Bannon’s Gym, Tom learned how to take back his power, and found love with fellow mixed martial arts fighter Travis Gallagher. Yet Tom can’t bring himself to take their relationship to the next level. Not if moving in together means leaving behind Gloria, his surrogate mom, who’s desperately ill.
When Gloria’s son, Eddie, hires an out-of-work nurse to care for Gloria, Tom is out of excuses—and afraid he’s being pushed out of his family of choice. That fear explodes in a violent sparring session that leaves Travis with a broken nose and Tom on the brink of getting booted out of Bannon’s Gym for good.
When tragedy strikes, Tom realizes it’ll take more than fists to conquer his fears, or he risks losing everything—his fighting career, his family, and the man he loves.
Review: Takedown and Tap Out are the continuation of the Bannon’s Gym series, a story about an MMA gym and the fighters that call it home, and their personal struggles and public fights. To get the full effect of the story, I recommend reading the books from the beginning, and in order. I was a big fan of the first one, and these two did not disappoint. A couple of hot boxers, lots of angst, tragedies, and hot sex make for a perfect story that takes you on an emotionally entertaining ride.
All the action takes place at Bannon’s Gym, in a seaside California town. The gym is owned by an ex boxer and trainer, Danny Bannon. He’s also a mentor to up-and-coming fighters like Tom Delany. Eddie Roscoe is Danny’s partner and also an ex-fighter whom Danny trained. The first book was their story, and I highly recommend it because it will give the background to everything that happens in the next two books.
We meet Tom Delany in the first book. He is a runaway with an abusive father and an alcoholic mother. Danny and Eddie take him under their wing in the gym. Tom is a naturally gifted boxer, and the two men recognize this. The gym is also a way to keep Tom off the streets and out of a bad home environment. Takedown takes place a couple of years after Bannon’s Gym, as Tom comes home after finishing college to tie up familial loose ends. He hates the town and feels like whenever he’s there, something horrible happens to him or to his loved ones. He’s got a major guilt complex.
Bad memories rear their ugly heads, and one of them is Travis Gallagher.
He’s not exactly that, but is an ex-sparring partner and lover. Lots of complications arise when the two are thrown together again in the ring, particularly those pesky lusty feelings. Both still are hot for each other and after they pound each other in the ring, they pound each other in the bedroom. All that aggression leads to some steamy grappling.
There are complications with Travis’s junkie ex, Aaron, and Tom’s commitment issues, but everything works out in the end.
In Tap Out the story continues but this time it’s told from Aaron’s point of view. Last we left him he was trying to get clean and get back on his feet. Tom and Travis are working on their relationship. Travis wants Tom to move in but as usual, Tom has issues which create tension between the two. Gloria, Eddie’s mother, takes a turn for the worse, and Aaron is hired to take care of her. As her health deteriorates, things come to a head. But all is not lost and the ending works perfectly in the story.
Takedown and Tap Out are character driven, emotional stories. They also give an insight into the world of MMA and what kind of mental and physical resolve is needed to get to the top. I had a love/hate relationship with these characters because I was totally drawn into their lives, and some of their actions made me smile while others pissed me off! LOL. I love complicated characters because just like in real like, nothing is black and white; there’s a lot of gray.
Takedown and Tap Out score a KO and are well worth reading. They will not disappoint!