Outside the Ropes by Ashley Claudy
Netgalley / Amazon / Goodreads
Publsihed January 2015
Galley via Netgalley
Final Rating: 3.25
In the ring, Regan has control. Outside the ropes, she fights to survive.
Regan Sommers spent her life fighting. Fighting foster parents, kids in the group home, and classmates. But the night she has to fight for her life changes everything.
Now, she's fighting for money in the ring, and from the first punch she's addicted. Every addiction has a price though, and this one is the gym's star boxer, Gage Lawson. He may come in an enticing tattooed package, but his demands are more than she can handle.
The responding officer from that night, Anthony Fields, comes with no demands. He wants whatever she's willing to give, and Regan can handle that. She can definitely handle him.
But no help comes string free, and Regan's not the only one with a hard past and scars to cover. The life she was trying to escape is nothing compared to the danger she's in the middle of now, and she can't fight her way out.
So maybe this book needed a cup of coffee with it if I was planning on finishing it when I started it. . .around 8:30 in the evening, but that doesn't exactly mean I didn't enjoy it.
I was expecting Outside the Ropes to be about a girl overcoming societal conformity, and if I am being completely honest, I didn't pay as much attention to the "she fights to survive" as I should have. Mostly because going into this novel I was forced to face the life of the other half of society and I just wasn't prepared for all that jazz. The ones looking for a fix, looking for money, affection- no matter the cost. May it be your sanity or your soul. Even a fight. I'll be honest some more. I mean why not? How does that sound?
I admire Regan's strength, but I was also frustrated with how she seemed to dash towards trouble and turmoil rather than away from it. I mean, I understand the story needs conflict, but Regan, darling. Breathe, love.
And the two males trying to get her and gain her love, or her body, or her affection. Or maybe just her thoughts and her time. They were something else. Does any of that make sense?
Okay, so one one hand you have Anthony- a copy and seemingly overall decent guy who I steadily grew to really dislike as I read more and more of the book. From Anthony, Regan gets someone to trust, a warm body and safety. A real rarity in her life. So her relationship with Anthony is something she really values. Then, on the other hand, we have out too-hot-to-handle, seriously moody, but also rather sweet, prized boxer: Gage Lawson. Gage hides more than his heart (and yes, y'all, I know that sounds cheesy) from Regan. Hell, he hides a whole freaking lot more. Like a bunch of roses and a baseball field more. Yeah.
Oh, look. I'm about to be honest some more. I didn't particularly like either Gage or Anthony. They both were possessive is a not-so-hot kind of way. *shudders* And it made me want to hit them both in the face with a brick. Or a shovel. Either one, they are both pretty decent options. The brick or the shovel I mean. Pepper spray would probably work as well, now that I think about it. But Regan, she was pretty cool. She is fiercely loyal and independent to a fault.
I think the story is fine. Like, it is perfectly fine. Not great. But also not terrible. I think my main complaint is that I didn't really connect to any of the characters. Not a bit. I was feeling more anger at the situation that anger at the characters.
In the end, this book won't make it to my favorites shelf, but it was a decent read.