Barb, the Zany Old Lady Review: Counterpunch (Belonging #2) by Aleksandr Voinov

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Counterpunch Riptide CoverBrooklyn was deemed responsible for the death of a young woman in his law enforcement job but instead of getting a manslaughter charge, he was sentenced to life as a slave. And since he was always into boxing as a sport, his new owners put him into boxing for profit in the slave prizefighting circuit. And he’s damn good–so good that he comes to the attention of wealthy boxing fan, Nathaniel Bishop. Bishop buys his services post-match one night, services that are always available for the right price, and Brooklyn preps himself for the usual—stud service for some wealthy client who wants to make use of all that extra testosterone after a match.

What he gets is not “the usual”. Nathaniel wants him all right, but he wants his acceptance more than he wants to dominate Brooklyn in sex. He slowly works his way into Brooklyn’s life, instilling confidence in the boxer, and hope for his freedom. Nathaniel is a lawyer and he believes that he can get Brooklyn free. He points out all the areas where he feels that Brooklyn was made a scapegoat and shouldn’t have been sentenced to slavery. He even manages to get Brooklyn away from his current trainer and into a training regimen with a new trainer and sparring partners who are worthy of working with the boxer who will one day be the champion on the slave circuit. It’s during these months of training that Brooklyn and Nathaniel become closer, and though Brooklyn finds it hard to verbalize his love for Nathaniel, they do love each other, and that stokes Brooklyn’s hope for a brighter future even higher.

Circumstances come to a head, however, when the boxer Brooklyn fights for the gold belt dies as the result of the knockout Brooklyn hands him. When Brooklyn tries to get away, he’s sent back to his original trainer and security handler, both of whom now feel they have an excuse to be even more brutal to him. And what happens to Nathaniel? He’s missing from Brooklyn’s life, gone without a trace, leaving Brooklyn wondering why he left himself open to feeling something for another person when he knows his case is so hopeless.

I love Voinov’s work. The characters are so tough, their circumstances so darkly depressing, yet their spirit remains strong. This is an excellent example of the author’s skills in bringing a character to life. I felt so sad for Brooklyn, watching what he was going through in his slavery, yet still keeping his sense of self. And the ending was so complex, yet simple, so heartbreaking, yet full of hope for Brooklyn’s future. I can’t recommend this story highly enough. If you like a dark, gritty alt universe story with a hero who’s flawed, this is the one for you.

Cover Art by Tami Santarossa – The drawn cover depicts the principal character in a relaxed stance looking out the window at the world beyond. Though it does symbolize his lack of freedom, I would prefer something either darker, like a character with a bloody cut above his eye, or in the process of throwing a punch in a boxing scene. This cover doesn’t express the explosive and dark world within.

Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing     All Romance eBook (ARe)   <a href=” Amazon       Counterpunch


Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published September 15th 2014 by Riptide Publishing (first published November 2nd 2011)
edition languageEnglish
seriesBelonging #2


Is There a “Wicked Defense” in Your Future? On Tour with Talia Carmichael!


Welcome, Talia Carmichael!  Talia is here talking about her inspiration, her writing, and her latest release, Wicked Defense! Check out Talia Carmichael’s latest release, Wicked Defense (Bonds of Justice #4)!


Living It by Talia Carmichael

When I write a book I get emotionally invested in what happens. I basically live it and doing so takes a lot out of me, as I experience what my characters do. When I write I become very intimate with my characters. I know every intimate little secret. The good, in between, bad and those that brings them to their knees. They wreck you and make you drop. The memories of things that shape a character into being who they are. That guides what they do and react to each situation. Not every moment of a characters life makes it to a page, if it did it would be an unending book. 🙂 But to write my characters and make their reactions genuine they have to become real people to me. I’m a voyeur living in their lives and I don’t just get to live the good stuff. I get to live those awful things.

In Wicked Defense (Bonds of Justice, #4) my latest release, my main characters have to deal with someone trying to kill their partner. Spencer is a policeTaliaCarmichael_WickedDefense_BlogTour_600x315_final detective and he knows he has a job to do but he is personally invested in Craig. That makes it more overwhelming for him—emotionally, spiritually and physically. Through the book I already knew what eventually what was coming. The big reveal of why Craig is being hunted and the repercussions of that. I ached for Craig knowing it was coming and what would happen. When it happened I raged with him and wept. With Craig and Spencer as they had to handle what happened. I lived it with them and it was a rollercoaster of emotions.

Wicked Defense (Bonds of Justice, #4) isn’t angst filled because I’m not very good at it. My book was emotional to me because I knew everything my characters experienced before it happened in the book. How it affected them both and where it would lead. As I read through my book, I was going through all the same emotions as my characters. Each time I read my book it has the same impact on me.

Now Wicked Defense (Bonds of Justice, #4) is out. My characters are out in the world for others to experience like I did as I wrote them. You will take the adventure with them and go along with them as they work toward their happy ever after. Enjoy taking their journey to happy ever with them and you too will be living it.

Blurb for Wicked Defense

wickeddefense_US_800This is book four in the Bonds of Justice series.

When life brings you something unexpected, it creates the most interesting adventure…

Spencer West never would have come to an art show if not for one of his best friends. The pieces he sees are powerful and when a man strikes up a conversation asking his opinion, he gives it. Craig Scott—the artist—has been watching him all night. Spencer’s curiosity is piqued by this laid-back man who evokes such strong emotions in his art and just by being in his presence. Their conversation makes Spencer even more intrigued and he promises to get to know Craig better. Yet the circumstance of their next meeting makes Spencer realise he already cares too much. Someone wants Craig dead. Now invested in Craig emotionally and professionally, Spencer sees there is so much more beneath the surface of who Craig is. If only he can convince Craig to lie low… From what he has seen of the man, he isn’t one to listen.

Craig Scott spots the most intriguing man who seems out of place, and after their conversation, Craig knows he wants to see more of the sexy, brawny man. Nothing will get in his way—not some pesky attempt on his life or everyone wanting to protect him. He wants to make Spencer his—body, heart and soul. Spencer wants seduction and Craig is more than willing to tempt all the senses. As for the danger he is in, Craig will not hide from it but will meet it head on and kick the shit out of it.

Spencer has his hands full trying to protect Craig—who makes him feel all sorts of things—and he will use a wicked defense to keep him safe.

Reader Advisory: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

Like the sound of Wicked Defense? Buy it here!

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Talia Carmichael Bio

Talia Carmichael is a romantic who believes that family; no matter if it is by blood or those you choose as family, is integral to who you are. She is an author who writes sexy stories in a variety of genres. She believes in creating stories that encompass all that falling in love or lust entails, from the highs of that first blush of attraction to the lows of not knowing if you can make your coming together as a couple work, and then finally to the acceptance of the reality of making a life together. It’s all about the journey.

Among her books you’ll find contemporary, futuristic, fantasy, and paranormal settings with M/M themes that will have a happily-ever-after. Her books are passionate, intense, and real… to fill the craving.

TaliaCarmichael_WickedDefense_BlogTour_BlogDates_finalCheck out more about Talia at :