With her headful of wild curls and wilder ideas and an unabashed love of experiments and explosives, society has labeled Lady Imogen Loveless peculiar…and doesn’t know she’s one of the Hell’s Belles—a group of vigilantes operating outside the notice of most of London.
Thomas Peck is not most of London. The brilliant detective fought his way off the streets and into a promising career through sheer force of will and a keen ability to see things others miss, like the fact that Imogen isn’t peculiar…she’s pandemonium. If you ask him, she requires a keeper. When her powerful family discovers her late-night activities, they couldn’t agree more…and they know just the man for the task.
Thomas wants nothing to do with guarding Imogen. He is a grown man with a proper job and no time for the lady’s incendiary chaos, no matter how lushly it is packaged. But some assignments are too explosive to pass up, and the gruff detective is soon caught up in Imogen’s world, full of her bold smiles and burning secrets…and a fiery passion that threatens to consume them both.
Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of KNOCKOUT today because, boy howdy, Imogen and Tommy are not to be missed! This was one of those books where I wanted to race through it to find out what would happen around the next corner while at the same time wanting to slow down to a snail's pace so as to savor each perfectly placed word and emotion. I solved the dilemma by reading it twice.
KNOCKOUT is not only my favorite (so far) of the Hell's Belles series, it's one of my all-time favorite books by MacLean from any series. Filled with action, mystery, steamy chemistry, cross-class romance, swoony emotion, and all kinds of boom, it checked every one of my happy reader boxes.
One of MacLean's strengths is her characterization. Tommy and Imogen are beautifully developed with a multitude of layers that bring emotional depth, grumpy-sunshine goodness, and a whole lot of fun. I loved Imogen's boldness, her determination to bring justice to those easily forgotten, her fearless use of explosives, the chaos that swirls around her, and those deliciously pesky feelings she carries for Tommy. And let's talk about Tommy, a big, bearded, straight-arrow detective who can't get enough of Lady Imogen in spite of (because of?) the trouble that follows in her wake. So many conflicting emotions simmering in this good, honorable man. I loved the slow burn evolution of their relationship, the deep feelings on both sides that developed alongside the fiery chemistry that threatened to explode, but also overlaid with sigh-worthy sweetness. Gah, I loved these two so much!
The supporting cast, including the other Belles, significant others, and family members only add to the richness of the journey, offering diversity, conflict, support, humor, and a villain who deserves everything coming their way. I do love it when the bad guys are held accountable.
You could read KNOCKOUT on its own but for full flavor and appreciation of these characters and their journey, I recommend reading the series in order, beginning with BOMBSHELL then following with HEARTBREAKER. Next up is Duchess's story and after reading that cliffhanger at the end of KNOCKOUT, all I can say is bring it on!