I received an ARC for this book and voluntarily read and reviewed it. I really enjoyed this book. I’m a sucker for details and this story had good detailed descriptions. It allowed me to picture myself in the scene, imagine that it’s happening right before my eyes and lose myself in the story. I was not fond of the time jumps though. I would have preferred to read everything in order rather than in flashbacks, I think there would have been more of an impact for those scenes if they had been done in real time. The characters were well thought out, flawed and still human. They were consistent and I enjoyed getting to know Gunner and Kelly and watching their relationship unfold. This book had little surprises around every corner, keeping me both intrigued and on the edge of my seat. Everything in the book came together quite well in the end and I’m pretty sure this story touched every emotion I could possibly have while reading. There were a few spelling errors in the story that I came across. I thought this might just be another typical MC romance, but I was pleasantly surprised as I read. Kudos.
Spoilers will begin.... now.
So, the cover above is different from the cover that was provided on the ARC I received. I'm actually not sure which one I like better. I think I like the model and background on the cover of the ARC I received better, but I like the title, tag line and the author's name display better on this cover. I love that the model has real tattoos, not the fake photo-shopped tattoos that disappoint me every time I see them on a cover model.
So, we meet our male character first and he's Cam "Gunner" Wilson, an over six foot tall, hunky piece of man, all around ladies man and mechanic and member of the Horned Devils Motorcycle Club. We get a little taste of how much the ladies love him, as well as a little preview of his ego, which I mean, is like a qualification for these romance stories. He's gotten his claws in just about every woman his town has to offer and he learns through one of his old conquests that there's new meat in town.
By the end of the first chapter, I have discovered that I really enjoy Fox's writing style. I'm a sucker for details and she includes enough to allow the reader to imagine themselves in this world she's created, but not so much as so drag it out with unneeded information. She has found that happy medium that allows us to picture her scenes as though they are happening real time, right in front of us. Le sigh, I wish the stories in books were my real life, well, some of them.
We meet our female character in the next chapter, at the local bar. Gunner and a couple of his Horned Devils brothers, including President, Silverback, are enjoying a couple rounds when she walks in. Silverback identifies her as Kelly Powers, the new girl in town, here for nursing school. The descriptions here hint that there is something more going on with Silverback and the Powers. But we'll get more into that later. Gunner makes his move and she brushes him off. Their whole exchange put a smile on my face. It was nice to not see a woman practically falling on the floor begging for sex. During their conversation, Gunner is interrupted by his best friend, Durango, with a mission from the MC, and that ends the first interaction between our lovely couple.
Gunner's mission involves staking out an unsanctioned drug deal. As it turns out, of of the drug dealer parties that they are staking out happens to be Kelly's father. WHAT?!?! Then of course, to keep the suspense, the next chapter is from Kelly's POV. Way to make me wait! I was nearly going out of my skin with anticipation to see how Gunnar would react. I knew there was something shady going on with Kelly's dad Russell, but I never saw what happened coming. I never imagined it was a big as it was. While I stewed over that, Kelly discovered her dad's stash of guns and cash. Daddy isn't so innocent anymore. Not in the least. Russell Powers is one mean son-of-a-bitch and that's putting it lightly.
Apparently, Russell Powers reach is far beyond what anyone can imagine and he threatens the Horned Devils and while the rest of them try to rebel and stand up for themselves, Silverback lays down at the mans feet. There's something more going on than Gunner and the rest of his brothers know about. So, Russell Powers wins. The Horned Devils are now basically at his beck and call and Gunner is going to marry his pretty little daughter and father a child with her. This man is certifiably insane.
Then comes the time jump. I hate time jumps, most of them anyways. This was one of those I wasn't fond of. We skip over the next four weeks and we're in the church for Gunner and Kelly's wedding. We get some back and forth flashbacks that I don't believe do the scenes justice. Had they been done in order, I believe it would have had more of an impact. I would have liked to see those flashbacks scenes in more detail. When all is said and done, the two are married and about to embark on some crazy ride called life in a new house, provided by Kelly's father. I was disappointed that I didn't get to find out what it was that Russell told Kelly before dropping her off at their new home.
Slowly, our against their will couple, settles into some semblance of a routine. It's actually quite alluring to watch the two of them really begin to fall for one another, despite their quirks and "old married couple" fights. The couple's first intimate moment was intense and well described, but not too over the top. And despite the fact that he's quite the ladies man, he took well care of her and didn't expect anything in return. Once they acquire condoms, the two of them enjoy their romps as they slowly get to know one another. I think the way the author handled it was great progression in both of the characters and the plot line.
Eventually, after giving Kelly her first ride... on a motorcycle, the two have sex in the desert and only Kelly knows that the condom broke. She keeps the information to herself. Dun. Dun. Dun. Those types of things are usually the cause of big blow outs and confrontations between couples in books. Especially since she is pregnant, confirms it and still doesn't tell him. Yikes. And they're putting together a plan to escape Russell's clutches and messed up plans. Double yikes.
These plans are put on hold when Russell calls Gunner in for a mission, along with a few members of the Horned Devils. But this is no regular mission. Come to find out, Russell's goonies are meant to exterminate the Devils. I really almost cried when Durango died. Like, did you really have to kill him, Nicole? You're killing me here. The only one to escape is Gunner and he is injured. With Kelly's help, the two of them escape getting murdered in their house and take refuge out in the desert.
Eventually, Power's flushes Gunner out by taking the rest of the Horned Devils and tying them up out in front of his house. Kelly ignores Gunner's wishes and travels to the house anyways, overhearing a conversation in which her father confesses that the marriage was nothing more than to get Kelly out of his hair and that he also had a hand in Kelly's mothers death. She smashes a rock into his head and Gunner ends his life.
Our story ends with Kelly having their baby. A girl, which they name Durango Rose. I'm all for the name dedication and odd names, but Durango as a first name, for a girl? Eh, I wasn't a fan. I also wasn't a fan of the way he just took Silverback back into his life like nothing ever happened. I understand his reasons why, but I still hated how easy it was. And I wish I knew more about Silverback's relationship with Powers and how that all started. The Horned Devil's are planning on turning their business around as well. All's well that ends well.
I loved this story. It was so well planned. It wasn't an standard MC Romance. It was more. It had more surprises, more unexpected things. The characters weren't perfect, but they worked well. The plot was intriguing and engaging. I would definitely recommend this story. But I still haven't forgiven you, Nicole Fox, for killing off Durango.