Picking through the glut of motorcycle club books out right now is tricky business. I think oversaturation of the market has lead there to be more bad than good stories out right now. This one falls a little left of center and it’s unfortunate, because it could have been really great.
Arianne “Vexy” Hunter was born into “the life” as the brutally controlled daughter of the Black Jacks MC president, Viper. Arianne was so hardened by the violent life she was coerced into living that when she was 16 she told her father to either give her some space or she would pull the trigger on the gun at her head. Since that day, Arianne has been plotting to get herself and her brother, Jeff, away from all the madness to lead a “normal” life where they could be safe and free. Jeff initially goes along with her plans but is derailed when Viper presents him an opportunity to get in the club and his good graces by stealing guns from their rival MC, Sinners Tribe. Desperate to save Jeff from this path, Arianne interrupts their heist but is captured by the Sinners Tribe president.
Jagger Knight doesn’t know what to do with the gorgeous spitfire of a woman. She’s insists that she’s not a part of the Black Jacks even as she admits that she’s Viper’s daughter. As president, Jagger is required to put his club first, always, but something about Arianne has got him spinning in circles. He wants her, but after an old girlfriend was harmed a long time ago, Jagger resolved not to let anyone close enough that could be used against him or the club. However, Arianne isn’t just anyone and she knows what the rules are.
Arianne is lustily drawn to Jagger but he represents everything she is trying to escape from. Jagger is very much like Viper – he’s domineering, controlling and ruthless when it comes to his club and those he cares about. Jagger struggles with wanting to protect Arianne; at the same time Arianne rebels from the suffocation of her freedom. Jagger knows that Arianne will never be satisfied living a normal life in the “civilian” world but Arianne steadfastly refuses to give up on that dream or her junkie brother. Their whole world balances on the tip of a needle as Jagger and Arianne vie for the upper hand in the relationship and in bed.
I liked Jagger and Arianne, both individually and as a couple. It was nice to read a heroine who didn’t need to be taught the rules of the MC life. She knew when she could push and what lines not to cross. It was getting a bit tiring towards the end all the chances Arianne gave her brother, but I understand that it’s hard to give up on a loved one. Jagger was a total hardass but it was very clear from the beginning his soft spot for Arianne and women in general. Sure, he made mistakes but he wasn’t a jerk and actively tried to find solutions.
I’ll be honest; I struggled to get through this book. The author does a good job of setting up structure, characters and sub-plots for the series. The writing was on point when the action was happening but for a majority of the other scenes, it was a whole lot of “tell”. There were a lot of repetitive sentences and words (“dominant” and “unyielding” come to mind). It was as if the author was trying to overcompensate for something but didn’t need to. All the bones of a great story are there if the author would get out of her own way.
Seasoned readers of MC books might find it lacking in oomph but I believe that new readers of MC romances might enjoy this book. There is enough grit and drama to hold interest without getting too graphic.
*ARC provided by St. Martin’s
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Sarah Castille
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s