There are a biker romance series I would describe as addicting. Chaos would be one. There is hard biting danger, raw passion, sweet and tender moments, and above all, an ever increasing feel of family and brotherhood for this motor cycle club, its women, its friends, and its allies.
Each biker heals and finds his way to happiness through the love of a good woman and, in this case, it’s Joker’s turn. With steely eyes and an icy demeanor, nobody knows him well, but they do know he has their back and they have his loyalty, but then they are all in for a big surprise when a pretty, sweet woman from his past cracks through the unemotional distance and Joker comes alive and goes after what he wants with determination.
The books work best read in order particularly because there is a series arc and ongoing storylines for previous characters. Not that it is essential to have read the older series by the author set in Denver, but I did encounter crossover characters from other series. It was fun. Her books tend to assume that the reader has read her older series even if the plots don’t carry over from the other series. For instance, Joker and Carissa’s book has characters from Rock Chick, Dream Man, and Unfinished Hero.
The story starts in the past telling the heartbreaking story of the younger Carson Steele and Carissa Teodoro all from his perspective. Then jumps forward in time to where they are at in their lives now and begins telling the story mostly from their alternating points of view with a few others chiming in now and then. Their younger selves are long gone and in their place are people who have been battered by the world and just need the right chance to find their way together.
Carissa married her high school boyfriend and that led down a road of remorse and misery. She has hit nearly rock bottom as she lives hand to mouth, owes her lawyer as she fights for her parental rights, and is at the mercy of her wealth ex and his powerful family. She lives only for her son, her baby Travis. Her ex cheated on her, belittled her, and finally replaced her. Now she has a flat tire and it will go rough on her if she can’t get Travis to his dad’s for the custody exchange. Frazzled, she is surprised when a tough looking biker is the only one to respond to her breakdown on the side of the road. There is something about him that is familiar, but she doesn’t know anyone from that world. But now that she has met Joker, she wants to and she will start by showing her appreciation for his help and maybe grab his attention.
Carson ‘Joker’ Steele recognized Carissa right away even if she didn’t remember him. And why should she? The beautiful, cheerleader dating the most popular guy in their school was so far out of his league. But now, he can see that his lovely Carissa has fallen on hard times. It is a struggle to hold his distance, but finally, he gives in and decides to see where this thing between them will go.
They face her manipulative ex, the demons from their pasts, vicious drug lord setting up for a turf war against Chaos MC, and the building of something special between them. With the help of friends and the club along with the making of a new family, Joker and Carissa have a real chance if they don’t mess it up or let others break them up.
Like most books by this author, this one was plump and full of all sorts of goodness. I had a few moments toward the end when I got impatient for things to move along, but it was a mild irritant at best. I always have to adjust to the writing style, but once I do, it works for the world she has created.
It’s a blue-collar story and full of blue collar characters that are raw, gritty, and passionate. There is a lot going on in this one and a lot to tease out and tie up neatly at the end. The main issue with the drug gang pushing in and trying to take over Chaos’ territory is still ongoing even though there was some interesting action in this one that may or may not set fire to the situation. I loved seeing the club in action and conducting biker club business so that it feels like a real biker romance and not just in name only. There is lots of interaction at the club and with club characters, too.
The characters are my favorite part of the story. The people make mistakes, have tough lives, but they grow and get past it to have something special. Carissa tended to be impulsive especially when it came to Joker and her leaps made me cringe, but I was tickled to death when she womanned up and set things straight afterward. She also tends to get lost in her head with all the emotional garbage up there and be a self-sacrificing type which can complicate matters. Joker didn’t want her doing any more sacrificing specifically for him when he was in wonder and awe that he finally got the girl of his dreams and a cute little baby boy that would be his family. I liked that she stayed sweet, unselfish, and adorable Carissa even as she gained in confidence. She doesn’t suddenly turn into this bad biker mama.
As to Joker, his transformation once Carissa was in his life was as big as hers. Tack and the guys really had to jerk a knot in him to get his head on right and see the treasure and opportunity he had in front of him. He had such a hard life as that scared, broken abused and lonely kid that seeing him finally get all he wanted and needed was a rush. He could be angry and savage or murderously cold toward enemies, or tender and loving all for those few he let in behind his walls.
The romance builds as they get to know the adult versions of themselves. They have several barriers and I was impressed the way they handled it mostly with good communication and understanding. They team up and face all the hard stuff together and they share some sweet daily life stuff along with lots of hot sexy times. Joker is all male and rough around the edges, but he is also a gentleman knight for his lady. Carissa has been taught by her jerk of an ex that she is boring and isn’t good enough. Joker takes on the job of restoring her confidence and unleashing her passion. They were a lusty couple and got their wild on quite a bit. Good times…
All in all, this was a bit of everything good. I love the series and can’t wait to see what comes next or, should I say, who comes next. If you’re looking for biker romance with a story full of raw action, passionate romance and characters who are strong and just a little wild, give these a try.
My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #234 CR
Cliché Klatch #144 ‘threw back his shot’
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