Nailed it! Yep, that was my first idle thought once I was not far into this story. I’ve read the first two books in the series and enjoyed them very much, but this one…there was a bit of something extra from the start. Boy next door blended with second chance romance really worked for me. I loved how the author achieved the distinct ‘before and after’ tones and the changes in the characters as maturity and life refined them. Before was the early scenes and after were those that began in the present. There were heart-felt emotions without devolve-ment into unnecessary angst. So yeah, this one felt solid and strong to me.
This is the third book in the Dogs of Fire MC series. This is one that someone might get away with getting out of order. The main characters are new introductions to the series and the storyline is new too. There are many mentions of the former MCs that already got their books as well as a few other recurring characters.
The story opens in the past as Cassidy prepares to go off to learn dance in Paris and her best friend and secret crush, Carter, is heading into the Air Force. Carter gives Cassidy no indication that he feels anything beyond friendship, but he loves Cass and plans to give her this year away to seek her dreams before he speaks of his feelings. Unfortunately, during that year apart, both make mistakes and they bitterly separate.
Carter had a tough time during his last tour of duty and suffers a bit from PTSD, but being with his club brothers including one of his actual brothers helps a little though he is known for being an angry, brooding man. It’s hard for him to go home and be around family where his mother wants to smother him and some of the rest of the family aren’t sure how to deal with his issues. Into the storm of his world walks Cassidy. They are both shocked to meet at a club party and his reaction is huge.
Cassidy never got over Carter turning away from her when she confessed to her huge mistake that left her pregnant, but now she has a beautiful son and they are getting by. She has lived quietly for years and now her friend Payton has invited her and little Maverick to get out and meet some people. Maybe she can move on with a nice guy like Payton’s husband. Only the first guy to catch her attention is a large and frightening Carter who is less than pleased to encounter her or so she thinks.
Carter never knew what happened to Cass, but now that he’s found her, he’s not letting this second chance get away from him. He never stopped loving this beautiful woman and he knows they need to clear the air before anything else. She messed up, but then he did too. The have to get to know each other again and he wants all in with her son that he already considers his. The infuriating woman gets her back up when he gets possessive and she doesn’t believe him because of it when he gets a bad vibe about one of her male co-workers.
Carter and Cassidy grew up together and already love each other so the foundation for this story has already been laid and the romance is essentially half-way developed. However, because of the big issue when Cassidy gets pregnant, its like the romance froze in time with them living separate lives until the moment they meet again. They both have changed and lived a lifetime apart in just a few years so there is also the sense of the new along with the familiar.
I think my favorite scene in the book was their reunion meeting. Holy snikies! That was hot and tense. But then there are string of adorable scenes as Carter inserts himself into Cass and Mav’s lives. Cass is hesitant and would have pulled the handbrake constantly because she has such a load of guilt and bad thoughts about herself. Mav’s birth dad messed her up when she was in a vulnerable moment and Carter’s mom added to it by laying the blame on thick where Cass was concerned. Good on Carter that he’s pretty intuitive and nips that junk in the bud. These two are good for each other having a nice balance between scorching hot, sweet and playful. Carter can get intense with his take charge alpha male behavior and Cass calls him on it just as he gets her out of her wrong-headed thoughts and makes sure she knows that he thinks she is the most beautiful woman and he makes sure she knows that he worships her body.
Scenes with Carter and Mav having father/son moments just brought out the oohs and ahs in me. I’m a sucker for that stuff. I also loved the gatherings with the other DoF families. I cracked up when Cass fell asleep on the boat and got that painful sunburn- been there, baby. Wasn’t she lucky that Carter was there to rub in the aloe and kiss it better?
So, in the end, I thought this a fantastic story and a good strong installment in the series. These are engaging biker romances that lean toward the tamer end of the scale, but are spicy and passionate nonetheless.
My thanks to the author for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.