There are many kinds of anticipation when it comes to sequels. As I approached this book, I felt deep excitement that comes from knowing I’m getting into a book that I will love, gleeful excitement because just from the title alone I know I’ll get a feeling of satisfaction from unfinished business, but also anticipatory dread. Dread because the first book gutted me and I now know what depth of emotion and engagement the author can bring to a story. And yeah, not even to double digits on the page count and I was sobbing my eyes out and unable to put this book down for love or life.
This is not a standalone, but a sequel that picks up where the first book left off though the protagonists are new.
At this point, I will put out a series spoiler alert. I can’t get into the summary without coughing up the goods on the ending of book one so bear that in mind if you choose to proceed.
The book opens with Shady raw and filled with anger and hate after burying friend and brother. He will avenge Dirk and leave no loose ends. Fortunately, the club leadership agrees and allow him on semi-sabbatical to go and do what he has to do. Shady is joined by Rookie and Tank to help in his plan to bring down the MC that went after Dirk.
Shady’s revenge work takes him to New Hampshire where he establishes an identity as Zeke an IT guy who works from home so that he can be right in the middle of enemy territory. But it also brings him into the orbit of one intriguing, hard, enigmatic woman, Diem. Diem is cold behind the scorching burn she unleashes when she wants. What she wants; she goes after and usually gets. The same could be said of him. He sees through her thick emotional walls and knows her like he knows himself. But Shady has a mission and Sinner’s Creed is his first priority. That doesn’t leave much room for Diem even though she is carving a place inside him whether he wants her to or not.
Diem spotted the cold, dead-eyed man some time before at the bar. He just doesn’t give a rip and has no fear. He’s coiled tight, but keeps it all under tight wraps. The man interests her as few ever have. She knows stone-cold killers and thugs, but this one is something special. She wants him. But Zeke isn’t easy and she soon learns that his mind is as cunning as her own. She wants and hates him at the same time when he sees right through the facade that no one has ever seen beyond. This scares her. She is drawn in. He is mysterious and goes off to do mysterious things. She will have him and all his secrets, but will he have hers as well? And does he have it in him to want her?
This had the intensity of the first book though the characters are so very different in personality and how they come to love. At first, I was mystified about Diem, but whew boy did that twist and reveal about her explain a lot. Shady and Diem are drawn well. They are both dark, gritty, intense characters. Their romance is more a battle of the wills and nothing soft about it. They are one sizzling hot couple and the author’s writing brings the reader right into their lives and bedroom.
The overarcing storyline of two motor cycle clubs on the brink of war over territory and goods while being controlled by the mob who will come down hard if distribution and profits are messed up leaves things in a shaky place. Sinner’s MC Nationals need to replace Dirk with a strong ‘Nomad’ enforcer and they’ve tapped Shady for this work. Local clubs are slacking because their fear of Dirk is gone so Shady has his work cut out for him because he is no Dirk- he must do it his own way. There was some shocking reveals and shake ups with this part of the story, too.
And just when I thought the dust was settling, nope, this one wound things up again and delivered a whopper of a climax. I was turning pages hard and holding my breath as things went down.
The good news is that this one didn’t gut me in the end, but I still cried a bit. I surely hope the author plans more from this series. Amazing stuff here.
All in all, this was no sophomore slump and held it’s own after the magnificence of the first book. Those who want to be pulled in and engage with a hard, gritty biker romance should definitely give this series a go.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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