When I saw a new to me author was starting up a new biker romance series, I had to jump on that. A hard-bitten MC club member, an intrepid school teacher, a sweet little girl and a story of redemption, love and revenge made for quite the exciting prospect.
The story opens with Deacon Malloy, Sergeant at Arms to the Hells Raiders MC, discovering that he has a five year old daughter- a daughter who has been through terrible things. Of all the people to have an innocent child depending on them, he is floored that it is him. With word that one of his most vicious and worst enemies is well of aware of his new soft spot, he is extra careful about Willow even keeping her back from school to hide her under guard until he can take care of the threat. Next thing he knows, he has her sweet yet sassy equally innocent teacher barking in his face with threats of CPS if he doesn’t do something about Willow missing school.
Alex Evans loves teaching and her students, but little Willow was a favorite so dumb idea or not, she marches into a biker club compound to give the dad what-for about Willow being out of school. He’s an intimidating man living a life that she barely can comprehend, but she soon learns that there is more going on than the dead-beat dad situation she was expecting. Against her better judgment, she lets a little girl and her gruff father talk her into home-schooling and slowly becomes part of their world only to have that world turn dangerous and ugly on her.
Alright, so I jumped into this one eagerly and the enjoyment stayed with me for a while, but not all the way. The author set up an intense, engaging story and introduced equally well-written characters. I like what I saw and the promise of where it was going- until it didn’t. That is, it went somewhere else and it just became an okay and even mildly disappointing story for me.
I tried to figure out what it was so I could explain it. From my perspective, I think the author tried too hard with both her characters. First, she had to make the biker truly bad and then redeem him and then she had to make the cutie school teacher believable as a biker’s lover. In the process, it emasculated him so that he was barely recognizable as a biker and morphed her into someone that I didn’t recognize and really didn’t like. There had already been an incident in her past that, while made for a surprising twist, affected my view of Alex even as I told myself that she was young when she screwed up huge. But that last bit where she turned into some harsh lying thing that wasn’t above being self-absorbed in her vengeance while accusing Deacon of the same when he was justifiably hurt and scared over her ‘I got lucky I didn’t die horribly, but I act like that never was a possibility because I’m a bad girl superhero with skills’ act just finished it for me.
It wasn’t all disappointing. I loved who they were in the beginning and I loved the possibility of a hot romance between them because opposites attract and a bit of forbidden love does it for me. I absolutely was so taken with the daddy-daughter moments and Alex had a huge part in guiding Deacon in being a good father. I loved Deacon’s mom and his brothers along with the club setting.
So this leaves me with some positive and some less than positives to say about this book. I’m interested enough to see what happens next. I would recommend this one to those who enjoy moderately dark and gritty biker hot romance.
My thanks to Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #198 CR
Cliché Klatch #115 ‘You’re a bad influence on me’
New to Me #98 author/series
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