Genre fiction lover: Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy
There were two things I liked about this book:
1) There is an event in the Sophie and Ruger's past that was a huge turning point and caused a big blow out in their relationship. They have mended fences, somewhat but whatever happened still hovers over them. It is referred to and hinted at throughout the book. I expected to find out about it via an extended flashback or a via a big expositiony passage. But the author unfolded the events through a very candid conversation that acted almost as a moment of catharsis for the characters. i thought it was a very effective method of revealing the event and it was a great scene.
2) Kimber. Sophie's best friend was a really great character. Frankly the women in this book would not pass a Bechdel test. Every conversation they have is about their men, their place in the Club which is granted to them by their relationship with their men or urging women to be claimed by men. There is also a very blatant Madonna/Whore thing going on which the men not only casually perpetuate, but the women wholeheartedly buy into. If you are not a biker's 'Property' or "Old Lady' then your place in the club is one of available pussy.
Kimber however doesn't play by their rules. She wholly realizes her power. She has had sex with men in the club, she worked as a stripper, and yet she used the lucrative paycheck to put herself through college, bought her house, helped her husband set up his business and now she's married to a computer programmer with a McMansion in the burbs. The Club women try to place her in the 'whore' box but she flatly refuses to be slotted. She rejects their dichotomy.
For a support character that was meant to simply be 'Friend of Sophie' I found her to be a bright spot in what increasingly became a disappointing book.
One issue I had with the was that it felt oddly claustrophobic. On behalf of Sophie, I felt smothered by the MC culture. Sophie has some real concerns about the safety of being around the Reapers. She is afraid they are involved in criminal activities. Or that their lifestyle is dangerous. Whenever she tries to voice these concerns to Ruger he counters with a passionate speeches about how the club is family and will always have her back. The narrative doesn't allow Sophie any alternatives outside of the club. Her family kicked her out but the club will always take her in. Her ex is a danger to her but he club will protect her. The club women are warm and inviting her into their sisterhood whereas Kimber's suburban women neighbors are all mean catty bitches. Sure the bikers break some laws, but other criminals are much worse and break worse laws.
When Sophie mentions she wants go out and date or find a FWB, Ruger tells her her only option is him because she can't date any other the brothers in the club. What? Are there no other men in the town? Her only options are club guys or Ruger?
But wait... Sophie does go out on a date with a non- club guy. A nice, funny guy who is a computer programmer friend of Kimber's husband. But Ruger sees Sophie out on her date and comes over and massively intimidates the guy so that he leaves cowed, eyes cast downward. Why is it necessary to emasculate a romantic rival in order to contrast how manly-alpha the hero is? At this point we've had 200+ pages of super Alpha manliness of Ruger. Did we really need this added extra macho bonus? I despise that as a narrative convention in romance novels.
But probably most disappointing is that at no point does Ruger have to woo or win Sophie. She is powerless in her resistance to him. Also he is constantly saving her. Of course she is going to go into the fold.
I read the first book in this series and thought it was fairly good. So i am a bit surprised by my strong, less than positive reaction to this one.
So not a winner for me.