Friday, May 31, 2013

Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley

Why I read it:  I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Of course, I had to read it immediately.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club...

For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.

What worked for me (and what didn't): Hop. Hop worked for me. Big time.
“Yeah, I liked skank,” he bit off. “Liked the taste. Wild, free, and easy. Went back for more. Repeatedly. But that was before I had my mouth between the legs of a lady. You get that, you don’t go back.”
Tack is still my favourite but Hop is next in line from the Dream Man/Chaos series so far.  He was most sighworthy.  As much as I enjoyed Shy and Tabby in Own The Wind, I preferred this book.  I guess in part, this was because Lanie's backstory was caught up in Motorcycle Man (Tack!).  But the rest, kind of surprised me.  I hadn't seen Hop that way before.  In fact, in Motorcycle Man, he is a bit of a cheating cheatypants.  In this book, there is an explanation which is much better than Ross Geller's even if there was something a little reminiscent of it.
“Fuck me, babe, seriously?” he ground out then threw a hand toward the bed. “You knocked yourself out to make me wild. You told me your fuckin’ self. Why, Lanie? Why the fuck would you pull out all the fuckin’ stops to make a man already drunk on you drunker?”
I like that Ashley mainly writes older heroes and heroines, even though I didn't have any trouble relating to Tabby and Shy and I don't feel like I enjoyed Own The Wind less because they were younger.  Still, I can't deny that I do enjoy the older protagonists here - it is still quite rare in romance I think to have a hero who's 40 and a heroine who's 39.

As is usual for me with a Kristen Ashley book, I went mad with the highlighter, there are so many excellent lines in there. Believe it or not, the quotes in this review aren't even all of them.

Hop is much more than expected.  He's a good dad, he sings (dude, he's a rock star!) and he's hot, hot, hot.  His moral code is strong and he sticks to it.  There are things in his life he's not proud of but he's proud he helped Chaos get out of "bad shit" it was into before Tack took over the club.
“Every step, every breath, every second I lived on this earth, I’m thankful for, no matter how fucked up or whacked or hard or good, ’cause all that shit led me to you.”
Lanie is still suffering from tremendous guilt over the events at the end of Motorcycle Man.  Even though it is clear that neither Tack nor Tyra hold her responsible, she does.   I liked that it is not just the power of lurrrve which heals her and it is not Hop's MIGHTY wang of lovin' either.  That certainly helps (why wouldn't it?) but it is not a cure and Lanie has things to do to move on and Hop and Tyra both help Lanie with that.
“That’s the point I’m tryin’ to make. If you don’t know shit, you don’t feel shit. You breathe easy if you take a chance on me. What I do, I do. What the Club does, it does. You’ll learn to trust me, the brothers, Tack. I don’t use you as a shield. I am the goddamn shield, and I’m not talkin’ about bullets because shit like that does not touch old ladies. Ever. I’m talkin’ about assholes with monster trucks. I’m talkin’ about Club business, life, every second you live, every breath you take. You take a chance on me, your biggest worry is your 7Up fizzing over.”
Lanie also has been treated badly by the men in her life in general and so, when Hopper comes along, she can tell he's special.
Hop was good-looking, smart, confident, and charismatic. What he wasn’t was a man who hid that he liked what he saw.
He could act the player. He could pretend he could take it or leave it. He could hide his attraction to me in order to gain the upper hand. He could even begin to lay the groundwork of tearing me down, making me feel less than I was, trying to make me feel lucky I had in my bed all that was him and, in doing that, embarking on a campaign that was usually scary successful not to mention swift, to make me feel like I was nothing.
He didn’t.
Tack, once again, has a pivotal scene where he again proves (to me) that he is the hero to aspire to in this series, even as much as I came to adore Hop.  And, really, why wouldn't I adore Hop?
I took two steps into the room, stopped and said quietly but firmly, “I don’t have the energy to spar with you tonight. I’ve been working for five hours and although not physically taxing, it’s been mentally draining. I just want a quiet night.” I shook my head and amended, “No, I need a quiet night.”
“Then it’s good we’re just gonna watch TV. And when I fuck you later, you’re golden. I’ll do all the work.”
See? He's ALL CLASS. Plus, I do love a man who knows how to apologise.
“I fucked up, jumped to conclusions, said somethin’ stupid and you were right to get pissed,”...
 And, for extra bonus points, he's careful of his lady.
“Do we have to go upstairs to fuck?”
He dipped his face closer and answered, “In the mood to dominate, babe, and not big on givin’ my old lady carpet burns.”
Like I said. CLASS.

I felt that this book was sexier than the others I've read (no complaints about that by the way).
...he groaned before his tongue slid into my mouth, his thumb executing a maneuver that should be patented. My second orgasm seared through me so deep, it had to have left an internal scar and I whimpered down his throat.

Hop is confident in his abilities (and, according to Lanie, rightly so).
Something else hit me and I felt my brows shoot together. “Was that a test?”
“No. Don’t play games,” he announced. “Don’t wanna know what kind of men you’ve had in your bed before me outside of the one I do know so, since I know about him, you gotta know, I get it. No offense to the dead but unless he had Superman under all that geek, babe, I know whatever you got from him you liked but it wasn’t what you get from me.”
In terms of criticism, it is much the same as my (mild) complaint of Own The Wind.  The book takes place over basically the same time period.  There is more backstory about Benito the drug dealer and the problem Chaos has with him, but the grand finale is not found here.  So, in terms of the suspense-y side of the story, that was a little flat for me.  That said, I found that the focus of the book wasn't really on the Benito thing so I was able to put that niggle aside very easily.

I do think that the next book in the series will have some extra excitement involving the culmination of these events and I'm looking forward to what happens there.

Even though the book takes place at the same time as much of Tabby and Shy's story, there isn't a lot of cross over so I didn't feel at all like I was getting the same story.  And, what there was felt like extra and a different perspective so it worked really well for me.  Even so, I would have liked a little more about how Hop and Shy patched things up.

Hop and Lanie are compelling and sexy and so good together.  They fight and they work things out - (sometimes it takes some time).  Lanie is known for her drama and Hop isn't fussed at all about this - he's happy for her to be her, drama and all.
“This ends this morning,” I declared to which, immediately, he threw his handsome, stubble-jawed head back and burst out laughing so hard it shook me and the bed.
“Do you find something amusing?” I asked irately through his laughter.
Also through his laughter he focused on me and spoke. “Yeah, honey. The clue is me laughing.”

What else?  I predict sales of Bob Seger songs will spike around release day. Definitely You Tube will be getting a workout.
“And you aren’t gonna feel better for a while, Lanie,” he told me flat out. “You go into battle, it fucks you up. Then you come out a winner, you’re just that, a winner.”
“Okay, that’s nice and all but, I have to admit, now I really don’t feel better. I’m not big on being fucked up,” I told him and he grinned.
Then he asked, “Where am I?”
I didn’t understand the question so I asked back, “What?”
“Where am I?” he repeated and when I still looked confused, he went on, “Right now, Lanie, where am I standing?”
It sifted through me what he meant and left warmth in its wake.
“At my back,” I answered softly.
“At your back, baby, now and always,” he replied, kissed my shoulder again, gave me a squeeze and another sexy grin. Then he let me go and walked away.
I looked at myself in the mirror.
And I felt better.

Grade: B+


ClaudiaGC said...

I loved this book, too! Hop was such a badass but so sweet with Lanie. And I had to laugh several times when Hop sprouted his advice about relationships in his "no shit" manner.

Kaetrin said...

Yes, yes and yes! :)

I have been listening to Bob Seger too - Night Moves has been going round in my head for like 2 weeks now! LOL

Marg said...

I wasn't blown away by Tabby and Shy's book. I read the first chapter of this book and knew I wanted to read it asap! Maybe that is what I will do today!

Kaetrin said...

I liked Shy very much but Hop is (IMO) waaaay better! :)