Fire Inside (Chaos #2) by Kristen Ashley
June 4, 2013
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “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.”
Hopper (Hop) Kincade, a lieutenant in the Chaos motorcycle club (MC), knows some women are meant for nothing more than scratching an itch and leaving the next day. No harm. No foul. And some women are meant for much, much more. When Lanie Heron, best friend to the MC’s president’s wife, propositions him for one night of paradise, Hop knows this can not end well. Lanie has always been untouchable. Pure class and beauty. When Lanie flashes those bedroom eyes at Hop, he’s a goner.
Lanie Heron has been emotionally stagnant since almost dying eight years ago. One night with a sexy, rough, and ready biker is just what the Dr. ordered. Once Lanie gets a taste of heaven in Hop’s bed, she finds herself reluctant to leave anytime soon. But Lanie isn’t looking for love. She has discovered the hard way that love only leads to heartbreak and pain.
Hop knows Lanie is the best thing to ever come in his life and they could build a future together. He just needs to convince her of that.
Since reading Motorcycle Man, I have waited impatiently for each individual story about the brothers of Chaos and the women who love them. Fire Inside gives us Hop and Lanie’s story. Once again we are gifted with two strong willed protagonists who fuss, fight, and complete each other even as they compete against each other for the most dramatic of the year award. We also see plenty of interaction with the MC and other external characters; which I admit to missing in the last few books. I had my doubts about Hop as a hero due to his actions in Motorcycle Man that didn’t show him in a good light, but I should have trusted Ashley because she always knows what she is doing.
We first met Lanie Heron in Motorcycle Man. Tyra’s best friend and a total drama queen. This chick goes ballistic when her diet 7-up has too much fizz. We only got to see one side of her when her fiance, Elliott, drags both her and Tyra into his shady dealings with the Russian mob and almost gets them both killed. Years have passed since that fateful day and now Lanie is back home in Denver still trying to cope with the damage and grief Elliott caused her. Baggage from her childhood and Elliott’s deception leave her emotionally shattered. She vows she will never trust a man again.
Hopper Kincaid has known Lanie for years. Lanie has became a beloved member of the Chaos inner circle and is viewed with the prejudicial eye in that she is considered off limits to the brothers. Hop has always enjoyed watching her from afar. She embodies a beauty and class that he knows is not meant for him or his kind. When they embark on their affair, Hop agrees with Lanie that they need to keep it quiet though he does everything possible to further push himself into every aspect of her life.
Never had class. Never had beauty. I’ll repeat, never… had… class. […] But it’s a clean, pure beauty the like I’ve never had. I’m gonna respect it like I feel like I gotta and you’re gonna let me.
Laine does everything possible to keep her relationship with Hop strictly sexual with no commitments or promises, but Hop steadily sneaks under her radar and soon she finds herself falling for him.
Never, not ever in my life, would the man I was staring at right then be a man I would expect to be in my bed. But he was and he was, for the first time in my life, in my bed on my own damned terms.
Fire Inside has two of my favorite tropes. Opposite attraction and second chance love. The push and pull of this couple is both exciting and frustrating we watch this couple struggle to discover exactly what they want from one another and themselves. They love, fight, walk away, come back…lather, rinse, repeat. It’s all deliciously adolescent in its unveiling.
Hop reminds me a bit of Tack. He is pure alpha and goes after what he wants with a single minded determination, yet he is balanced with a sweet softer side that hides a closet romantic. Though he went through a nasty divorce with his ex wife Mitzi, he still believes in true love. He is a wonderful hands on father and I like that he lives his life with no excuses or explanations. I will add that Hop has a dialect of English unknown to man at this time and I struggled sometimes to understand exactly what he was saying. Lanie is Tyra on steroids. She is beautiful, intelligent, loyal, and high spirited. She is wealthy but never uses that as a shield or to belittle Hop. Emotionally, she has barricaded herself behind a brick wall; believing that happily ever after is nothing more lie told to impression young girls at bedtime. It was hard to really get to know the real Laine. She is a mixture of contradictions.
The romance is sexy and filled with combustible chemistry, drama and laughter. Hop and Lanie are at their best when in bed together. Both are adventurous, dynamic, sexual creatures that fit together perfectly. Hop and Lanie slowly open up to one another and unconsciously give and take what they both need. Hop makes Lanie feel safe and secure; something she hasn’t felt since she was a child. Lanie gives Hop the respect and trust that he has needed for a while. Ashley does a good job of intertwining Hop and Lanie’s present story with tidbits from their past; showing us their conflicts and the reasons for it.
I did have some issues with this story. One, was Lanie herself. Like most of Ashley’s heroine’s, there is a lot of OMGs, breathy sighs, and overall eye rolling silliness. Yet, unlike most of Ashley’s heroines, Lanie has a faulty off switch. She goes too far on occasion and has problems admitting she was wrong. She is VERY dramatic and has a tendency to freak before she thinks. Her constant jumping to conclusions concerning Hop was irritating. When we are finally privie to Lanie’s entire backstory, we learn exactly why she is that way she is and it makes sense but still…it got old. Two, I was disappointed that Mitzi was regulated to nothing more then plot device to make Lanie seem like the better choice. Three, the ongoing suspense plot concerning Benito and the turf war. We are told nothing new and only see the same small scene that was in Own The Wind, but from Hop’s view. I understand the reasoning as this story runs concurrent with OTW, but it’s becoming repetitive.
Overall, Fire Inside brought back some the crazy zaniness that originally made me a fan of Ashley’s work. I enjoyed Hop and Lanie and getting a ring side view to their rambunctious romance. The ending is satisfying in that our couple walks the gauntlet and emerges battered but triumphant with a clean slate to start their life with.
“ He came from a life that was wild and free … Where rules didn’t apply, only feelings did. You went with your gut, you led with your heart, you did what you wanted and you didn’t think of the consequences. You lived. You were free.”
The epilogue is delightful and I loved Hop’s way of getting around Lanie’s final edict. I look forward to the rest of the Chaos member stories and dread the day they are all told.