Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “Out of all the men I know, I thought you were a good one. Yes, slightly stupid, but the best one. Now I’m not to sure. I need to reassess the situation.”
Fans who have read book one, Dragon’s Lair, will know that the smexy Arrow went to prison at the end and why he is called Arrow. *wink* His lover was killed when a rival motorcycle club (MC) waged war against the Wind Dragons and Arrow’s actions in retaliation started a deadly domino effect. His guilt over her death and the part he believes he played in it sets up his characterization for book two, Arrow’s Hell. Now back home, Arrow is only going through the motions. Heavy drinking and womanizing are all he knows and wants as he pays penance for his supposed crimes.
Until he meets Anna.
Anna arrives in town to go to college and spend some time with her older brother and Wind Dragon member, Rake. His guilt over their childhood and his joining the MC has him wanting to keep her close by his side; only his overbearing and overprotective ways are doing more to push her away. One good part of this new relationship is her being able to spend more time with the gorgeous Wind Dragons, Arrow in particular. Anna has wanted Arrow from the first time she sees him but MC members are off-limits to Anna and Arrow wants nothing to do with her.
When an enemy decides to hurt the club using Anna, Arrow can’t deny his feelings anymore and claims Anna as his own. But unless Arrow can let go of his past; he won’t have a future to hold on to.
The tortured guilt ridden hero is a favorite trope of mine especially when combined with the forbidden “little sister of best friend” aspect. Add in opposite attraction and wrap it all up in an MC romance and we have a winner folks! Since reading Dragon’s Lair, I have waited impatiently for Arrow’s chance at redemption and the woman who will fight for him and their future. Arrow’s Hell gives us Arrow’s and Anna’s story. Two strong-willed protagonists who fuss, fight, and complete each other long before even before they realize it. The push and pull is both exciting and frustrating as we watch this couple struggle to discover exactly what they want from one another.
The strength of this series is the characters. Vibrant personalities with realistic issues and problems that aren’t swept under the carpet or solved by taking a ride on the magic penis/ vagina. Strong women who can hold their own and have no issues with walking away and men who eventually learn how to hold on to the one person who loves them for who they are.
Arrow is pure alpha male and goes after what he wants with a single minded determination, yet he is balanced with a softer side that hides a closet romantic. He is not the same man we met in Dragon’s Lair. His lover, Mary, was a sweet, unobtrusive, gentle soul (nothing like Anna) who didn’t challenge Arrow in any way. Even when he treated her casually. After her death, he realized how much she meant to him and the guilt and grief is slowly crushing him.
“Maybe before her life faded away she wished she had never met me…”
Meeting Anna throws his life into turmoil. He doesn’t want to like her. He doesn’t want to want her. He knows they have no future because he can’t be what she needs in her life. There is quite a bit of self pity, making did make me want to slap him around a little.
“I won’t see you hurt because of me. Violence and pain follow me. I don’t want them to touch you…”
I adored Anna from first meeting. Witty, snarky, intelligent, strong, and more than able to hold her own, she tries hard to forge a new and better relationship with her brother Rake while clinging desperately to her independence. A woman with her life on track and no real deep black emo issues; she doesn’t need saving emotionally, mentally, or financially. Anna’s internal monologues and the banter between her and various other characters were truly entertaining.
“Cut him some slack […] He doesn’t wanna fuck things up with you, so he’s being careful.”
“Thank you, Dr. Phil.”
While Anna does give in more often than not to the uber alpha antics that the MC brothers display in their desire (paranoia) to keep her safe, she is firm when she will allow them to cross the line and when they go too far.
“How the hell did you get in?”
“I got a key made when you moved in.”
“Five, four, three, two, one.” Lana mutters under her breath.
“You’re psychotic, do you know that?” I yell. He has a key to my house?? He needs to learn the word boundaries.
The romance is slow to build with drama and lust being at the forefront most of the book. Filled with sexual tension and high octane chemistry, Anna and Arrow are at their best together when they are alone and/or in bed. Both are adventurous sexual people who fit together perfectly. Arrow slowly opens up to Anna; drawing her into his world and giving her a sense of family and safety she has always wanted. Anna in return never gives up on Arrow; showing him the respect, trust, and forgiveness that he has needed for a while but the challenge he respects in return.
“I wasn’t going to live without you. You gave me a taste of what it was like to live again, to actually live. Before I met you I wasn’t living, I was just not dying.”
A strong secondary story that links back to book one blends well with the romance; explaining some of the MC’s uber dominance towards Anna and offers up a unique twist that intertwines the Wind Dragons with the rival MC in a delicious way that promises much fun, drama, and intrigue to come. I look forward to seeing more of that particular subplot in the future.
I did have a few issues with this story. The main one being the double standards that prevail. Redemption and non judgement play a strong role in here but it seems to only extend to certain people. Rake and Arrow never really listened to what Anna was saying. They interfere with her school, her job, her life in general. She has to constantly reassert her independence and their response was to always laugh it off like she was a silly stupid little girl. Grrrrrr. I was also disappointed to see the club groupies continue to be regulated to nothing more than a plot device to make the heroines seem like better people. Slut, whore, bitch…are terms used to describe them. I would have enjoyed seeing some fleshing out of Allie and Jill and not the typical stereotypical write-up. I also would have liked getting to know Arrow a little better. The majority of our scenes with him are in the present and from Anna’s POV so I felt like we missed seeing the emotional growth he experiences and his feelings in certain scenes.
Overall, Arrow’s Hell gives readers the action, romance, angst, and drama that one comes to expect from this series and MC romances overall. Fernando doesn’t break Anna or reinvent Arrow in order to make them fit together but rather allows them to find their way at their own pace. I enjoyed meeting Anna and getting a ringside view to her’s and Arrow’s bumpy road to their HEA. The next book in the series is Tracker’s End which is slated to release in August.
Overall Rating: B-