Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I gave up everything so you could have it all. “
Mille Cross & Logan “High” Judd had an epic romance. Their fire burned hard & bright. Millie would have walked through fire for High…and the end she did. She lets him go when she discovered she couldn’t be who she felt he needed her to be. Now, twenty years later, Millie sees High & decides the time has come for her to come clean and finally lay to rest their past so she can move on.
High had it all. An MC at his back and a good woman by his side. When Millie let him go, High was devastated. Now she’s back & High is shocked by the shell of the woman who stands before him. This is not the Millie he knew in the past but High doesn’t care. He wants her to suffer like he did. But as he begins to met out his vengeance, High will be devastated a second time once he learns exactly why Millie let him go & just how far she walked through fire for him.
Walk Through Fire is the fourth book in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series & finally gives us Logan “High” Judd’s story. We have seen High throughout the series as he is a major figure in the MC. High, along with fellow MC brother Arlo, were the lone dissenters in the new path the Chaos president envisioned for the MC. They wanted to stay in bed with the Russians. High had a drastic change of heart when the president’s old lady was kidnapped and almost killed by the Russians. We learn he was married but now divorced with two children & his ex-wife wasn’t the love of his life but actually a woman named Millie Cross.
The story opens with Millie spying High at Chipotle’s & overhearing a conversation concerning his children. Millie takes this as a sign it’s finally time to talk to High & explain why she pushed him away twenty years ago. Millie is someone new to the series. An older (in her 40s) well to do event planner, Millie loved & lost High twenty years ago. Though she has a fantastic job, home, & friends, Millie lost her zest for life when she and High broke up and has lived in a sort of limbo, paying penance for something she felt had to be done for High’s well being.
Beautiful. So Beautiful. And he once was mine. Then I let him go. No, I’d pushed him away.
Millie goes looking for High, tracking him down at a biker’s rally & tries to talk to him, to explain to him what happened that terrible day so long ago but his anger is too great & he ends up treating her very badly. Millie understands he isn’t ready to listen to her and decides to cut her losses only to discover that High isn’t done with her yet. He wants his pound of flesh and he is willing to use whatever means necessary to humiliate her until she gets the message he is trying to send.
… I had obliterated him. And I knew that. But I didn’t deserve that. No woman deserved that.
The first half of the book is Millie & High finding their way back to one another in the ultimate of second chance romance. Two strong willed protagonists whose love is written n the stars even if they aren’t together anymore. It’s an emotional, dramatic, angst driven plotline that is littered with potholes & minefields. The narrative switches between the past & the present showing us how this couple came to the crossroads they are at now. Ashley does a wonderful job of showing the consuming passion these two had for one another in the beginning & the extreme changes that occurred in both of them due to Millie’s choice. We get plenty of interaction with the MC and other external characters; which I am happy to have seen an increase of in the last few books.
We are given both points of view though Millie’s is the more prevalent. My heart hurt for them both. High isn’t nice at all in the beginning. His pain is tangible and he makes Millie his whipping post. She lets him, accepting it as her punishment, until one moment breaks the cycle. Millie has had enough and let’s High & the club know it.
He was dead to me. All of Chaos was. They had to be so I could get on with what was left of my life.
It’s at this point that High has his own moment of clarity but it may be too late.
He couldn’t stop the nagging at the edge of his mind that Millie hadn’t cut him out but instead he had lost her & he hadn’t only done it back then but he’d done it again now. His Millie was gone. In every way she could be.
I’m glad we finally got HIgh’s story. In the previous books he has always had an air of sadness about him & now we see why. High is pure alpha and once he gets something stuck in his head, he goes after it with a single-minded determination. Yet there is a sweet softer side to him that hides a closet romantic. He is wonderful with his kids and I liked that he and his ex-wife have a healthy relationship and she wasn’t consigned to the role of antagonist in order to advance the protagonist’s relationship.
Millie reminded me of an older Tabby. She is beautiful, intelligent, loyal, and high spirited but isn’t one to go off the chain like Tyra & Laine. Emotionally she is dead inside, believing that she lost her chance at her happily ever after when she let High go. She has some fabulously fun and outrageous friends & family who have her back in everything.
The romance is sexy and filled with combustible chemistry, drama and laughter. Millie and High have issues but they aren’t present in the bedroom. Both are adventurous, dynamic, sexual creatures that fit together perfectly.
The second half of the book takes a bit of a downward turn for me as High & Millie finally land on the same page, work out their differences, and begin to heal. In classic Ashley style we are over saturated in dialogue, crazy random subplots, and multiple of points of views and scenes expanding ongoing storylines. Normally it all blends well together but in here it comes across as wordy and bloated as we rapidly fly all over the place. We do see some advancement in the arc concerning Benito & his vendetta as Chaos finally looks to be taking the offensive with him. Ashley spends plenty of time rebuilding the ties that Millie & High’s break up unraveled as Millie takes back her place as his old lady.
I did have a few small issues with this story. One, while I can understand the pain Millie suffered over her conflict & my heart hurt for her, I wasn’t on board with how she handled it or how High reacted to it. She pushes High away with no explanations and then basically has a twenty year pity party for herself. High on the other hand just walked away. After all his declarations of love for Millie, he never questions WHY she did it. Also, the second half wasn’t as centralized to the protagonists and became a hodgepodge of scenes.
Regardless, Walk Through Fire showed me that Ashley is committed to bringing back some of the outrageous craziness that originally made me a fan of Ashley’s work though the length is long. I believe some of it could have been easily culled out without losing any of the story. I enjoyed getting to know High better and meeting Millie. The ending is satisfying in that our couple survives the gauntlet and emerges battered but triumphant with a clean slate to start their life with. I believe Hound’s story will be next & I look forward to seeing who his old lady will be though I have a feeling I already know. *wink*
Overall Rating: C+