Ex-Con by Katana Collins
Harrison Street Crew
Contemporary Romance (3 part serial)
Released: January 31, 2017
St. Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Sheena
Ex-convict Shane McGill is as rugged and wild as they come. Bad to the bone and back on the streets, he’ll do anything and say anything to survive. Even if that something means joining the one car club he had worked so hard to avoid. But there’s one person out there who can match him toe-to-toe…the hot mechanic pin-up doll of a woman with the body of a goddess and tomboy attitude would even give him a chance.
Favorite Quote: My name . Say my fucking name.” “Oh, God—” He thrust his fingers harder inside of her . “I know I’m good, dunno that I’m God , though.”
I got more than I bargained for. Initially, I thought I would be reading the stories of several Harrison Street Crew members, but it all started, progressed and concluded all with sexy, slightly gimpy, ex-con, Southie bad boy, Shane.
Fair warning, Ex-Con starts slow and unsure. You may be tempted to put it down, (I was and did) but I’d recommend sticking it out. Like an un-driven car, sometimes you have to rev the engine a bit before things get going.
And going they (finally) did. This little-serial-that-could went from 0 (to 15) and then to 60- really quickly!
Ex-con crams in a few good story lines all shouldered their share of the weight and none of the plot lines got in another’s way. Author Katana Collins did a great job interspersing each story line, so that all the minor parts made up a pretty good sum. There is domestic violence from multiple perspectives, bad boy, who did his time and just wants a nice girl and gang, crew free life, political corruption and of course drag racing.
Part 1: Boy meets girl, gets hard and jacks off against the door jamb while eyeballing girl who lives in the house behind him. Cue tension snapping, grabby hands sex.
Part 2: Boy can’t get from under the oppressive thumb of his frenemy and blackmailer, getting way too deep into the HSC. Cue angry, “damn baby, why can’t I quit you sex.”
Part 3: Girl’s chickens come home to roost. Secrets are revealed and Shane finally once and for all proves his rock solid loyalty to Charlie. Cue even hotter, “we are totally going to be together forever” sex!
HEA- I’m rousing from my sex coma to confirm that Shane and Charlie’s HEA is solid and well-earned!
As I mentioned, things are a little discouraging at the onset. Charlie isn’t a heroine I immediately connected with. She came across rather cold and I felt a wall between she and I. Shane was far better written and luckily he is written far better than Charlie, his POV the only reason I was able to tough things out and get to the good stuff. As the story progressed, Charlie thawed, became a little more relatable and while she is in no danger of making my “favorite heroine” list, she evolved and I didn’t totally dislike her. It can be a disaster if protagonists are too unlikable. Luckily her BFF, Michelle, who is suuuper judgey and gets a decent amount of page time comes across as very unlikable so perhaps some of the “ick, gah!” factor transferred from Charlie to her.
“Weird, but whatever,”Michelle said…”Is your boy toy coming into the garage today?”
“I think so.”I hope so. “It probably won’t happen again anyway.”Even as she said it, she wasn’t exactly sure what she meant. The sex wouldn’t happen again? The high-speed chase? Or the bar brawl? The thought of two out of three of those never happening again made her way too incredibly sad.
“Uh-huh. Your dad will love Shane,”she said sarcastically. “Southie born and raised? The type of kid he’s been arresting for years—”
“…..Like I said, Shane’s not a part of [HSC]. Ergo, Shane’s the sort of kid my dad spent his career protecting.”
“Just because [your dad] spent his career protecting them, doesn’t mean he wants his daughter dating them. And Shane looks like he might as well be one of HSC.”
“You sound elitist like your brother now, you know that?”
Yes…Michelle was just a bundle of snips and judgement. I believe she truly cared for Charlie, she just read like a total and complete nag, totally taking the heat off of Charlie’s personality. Thank goodness for small favors I suppose!
Like any good erotica, romantic serial, sex is king and Ex-Con is chock full of it. In a balance that I appreciate, there is also a solid back story and the author smartly navigated sometime triggering subjects like domestic violence, victim blaming and shaming and truly putting the past behind you and moving on.
I am precariously on the fence regarding another Katana Collins read, however, I just may check her out again, if I am in the market for some good smut.
For four years he’d dreamt about this moment. The night he was free and could sink his dick into any open legs he could find. But the reality of it was he didn’t want just any pussy. He didn’t want his first experience after four years of celibacy to be with a drunk woman whose hygiene was more than questionable. No. Why settle for chuck steak when filet mignon was on the menu right below it? He wanted a woman he could delve his tongue into and taste her tangy cream all night until she was screaming for him to enter her. He wanted a woman who would grip the sheets, writhing beneath him. A woman he could savor. A woman who would scream out his name, ride him and fuck him until they were both satiated. And then they’d get some sleep, wake up, and do it all over again. Unfortunately, that kind of fuckfest with a woman as amazing as Charlie would result in him wanting more.
And let’s just be honest. I am frequently in the mood for good smut.