“She isn’t what she wants us to believe. That could be a threat to you.”
“I think she’s more of a threat to you.”
Review by Tori
As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He’s a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can’t afford–until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin…
Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she’s desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper’s imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.
Anya’s touch is everything Reaper doesn’t want–and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up with her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club–his heart and his soul. (Goodreads)
Feehan’s latest adventure revolves around a Russian outlaw Motorcycle Club who has settled right outside of Sea Haven in a small town called Casper. If you are familiar with her Sea Haven Sisters series, you will recognize this group from the last book-Bound Together. In Bound Together, we learn that president of the Torpedo Ink MC, Viktor Prakenskii, aka Czar, married and abandoned Blythe Daniels in order to finally take care of the human trafficking ring once and for all. He comes back five years later, they find their HEA, and the MC settles down to start building a life and heal. Like the Sea Haven series, this series is based on a group of people who call each other family and are tied together by blood, pain, and survival. Kidnapped as children, they are trained to be the ultimate assassins. Upon escaping and eventually destroying the school and those who hurt them, the group formed an MC and are now attempting to live free.Though not into drugs, guns, and woman like most clubs, this club does operate outside the law as mercenaries/vigilantes for hire.
Reaper, an enforcer for the club, is one of the most dangerous members. Also one of the more damaged. He has suffered things that no one, not his fellow brothers/sisters or even his president know about. He needs complete control and hates being touched. He truly believes he has no soul; that he is dead inside. The latest hire at Torpedo Ink sends him into a spiral as he struggles to understand the raging need that blasts through him, breaking all his control.
Anya Rafferty is on the run and is lucky enough to secure a post with the Torpedo Inc MC. Raised on the streets and shuttled between shelters as her mother chased her drug habit, Anya knows how things can change in the blink of an eye. Always prepared, she just wants to a place to feel safe but in the deepest recess of her heart, she wants to settle down and build a family. The MC could be her new family but the one they call Reaper doesn’t want her around. As Anya struggles to find her place, she and Reaper start down a dark and dangerous path filled with pain, love, loss, revenge, and redemption.
Judgement Road is an emotionally dense storyline filled with action-packed mystery, suspense, intrigue, and an erotic based romance. It is a dark story and I would be remiss in not warning readers of the explicit scenes of violence and mentions of sexual assault and torture. Strong plotting and the conversational style narrative helps to combat the somewhat weak characterization. Feehan does a good job of introducing us to the protagonists and integrating their backstories into the narrative. The paranormal aspects are far more subtle but they are apparent as you go deeper into the story (they appear are more instinctual in nature). Feehan takes her time building the tension of the main conflict, allowing us to participate in the story as we follow the MC into the fray. The various other MCs and the common denominator that brings them together offers readers the excitement and suspense we expect from her series. The barely civilized manner they all possess just adds to the sense of danger and anticipation.
The romance balances nicely against the main conflict. While it has a definite strong foothold with multiple explicit sex scenes, there are enough everyday scenes and various subplots that serve as nice counterpoints. It doesn’t overwhelm. Feehan digs deep into Reaper’s issues and does not offer Anya or their falling in love as an instant cure-all. Allowing them to spend time together helps them both to learn to trust and fall in love but we aren’t ever fooled into thinking Reaper is cured. Anya and Reaper aren’t an easy couple and there were some scenes that made me question whether they would make or if they even should. This is established almost from the beginning. Reaper is dangerous and Anya is not all that safe with him. Though Reaper is dominant to the point of offensiveness at times, Anya is more than able to handle herself against him and knows when to bend and when to break bad.
The ending comes at you hard, wrapping up the main conflict while opening the door for much more to come. I’m looking forward to each of the members getting their HEA. There is seventeen total (2 down-15 to go) so that tells us this series will be quite a few books. I foresee a couple threesomes. ;) Future plotlines and a possible romantic connection already in the works is touched upon in though it’s not going to be an easy ride for any of them. Now, I won’t lie and say there weren’t some issues. On three separate occasions, Feehan uses almost the same setup and descriptive terms to open a scene featuring the two female members of the MC. Some of Reaper’s and the MC’s actions left a nasty taste in my mouth but at least Feehan explains the reasons behind it and it’s not mere lip service.
Regardless, I enjoyed this new venture and fans of Feehan are sure to enjoy also.
I Smell Sheep