Reviewed by Tori
Cecelia Marks is on the run.
After whistle-blowing on an oil tycoon and small arms dealer, the worldly twenty-five-year-old finds solace on her new path of yoga, tattoos, and the simple pleasures life has to offer, until a phone call threatens her safety and she becomes the center of a war between rival motorcycle clubs.
Lucky Miller hung up his three years ago.
The reclusive Sigma Werewolf abandoned his pack and left the club life in order to deal with his grief. And now, Cecelia Marks needs protection, only Lucky isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job because he’s still haunted by demons.
Their chemistry won’t be denied, and soon, Lucky and Cecelia embark on a mission to free themselves from their horrendous pasts. They’ll need to fight their way through the present in order to have a future together… (Goodreads)
When I first saw came across this book-the title, cover, and blurb demanded I read it. A supernatural motorcycle club with a suspenseful storyline? Sign me up.
The storyline focuses heavily on the characters with light introductions to the Inked Menace club members and dual backstories on our protagonists-Cecelia Marks and Lucky Miller. Cecelia is in the witness protection program after she turned her husband in to the Feds for illegal arms dealing. An impromptu decision to get a tattoo leads her to Lucky. Lucky Miller is a wolf shifter. A patched member of a secret shifter motorcycle club- Inked Menace- he went nomad when his girlfriend was murdered. Lucky and Cecelia connect instantly but their collective issues keeps them from making any moves in that direction. When he hears Cecelia has a bounty on her head and two rival gangs are thinking of trying to collect on it, he throws caution to the wind and decides he and his club are going to protect Cecelia no matter what.
Unfortunately what I expected to read and what I read were two different things.
Weak characterization and storyline takes potentially strong, interesting protagonists and makes them clichés. This is a result of the author choosing to use a multitude of plot devices to force the characters into the direction she wants them to go rather than building on the base she initially sets up. Can’t pursue a relationship due to past issues? Then we’ll slap in a situation to make it possible. Unsure sexually where you stand? The mate bond is a surefire way to bypass having to work through all those pesky emotions. Can’t figure out how to address the supernatural elephant in the room? No worries. We’ll just make the other person magical too. So on and so on. There was no real work in developing the story. Rather the reader is manipulated by flash and awe before noticing there is nothing behind the smoke screen.
Awkward dialogue and some odd phrasing made me laugh but not in a good way; knocking me out of story multiple times. The losing of one’s head is referred to as getting you’re neck hacked from your body. The heroine refers to her and the hero having sex as sating their baser desires. Dirty talk from the hero consists of, “you’re so tight that when we’re done you’re gonna squeak when you walk.” *blinks*
The story rushes to the end with almost no time devoted to the main conflict beyond introducing and off the wall resolution. I wished the villain would have played a more active role. The relationship issues are resolved with sex and a single conversation and everything else is “magically” wrapped up with a happy ending for all.