Review: Burn it Up (Desert Dogs #3) by Cara McKenna
Desert Dogs Series
Released: November 3, 2015
Reviewed by Sheena
After a decade spent chasing shadier pursuits, Casey Grossier has come home to the badlands to settle down in Fortuity. Vowing to put his days of dirty money behind him, he’s cleaned up his act and become co-owner of Benji’s Saloon. But despite his efforts to be a better man, he can’t shake his crush on his sweet-faced bartender, even though the woman screams trouble.
Abilene Price hopes she can outrun her mistakes and build a safe, respectable life for herself and her baby. So she’d be wise to keep her distance from her boss, Casey, and the rest of his roughneck motorcycle club, the Desert Dogs. But she just might need their help. The return of a violent figure from Abilene’s past ignites a powder keg—and it’s only the beginning…
Favorite Quote: “I’m gonna fucking catch fire. Let’s get our clothes off.”
Despite some steamy bedroom romping, Burn it up, never really caught fire for me. I am a huge Cara McKenna fan but this is probably my least favorite read by her. I had trouble with the plot, trouble with how s-l-o-w it was and trouble with connecting to the heroine who I never established any sort of relationship with. Third in the series, yet it stands alone well as this is my first experience with the Desert Dogs world. I would be remiss not to stop this instance and give major props to this cool ass cover. Likes! To be my first foray, there were aspects that left much to be desired. Abilene was very flat and unreliable as a heroine. I seldom agreed with her actions and I did not enjoy the view from farce of a high horse. She and Casey felt very tossed together and awkward in a way. I get it. She is cute as a button, he is hot with a beard and bike. Instant attraction, right!? She is his employee, a little down on her luck, single mom and he becomes her safe haven and support system. Not initially interested in the least in love, marriage with a baby carriage, Casey fights his attraction while being step dad/mom’s-employer-who-helps- out-heaps. He and Abilene become roommates with a strong sensual undercurrent that Abilene is ready to bump up a notch…if only she didn’t have such a tawdry past and penchant for manipulation.
Abilene is hiding from her brow-raising past and unfortunately the jig is up and her ex, James is coming to town and no one is quite ready to deal with the repercussions. He is built up as this big ass baddie but oddly enough, I rather liked her ex James. I thought he was a smartly crafted “villain.” Despite his tumultuous split with Abilene he came across as a solid dude. He was determined to see and know his baby and in a sense let Abilene know who he really was and hold up a mirror to her own mania in a way. James was rather raw and I liked it! The most tolerable parts of the novel were scenes where James was raising his own little brand of hell. Most importantly, he kept Abilene human as she had a tendency to be judgmental in areas where she had no business calling the kettle black when in full on pot regalia. This was another bone of contention on which I had a hard time gnawing. Abilene was rather judgy and harsh with Casey and his less than stellar background. The hypocrisy was barely acknowledged and these were times when I wanted to give her a little shake and shove of my own!
Not exactly angsty (fine with me) Burn it Up is the epitome of a slow burn. There was betrayal, big secrets and even some heartache. All the elements of a new age emo explosion- but retained a sophistication I could appreciate. The plot was unique even as it dawdled and meandered along. I put Burn it Up down and picked it back up several times, mind wandering and often- and then WHOA- who turned on the juice- it seemed like the plot was injected with rocket fuel because it concluded at a breakneck pace with some pretty heavy action and spoilery events set the stage for a semi unexpected resolution. The ends do not totally justify the means with this novel because as cool as the ending was- the slow, uneventful pace was off-putting on the whole. Midway through the story, I all but abandoned the central couple’s romance and turned my eyes to a very well fleshed out and inviting secondary character, Miah *shivers!* Miah has angst and hard won HEA written all over his pained face and I am here for it! I will still get my grubby hands on anything McKenna pens. Hers is a fantastic talent, but this was a bit of a miss for me. Saving grace was the come comeuppance of the heroine and promise of a secondary characters greatness. I don’t want to look too closely at what this says about this novel. I’d much rather toss this in the “ehh” pile and wait patiently (impatiently??!!) for the next entry in the Desert Dog’s series.