***ARC PROVIDED FOR HONEST REVIEW***
I’ve been reading some really good books lately, but when the opportunity arose to read new Cara McKenna I jumped on it! Though I love her and have read a lot of her work – I haven’t read the other books in this series. I’m not sure how that colored my opinion, but I can say that I really enjoyed this delectable little book without having all the back story.
Jeremiah Church, a member of a small motorcycle club and a cattleman, is struggling with his father’s murder 6 months before. “Every time somebody told Miah he was strong and resilient and a good boss and citizen and son, all he felt like was a paler and paler shadow of the man he wished was still her with him.” Jeremiah is a GOOD person – which doesn’t take from his abilities as a hero. He’s the kind of good that makes you worry about him and pull for him rather than roll your eyes and wish he’d get run over by an ice cream truck.
Nicki Ritchey is a new sheriff’s deputy and one of the only African-American people in town. Nicki has a 10-year-old son, and they’re struggling to adjust to life in the Badlands. She and Miah met the night of Miah’s father’s death so we’re sort of picking up a little ways in their relationship here. They’re friends as the book starts, but there’s a level of comfort and heat between them. Nicki’s father was also murdered – so Miah leans on her as the one person who gets the darkness inside him. “He craved her company, her understanding. She knew what he was feeling as no one else did.”.
So many things to enjoy about this book. The writing. The characters – so developed and nuanced. McKenna creates heroes who are manly but have vulnerabilities (in their personality or sexually) that make them spark off the page. Miah’s issue is adorable and had me grinning each time I read it. Plus I was drawn to the many shades of him. Good Citizen Jeremiah Church begins investigating his father’s murder behind the police’s back. Puts him in a super awkward spot as he develops feelings for Nicki, doesn’t it?
Nicki is strong and smart – really no nonsense. Her feelings for Miah show a softness in her that adds to her charm. “Last thing I need right now is a man. Leave it to me to get a crush on one whose job makes him unavailable and who’s crippled with grief.” Their relationship develops in this way that feels totally authentic – like “yeah, I can see this. I can understand this.”
Reading the earlier books in the series would have likely added to my enjoyment bc it would have created stronger ties to Miah and Nicki. And for a motorcycle book this thing had absolutely zero edge. But otherwise if you’re looking for an honest, easy and adorable romantic read this is your book. “Miah was a whole different sort of flustered suddenly, eager and hungry. Sex had become a joyless escape these past few months, but he could feel true passion returning to his body just being close to this woman. He could feel desire where there had been only loneliness, heat after so much cold disconnection. He leaned closer and she did the same.” Sigh.