Synopsis: Claire Winston knows she’s lucky to be alive—and even luckier to have the love and protection of a man like Prosper, her adoptive father and leader of the Hells Saints Motorcycle Club. Yet, try as she may, she can’t leave yesterday behind. She’s still haunted by Reno, the bad-boy biker her heart loves but her spirit fears. And she can’t seem to escape the terrifying memories of a night filled with blood, bullets, and brutality.
Hells Saints soldier Reno has tried everything with liquor and lace to get Claire off his mind. But he just can’t forget her freckles, her fierce fragility, and her tender heart. He knows he’s the only man who can give her the love she truly deserves.
As Claire and Reno spiral back into each other’s lives, they wonder if happiness is finally in their cards. But when violence once again explodes around them, Claire must decide if she really can trust Reno and commit to life with him—or if she’ll stay chained to her past forever.
Stats for my copy: Kindle edition, published by Montlake Romance, 2015.
How acquired: NetGalley
My thoughts: Claire is the younger sister of Raine, the heroine of RAINE FALLING. Reno is one of the brothers of the motorcycle club, and is consider by Prosper, the head of the club, to be his nephew in the same way he considers Claire and Raine to be his daughters. Fortunately there is no actual blood relation between any of them (other than the two girls), cuz that would be yuck.
In between the first book and this book, off the page, Reno and Claire had finally come together, and for awhile it had been good. Then came the misunderstanding that drove them apart. The night when Claire opened up and told Reno all about herself and her past. The next morning she slipped away while Reno was sleeping. She “needed a minute” as she put it, to come to terms with and acknowledge that she was in love. But apparently Reno, upon waking, interpreted her being gone to mean she was not coming back. So this was the misunderstanding that drove them apart. It felt like a reach to me. They’d been having sex with each other for months, but had never actually spent an entire night together. I just don’t get why her slipping out while he’s still asleep should be a turning point to break them up. But we learn this story in retrospect, first from Reno’s point of view, then from Claire’s, and the narrative never digs too deep.
There isn’t as much violence as in the first book, and not nearly as many derogatory words for women flying around, which was a relief and made it easer to focus on the story. Raine and Diego are now married with a baby and living in their own home, while Claire and Glory share Prosper’s lake house (I think it was a lake house, I don’t remember exactly now). Glory has started a catering business, and Claire decides to enroll in college. Meanwhile Reno does…whatever members of a motorcycle club do. I never really knew what he was doing most of the time.
Claire is still suffering PTSD (my diagnosis) over the incident at the end of the second book and her part in it. And while Prosper took the blame – or the credit, which is more how the guys would look at it – serious repercussions are coming that will drastically affect Claire and Reno.
I think part of my problem with these books is that the writing feels like it’s aimed at a young adult audience, though the books clearly are not YA. The use of sentences with a period between every word annoys me, such as the second line in Chapter 18: “Oh. Yes. He. Was.” And these lines literally made me laugh out loud: “Reno stood next to his mother. He also stood in front of her and behind her.”
Despite all the badassery, at the core of the club is a belief in family, and while most of the brothers go from woman to woman to woman, when the right woman comes along our heroes succumb to the notion of hearth and home and fidelity. It’s a long road to get there, but you leave believing they will have their happily ever afters.