(Bayonet Scars No 1)
by JC Emery
Advanced Reading Copy
Published: October 28, 2013
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 ⭐️
Growing up, Alexandra has always known her father was committed to the wrong side of the law. As Principessa of the large Mancuso crime family, she was shielded from most of its more nefarious business dealings, but protected as she was, inevitably some of it filtered through. Although Alex chose not to see most of her father's dark side. That is, until he outlined the bleak future he had planned for her. Running from that stifling prospect, she gets caught in a situation where a right choice she thinks she is making, turns out to be the one to send her running in earnest. But this time she is running for her life.
Called on to drive with his family across the country to rescue a girl in trouble, Ryan Stone doesn't hesitate. His club and his family are his everything. He grew up as part of the club his father now is the president of, the Forsaken, and he lives by its obligations and rules. His stepmom is the one who received the call about the girl. He hadn't expected her to be this gorgeous.
Taken out of her comfortable environment, leaving behind everything and everyone she knows, and planted on the back of a bike hanging on to a large, sexy, brooding biker, Alex should be feeling out of place. Oddly enough, she feels safer than she has in a while. Even though this new world she has been thrown into is rough and raw and alien to her, she senses that she is in no danger there. But how long before she is found?
Trying to keep her distance from Ryan, for whom Alex has developed a strong attraction, she quickly tries to settle into her new life, but her feelings keep running away with her. Ryan is not helping with the mixed messages he sends her, duly warned off by the club's president, he curbs the urge to claim Alex as his. But when anger and suppressed emotions eventually boil over, the resulting fireworks are spectacular and it is clear there is no way to put the cork back in that bottle!
When a dark past is revealed to Alex, Ryan does his best to save her from the fall out, but the real threat comes in the unexpected form of family. Alex' family.........determined to finish off a loose end.
An absolutely FREAKINTASTIC start to this highly anticipated new series!!! I honestly did not know what to expect and I gave myself a few days to process the story after I read it, just so I could be sure I was responding to the whole and not just parts. A BLAST!!
I love that this 'biker-book' has something distinct, in that there is a real family dynamic happening, one that feels near 'normal'. In that sense it reminds me of the Trinity Falls Series by Mara McBain, another MC series. But there are the distinct boundaries that are adhered to with respect to club and home, which makes so much more sense to me than the sometimes irreverent treatment that is portrayed taking place in the family as well.
I have to admit, I didn't like Ryan much at first, until I had a chance to peek inside his head too and it turned out he was as conflicted about the situation as Alex was. That made me feel better. I wasn't so sure initially and found him to be somewhat callous. Of course, just like Alex, he is still fairly young and hormone driven, both sexually and temperamentally. Sometimes I forget to take that into account, but I think it is important in this story, because Ryan seems so 'together' most of the time. He has had the benefit of a strong but apparently 'just' father and the addition of a warm and giving stepmother growing up to give him some better balanced roots. A very tolerant upbringing but not one without morals or respect.
An utterly naive and shielded Alex, who in other ways is as ancient as the world. What an odd combination, but it feels true with her. Growing up even partly without her mother in some of her most formative years had a major impact and I think part of her, out of self-preservation, has always chosen to stay 'innocent' if you will. That doesn't mean her subconscious never registered, because I believe she registered plenty over the years, which is why she so quickly was able to accept that her safety was in jeopardy from her own flesh and blood. She came to that conclusion by herself!! That says a whole lot about what goes on in the mind of an apparently oblivious young woman.......more than you'd give her credit for. Again here, the age thing......yes she is not even twenty, but she has seen and endured and adapted more than most in an entire life time, in only a few months. And yet, when it comes to certain emotions, she is just what she is.....not even twenty.
I cannot wait to find out what is next in this series!! So many possible directions and such an interesting and varied character pool to draw from. JC Emery has done something pretty remarkable, she has written a book, which presents like a finished book with a HEA, but at the same time requires some more closure and you just know we aren't quite done yet!!! Thank goodness!
✨A raw, intense, direct, hot and stimulating read!!✨
**ARC provided in return for an honest review.**
Before you start reading this particular story, let me ask you this...... Why are you interested in a book about Mafia and an MC??
Is it because you are interested in a gritty, raw, good story........OR.........are you looking to find an innocent princess and a white knight dressed in black leathers in this scenario????
If the latter is the case, you might not have realistic expectations of what the book very clearly offers. Be prepared to really read the story behind the characters and don't be too quick to judge the individuals upon whom you might have placed unrealistic expectations..........you would be selling them, AND yourself short.
When I read a book, I try to do it with as open a mind as possible and limit my expectations to what I know. Doesn't always work, but it allows for better enjoyment.