STARRED REVIEW
February 04, 2015

The allure of the bad boy

Feature by
Strong heroes have always been a fixture in romance novels, but lately, authors have been pushing readers’ comfort zones with bad boys who are off-the-charts wicked. We thought it might be fun to sample a few books from boundary-testing authors this month, so we suggest you read on, sigh and enjoy!
STARRED REVIEW
February 04, 2015

The allure of the bad boy

Feature by
Strong heroes have always been a fixture in romance novels, but lately, authors have been pushing readers’ comfort zones with bad boys who are off-the-charts wicked. We thought it might be fun to sample a few books from boundary-testing authors this month, so we suggest you read on, sigh and enjoy!
February 04, 2015

The allure of the bad boy

Feature by
Strong heroes have always been a fixture in romance novels, but lately, authors have been pushing readers’ comfort zones with bad boys who are off-the-charts wicked. We thought it might be fun to sample a few books from boundary-testing authors this month, so we suggest you read on, sigh and enjoy!
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Strong heroes have always been a fixture in romance novels, but lately, authors have been pushing readers’ comfort zones with bad boys who are off-the-charts wicked. We thought it might be fun to sample a few books from boundary-testing authors this month, so we suggest you read on, sigh and enjoy!

BAD BOYS ON MOTORCYCLES
In Rough Justice by Sarah Castille, rival motorcycle gangs battle for supremacy in a Montana town. Growing up with her brother inside the world of the Black Jacks motorcycle gang, beautiful Arianne Wilder wants nothing more than to escape and live a normal life. But her father is the vicious leader of the gang; he believes he owns Arianne, and he refuses to let her go.

The Black Jacks are feuding with the Sinner’s Tribe, a rival gang ruled by ex-military warrior Jagger. When an arsonist torches the Sinner’s clubhouse and the gang discovers an unconscious Arianne at the scene, Sinner’s members demand her death in revenge. Jagger refuses, instead he keeps her safe. He doesn’t learn until a week later that the beautiful woman he captured and released is the daughter of his arch-enemy. Nevertheless, he won’t abandon her; he vowed to protect her, and there are far too many people who want her dead. Besides, he just happens to be falling in love with her.

Arianne knows her best chance of surviving is to remain under Jagger’s protection, but her brother needs her help. Whom will she choose and whom will she betray: her brother or Jagger?

The author has crafted an interesting plot with lots of action, mayhem and danger. When combined with the heated attraction between Arianne and Jagger—who are equally matched in brains and cool street smarts— and the intriguing details about life in the world of a motorcycle gang, the end result is a riveting story. Readers who like their romance with an edge and lots of action will adore Rough Justice and eagerly await the next book in this new series from Castille.

PLAYING WITH FIRE
New York Times best-selling author Jay Crownover delivers another riveting read in her Welcome To The Point series with the second installment, Better When He’s Bold. Brysen Carter can barely juggle college classes, her job at a bar and protecting her little sister from their mother’s rapidly escalating alcoholic rages. She doesn’t have a spare moment to deal with the very dangerous, very handsome and all too sexy Race Hartman. Still, she can’t stop thinking about him.

Race knows the beautiful, cool blonde is out of his league. Brysen is a law-abiding citizen, and he’s breaking every law that won’t bend. But Brysen is a good friend to his sister, and fate keeps throwing the mismatched pair together. When someone targets Brysen and puts her life is in danger, Race steps in to protect her. While he has always wanted to sleep with her, he doesn’t want to admit that he needs far more from her than a one night stand.

Crownover brings her signature multi-layered characters with complex backstories to her latest novel. Both the hero and heroine are struggling to deal with less-than-noble parents while coping with vulnerable siblings and career challenges. Readers will surely cheer for this couple and their fight to reach a happy ending.

THE SINS OF OUR FATHERS
Samantha Young sets her latest novel, Hero, in the upper-class world of Boston society. After losing her mother three months prior, Alexa Holland has struggled to come to grips with harsh truths about her family. When she arrives for work at a photo shoot and sees powerful, rich and handsome Caine Carraway, she’s shocked. Caine makes a pass at her and she blurts out the truth: Her father is the man responsible for his mother’s death. Stunned and furious, Caine demands a different photographer and fires Alexa’s boss. In turn, her boss fires her. When Caine offers her a job, a desperate Alexa accepts, knowing full well that he plans to make her life miserable. Since she has to pay rent, however, Alexa feels she has little choice.

The two have unexpectedly off-the-charts chemistry, and before long, their love-hate relationship has added lust to the mix. Both strong-willed, honorable yet damaged people, Caine and Alexa struggle to find a balance between their two worlds. When Alexa is attacked, however, those worlds collide, and family secrets are revealed. The secrets have the potential to destroy any hope of a happy ending for them.

Hero is filled with emotional drama and witty exchanges between the hero and heroine as they fight to ignore and resist the attraction that pulls them together. Fans will be delighted with this latest story from Young.

GAMBLING WITH DESIRE
Best-selling author Sarah McCarty continues her popular Hell’s Eight series with the seventh book in the series, Ace’s Wild. In a small town in 1860s Texas, gambler and Texas Ranger Ace Parker does his best to annoy elegant blonde schoolteacher Petunia Wayfield at every opportunity. He does it because, of course, he wants her—badly. She also makes him want things he’s never had, like a wife and a family. Things he’s convinced men like him can never have.

What Ace doesn’t know is that Petunia wants him just as much. He enthralls her, even while he’s irritating her, and she privately admits he stirs  “crave-it-no-matter-what lust” in her heart. When Petunia asks him for to help one of her young students, Ace strikes a bargain with her. He’ll help her in return for a kiss. The bargain seems simple enough, but there’s nothing uncomplicated about the way that kiss rocks both their worlds. Fate seems determined to entangle the two in a growing number of ways, despite Ace’s determination to stay away from Petunia. The whole town knows the two are meant to be together. The question is, how long will it take for them to stop fighting their inevitable pairing?

The dialogue in Aces Wild is a delight—sharp and insightful, often funny and wry. Both Ace and Petunia are endearing, strong and stubbornly independent. It’s a pleasure to watch these two struggle to come to terms with falling in love. The charming cast of supporting characters includes a loveable young boy, a practical ex-saloon-girl and Ace’s childhood friend. Readers are certain to love this latest entry in the series.

Lois Dyer writes from Port Orchard, Washington. 

Rough Justice
By Chip Kidd
Pantheon

ISBN 9780375714900

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Get the Books

Rough Justice

Rough Justice

By Chip Kidd
Pantheon
ISBN 9780375714900
Better When He’s Bold

Better When He’s Bold

By Jay Crownover
Morrow
ISBN 9780062351913
Hero

Hero

By Mike Lupica
Philomel
ISBN 9780399252839
Ace’s Wild

Ace’s Wild

By Sarah McCarty
HQN
ISBN 9780373778300

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