Lauren Grahame has spent her whole life thinking something special was going to happen. She didn’t know what it was, she just knew it would one day be hers. But she learned the hard way that special wasn’t on offer.
So, after divorcing her cheating husband, Lauren searched for nothing special and she thought she found it when she landed a job as a waitress in a biker bar in Carnal. It was perfect: a nothing job in a nowhere bar in Nowheresville.
Then Tatum Jackson walked in. Part-owner of the bar, he took one look at high-class Lauren and wanted nothing to do with her. And he made this known, loudly.
Tate’s angry insults seared in her brain, Lauren decides the feeling is mutual and she doesn’t want anything to do with the gloriously handsome Tate Jackson. The clash of the bartender and barmaid begins but, even though Tate makes his change of mind clear (in biker-speak, a language Lauren is not fluent in), Lauren is intent on going her own way.
Until a serial killer hits Carnal and Lauren finds out Tate isn’t a bartender, he’s a bounty hunter. He stakes his claim for Lauren before he goes on the hunt for a killer but Laurie doesn’t speak biker nor does she understand bounty hunters and Tate comes back from the hunt to find his old lady has moved on.
Life throws curveball after curveball at Laurie and Tate. As secrets are revealed, women are brutally murdered, and Lauren tries to find her inner biker babe.
Our main characters, Lauren and Tate, have so much chemistry it’s practically searing off the pages. Tons of witty banter and dialogue that makes you feel as if you are in the room with them. Lauren, aka Laurie or “Ace” is our 40 something year old completely genuine and relatable heroine who is looking for something real instead of something special. She is insecure, yet strong and independent. I enjoyed how she was feisty, smart-mouthed and no matter what was thrown at her she didn’t wallow in her sorrows. Tatum “Tate” Jackson, our hero, was a complete ASS. And when I say ASS, he was basically a huge ass to Laurie. At first, I absolutely hated him and wanted to punch him at one point. He is possessive, arrogant, devoted, can be downright mean, and is all alpha. As the story progressed and I was able to learn more about him, he really started to grow on me. By the end, I fell in love with him…flaws be damned!
“Two kinds of women get under your skin. The ones who do damage, they don’t feel good there, but once you’re fuckin’ stupid enough to let them in you got no choice but to take the time it takes to work them out. Then there are the ones who don’t do damage, who feel good there, feed the muscle, the bone, the soul, not rip it or break it or burn it. The ones you don’t wanna work out.”
I enjoyed how Ms. Ashley has both characters that are trying to get away from their exes. Laurie divorced her husband when he left her for her best friend, so there is obviously some baggage there (hence why she was looking for something “real”). I thought it was hilarious how he tried to come back to her and Tate put him in “check.” Then let’s not forget Neeta, Tate’s ex who packs on a whole lot of baby Mama drama. Neeta was one crazy bitch, but it sure made things amusing.
The best part about this book wasn’t necessarily just the story of Tate and Laurie, but all of the other intriguing characters. I found myself looking forward to hearing more about what Shambles and Sunny were going to serve next at their coffee shop and if Bubba and Krystal would be able to reach a reconciliation.
Honestly, this book just did it for me. There were so many different themes, but they meshed beautifully. There was never a time I skimmed past parts or any dull moments. I was thoroughly entertained the whole way through. An easy 5 olives and I highly recommend this book!
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