Black Knights Inc.—Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight…
Ex–Marine Nate “Ghost” Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It’s also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she’s his best friend’s baby sister…and totally off limits.
Rough Road Ahead
Ali’s never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she’s in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she’s become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.
Quick Rundown: Ex-marine Nate Weller is haunted by the recent death of his best friend, Grigg Morgan. Friends since high school, Nate fell in lust with Grigg’s sister, Aly when she was seventeen but never acted on his feelings due to Grigg’s initial brotherly warning. Years have passed since their spark ignited but Nate refuses to give in to his feelings, fearing that if Aly learns the truth about her brother’s death, she would never forgive him. Now, Aly is in serious trouble due to her brother’s secretive past and she knows Nate is the only person she can turn to for help and protection. Once they are forced to work and live together at the Black Knights compound, both are frustratingly aware their attraction for each other has not diminished, which leaves the question of who will give in first?
First Impression: I was totally on board for ex-military, bad boy bikers. Hell on Wheels has an enjoyable concept with fast pacing, an executable set up and a tight knit cast of characters. However, it lacked something that would have catapulted it from enjoyable to fabulous.
The Hero: A man of few words, Nate Weller is the stoic, brooding alpha male you just want to make squirm. I felt like the whole time reading his edgy demeanor and sexual frustration, that he was a man Aly needed to tie to the bed post and just have her wicked way. Nate has formed a wall between himself and Aly to block his lust for a woman he believes he is not worthy to obtain. He is determined to do his job and not let his emotions or desire get in the way.
“He was too solemn, too remote, too…something. She could never determine just exactly what that something was—which was extremely irksome.”
The Heroine: Although we learn Aly Morgan is a kindergarten teacher, her demeanor is far from the calm and composed stereotypical professional. After being stalked and mugged, she is smart enough to know she is in over her head and needs Nate’s help, yet her spastic nature bordered on over the top and her maturity level was in question many times. I found myself wanting to smack her on several occasions. On one hand she was mature in all of the craziness she faced ie: her brother’s death, being mugged, stalked, etc. Yet, on the other hand she was very immature in coping with her feelings for Nate. Her excessive use of “h-e-double hockeysticks” and “crimeny” was annoying as well as her habit of puking in a crisis.
“He never talked, instead remaining constantly and aggravatingly aloof, which was a state so totally foreign to her that she, in turn, started jabbering like her mouth was attached to a motor.”
What worked: Ms. Walker laid a foundation of well developed characters and their history. The concept of the Black Knights and their mission is intriguing and action packed. I immediately felt a bond and unity of the characters and the fact that they had each other’s backs, both physically and emotionally. The secondary characters play a prominent role and get plenty of page time within the story of Aly and Nate. The author clearly sets up the main couple for the second book and I was actually more engaged with Becky and Frank’s story, than Aly and Nate’s.
What didn’t work: The abrupt scene changes. There were several secondary stories being told as well as sudden jumps into a new scene which was frustrating and confusing. I found myself re-reading the start of a scene to grasp who and where the book was at. Also, the angst and sexual tension of the main couple lacked luster when reading their internal dialogue as well as witnessing their constant denial of feelings toward each other. There is a silly, lighthearted tone throughout the book that was not bad but not what I expected either. That being said, when I finished the book my feelings were more of a cute, fluffy exaggerated read as opposed to an emotional, suspenseful, realistic setting.
Final Conclusion: The ending of the story felt very cliché and an easy wrap up. Hell on Wheels was a nice debut novel and I hope the series improves with each book.
“Wood was hard, rock was hard, he, on the other hand, was so stiff a cat couldn’t scratch him.”