Author: SE Jakes
Rating: 3 stars
Type: Standalone Novel
Purchased by reviewer
“Embrace the danger.”
Blurb: Sean Rush is an adrenaline junkie. That’s why he was in the Army, why he steals and races classic muscle cars . . . and why he can’t stay away from bad boy Ryker, a Havoc Motorcycle Club lieutenant. Fortunately, Ryker can’t seem to stay away from Sean—he’s spent the last eight months breaking into Sean’s apartment and stealing into his bed, leaving Sean physically satisfied but increasingly restless.
Sean has always avoided relationships. He likes to come and go without being controlled. And Ryker is possibly the most controlling man he’s ever known. Still, he finds that he wants more from Ryker than their silent nighttime encounters.
Then one of Sean’s thefts goes bad, and Ryker’s protective instincts kick into overdrive. He takes Sean to the Havoc compound, determined to keep him safe. But Sean’s past threatens the safety of Havoc—and everything Ryker holds dear. Worse, Ryker’s hiding secrets of his own. Soon it’s obvious that the adrenaline rush can’t keep them together anymore. But maybe love can.
Review: Sean Rush’s healthiest relationship is with the guy, Ryker, who periodically breaks into his house for sex. It’s pretty safe to say Sean is not good at choosing stable people in his life. Sean does have a best friend, Noah. They work together and have been friends since they met in juvenile hall. When Noah gets himself in too deep with their boss Sean is there to help. Not only does their boss, Edmund, run a local automotive shop, he also runs a local auto theft ring. Noah is unable to steal a car and knows Sean can do it. They also happen to make a little extra money on the side after they steal the car, but all is fair in grand larceny and adrenaline rushes. The real problems start when Edmund pressures Sean to steal a car. Edmund may, or may not, be holding Noah hostage. Sean can’t get Noah on the phone or via text and is left with no choice but to steal the car to ensure Noah’s safety. Unfortunately, the brakes on the car Sean is stealing have been cut. Sean crashes, manages to get some medical care, and get home. Ryker now insists on becoming involved. The big drawback of Ryker becoming involved in Sean’s life is the honesty that comes with him. Sean is no longer able to lie to himself about how he’s being used by his boss and best friend. It’s undeniable that this was a murder attempt. Despite being happy to have Ryker around when Sean is unable to defend himself, Sean is being forced to reassess his life.
After Sean heals, Ryker is again gone when the sun rises. Sean finds himself a little upset by that. He goes out to do his own thing. Of course, that means going back to helping his good friend Noah. Noah does feel bad he got Sean involved with Edmund’s car theft operation. Of course, when Sean goes to help out Noah it does get in the way of Ryker’s business. The Havoc Motorcycle Club apparently has business down on the docks. Sean doesn’t think at all about what that may mean. Sean, again, finds himself rescued by Ryker and he’s taken to the Havoc compound. Ryker learns even more about Sean, and Sean learns that despite the fact Ryker may want him there, the rest of Havoc may not be on board with the whole thing. Sean doesn’t go out of his way to make new friends, but he does realize how much these people mean to Ryker. Sean feels he can’t do anything to jeopardize Ryker’s relationship with Havoc, he also can’t admit to the fact he feels beholden to Ryker. Sean leaves. After a few weeks of doing nothing productive, Sean has a guest that forces him to face facts about his relationship with Ryker. Sean is just as capable of going to Ryker as Ryker is of coming to Sean. The two guys admit they want to be together and are willing to try. That’s when Sean gets more information about Havoc, their activities, and how they pay for their activities. Sean realizes he can’t allow himself to do anything that could hamper Havoc or impact their safety. He can’t stay and continue to mess things up at his current rate. Sean vanishes. It doesn’t take long until someone finds Sean and asks for help. He always helps his friends.
Sean was a fantastically broken character. A neglected child, juvenile delinquent, and a vet with PTSD and a whopping case of survivor’s guilt. Sean had manic mood swings from reckless behaviors to laying in bed for days. Sean was also an unapologetic criminal. Many of his actions, though illegal, had no malicious intent. It was all about the adrenaline rush he’d get while committing the crime. Sean didn’t need or even particularly want the cars he stole, he simply wanted to steal them. It was appropriate Ryker was also heavily involved in criminal activities and a criminal organization. Ryker is the classic criminal with a heart of gold. He does the wrong things as a means to get the right things done. Sean isn’t the only person he saves although Sean is the only person he wants to take care of.
Despite thinking Sean was a well conceived of character I feel there were some problems in regards to the phrasing of his internal dialogue and the fact that dialogue told me all his motivations and problems. The book was written in first person from Sean’s perspective. We were in Sean’s head and knew his thoughts. It was a brave move given Sean’s criminal tendencies and potentially irrational and depressive states. However, I didn’t always feel the word choices would be those of a neglected child, juvenile delinquent, and a vet with PTSD and a whopping case of survivor’s guilt. It felt like I was reading a typical romance novel. As such, the word and phrase choices felt like those of a typical romance novelist. I also felt there were too many times when Sean simply thought outright the character flaws that made him compelling. I didn’t want to be told Sean had trouble trusting people. I didn’t want to be told Sean would walk into danger to help friends or family. I didn’t want to be told Sean couldn’t see the forest through the trees. These were things I would have preferred to learn about Sean on my own. The showing was there, I felt I wasn’t trusted to understand what I was being shown.
Even though I had problems with some aspects of the story I would recommend this book to fans of Motorcycle Club stories, D/s stories, and SE Jakes in general. The book had a lot of the tropes commonly used by Jakes to good effect.