New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers the second book in her dark, gritty and romantic Ink & Chrome series
Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the custom motorcycle shop Twisted Steel, is great with his hands and not afraid to get dirty . . . especially in his fantasies about his redheaded neighbor Carmella Rossi.
Carmella has been secretly lusting after her hot, tattooed neighbor for the last three years. His gravelly voice combined with the throaty purr of his custom bike never fails to send thrills down her spine. When Duke asks her to join him at the shop, she can't say no. Soon their days together spill over into nights that bring her pleasure beyond anything she imagined. But Carmella grew up with bikers, and knows how bad a bad boy can be. Can she put herself at risk for someone who has heart-breaker written all over him?
Themes: Contemporary, Bikers
Rating: 4.5 stars
Longtime fans of Lauren Dane are in for quite a treat as we return to the sexy, hard-edged world of bikes, tattoos and crazy relationships. I have enjoyed many different series by Dane over the years, but consider myself really fortunate to have had the chance to read these stories. The second installment is no less emotionally stripped than the first in the series, with lots of family drama, terrifying truths revealed and the intense relationship between two passionate individuals. I loved seeing Duke meet his match in Carmella even though he definitely made a few bonehead moves that almost cost him the love of his life, but in the end they found a way to get past everything between them to come together in a truly loving and lasting relationship. Dane' ability to bring together two people that are so very different on the outside and prove to readers that all you really need is love, is beyond measure and keeps us coming back for more. I am really looking forward to the next story in the series--though I understand it will be veering a bit from the mainstream with a Ménage relationship for Mick. If you enjoy a great, sexy, and emotional drama The Ink and Chrome series is right up your alley, especially if you like a bit of kink along the way to go with the love and devotion.
Duke has been watching the sweet and sexy woman that is his neighbor for a couple of years now and when an opportunity to get her to spend more time with him comes up he jumps at it. Carmella is reluctant to take the job as her beyond gorgeous neighbor's shop manager, but the draw of a steady paycheck and fulfilling new opportunity is enough to trick her into believing she can keep herself away from him--after all he doesn’t seem to want her in anything more than a professional way, right? Wrong! As Carmella and Duke spend more time together, both at work and at home, the mutual attraction proves too intense for resistance. Unfortunately, Carmella’s personal life has just gotten infinitely more complicated and emotionally devastating. Can Duke stand by her and convince her to lean on him or will her stubborn insistence on independence push away the only man she has ever loved?
So what to say about Duke?... well first I have to say he is so freaking sexy there is really no way to describe him. Tattoos cover his body, but not enough to hide the muscles, gorgeous skin, or the sexy eyes that follow Carmella's every move. He is all man, proven again and again as he makes stupid mistakes out of his concern; there were enough bonehead moments that I found myself looking to the heavens for the patience not to want to kill him for Carmella, but thankfully he pulls his head from his butt and becomes her white knight. He is the type of guy that makes the best hero; with enough flaws to keep him from being boring and the infinite sweetness that proves he will be a good husband, and maybe father, to his future family. When Carmella needs him, whether she wants to admit it or not, he is right there to protect and defend, even if all she needs is just to know he is there for her if she needs him. His unyielding support in the end is what pushes Carmella right into love with him, IMO, but the sexy and fun nature he hides behind his brooding and protective outer shell could have a bit to do with it too. And of course the way he stands together with his brothers, brothers formed by the darkest of pasts, is another big point in his favor.
Carmella is an interesting woman and one that has never really been able to spread her wings and try to fly. She has been the one caring for her mother for most of her life, being the adult and parent more than her mother ever was and never getting a single real thanks for it. Her inner strength and ability to care for those that obviously don't appreciate all she does could have made her seem like a sucker, but she is willing to stand up for herself and what she believes in when push comes to shove. Her interactions with her parent(s) and the way she stands up to Duke when he's being a douchbag show the backbone she covers with sweetness and sensuality is made of titanium and unbendable. I enjoyed seeing her find a way to bring Duke to his knees and show him that love and trust are the ultimate gifts. She was gentleness to his fiercely protective nature, but she wasn't a woman to be cowed in the face of adversity. I loved the way she was able to find ingenious ways to bring Duke to his knees while still lifting him up. Carmella is a girl after my own heart.
In the end this story brings to life its title as each of these two headstrong and amazing individuals find themselves falling under love's spell. Duke and his ass-hattery thankfully find a way to convince Carmella he’s worth the trouble and to give him a chance to become the man she needs in every way. Duke is an amazing guy, though by no means perfect, and when he is at his best there are very few men that compete with him for Carmella's heart. Carmella has had a rough life and she has issues with trusting in men or giving them the chance to really capture her heart. When she is confronted with the immense force that is Duke she will not be able to stop herself from falling in love with him. Carmella and Duke were a perfect match once they got over there issues and decided that being together was more important that their hang-ups. Not to be discounted is the burning passion and attraction they have been fighting from a distance and try to keep from overwhelming them, even though they fail miserably (or happily). I cannot wait for the next in the series and wonder if there will be more after that, but Mick's tale has been long in the making and to finally find out the truth and see him find love will be immensely awesome. Dane has done it again and there is no denying that Ink and Chrome will fill my heart and mind for a long time to come.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review. No compensation was provided.