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She wasn’t a white dress type of girl…

Hellen Moynihan didn’t have dreams. She had goals. She knew who she was and what she wanted. She also knew what she didn’t. So when her long-term boyfriend didn’t make the grade, she moved on. And when her best friend’s boyfriend showed signs of being a scam artist, Hellen was on the case.

And he wasn’t a white hat type of guy…

Dustin “Hardcore” Cutler didn’t have dreams or goals. A troubled past led Core to do something irredeemable. The only thing he and the men of the Resurrection MC could do was vow to live their lives making up for an unforgiveable act.

And they did.

This duty leads Core to being a part of a covert protection detail, looking after Hellen Moynihan when trouble is coming to town.

At first, Core finds this dynamo of a woman intriguing, but he’s decided she’s off-limits.

Then Hellen and her friend wade into a multi-state swindling scheme.

Suddenly, off-limits for Core is out the window.

He’s got no choice but to get up close and personal.


BOOK REVIEW: Smoke and Steel

Kristen Ashley

Book Series: 

RATING:

“You love someone, you love them, past sins and all.”

The intensity and grit of every one of Kristen Ashley’s Motorcycle Club Romances might always be a given, but every time she returns to this alpha world of bikes and brotherhood, you never know what you’re going to find. Her latest novel takes us into the heart of Resurrection MC, formerly known as Bounty, with a somewhat less action-driven story of two people hell-bent on not repeating the sins of their fathers, but every bit as compelling for the raw emotion and sheer badassery that it offers. It’s a story about love and the power of family—both those we are born into as well as those we choose—just as much as it is a subtle challenging of traditional gender roles and stereotypes where a woman can be both a devoted life partner and remain the architect of her own life, while a man is no less of a ‘man’ just because he is willing to tailor his life to meet his partner’s career demands. Kristen Ashley’s love stories continue to celebrate relationships that buoy women emotionally without breaking their spirit, and when she throws a protective alpha biker into the mix, you’ve got pure magic.

“So, you’re her phantom bodyguard who shows up during coffee time, whistles and winks? Is that part of the invisible bodyguard playbook?” the friend asked.
“A woman stares at a man like she wants to climb him like a tree, he’s gotta throw her something, and if you got a dick, that’s definitely in the playbook.” Core replied.

As Jagger’s (from Wild Wind) sister-in-law, Hellen Moynihan is no stranger to bikers, or the overbearing, overprotective tendencies that often come along with them. But when one of her best friends falls victim to a dating scam, and Hellen and her posse decide to intervene, the last thing she expects is for a cocky biker to throw a wrench into their plans, and then to find out that he’s been watching her every move for weeks, acting as her bodyguard without her even knowing it. Annoyingly domineering and brash, he’s nothing like the men she’s used to dating, but there is something about Dustin “Hardcore/Core” Cutler that immediately makes her feel safe and drawn to him, even though he appears to show no interest in her at all.

So I wasn’t his thing, but he was mine. Um, yeah. That hurt.

Thirteen years older than her and haunted by the mistakes of his past, Core truly believes to be undeserving of a woman like Hellen, but from the moment they meet, he feels more protective of her than he has any right to feel. And the more he gets to know her, the more invested he becomes in keeping her safe. Even from himself.

“She’s edgy. She’s hilarious. And she’s a ballbuster.”
“Just your type.”
Yeah, in heels with designer bags.
Fuck.

He tries to keep his distance from Hellen, but when life serves her the umpteenth kick in the gut, his need to be there for her is stronger than any resolve he might have to stay away from her. Real feelings quickly begin to develop on both sides, their everyday lives intertwining easily and naturally, but the more Core falls for Hellen, the more his fear of losing her stops him from telling her about his past. Until it’s too late.

“You told me you weren’t good for me,” I whispered.
He didn’t wince, reach out to me, move my way.
He stood there, his lifeless eyes locked on me, and that was it.
“You didn’t lie.”

When it comes to crafting the intricacies of a relationship between two complex individuals with thought and mastery, Kristen Ashley is in a class of her own. She digs deep into her characters, showing them honestly and authentically, to find what can hold a relationship together when ugly truths threaten to pull it apart. Hellen and Core’s beautiful tale is one of redemption, forgiveness, and penance for sins and failings of one’s past, but read at your own peril because stories like these might ignite a real-life love of riding bikers… ahem, I mean, bikes.

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“Woman, I’ll trip on your shoes every fucking day of my life, if it means you’re in my life.”

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Wild West MC - Recommended Reading Order

(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

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