Fire Inside by Kristen Ashley (Book two of the Chaos series)

fire inside

Title: Fire Inside
Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: 2013
Rating: 4.5 stars

Oh my goodness, I still can’t believe I’m reading books about a motorcycle club. AND LOVING THEM. SO MUCH. Note to self: must read Dream Man series, and soon.

Fire Inside is the second book in Kristen’s series about the Chaos Motorcycle Club, and its timeline pretty much runs parallel to the events of the first, Own the Wind. We see little glimpses of Shy and Tab throughout (and they’re super cute!), but the focus is definitely on Lanie and Hop–where, of course, it should be.

Lanie Heron is Tyra’s (Motorcycle Man) best friend, and let me tell you–her baggage has baggage. She is carrying around some seriously heavy stuff. Not only was her fiance killed several years earlier, but she herself was shot–when she shielded him from the guys with the guns. (Yep, he let her. Total prince.) Oh, and also because of that stellar guy, Tyra was kidnapped and near-fatally stabbed…which Lanie naturally blames herself for. Plus, her father’s been cheating on her mother since pretty much forever, and her mother drinks like a fish in order to deal (or not) with that fact…so, no, Lanie’s not looking to get into another relationship. Ever. But sex, on the other hand….

Hopper Kincaid has been there, done that with the whole marriage thing. It didn’t work out–and it didn’t work out in a huge, fireworks-included-entire-world-witnessed-the-disaster kind of way–but at least he has two beautiful kids. They–along with the club–are all the family he needs. He’s intrigued by Lanie, but she’s absolutely not his type: too classy, too skinny, too full of drama. Plus, as the best friend of the wife of the leader of Chaos, she’s totally off limits. But when she offers him one night of no-strings sex, he can’t possibly turn her down, can he? Of course not.

It’s a romance novel, so we all know where the “one night, no strings” part of this is going, right?

Kristen once again makes the ride (ha! accidental pun, honest) totally worth it, though. She made me love the guy with the ‘stache, even though the description of that facial hair just did not read as “romantic hero” to me. At all. His actions and words, though…yeah. They did. Big time.

Then he asked, “Where am I?”

I didn’t understand the question so I asked back, “What?”

“Where am I?” he repeated and when I still looked confused he went on, “Right now, Lanie, where am I standing?”

It sifted through me what he meant and left warmth in its wake.

“At my back,” I answered softly.

“At your back, baby, now and always,” he replied, kissed my shoulder again, gave me a squeeze and another sexy grin. Then he let me go and walked away.

I looked at myself in the mirror.

And I felt better.

Yeah. That.

There were times when I had my doubts about both characters–Lanie had some quick triggers, and they got pushed good in here; and Hop could be over-the-top alpha at times–but Ashley gave them reasons for their behavior, and the explanations made sense. Often they didn’t make them easier to read about, but they made sense, and their characters became more sympathetic than they had seemed at first glance.

The humor is here again too:

The minute I walked in…I was assaulted by decor that shouted, “A man lives here!

The prevailing colors were black and brown. Dark brown. The feel wasn’t “sit and stay awhile,” but “kick back and lounge for however long you want, preferably with a beer.”

…and the OMG alpha man being all sexy and romantic-like:

I felt his lips  hit mine, where he said, “Every step, every breath, every second I lived this earth, I’m thankful for, no matter how fucked up or whacked or hard or good, ’cause all that shit led me to you.”

Seriously. I’m moving to fictional Denver. That’s absolutely possible, right?

The only “but” in this whole review is that the end of this novel leaves us in exactly the same place the first novel did, in terms of the major drama that Chaos MC is facing. I was really hoping to have had more of that play out, but since this really does take place in the same time frame, it wasn’t to be. Kristen’s website assures us that there are many more books to come, though (High, Hound, Joker, and Rush are named specifically), so I guess I’ll just have to be patient. Not my strong suit. However, it’s not like I don’t have plenty to read in the meantime–and if I have to re-read the first two Chaos books before the next comes out to refresh my memory?

Yeah, that’d be such a hardship.

😉

In a nutshell: ultimately loved the story of Lanie and Hop, even though at times I wondered. Am anxious to find out what will happen to the club as a whole, though–both books end at a crucial point. 4 1/2 well-deserved stars.

(I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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