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LOVED IT! Absolutely fantastic.
This is the third of Kristen Ashley’s Chaos books – set in the MC world, it’s not as hardcore as other biker series, with these boys having pulled themselves off the dark path to now be completely legit, although some of the goings on are still a little shady. While each book is its own story and could probably be read as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading these books in order so that you have an understanding of the world and the major players. I have loved each of the books in this series, and this one is no exception. If you’re a fan of KA, then you’ll pretty much know what to expect going in, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. The characters are wonderful, the love story is sensational, and all of the other awesomeness that KA puts into her stories all combine to make this a fantastic read! It’s 600+ pages, but I couldn’t put it down (so fair warning – this review is long, gushy and totally quote-whorey).
Carson Steele was raised in hellish conditions by a drunk and abusive father. Some neighbours took an interest in him, ensuring that he at least had food, and a place to go when he needed one, but what he really wanted was the camaraderie and brotherhood that he saw when he looked through the fence at the Chaos Motorcycle Club. His situation didn’t change much as a teenager, except that he discovered girls and developed an epic crush on head cheerleader and homecoming queen, Carissa Teodoro. She was the only one who didn’t look down at him, and would smile at him whenever she saw him, and it was those moments that would brighten his day. And when Carson finally decided he’d had enough of his father’s abuse and left town, Carissa was the last person he saw. They shared a moment, and then he was gone.
Seven years later and Carson is now a member of the Chaos MC, and is known as Joker. He is living his dream, designing and building custom bikes and cars, and is well respected by his brothers, though he remains closed off and unemotional.
Meanwhile, Carissa has hit rock bottom. She married her high school boyfriend and was on her way to realising her dream of a family until she discovered him cheating on her and he kicked her out when she was pregnant. Now a single mother with an 8 month old baby boy, she is broke, living in a shitty apartment and working part time at a grocery store while trying to pay her bills and raise her son. Carissa’s ex is a real piece of work. He’s an asshole of the highest order with connections in high places, and he wants his son with him and his new fiancée, so she is also in the middle of a legal battle with the threat of losing her baby constantly over her head.
Carissa is by the side of the highway with a flat tire, when a big, muscled, bearded biker comes to her rescue. Joker instantly knows she is the girl he dreamed of for so many years, but though he seems familiar to her, she doesn’t recognise him. She’s drawn to him though, and it’s only a few days later when she flounces into the Chaos compound with pie for Joker to thank him for helping her. And this is where it all beings.
Joker is standoffish, of course. He doesn’t let people in, and he’s not about to start now – Carissa not recognising him hurt, and he’s not about to open himself up to more of it. But when the Chaos family get wind of exactly what Carissa is dealing with in her personal life, they decide that sort of thing is not going to fly, so they all step up to take her back.
“We all fall on hard times … It’s just lucky for you that you fell in the right direction.”
Of course this means that Carissa is around the MC a lot. She makes it very clear that she’s interested in Joker, and the scenes where MC boys and their women are witnessing their interactions and providing commentary are absolutely freaking hilarious! Joker is wary and doesn’t feel like he’s good enough for Carissa, but she continues to push, his brothers continue to push, and he decides to take a chance. And so Joker begins the KA alpha courtship. He’s been there for Carissa when she’s needed him, but he’s decided it’s time for more, and he starts to insinuate himself in her life, and it’s sensational!
“Hey,” he whispered.
“Hey,” I whispered back.
He curled his fingers around the side of my neck and slid them up to my jaw.
“You good?” he asked.
I swallowed. Then nodded.
“Wanna be better?”
It’s not long before Carissa learns who Joker really is (OMG, that scene! So emotional!), and their relationship develops quickly, but it’s so easy and natural, and it never feels rushed. They feel strongly for each other, they are entirely open with each other, and they fall into something incredibly special.
“I think I might be falling in love with you,”…
“Then quit thinkin’, Carrie, because I know I’m fallin’ for you.”
I love these two together! They both have personal issues that they are dealing with, but they are determined to be there
for each other, giving the other exactly what they need in every way they can, and help each other to heal from the hurts of the past. Their shared past history makes their connection all the more intense, and their chemistry is absolutely sizzling! And they’re so freaking functional! They talk to each other, they share what they’re feeling, and even through there are pressures on their relationship, they never let them get in the way of what they are trying to build together.
“Yeah, Carrie … It’s you. It’s always been you. It’ll always be you. Fuckin’ always.”
Carissa and Joker are fantastic characters! They have both been through so much, but they’ve overcome it to get to a place where they can claim their happy. Carissa is light and bright, and a bit of a goofball (though not in an annoying way). She is exactly what Joker needs to draw him out and get him feeling again. Joker is a bit of a badass, and is committed to his brothers, but he has a vulnerability about him which is beautiful to see, and I loved seeing him come back to life as he starts to let people in. He openly and unapologetically loves his girl and her baby boy, and he is so beautiful with baby Travis. He is loving, affectionate, supportive and swoonily protective of both of them, and the way he defends Carissa and stands up for her with her ex had me swooning madly.
“ I’ve loved her since high school, man. She means everything to me. You gotta drag her down, that’ll suck, but I’ll pick her back up. You gotta rip her apart, I’ll fuckin’ hate watchin’ it, but I’ll put her back together.”
There’s a really strong theme of family – the family you choose for yourself, the people that have your back without question, giving you what you need, when you need it. And that message is there over and over again throughout this book and as always, KA does it so, so well. Carissa is seamlessly welcomed into the fold with the rest of the girls, and I loved getting the chance to catch up with the girls from the other books, and seeing their time together. Of course, Joker has his MC brothers who are there for him without question, and seeing him reconnect with the people that were so special to him from his childhood was something really special. But the highlight for me was seeing his relationship with Club President, Tack, who is somewhat of a father-figure for him – their moments together were gorgeous.
“That motherfucker, he taught you to think you were garbage. You took that on. You were a kid. You had no fuckin’ choice. But he was wrong, Joke. And the only person who doesn’t get that shit is you. Get it. Get over it. Get your head outta your ass. And find what you deserve. Find some fuckin’ happy. If it isn’t this girl, it isn’t. But whatever it is, I want it for you. Your brothers want it for you. Their old ladies want it for you. The only one who isn’t lookin’ for that for you is you.”
This book follows on really nicely from the previous ones in the series, with the Club’s turf issues with a local drug lord continuing. It’s not a huge part of the story, but it’s definitely there, and Joker is dragged into the trouble. And as a bonus, it provides the perfect opportunity for series crossover!!!! The boys from the Dream Man series, some of the Rock Chick hot bunch, and even Knight Sebring are all part of the unfolding action, and I was in KA-fangirl heaven! These boys are made. of. Awesome, and damn, I need to move to Denver!
“That was uncanny in an eerie way, Hawk calling you right when we started talking about him.”
“Lee Nightingale is a supreme badass. Hawk’s a bona fide superhero who doesn’t wear a ridiculous suit. This is no joke. He probably sensed our discussion thought powers he got when his mom was pushin’ him out and got struck by lightning or something. I don’t ask. He’s an ally. He’s also a brother of Tack’s. I’m just happy he isn’t an enemy.”
If you’re a KA fan, you’re gonna love it!
I loved every moment of this book. I was completely swept up in Joker and Carissa’s story, and thought it all played out beautifully. There is no angst, no stupid, just a beautifully unfolding romance which is sweet, funny, passionate and totally freaking hot. The MC and family stuff is blended in really well and, in true KA tradition, there are lot of the little moments that make you really feel everything that is happening. And there’s even an epilogue – it’s brief, but it’s enough, and it left me with a massive grin on my face.
I absolutely loved it – 5 stars.
An Advanced Reader Copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Chaos series
The Chaos series
Wild Like the Wind (#5) (Hound)
To be released 31 July 2018
Pre-order: Kindle Ebook
For more KA awesomeness, check out our Kristen Ashley Author Spotlight