ARC Review: Redemption Road: Katie Ashley
Redemption Road (Vicious Cycle #2)
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New York Times bestselling author Katie Ashley plunges readers into a world of danger and desire in her Vicious Cycle motorcycle club romance series.
Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, becomes involved with a biker she knows is completely wrong for her. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined.
Born and bred into the Hell’s Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unlikely savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her.
Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the women he was never supposed to love?
(Click Vicious Cycle cover to view our 4-5 Star reviews)
“You want to talk about it?” Rev asked.
Only with him would I allow myself to go there. I swallowed hard. “It was about that last night with Mendoza . . . how he wanted to kill me.” The tremors ricocheted through me again like I was being shaken by someone.
Placing his hands on each side of my face, Rev pushed my head back so I could look into his eyes. “Believe me when I say that you never have to worry about Mendoza hurting you ever again.”
“How can you be so sure?” I whispered.
“Because I will put a bullet between his eyes before he ever has the chance.”
My heartbeat skipped erratically, as if it was playing a manic game of hopscotch. For a moment, my instinct was to recoil from him with disgust by what he had just suggested. I couldn’t fathom how the compassionate and caring Rev could also be a coldhearted killer.
Rev stared down at his hands. “I’m sorry if I disappoint you, but that’s who I am. I will protect what’s important to me. You need to understand that.” From the look of determination that was etched across his handsome features, I knew he spoke the absolute truth.
I shook my head. “Regardless of what you say you are, I could never let you do that. If you got caught, you would go to jail because of me.”
“It would be worth it to end the life of such an odious creature. Mendoza doesn’t deserve to live.”
Although I wanted Mendoza dead even more than Rev did, it was still hard hearing him say the words. Anxiety ricocheted through me, and before I could stop myself, I blurted, “But if you went to jail, then I wouldn’t get to be with you anymore!”
Rev’s smile once again sent my heart skipping, and it amazed me how quickly he could shift from intimidating to sweet and tender. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“But if you—”
“I won’t get caught.”
“How can you possibly believe that?”
“Just trust me.”
“Because I’ve done it before.”
My brows furrowed in confusion.
He shook his head slowly back and forth as if he were trying to get me to see the light. “I’ve killed before, and I’ll kill again.”
A shudder ran through me at his words. My savior couldn’t be so soulless. He saved lives; he didn’t take them. He dried my tears and comforted me, which wasn’t part of a killer’s profile. With my stomach roiling in revulsion, I argued, “No . . . no, you’re not like that.”
“But I am.” He exhaled a breath that sounded tormented. “Right now, in your current frame of mind, it’s easy for you to think of me as only a knight in shining armor. But that’s just make-believe.
Trigger warning: slightly descriptive scenes of sex trafficking and child sexual abuse.
I'm all about the uncomplicated/low angst right now. I’m definitely eating up books that aren't full of drama centered on my protagonists. Instead, I much prefer my main characters to be on solid ground with each other while all the drama comes at them from the outside. If my couple can keep their issues together with minimal altercations I am golden. And Katie had all of this, the right balance, in my opinion.
I adored the fact that Rev wasn’t your commonplace biker and Redemption Road wasn’t your typical MC book. Our hero was unique from any other MC President I’ve read. He was especially contradictory to his brother Deacon. On paper, Rev wasn’t the raw and gritty type; however, off the pages, I don’t doubt he could be just as dark and dangerous as any other biker out there. Going by the last book though, I expected a different character than what the author gave us. As intrigued as I was with Rev in Vicious Cycle, I was nervous we would get a man much like his brother. Thankfully, Rev stayed true to the promise of him and I fell even harder. That gentle/old soul of his drew me straight in, making him the perfect hero for Anna and myself. Nathaniel/Reverend balanced everything out, while also showing his edge when needed.
If you can’t tell, I FUCKING LOVED Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy. The mix of his sweet and dirty sides were quite addictive. 90% of the time, I just wanted to do very naughty, naughty things to him… *smirk*
But I’ve digress…
While I did enjoy her character much better than Alex’s, I faltered a bit with Anna. I had trouble connecting completely with her. I think I just couldn’t quite understand her actions and reactions to what had happened to her.
The topics Ms. Ashley chose to write about in this installment are heart wrenching, to say the least; however, even with the tough taboo subjects, the characters and story moved at a lighter, sweeter pace. Well as light and sweet as you can get. Katie wrote it in such a way the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed.
I enjoyed Redemption Road way better than Vicious Cycle. I hate to say it but I really struggled A LOT with Deacon and Alex. I wanted to break my tablet and bang my head against the wall with those two. Rev and Anna, however, felt like a cool breeze. I totally appreciated that they weren’t overly angst filled. I liked that she gave us their traumas but didn't bang us over the head with extreme vivid tales. To me, Redemption felt more Katie like. If you’re a Katie fan, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
Looking back through the years Redemption Road is my second favorite Katie book to date. Although, this “Renaissance” man is my absolute favorite hero Katie has written.
I would definitely recommend Redemption Road. Ms. Ashley gave us her own take on the MC world and I rather enjoyed it.
Thank you, PENGUIN GROUP Berkley, NAL / Signet Romance, DAW, for the complimentary copy of Redemption Road.