Rating: 3.5 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Stitch is at his motorcycle club’s bar celebrating his divorce. With a swagger, in walks tattooed, pierced, smokin’ hot Zak. Zak is everything Stitch wants but has never let himself have. Stitch can’t help but track Zak the moment he enters and is set on getting his attention. All Stitch can do is look however. Stitch has never been with a man and can barely admit to himself that he likes men, let alone admit it to the homophobic guys he runs with in the Hounds of Valhalla motorcycle club. Even though his ex-wife cheated on him, Stitch knows their sex life suffered and he is mostly to blame.
Zak comes to town looking for a quiet place to start a new tattoo business after a falling out with his ex-lover and business partner. What he gets is trouble in the form of one hot biker named Stitch. When a tattoo appointment with Zak leads to an intimate encounter, Stitch’s violent nature surges forth as he desperately tries to deny that he has feelings for a man.
As the two men then try to start a relationship, Zak finds himself crawling back into the closet in order to be with Stitch. As hot as they are in private, there is hiding, secrets, violence, and jealously coupled with the homophobic attitudes of the motorcycle club and Stitch’s ex. As Stitch comes to terms with wanting a life with Zak, life with the motorcycle club becomes too much even for a lifer like Stitch and walking away certainly does not come without an excruciating price.
This book delivers exactly what it says it will: one bad ass, controlling biker with a violent streak and one independent tattoo artist. Sounds great and I was totally on board. It’s perhaps the way it is delivered that did prove to be difficult at times.
Stitch is living the life of a biker in a club known for illegal dealings. He has always known he has liked men, but his lifestyle does not support it, and he is so conflicted and confused on what intimacy or a relationship with a man is all about. Zak knows he is gay, and although he is not actively screaming it out loud, he is not hiding it either. After their first encounter together, Stitch becomes violent, leaving Zak scared in his own home. So right away, we see what Stitch is really about. Zak appears as an interesting, likable guy, but he offers Stitch forgiveness for assaulting him oh so very quickly and this begins their secret relationship.
Stitch is not a character that is likable right away, he’s not supposed to be, and it’s quite possible some will never grow to like him. He is used to making the rules and he acts first, thinks later. He becomes possessive and jealous of Zak instantly even though he is hiding their relationship. Zak tries to stand up for himself, but is often giving into Stitch fairly easily as they can’t keep their hands off of each other.
There is violence and a gritty nature to the feel of the book overall and the violence and gore factor escalates as the story moves forward. This would have been totally fine, but some of the violence felt inserted, like it was just supposed to give it an edgier feel, rather than really fitting in, and some scenes just steered me in the wrong direction. The motorcycle club is looking to make more money and expand their activities and there are confrontations with a rival club. While there is on page violence, the authors only take us so far and then pull back a bit. At times I felt just on the edge of the action rather than in the middle of it or as if someone was blocking my full view of what was going on.
There were a few inconsistencies and contradictions with the characters and story. The motorcycle club as a whole does not come off as being very bright and wind up looking amateurish. They leave an extreme message for their rivals and then celebrate with a party only to be caught off guard when of course there is retaliation. Stitch is so freaked out over getting caught with Zak, but keeps pulling him to the back rooms of the club. The loud sound of the motorcycles themselves is commented on throughout the book, yet, when Zak is followed for miles he never hears it.
The language at times was awkward. There was just something about the way the words went together that just kept stopping me at times. And when Stitch was trying hard to be sincere with Zak some of his words were so out of character with the rest of him and did not ring as true, like when he goes from not telling anybody anything to comments about love and Zak’s soul. The way his character was shown and spoke all the way through really conflicted with some of the other narrative. The secondary characters were not distinct enough to differentiate between them. The club guys all had names, but they all grunted basically the same ideas and were all of the same narrow mind.
This story delivers on it being a harder hitting biker story with on page violence. There were parts that worked for me and parts that didn’t. There were characters I liked and others, not so much. There was a darker feel with characters that cover for each other and then turn on each with morally questionable actions all rotating around two guys looking for love. So then, of course, the choice is yours if this sounds like a book for you.