Even if you’ve only been paying attention marginally, you would know I absolutely love Kristen Ashley books. Since she has gone mainstream with a big-time publishing house, it is clear to see the quality of her work has dramatically improved. The editing has taken her books from 1,000+ pages to just under 300 in most cases, making the stories more concise, easier to follow, and leaving readers feeling less guilty about skimming through a lot of the fluff. Kristen Ashley is a great story-teller. She develops characters with depth, intriguing pasts, and the level of emotion they explore is, at times, heart wrenching. Which is why, when characters reappear in other books or cross over between her various series, it’s always nice to ‘see’ them.
Fire Inside is the 2nd book in the Chaos Motorcycle series–a spin-off of the Dream Man series; it is also, one of my favorite books of Kristen Ashley’s to date. The primary reason for my love of this particular book is the alpha male character–Hop. In the past I’ve had issues with all of her male characters essentially morphing into the same Neanderthal speech pattern–which rarely happened in this book. Also, the male lead in Fire Inside stayed true to who he was throughout the book and was for the most part, a likable, true to life guy which made the story line more real. Which goes a little something like this…
Hop is in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. We met him in the book Motorcycle Man along with Lanie. At the time, Lanie was engaged to Elliott and Hop was with Mitzi–though we saw him in a very compromising position with Bee Bee. Fast forward to Fire Inside, Hop is no longer with Mitzi and Elliott is deceased–leaving it impossible for Lanie to be with him anymore. Lanie and Hop get together and proceed to keep their relationship a secret from everyone else in the club–primarily because Tyra, Lanie’s best friend and her husband, Tack–the president of Chaos–probably would not approve. See, Tyra was the one who caught Hop in the compromising position with Bee Bee (who has been banned from ever going near all things Chaos; but not because of Hop–hint: read Motorcycle Man). Anyway, there are a lot of twists and turns: Lanie blames herself for the kidnapping and other tragedies that befell Tyra, and her parents are the epitome of drama. Hop has 2 kids and an extreme dislike for their mother. Lanie and Hop sneaking around and subsequent discovery–you knew it had to happen–breaks them up, reveals secrets of both Hop and Chaos’ past, and then of course there’s the happily ever after. There are no kidnappings and drama of that sort, this is a true character development love story–which is a welcomed departure from Ashley’s other books and another reason for me to like this one. Not to mention, Lanie is an advertising executive with her own business–very buttoned up and professional and Hop is a ‘text book’ motorcycle club man and works in a garage–yet they work (it gives me hope!!!).
I am looking forward to more books in this series and more from Kristen Ashley in general. She has truly become one of my most favorite authors. Her books are easy reads, a lot of fun, and seriously–who doesn’t love a happy ending?!?!?