Riding Dirty (Dirty Eleven #1)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Psychologist Mia Richards wants revenge. Years ago, she and her husband were the victims of a home invasion by members of an outlaw motorcycle club. They killed Phillip and believing Mia to be dead as well, left her. Since then she’s undergone an identity change and now works as a counsellor, primarily with women. Now she’s working with a new client – Cole “Shank” Shepherd. He’s perfect for the revenge plan she has in mind. He’s fresh out of jail, turning informant in order to secure his early release. As a member of the Dirty Eleven club, the DA who is working with Mia wants Cole to give up information on the President, who just happens to be the uncle that took Cole and his brother in.
Cole is buying time until he can figure out how to double cross the cops rather than sell out the Dirty Eleven. What he didn’t figure was Mia – deliberately chosen to tempt him after long years in the lock-up. All his thoughts are devoted to her and what he’d like to do to her, rather than the games he should be playing to keep himself out of jail. Mia is one of the most amazing women he’s ever met and he can’t believe that she seems to want him just as much.
For Mia, this was supposed to be revenge, pure and simple. Seduce Cole, make him care and then spill the story of the men that killed her husband and left her for dead and he’d take care of the rest. But things get very, very complicated when Cole is different to how she assumed he’d be. And when she begins having genuine feelings for him….
Seems like romance books featuring motorcycle clubs are ‘in’ right now although this is the first one I’ve read. It turned out to be grittier in some ways than what I expected but tamer in others. It focuses very much on the sexual attraction between Mia and Cole and the problems that presents for each of them: Mia because she wanted to use Cole as a tool to execute her plan of revenge. She hasn’t felt anything since after her husband’s death. The lust for Cole catches her unaware and she struggles between her desire to just give in versus her job and her future. If she was caught involved with Cole she wouldn’t be able to practice anymore. She’s already lost so much and she’s taking a big risk. However at the same time….when she’s with Cole, she tends to forget her plan to use him. All she thinks about is him. And for Cole, he needed out of jail before he was killed by members of a rival club and so he decided to play informant. But he has no plans to rat out his boys and so he needs to find the balance of giving what they want without lasting impact. With Mia dangled in front of him like bait, he suddenly finds it very difficult to concentrate.
If you’re looking for a book that really focuses on the ins and outs of a motorcycle club, outlaw or otherwise then this book isn’t really for you. The detail is very small, there’s not a lot focusing on the structure and hierarchy of a club and there’s little information other than Cole having to be voted back in when he got out of jail to get his “cut” (his leather jacket/vest with the patches) back. He interacts very little with members other than a few brief conversations with his uncle and a couple of former members who are no longer actively involved with Dirty Eleven. It’s a lot of Mia and Cole talking, establishing that chemistry and the danger of becoming involved, especially in regard to Mia’s conflicting feelings. I could certainly understand her desire to have her revenge and it took some courage to come up with the plan and begin to implement it. It does get complicated very quickly when Mia has an immediate physical reaction to Cole.
Whilst the novel didn’t really contain as much on the clubs as I expected, it definitely contained more on the sexual side. Mia hasn’t been interested in anyone since her husband was killed – she says that she hasn’t felt anything since he died, but Cole makes her feel. She certainly undergoes a journey of sexual discovery with Cole. She’s not inexperienced and she and her husband were very happy before his death but with Cole she’s pushed to confess things (fantasies) that she might have normally not confessed to previously or that she never got a chance to in the past. She tries new things – not all of them are my sort of thing and at times I did have a bit of a hard time believing that Mia would evolve quite that quickly, coming out of her shell of grief and shock. There was one scene that didn’t feel at all as if it evolved naturally, it felt really forced and didn’t quite come off. Apart from that scene, the rest of their interactions were pretty hot and I liked the chemistry the two of them had together.
This is apparently the first in a series, so I’ll definitely check out future books.
Book #198 of 2014