Julie Ann Walker
September 2012, Romantic Suspense
Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, 320 pages, Amazon ASIN 1402267169 Part of a series
I am not a motorcycle person so I was a bit worried when I realized that much of In Rides Trouble takes place at a custom bike shop. My qualms were unnecessary, though, as the book's romance was strong enough to withstand the distractions of a fast-paced, action-packed plot - and quite a few motorcycles.
Becky "Rebel" Reinhart (though I think she is actually only called Rebel once) is a spunky young woman who runs a custom bike shop that is a cover for a group of covert agents. She is "just one of the guys" in many respects, except for one guy in particular: Frank Knight, the owner of the shop, who is all too aware of Becky's femininity. The two have lusted after each other for years, but a few things have kept Frank from making a move: The employer/employee relationship, the fact that Becky is a good friend's sister, and a 13 year age difference between them.
But when Becky's friend's yacht gets hijacked by pirates while Becky is aboard, Frank and the rest of the bike shop mechanics (or more accurately, former Navy SEALs) come to her rescue. During the aftermath of the rescue mission, something shifts in Becky and Frank's relationship and they're left with uncertainties and questions.
This book is so fast-paced, it practically gave me whiplash. It is a very quick read, and an entertaining one too. Becky and Frank are delightful together. Their chemistry was palpable, and so was Frank's tension. He had good reasons to stay away, or at least reasons he thought were good. There is also a question of another woman in Frank's life that is central to his hesitancy to make a move on Becky. The author does a good job of keeping the reader on her toes, giving us just enough information to put two and two together without completely giving us the answer.
This book is part of the Black Knights Inc. series, which features members of this covert ops team. There is a prologue that gives us a bit of information about how the whole operation was set up, but I got the sense that there was some build-up of Frank and Becky's relationship in a previous book, which I missed out on. I got just enough to keep up, so I never felt lost; I just would have liked to see more of the early stages of Frank and Becky's relationship.
The men in this book are very male. Frank reminded me of some of Rachel Gibson's testosterone-filled heroes. There is lots of creative swearing, lots of talk about each other's balls, lots of alpha-male tendencies. For some, this is exactly what they look for in a book. For others, it's a huge turn-off. I fall somewhere in between. I certainly wouldn't mind if there was less discussion of genitalia, but it was also sort of fun to see them poke at each other in a very masculine way.
Becky and Frank are both prickly people, and I liked seeing them take swipes at each other, while still showing some true affection. Something about this book pulled me in, and didn't let me go until after I had finished reading it. It's a quick read, and a fun ride.
-- Jane Granville
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