Tuesday, February 16, 2016

4 Star Book Review | Hidden Heat by Carla Swafford

HIDDEN HEAT (Brothers of Mayhem #1)
by Carla Swafford
Published: February 16th, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Erotica, MC
Provided by publisher via NetGalley for Review
Purchase: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iTunes | Google Play
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Sizzling with passion and suspense, perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Julie Ann Walker, the Brothers of Mayhem series revs up as a headstrong beauty faces off against an outlaw motorcycle club—and falls for the bad boy she never saw coming.

Cassidy Ryder refuses to be intimidated by anyone, even the hell-raising, hard-drinking Brothers of Mayhem. The daughter of their former president, she’s not above smashing a few heads to keep her teenage brother safe. But when Cassidy’s big mouth gets her in trouble, the only thing that saves her is some quick thinking from the Brothers’ bartender. He’s commanding and strong, and as smooth as the whiskey he pours: the ultimate temptation for a girl who swore she’d never be a biker’s plaything.

But Thorn Savalas is no ordinary biker. He’s a cop, and he’s worked too hard earning the Brothers’ trust to blow his cover over a female—even one who rocks a pair of jeans like Cassidy. The only way to protect her is by claiming she’s his old lady. Trouble is, Thorn can’t just pretend. He wants Cassidy, and every scorching touch tells him she feels the same. But acting on their hottest fantasies could leave them both exposed . . . even if nothing else has ever felt so real.

In Hidden Heat, Cassidy is trying to save her younger brother from the same destructive life their parent's lead in the Brothers of Mayhem MC. Thorn is working undercover to bring down the entire MC and their illegal operation smuggling motorcycle parts. When Cassidy takes it too far and gets on the bad side of  Stonewall, the club's president, Thorn steps in and saves her by claiming her as his old lady. As they begin to trust each other, Thorn lets Cassidy in on the operation by making her his CI. He'll do anything to protect her from Stonewall. Neither of them expected to fall in love along the way.

This book was different from any of the other MC romances I've read. While most MC romances focus on the MC and the people within it, Hidden Heat shows two people trying to break free of it. The actual club in Hidden Heat wasn't like any of the other's I've read about. The others seemed more like families. The women, specifically the old ladies, and children were respected and protected. In this book, the women in the MC were treated terribly and the children even more so. The Brothers of Mayhem MC seemed more like a group of men who were only together for their own gain and no one else's. Whereas in the others I've read, they all worked together for what was best for the entire club and the people in it. I think I prefer the kind of MC's that are more family-based, even if they still do illegal things like the Brothers of Mayhem. I liked how Hidden Heat focused more on this undercover cop who has infiltrated the club in an effort to bring it down. We get to see all the planning that goes into that kind of operation. At first, Cassidy seems like a liability to the operation, but when Thorn sees how desperately she wants to save her brother and see the club destroyed, she becomes a great strength to him, even though she still causes some problems. I just really liked this different angle in an MC romance.

As I mentioned, Thorn is an undercover cop in the Brothers of Mayhem MC. But he is also a part of the Savalas criminal family. Although he went the straight and narrow way, his connections to such a family give him an advantage in his undercover work. He has a younger brother named Wolf, who I thought was adorable and at times I felt sorry for him. He really just wants to know that his brother cares about him. Wolf really doesn't seems like a bad guy at all. I'd love to see a brotherly scene between Thorn and Wolf. Cassidy is the daughter of the Brothers of Mayhem's founding president and the foster daughter of their founding vice president. She and her brother Storm never had a good life growing up and that has led her to make come pretty bad choices, but now she's trying to keep her brother from making the same mistakes that she did. Storm is on the cusp of turning 18 and being eligible to become a prospect in the club. He doesn't like his sister nagging him about the club and he especially doesn't like it when he sees her with Thorn. They are both very head-strong people and are constantly butting heads. Then there's Stonewall, the Skull and president of the Brothers of Mayhem. He's a disgusting old man who has been wanting inside Cassidy's pants since she was a young teen. He finds ways to make things difficult for her and Thorn and he even uses Cassidy to get Thorn to do as he wants. Stonewall is a man who only cares about his own wants and needs, no matter what they are.

I liked how the story switched between Cassidy's point of view and Thorn's. We really get the whole story with this set up. I also enjoyed this different take on an MC romance, having one of the main characters as an undercover cop. Thorn is a character that you can really get behind and root for. And for Cassidy you really just want to see her have a better life, with Thorn of course. Everyone loves a happy ending. There is a happily ever after for them, but it definitely doesn't come easy. There are some surprises in store for them and some sacrifices. Stonewall, while I hated his guts, was a very good villain in this story. I really want to read Storm's story, There seems to be more going on than Cassidy or anyone else, including us the readers, realize.  I want to know what's been going through Storm's head. All in all, Hidden Heat has everything you could want in a story. A new take on most other MC romances, characters you root for, a villain you can't help but hate, scenes that leave you wondering what else could possibly happen next, and characters you want to know more about in the future books in the series.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.

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