Thursday, August 6, 2015

review || MAKE YOU BURN { blog tour } by Megan Crane

Loveswept | August 4, 2015 | MC Romance
The Deacons of Bourbon Street, book 1


Meet the Deacons of Bourbon Street, bad boy bikers who are hell on wheels—and heaven between the sheets. Megan Crane revs up an irresistible new series co-written with Rachael Johns, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.

Sean “Ajax” Harding’s oaths are inked into his skin. Once second-in-command of the Deacons of Bourbon Street motorcycle club, he left New Orleans to protect the brotherhood, and only the death of his beloved mentor, Priest Lombard, could lure him back. Walking into the old hangout gives him a familiar thrill—especially when he gets an eyeful of the bar’s delectable new owner. A wild ride with her is just the welcome Ajax needs. Then he realizes that she’s Priest’s daughter, all grown up and totally off limits.

Sophie Lombard loved her father, not his lifestyle. She’s done with bikers . . . until Ajax roars into town—arrogant, tough, and sexy as ever. And although he treats her like the Catholic schoolgirl he once knew, Sophie’s daydreams tend to revolve around sin. With the very real possibility of heartbreak looming, Sophie knows better than to get too close to an outlaw. But every touch from Ajax is steamier than the Louisiana bayou—and heat like this may just be worth getting burned.

{ about megan crane } .

Megan Crane is a New Jersey native who had great plans to star on Broadway, preferably in Evita, just like Patti LuPone. Sadly, her inability to wow audiences with her singing voice required a back-up plan. Accordingly, she graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature, mostly so she could wallow in her obsession with the remarkable multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz and her idol, the bitter and hilarious David Feinberg. After many years in the rain and subject to the whim of seasons, she followed the sun to Los Angeles, where she lives with too many pets and an artist named Jeff. She is still plotting her Broadway debut.

{ excerpt } .

The demon incarnate laughed.

He lounged there at
her bar like it was his, far too beautiful and much too dangerous, like he was still her father’s favorite weapon and it was still ten years ago, when that might have mattered.

And he laughed.

Like Sophie was still a little girl, beholden to the lawless whims and half-assed schemes of men like him, battered and rough and wild straight through, unfit for society and unwilling to change even a goddamned inch. No matter who it hurt.

He was just like her father. But her father was dead and Ajax didn’t belong here. Not anymore.

Her father. Grief and loss and that familiar, hopeless fury lashed at her like the business edge of a Louisiana rainstorm, but she beat it back. Not here. Not now.

Lombards kept their tears to themselves. No matter what that cost them. And it didn’t matter that Sophie was tired of paying that particular tax, too. She was still a Lombard. Her father had depended on her. The more he’d retreated into his back room office these last few years, the more he’d left the bar and everything else in her hands, the more she’d showed him she could live up to his notion of what it meant to be a Lombard even if she hadn’t been a member of his club of assholes and degenerates.

She’d been more than that. She’d been his blood.

I’ll always take care of you, he’d told her a million times, especially when he’d been drunk. You’re my blood, angel.

Sophie thought that meant more than a gang tattoo and a few Harleys. It had to her. She kept telling herself it had to him, too.

But then Ajax stopped laughing, and that was worse.

“You should mind your fucking manners, Sophie,” he said, quietly. Much too quietly.

To someone who didn’t know him, he probably sounded about as friendly as a huge, built, flint-eyed guy with that many tattoos and that particular way of carrying himself—like a threat on a very short leash—could sound.

Sophie knew better, and not only because she could see the impossible blue of his eyes.

“Or what?” she asked, making herself sound as bored as possible.

Behind the bar, poor Danielle was staring at her as if Sophie had lost her mind. Maybe she had. Maybe that was what this thing inside of her was.

It had started when the police had turned up yesterday to tell her the news. That finally, impossibly, Theodore “Priest” Lombard, legendary president of the Deacons of Bourbon Street motorcycle club and Sophie’s only family in the world, had taken one fast turn too many on his beloved Harley. It had fused into the crazy urge she’d had to wander the Quarter dressed like this, hiding her grief and her loss and her urge to lie down in the fetal position somewhere and never get up again in plain, gold pastie-ed sight.

And then Ajax had rolled into the Priory like he’d never been away. The gritty old bar was the only thing she had left of her father and the only thing that was really hers anyway after all these years of running it by herself. And here came Ajax with all of that old biker shit clinging to that ruthless body of his and so much like her father it hurt Sophie to look at him—and that thing inside her had simply . . . imploded.

If she stopped running her mouth, she didn’t know what would become of her.

Maybe she’d die, too.

She could feel Ajax’s gaze on her like a touch, a little bit dirty and very, very thorough, and she was fiercely glad she was practically naked. Men were simple and bikers were even more elemental than that. He’d be a lot more likely to look at her exposed skin than the pulse she could feel doing backflips and assorted acrobatics in her neck and her wrists and deep between her legs. It would give her away in an instant if he could jerk his attention away from her tits, but why would a guy like Ajax do a thing like that?

But even as she thought that, his gaze was on hers again. Hard and shrewd, and she felt a little chill of something too much like foreboding creep down her exposed spine.

“Or I might lose my patience with you, little girl. You want to see what happens then, say the word.”

She’d lost her father and she’d loved that man, for all that he’d been infuriating, hypocritical, secretive, and wholly incapable of grasping that she was a grown woman who didn’t need his permission to do as she pleased. It was beside the point that she’d wanted his approval anyway. That she’d tried to take the place of all his lost brothers over the years, as if running this bar better than he ever had could bridge that gap. Still, she’d thought she’d done it. He’d even thanked her, in his typically gruff way. This place would sink without you, he’d told her, one whiskey-infused evening when he’d been feeling uncharacteristically emotional. Maybe I would, too.

And it had been one thing to put up with biker caveman bullshit from the man who’d raised her all on his own. She wasn’t taking it from anyone else. Not even if the anyone else in question looked like her hottest fantasies made flesh and sent straight to the French Quarter to test her resolve.

But that was between her and her vibrator.

“And that means what, exactly?” she asked Ajax, not bothering to hide her disdain. Or maybe that was her temper. It was hard to tell the difference today, or separate that out from the grief for her father like a live wire burning hot in her belly besides. “You going to shout a lot and act real scary and then run away from home for ten years? Oh, wait. You already did that.”

{ review } .

I'm going to be honest and say that when I started this book, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it. There weren't that many favorable reviews and while I've never been one to flow with reviews (did you know Southpaw received negative reviews? My gosh, I loved that movie. I buy very few movies, and that one will definitely be one of them), I certainly will purchase a book with more positive reviews than negative.

MC romances are somewhat new for me -- as in, the last year. Prior, I read one or two of Julie Ann Walkers' in the genre, but for the most part, it wasn't my thing. I wasn't a Sons Of Anarchy fan, didn't really jump on that bandwagon. But thanks to this reviewing adventure I started on, I've certainly broadened my horizons.

Sarah Castille's SINNERS TRIBE is probably my favorite MC series; I go back and forth with the BAYONET SCARS series--I like some better than others. It's a duology, but I really think I'll like book two of Pepper Winter's PURE CORRUPTION series. That said...

I honestly feel that Megan's DEACONS OF BOURBON STREET has a fair chance at being a favorite. The men are hard; I have a hard time seeing Ajax as the military man he once was. I think he's actually probably harder toward Sophie than necessary, but... *shrug*. When you get past that, you see the club life that Megan is writing, and you go with it -- no two clubs are going to be the same, so you have to look at the different series the same way.

When Ajax left, the president's daughter was still a girl in his book. Now he's back and is having a hard time matching the Sophie in front of him, clad in essentially nothing, to the Catholic school girl he knew.

Sophie doesn't want to believe her father's dead, but when Ajax comes back to town after ten years away, she knows it has to be true.

Sophie's character was a bit complex -- after hearing news that her father took a corner too fast and passed away, she tromped down Bourbon Street, scantily dressed, angel wing tattoos showcased, lower part of her butt showing from her tiny bottoms. He always said Sophie could do such walk over his dead body, so she does. On one hand, as a reader, that's read and you'd think she has no feelings for her father in the least bit. But no sooner than she returns from that, showcases her spunk and sass to the newly returned Sean Ajax, she breaks down in the shower, full body wrecking sobs.

She's a motorcycle club president's daughter. She knows the life, she knows the rules, she knows to be hard -- but sometimes you just need to break down, but you can't necessarily do that in front of an audience.

Ajax wasn't necessarily my favorite person to read. He was hard-headed and an ass more times than not. He was crude to the point of eye rolling, and quite frankly, I'm not sure why Sophie put up with him -- childhood crush be damned. I would have liked to see him have a softer side toward Sophie, but the way Megan wrote him worked still. Sophie certainly keeps Ajax on his toes -- her spunk gets her in trouble with him, sure, but in the end, he cares deeply for her (even if he uses the lifestyle as an excuse to not share the words).

I've already been peeking in on the next book of the series, which is partly why I feel that this is a series to watch. Ajax may not be my favorite but he has qualities that I'm sure will make him a stand out character throughout the stories. He needs someone like Sophie to keep him in line..!

for more reviews & tour goodies,

{ giveaway } .

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