Purchase on Amazon: Fire Inside: A Chaos Novel
Fire Inside (Chaos # 2) by Kristen Ashley
Lanie Heron isn’t looking for love—no surprise, considering her last serious relationship nearly got her killed. So when Lanie propositions Hop Kincaid, all she wants is one wild night with the hot-as-hell biker who patrols with the Chaos Motorcycle Club…
For Hop, Lanie has always been untouchable. She’s too polished and too classy for his tastes. But when she gives Hop the once-over with her bedroom eyes and offers him a night in paradise, he can’t say no. And he doesn’t regret it when he finds that Lanie is the best thing that’s ever happened to him—in or out of bed. Now the trick will be to convince her of that.
I’ve been riding on motorcycles all my life. In 2003, I decided to get off the back and ride my own. For me, the exhilaration and freedom of riding without restraint on the open highway is a way to escape the tedium that daily life inevitably brings. So, when I find novels that involve motorcycles, they immediately jump to my attention.
My friends on Goodreads have recommended that I read Motorcycle Man, from Ashley’s Dream Man series, but I never had the chance. When the Chaos series was introduced, starting with Own the Wind, I decided to jump in with this series. I wish now that I had read Motorcycle Man first, but I have discovered that Ashley provides the necessary exposition to help you follow the story line no matter what book you choose first. I could just as easily have started with this second book, Fire Inside without having read Own the Wind. By reading the books in order, however, I think readers will find greater satisfaction with the ongoing plot and character development over the course of the series.
Ashley immerses you into the fascinating, intricate world of the fictitious Chaos Motorcycle Club (CMC) biker gang. While I attend bike rallies and socialize with other riders, in no way do I fit into this world. I’m more like the guys in the movie Wild Hogs who leave behind Life’s stress to take a road trip.
However, for the CMC, riding motorcycles is more than a passion; it is a way of life. Gang members work, socialize, and even live together at a compound that provides living and recreational areas behind a bike garage and shop.
When reading Own the Wind, I found it a bit shocking and initially difficult to get over the pervading gang members’ sexist attitudes and their need to dominate their women. There is no room for political correctness in this environment. Women who visit the club and socialize with the members are called “bitches,” while a woman who gains the status of significant other becomes “an old lady.” The language is at times vulgar, and the men don’t put much stock in long, drawn out conversations. They pack as much meaning in as few words as possible. All of these aspects combine to give Ashley a distinctive writing voice and style which carries over into Fire Inside.
This story centers on the evolving and unlikely romance between the classy Lanie Heron and Chaos member Hopper “Hop” Kinkaid. Based on stereotypes, Lanie certainly wouldn’t seem like the type to hang out with bikers, but, because her best friend is married to the Chaos’s leader, Lanie is accepted as Chaos family. Lanie has suffered physical and emotional trauma from her past relationship, where her fiancé died because of his involvement with the Russian mob. It’s been years since she’s been involved with anyone, since she is unwilling to take the risk of having her heart crushed like before.
One night out of loneliness, Lanie boldly propositions Hop for a night of sex guaranteed with no strings and no further expectations. She’s been attracted to Hopper for years, even though she has never once acted on it…until now. Although Hop is secretly pleased that Lanie is interested in him, he doesn’t want to deal with any complications or conflicts that may ensue if they do this. When Lanie walks off telling Hop she’ll be waiting in his room for him for fifteen minutes in case he changes his mind, well that just seals the deal for Hop. He can’t resist the temptation of the beautiful, elegant Lanie Heron, who chose him.
For Hop, one night with Lanie is not enough. When the night is over and she leaves, he refuses to accept that one night is all they will have, and he tracks her down at home to continue their sexual escapades. Although the sexual chemistry between is comparable to exploding fireworks, they both know their relationship is more than just physical. Hop sees Lanie as a sophisticated, refined “lady,” and that is the term of endearment he uses for her throughout the book. He tells her he’s never had anyone with her class and beauty, and he’s not willing to let her go.
Throughout the story, even though Hop is at times domineering toward Lanie, he is also gentle and respectful to her. Hop is more than a one dimensional, stereotypical biker guy, and Lanie is drawn to Hop’s gorgeousness, charm, and charisma.
Lanie lives in guilt, fear, and loneliness, plagued by the nightmares of her past. She doesn’t want to get involved with Hop because she fears his dangerous lifestyle will only cause more pain and heartache for her. Although she tells Hop to leave her alone, that she has nothing to offer him, he still keeps a close watch on her, knowing that she needs someone there for her. Circumstances keep drawing them together, forging a stronger bond between the two.
I love how much Hop cares about Lanie, and as much as she tries to resist him, he just keeps moving forward, knocking down those imaginary steel walls that have enveloped her heart.
He is emotionally strong enough to not be deterred by her repeated rejections, and to softly beg her to take a chance on him. He promises he will help her fight those “monsters” that keep holding her back from fully living.
Most of the book is about the painful, yet so fulfilling process of falling love. Much of the conflict is relationship-based, with family drama, miscommunication, and Club business creating obstacles for Hop and Lanie. Throughout the book, my favorite parts occurred when both Hop and Lanie exposed their vulnerabilities and admitted painful truths to hold on to what they have together.
To all you dedicated Kristen Ashley fans, let me just state, now I get what all the fuss is about!
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author (From Goodreads Profile)
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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Music to Complement Fire Inside
Songs Referenced in the book: (Credit to Kristen Ashley)
Bob Seger- “We’ve Got Tonight”
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – “You’ll Accomp’ny Me”