Kitty: Oh, dear friends… Patty talked me into reading Motorcycle Man by Kristen Ashley. Obviously she is a sadist and I am a damn fool. Five pages into the first chapter and Tyra, the heroine, is slut-shaming herself, “I’m embracing my inner slut.”, referring to a one night stand with a guy who turns out to be her new boss.
Trixie: We need motorcycle gang old-lady nicknames for this one, Kitty. And I didn’t so much talk you into reading it as demanded that you share my pain.
I ran across a review for one of the books in KA’s Chaos series where a former fan shared her disappointment in the tonal change between the previous KA books and Chaos. It was mentioned that ever since KA got herself a publisher, things haven’t felt right. I HAD to find out what that meant so I picked up the last book of the Mystery Man series (which introduces Chaos) and decided to judge for myself.
Lord. Have. Mercy.
Kitty, do your bad plot summary thing, you bad girl, you.
Kitty: Tyra, miserable at her longtime job, quits and takes the first job she’s offered: office manager for Ride, a famous custom motorcycle and classic car restoration shop. She knows nothing about cars and is a bit out of place with her fondness for pencil skirts and stiletto heels. Before she starts, Eloise, the outgoing office manager invites her to a party for Chaos, the motorcycle club that owns and runs the shop, so she can get to know everyone. There she meets Tack, leader of the pack (hee hee! I couldn’t resist the rhyme…) a tattooed, grunty alpha male type, and falls in love at first sight. At this point, she makes the questionable decision to sleep with him EVEN THOUGH SHE KNOWS HE’S HER NEW BOSS, and in her words, is “wham-bam-thank you ma’am-ed.” (I question the validity of that phrase used as a verb.) Needless to say, Tack is shocked when she shows up to start her new job Monday morning and uses crude, sexually explicit language to explain why she can’t work there. That’s their meet cute. You also get lots of expository dialogue between them about how she’s not looking for Mr. Perfect, just the perfect man for her, and him explaining how she has to adapt to his world without him changing any for her. It’s loverly.
Trixie: I get liking Bad Boys. I get that whole Grunty-Man-Protector fantasy thing. I read for entertainment, not bragging rights; ergo, I don’t internalize bad romance nor do think that genre has some kind of moral obligation to be PC. I also know there are women and men out there who are either used to and/or get off on being treated like crap: something that might make me cringe or question what pack of wild, cave-dwelling creatures raised Tack might be perfectly normal and even swoon worthy to someone else. However, KA tends to take what the heroine would generally consider RED ALERT or unwelcome behaviors and transcribes them into misunderstood gestures, wherein the same heroine has to put up or shut up because it’s all for loooove. Like, not even excuse the behavior or possibly negotiate a cease and desist, just suck it up because the payoff will compensate (the payoff being hot, sweaty headboard banging) and the subtext justifies the action [insert Hero’s childhood trauma here].
It’s like, if your fireman boyfriend set your house on fire (bad) so that he could rescue you (good), fuck you while wearing the uniform (good) and then ask you to move in with him as a sign of commitment (good) because he’s an orphan and hasn’t known love before you. See? Three goods and all it took was arson!
Kitty: in this particular case, Tack, the hero, is fond of holding Tyra by her neck – against a wall, a bed, a desk, it happens many times in the book – as a way of making sure she’s okay. He says he’s taking her pulse. Wut. Dude, I don’t think that’s how that works.
Trixie: Not anymore than it would if I yanked a guy’s c*ck through a peephole to check if he was circumcised before opening the door. “I CANNOT ACCEPT PACKAGES UNTIL I VERIFY YOUR FORESKIN. IT’S A WEIRD HANGUP OF MINE ROOTED IN PAST TRAUMA. KRISTEN ASHLEY SAYS IT WILL BE ENDEARING, EVENTUALLY”.
Side note: why is it that I can spell out “fuck” but feel the need to asterisk “c*ck”? That’s weird, right? Also: I’m drunk right now.
Kitty: KA obviously has a fascination with Sons of Anarchy. Parts of this book felt like they were lifted straight from that television show. And not in a good way. Besides the choking as sign of affection, KA falls back into her usual biker life is fabulous shtick. It’s like she writes the worst parts of a mindf*ck, adds some sex, and calls it romance. Then she gives the “hero” a tragic backstory to make him relatable.
Trixie: By the time the Happily Ever WTFter rolled along, I was cheering for our protagonists because these two idiots deserved each other. Truly. So in a sense, it was a perfect romance.
Kitty: Do I even need to bring up the ridiculous b-plots? His teenage kids run amok and crazy ex-wife, her best friend on the run from the Russian mafia, disapproving family members, kidnappings, and assorted other items that made it feel like she had a list she was checking items off of. Oh, maybe I should also mention that this book was INTERMINABLE.
Trixie: I wanted to use a pic of Blonde Jesus/Charlie Hunnam somewhere in this review but this book is not worthy. We will persevere, however, and dig into the Chaos series and hope throat grabbing was redlined by KA’s new handlers. A girl can dream…