Series: Spartan Riders #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Also in this series: Grit
Also by this author: Grit
Talia McKinnon said goodbye to love the day she signed the divorce papers and moved across the country looking for a fresh start. With work occupying her days and nights, a relationship is the last thing on her mind, until a run-in with a hot-as-Hades, leather clad biker changes her mind. He’s everything she shouldn’t want but has to have. The problem is, he’s not that easy to catch.
Tucker “Country” Abrams believes in two things: brotherhood and women. He takes his job seriously and his women hard, but at the end of the day, the only loyalty he has is to his club. So when a night with a beautiful stranger threatens to change everything, he’s quick to apply the brakes. But when a little detective work reveals that Talia may be much more than a one-night stand, Tucker is tasked with an impossible decision. Will he push her away, or go against every instinct he has and pull her closer?
Mettle is book 2 of the Spartan Riders series, but you could read it as a stand alone if you wanted to. I enjoyed Grit (book 1) and looked forward to Mettle!
Mettle did not start off promising for me. I liked the premise-female FBI agent goes undercover to get information on a human trafficking ring. However, the initial set up of the H and h did not work for me. First, the FBI is sending Talia in after another agent has already gone off grid. So, what does Talia do? She hooks up with one of the bikers on her first day. Like, actually goes back to his place (the biker compound) and has CRAZY sex with him (he has a drawer of sex toys and they enjoy them. For hours).
Now let me just spell out why I struggled with this. Talia and the FBI believe these guys are in a major human trafficking ring. One agent has already gone dark. Why in the hell would she hook up with one of these guys?? And, I can’t believe her boss didn’t yank her from the assignment as soon as he heard. Instead, they convince her to come up with a lame ass story about missing an ear ring so she can go back!?!? And I struggled again when I found out who the ‘missing’ FBI agent was and what they had done! Just CRAZY!
Okay, so if you can suspend reality and just accept this premise and behavior, the story in Mettle does improve. I don’t normally have such a hard time suspending reality. I mean, its fiction!! But, I struggled. Regardless, once I got over it and decided to finish the book, I was able to enjoy it more. The club is trying to find Cruiz, the lunatic who has been giving them problems. Tuck, with his special forces background, is the sergeant at arms and is tasked with setting the trap for Cruiz and trying to track him down. This puts Talia in a bit of danger since Cruiz is a psychopath and Tucker, being the good book hero he is, worries.
Overall, Mettle does give you those things you look for in an MC book-rowdy bikers who are dominate, sexual, and a little scary at times. I enjoy Valentine’s take on the MC subgenre, and despite my issues with Mettle, I will continue with the series!
- POV: 3rd
- Tears: no
- Trope: secret identity
- Triggers: none
- Series/Standalone: standalone within an interconnected series
- Cliffhanger: no
- HEA: View Spoiler »Yes, Tuck does forgive her and they end up together. No epilogue. « Hide Spoiler
MC club books…
It didn’t take long for Tucker to hunt down what he needed. All the hallmarks were there in the investigator’s report: abnormal heat markers present at multiple points, evidence of tampering with the electrical box, and the presence of an accelerant. Add that to the windows and doors all having been left open when the crew’s statements claimed they were always kept closed, and it was the fucking trifecta.
Unfortunately, there was nothing to point to a possible motive or the person or persons involved in setting the fire, but all Tucker had to do was look at what was used to make a connection: a combination of acetone and lighter fluid, two main ingredients in your common meth lab.
So the answer to their little mystery had to be Ricky fucking Cruiz. He was the only person who had motive and means, which made him guilty as sin in Tucker’s book.
“The bastard is going to pay.”
Standing on Blake’s front porch, picking his teeth with a toothpick, he stared out over the lawn and nodded. “That he is, my friend. That he is.”
“No one messes with my property and gets away with it.”
“No, they don’t.”
“You do realize this means Cruiz is in town, right?”
“Either that or he has his lackeys doing his dirty work while he sits off someplace cushy eating Bon-Bons and watching Married with Children reruns.”
“I love that show,” Blake commented. “They never should have canceled it.”
“Fucking crime,” Tucker agreed, shaking his head.
They stood in comfortable silence for a minute before getting back to business. “You think Jodi has anything to do with it?”
Tucker paused in his picking and looked up at his president. Eyes shot through with worry and tension stared back at him. “She’d be fucking stupid if she was.”
Blake’s head bobbed slowly on his shoulders in agreement. “So that’s a yes.”
“Stupid bitch. I should have listened when everyone said to stay away from her.”
“You were a kid,” Tucker offered, hoping to ease his guilty conscience somewhat. “None of us thought with the big brain back then.”
“That’s some truth right there.”
“How’s Gabby taking all this?”
“I haven’t told her.”
Tucker shot him a look that clearly conveyed he thought his friend was crazy for leaving her in the dark. It was always better to be prepared than to find yourself in the middle of the jungle without a weapon and one hand tied behind your back.
“Can you blame me? She’s a runner. One word about this, and she’d freak out. She’d start blaming herself again and then making excuses why she should leave and save us all the trouble.”
“Hmm, yeah, woman logic. Gotta love it.” Tucker pitched the frayed toothpick into the lawn. “Have you reminded her that Cruiz is coming whether she’s here or not? That this beef goes back to when we were all just a twinkle in our father’s eyes? He’s just using her and that money as an excuse to ignite a war between the clubs.”
“I’ve told her a thousand times. Trust me, she’s got a knack for twisting everything around in her head and believing it’s her fault. Shit, Ash got his finger slammed in the trunk while helping put away groceries the other day and she was convinced it was a sign that she wasn’t meant to be a mother.”
Tucker’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”
One of Blake’s dark brows winged up. “Seriously.”
And he thought something was wrong with him for avoiding relationships? “Tell me you set her straight.”
A sly grin crept across his president’s face. “Several times.”
“That’s what I’m talkin’ about!” They laughed and pounded fists. “You still workin’ on that new addition, man?”
“Like it’s my job.”
“Man, if you’re comparing sex with a job, then you’re not doing it right,” Tucker chided. “Sex with a woman is a privilege. Anyone who skims the details and doesn’t fully appreciate what she’s givin’ them doesn’t deserve the invite.”
“Spoken like a man in love,” Blake muttered, but Tucker had exceptional hearing, and he caught every word. The bastard.
“Fuck you very much. You know where I stand on this topic, and I’m done repeating myself. One of these days, you’re going to see how wrong you are, and then we’ll see who’s laughing.”
“It’ll be me.” Blake lifted his chin, a clear challenge. “Anyway, I should get inside before Gabby decides to come lookin’ for me. She hates when I leave a job unfinished.”
Tucker chuckled and shook his head. “Yeah, you definitely don’t want to get fired from that job.”
“A wise man once told me that it’s not a job if you do it right.”
With a wink and a wave, Blake turned to head back inside. “And hey, Gabby said to remind you about dinner. You’re supposed to bring your girlfriend. Guess they hit it off at the party.”
Tucker’s head dropped back on his shoulders, and he groaned. Again with the girlfriend bullshit. It was starting to feel like a losing battle, always correcting everyone. Whatever, it didn’t affect his personal life in any way. Let them think what they wanted. It had absolutely no bearing on whether or not he’d settle down. Which, for the record, would never happen.
“Text me the time and we’ll be there.”
“You got it, bro.” Blake disappeared inside, leaving Tucker to stand there and wonder what the hell his life was turning into, and more importantly, how he was going to stop it from happening.