In a genre saturated with terrible biker romance/erotica, there are a small handful of authors who stand apart. Ann Mayburn, with her Iron Horse MC series is definitely one of those stand-outs.
The first two novels, Exquisite Trouble and Exquisite Danger, are Mayburn’s debut MC couple, Smoke (hero) and Swan (heroine). I’m going to review the books separately, but because they are about the same hero/heroine, I’ll try to get up my review for the second book this week as well.
Before I met Smoke I’d never been kissed, really kissed, by a man, let alone a biker sex god bent on taking my virginity and my heart.
I got dragged into the deadly world of the Iron Horse MC by my crazy twin sister who is engaged to the club’s President and even crazier mom who only cares about herself. Smoke has been assigned by the club to keep me safe even though he’s everything that I should be afraid of. He’s the kind of man who lives by his own rules and does whatever he wants whenever he wants, but he treats me like I’m something rare and precious, not a socially dysfunctional basket case who has no idea how to love, but needs him more than her next breath.
Not that my feelings matter, because if we don’t find my mother soon, the only thing I’ll have to be worried about is who is going to kill me first.
NOTE- This is Part One of a Two Part book with a ‘Happy for Now’ ending.
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I loved Exquisite Trouble but I did find it a little bit hard to get into the rhythm of Mayburn’s writing. She wrote first person perspective and it might just be the first time I’ve read this style since highschool. Also, Swan is autistic, so her brain tends to jump around a lot, which means the writing does too. Once I got used to her idiosyncrasies though, I settled in and enjoyed the story.
One of the best things about Ann Mayburn, which I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts, is that she does a phenomenal job of building an entire world in her series. I love that her couples don’t exist in a private bubble; they interact with other characters and it all fits. It flows. Feels natural. This is incredibly difficult to achieve (I’m guessing, considering the huge numbers of authors who fail) but in an MC type story where there are so many secondary characters who are integral to both plot and character development, it is even more important. And this author nails it on the head.
One thing I wish is that there were more scenes from Smoke’s POV. The book finishes from his perspective but the rest of the time we can only see his thoughts from his conversations, or from Swan’s interpretation of Smoke … which is problematic at times. Because of Swan’s autism, she has a difficult time reading people and understanding certain social cues and situations. As a result, there are points in the book when you know she is misunderstanding him.
The second book has many more scenes from Smoke’s POV which is awesome, and he reflects on the mistakes he made with Swan in the beginning. Smoke starts out as the typical egotistical, alpha-male, sexually dominant biker, but changes his way of relating to and understanding Swan as he gets to know her better and realizes the differences in which they communicate.
Swan is a kick-ass, take no names, completely comfortable with violence chica. Raised by a mob assassin mother-figure and mentally unstable Spec Ops superstar father, she curses like a sailor and stands beside her man. But at the same time, due to an isolated childhood and problems relating to other people, especially her peers, she is very vulnerable emotionally. She has limits that absolutely cannot be pushed without her shutting down. Swan is also a virgin, and once Smoke realizes these things about her, he discovers a sweet, gentle side of himself that only comes out for his girl. I wish the reader could have had those chapters from his POV to see these realizations occur, so it is great that the next book has more dual perspective sections.
Smoke and Swan are one of those couples where you can just see that they were made for each other, and their love makes you believe in a higher power.
I do wish that the book was a bit longer, to allow for more interaction between Swan and some of the other characters, particularly Beach, her twin’s fiance and the President of the same MC Smoke belongs to. Other than that, their story is awesome and I highly recommend this series if you need a break from the biker junk littering the romance and erotica genres right now.
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