Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
This is my first book about a motorcycle club, so that was interesting. A bit weird, especially how completely infatuated Oz was with the club and the brotherhood, but something new for me. I wanted to read this because of the author. Katie McGarry is one of my favourite contemporary writers and while her new book did have her signature hot romance and vivid characters, I thought it kind of fell short.
I think it was because of the main characters. I didn't like either protagonists for a while. Emily was a good girl but could suddenly switch things up and seduce Oz to get her way. Plus there was the whole 'I spent a night with a dead body' thing; yeah, no real explanation for that, it happened, it screwed her up and made her scared of the dark and the woods - understandably - and yet I sometimes got the impression it didn't screw her up enough. Maybe a bit harsh but when something like that happens, you expect it to impact in a big way. And apart from making her scared of the dark and uneasy with leaving her home town, there wasn't much. Apart from that, Emily was nice but nothing really special.
As for Oz, I liked him a lot quicker. Took me a while to warm to him, mostly because of his obsession with the club. Surprisingly, his attitude towards girls didn't annoy me as much as I thought it would, at least he was honest with what he could offer. Plus, while naively devoted to the club, he was loyal and protective, not to mention hot! Yeah, it really annoyed me that he blamed Emily for hurting her father, called her a traitor for leaving, even though that had been her mother, but I liked Oz. What I didn't like, which surprised me, was their relationship. It was steamy fairly fast but it took me longer to root for them. It wasn't until both of them were ready for their "thing" to become something stronger that I really supported them.
The story is what gripped me though. The complexities of the motorcycle club and club life, sexist though they may be, was strangely fascinating. And of course when you are finally told the truth about Emily's mother running away, it had a great forbidden, "Romeo-and-Juliet" feel which I think could have been revealed a bit earlier to spice up the drama, but was brilliant nonetheless. The ending is what made the book for me. While I liked Emily and Oz's developing relationship, the big dramatic finale with Emily's father was, I think, the greatest part of the book. All in all, not what I expected from McGarry in the love story but the drama and the ending made up for it.
Published 4th June 2015 by MiraInk. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.