May 19, 2015

ARC REVIEW: Vicious Cycle (Vicious Cycle #1)

Vicious Cycle (Vicious Cycle #1), by Katie Ashley
Publish Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: NAL Trade
Format: ARC, obtained from the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4 STARS

(From Goodreads) Deacon Malloy’s life is dedicated to the Hell’s Raiders motorcycle club. Tough, hard, and fast with his fists, he serves the group as sergeant at arms. But his devil-may-care approach to life is thrown for a loop when the five-year-old daughter he never knew existed lands on the club steps.

Alexandra Evans is devoted to all her students—but there’s always been something about Willow Malloy that tugs at her heart. There’s an aura of sadness about her, a girl in need of all the love Alexandra can give. When Willow stops coming to school, Alexandra’s search leads to a clubhouse full of bikers…and a father hell-bent on keeping his daughter always within sight.

The moment Deacon sees Alexandra, he has to have her in his bed—and he’s never met a woman yet who couldn’t be persuaded. No matter how attracted she is to Deacon, Alexandra refuses to be just another conquest. But it’s Deacon himself who could be seduced—into a brighter future for himself, his daughter, and the woman he’s falling for against all odds.

I'm all about the MC books, so I'm always looking for new ones to try. When I came across this new series by Katie Ashley, and realized it was an MC book, I was all, 

This was a really intense book. Well, I mean, most MC books are, but this one especially was pretty hairy at times. Deacon Malloy is the Sargent at Arms, which means he's the muscle, for his club. He's seen and done a lot of things that have given him a pretty tough exterior. So, I have to say, he was absolutely adorable when his 5-year-old daughter who he didn't know he had is dropped on his doorstep. He was painfully awkward and completely out of his element with this little girl who loves ballet and dress-up and the color pink. 

The impact of little Willow on the Hell's Raider's motorcycle club is big. Not only are the prospects forced to have tea parties with her, but all of a sudden, all the members have one more person to love and protect, and they do it fiercely. I think that's what I love most about these MC books. The members will do anything for their own and their families. They will protect them with their lives. 

So, when a rival club threatens Williow, and Deacon pulls her out of school to keep her safe, her teacher comes to her. Alexandra is a fish out of water when she walks into that club, but her overriding concern for Willow propels her forward. Because of her desire to educate Willow and because of how wonderful she is with the little girl, Alex is also folded into the unofficial MC family. Deacon was brought along with the plan kicking and screaming, but eventually, he found he loved Alex as much as Willow did. 

Alex showed fierceness beyond what she thought she was capable of. To be honest, it was one of my only issues with Vicious Cycle. Alex is portrayed as a somewhat sheltered, white-bread girl. When she's also targeted by the rival gang, because of her association with Deacon and Willow, she shows a lot more chops and bravery than I would've ever expected from someone like her. Don't get me wrong - I like my heroines strong and capable. But, I also like them believable, and there were times when Alex was a bit of a stretch for me. 

Despite the light moments with Willow, there was a lot of heavy ones too. Vicious Cycle had some pretty violent parts that really helped drive home the severity of the situation in which Deacon finds himself. The bad guy he was up against was no joke. 

When Deacon and Alex got together, they were actually really great. Deacon was all hard and rough and Alex is all sunshine and sweetness, and together they were kind of perfect. They were also combustible. I loved their heat and chemistry together. And, I loved that Vicious Cycle was dual POV, especially during those really pivotal scenes. 

I can't wait for the next book in this series. It was set up at the end, so I already know it's going to be about Deacon's brother Rev. I hope the magic created in this new MC world continues, because I'm here to stay.

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