by Kiersten Hallie Krum
First a little housekeeping: starting Monday, October 5th, I’ll be taking a month’s hiatus from Lady Smut due to a personal situation that’s going to require significant focus and attention, which means I won’t have either to aim at writing reviews and posts for all you lovely bitches who hang with us here at Lady Smut. The loss is mine, but I’ll be back post spooks and ghouls of Halloween.
Meanwhile, some stellar ladies will have my back and fill in my Monday slot with guest posts sure to entertain so much that you’ll hardly miss me. Like, not at all. (OK, please miss me, because like most writers, my ego is fragile and fleeting and thus requires the constant injection of pointless adulation. That’s normal, right?)
Before I go, one more biker erotic romance review. Yes, MOAR.
Last week, Jill Sorenson favored Lady Smut with a fantastic guest post about sex-worker heroines. A fascinating discussion followed in the comments (there’s something you don’t hear too often). Her MC series, Dirty Eleven MC, has a new release, Shooting Dirty, and lemme tell you, it does not shoot blanks.
Look! A blurb!
She’s his only salvation
Ace Clemmons has wanted Janelle from the moment he first saw her. Taking her captive while he carried out his last hit as a member of Dirty Eleven nearly broke him. Now that he’s gone straight, he’s back in her life, looking to stake his claim. He can’t erase the past but he’ll do anything to make it up to her.
Janelle Parker needs a new start, far away from the trailer park and the strip club. A down and dirty affair with a tattooed criminal is a step in the wrong direction, but she can’t resist Ace’s deliciously commanding touch, which has haunted her dreams for months. Soon they’re both in too deep, falling hard and fast—until an old feud with a rival motorcycle club explodes into an all-out war. Dirty Eleven’s enemies won’t hesitate to hurt Janelle to get to Ace. She has to fight to survive…and for the fiercest love she’s ever known.
As Dirty Eleven‘s lethal enforcer, Ace has been a major player in some bad shit. Now he’s gone straight and been exiled from the club, but the past has left deep scars on his soul, wounds that are marginally balanced by the pure love he has for his toddler daughter, Skye. All he wants now is to live a conflict-free life so he can regain custody of Skye from her maternal grandfather, Wild Bill Shepherd, the shifty leader of the Dirty Eleven Motorcycle Club.
Ace’s final assignment as a member of Dirty Eleven involved Janelle Parker and her scumbag ex-husband, a bad scene that lead to Ace taking Janelle captive, sparking a sizzling connection between them that hasn’t eased in the months since. His obsession with Janelle stems from a need to make amends for that bad scene coupled with a compulsion to protect her from men like him. Plus, he’s totally hot for her, not only because she’s beautiful, but because her survivor’s spirit calls to something deep within him. Ace is a man who lives without hope, but Janelle makes him want to believe there could be something more. But despite no longer being in the club, Ace is stuck in service to Wild Bill and his machinations, manipulations that expose Ace and anyone connected to him to a bullet in the back at any time either from an old enemy or men he used to call his brothers.
Janelle is trying to hold herself–and her teenage son–together after far too much trauma. She strips because she loves to dance–and she’s good at it. Despite a life of too many hard knocks, Janelle strives forward to create something new and better for her and her son. She has plans to take classes and someday get off the pole. While not ashamed of her stripper status, she’s not immune to how her son is beginning to suffer socially because of her job. And then there’s Ace, the scary, silent biker who lurks in the shadows of her life and symbolizes some of the worst and yet most electrifying moments of her life. Despite how they met, she can’t stop thinking about him in both bad and sexy ways.
As the weeks past, he encroaches more on her day-to-day, fixing her broken car window, lurking outside the club to make sure she gets home safe, leaving cash by her door. Janelle doesn’t want his help but she does want him. As he keeps coming back, as unable to stay away from her as she is to kick him to the curb for good, Janelle realizes Ace can give her something new. He’s a man like no other has been in her life, ready to please and protect her, eager to feed and fulfill her darkest desires even as he warns he has nothing more than that to give.
Both Janelle and Ace are wounded and damaged characters who, almost in spite of themselves, are still hanging on. Janelle is fixed and focused on creating a different life for her son than the one she had and that goal keeps her pushing no matter what life flings on her. But her demons need to be dealt with and she correctly figures Ace is the man to do some sexy exorcising. Ace has lived in filth and done terrible things, but at his core is a good man beaten down by too many bad things, a man who comes to light whenever he’s with his daughter and soon whenever he’s with Janelle. He’s sure that man is long gone, or at least is not long for this world, but from the moment he meets Janelle, her love for her son, innate resourcefulness, and indefatigable survivor’s spirit hooks him hard. He wants to cherish her at the same time as he wants to bend her to his mercy. She wants to stand strong at the same time as she needs to submit to him. But neither of them can get all they really want and need from each other so long as Dirty Eleven’s dirty business rules and risk both of their lives.
I like Shooting Dirty and the Dirty Eleven universe a lot because Ace and Janelle don’t live in a gentle world or even an MC bound by a brotherhood and devotion that’s remnant of a band of brothers or the fealty of knights as other MC books have created. There’s deep conflict in this MC between members. The “heroes” of these stories have served time and done criminal deeds worthy of those sentences and the king of the club is more about maintaining and expanding his power than he is about the club itself. Which means one wrong move could get a member killed and jeopardize the people he cares about. Characters in this series struggle moment by moment to find any kind of happiness and their day-to-day issues are not magically solved by a billionaire boyfriend or an MC making good money legally or otherwise. This makes the relationships and, in Shooting Dirty, the love story, more intense and sexy and emotional because the stakes are seriously high and at the same time seriously relatable (outside of the crime and killing, etc., natch). Ace and Janelle start out taking solace and sex from each other because it gives them slivers of comfort and happy in the darkness of their individual struggles, but they build to something more as they find that ultimate happy in each other and then have to fight internally and externally to keep it.
Have a great October! See you in a month!
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