For the last review in the Summer of Love, we have Fire Me Up, by Rachael Johns, which is book #2 in the Deacons of Bourbon Street series (written by four different authors). Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, and to Tasty Book Tours for allowing me to participate in the blog tour. There’s a giveaway for a bundle of select Loveswept ebooks at the end of the post, so make sure you check that out, too!
Can a scorching affair with a bohemian beauty tame a motorcycle man with a dark side? Rachael Johns takes the wheel in the sexy series co-written with Megan Crane, Jackie Ashenden, and Maisey Yates.
Travis “Cash” Sinclair values only two things from his days with the Deacons of Bourbon Street: his prized Harley Davidson and the man who gave it to him. But now Priest Lombard is gone, and Cash has inherited the Deacons’ clubhouse—not to mentions its unexpected tenant. She’s exactly the type of woman he tries to avoid: all incense and art, with a sharp tongue that promises trouble. So why does Cash want to push aside those flowing skirts and lose himself between her legs?
Billie Taylor fled a bad marriage to start a new life among the grit and glamour of the French Quarter. She refuses to let another man distract her from her dreams, especially an outlaw biker with nothing to offer except hot sex and an eviction notice. Cash is dangerous, with an untamed streak he tries desperately to conceal. He drives Billie wild, sending her too close to the edge for her own good. And she won’t fall under his spell—or into his bed—without a fight.
Roommates? Billie gulped, watching as one of the hottest men she’d ever laid eyes on swaggered past her and headed through the alley of paintings into the courtyard, and then opened the door that led inside to her house as if he owned the place. And dammit, apparently he did. That thought made her feel sick to her stomach, just as the way he looked heated other parts of her body.
Sophie, the previous landlord’s daughter, had told Billie when her father died last month that she had nothing to worry about, that it wouldn’t affect her or her gallery at all. But today’s unwelcome visitor told her otherwise. Having Mr. Arrogant Sinclair getting under her skin 24/7 was very, very worrying indeed. And that was even before she considered what would happen to her and the gallery she’d worked so hard to set up if he decided to increase her rent or, worse, sell the building from under her feet. Just when she’d finally started to get her life on track something like this happened. Something like Travis bloody Sinclair.
And she’d been naïve enough to think she’d broken free from controlling men.
Trying to ignore her racing heart, Billie looked down at Baxter, who was looking up at her as if to ask What the hell happened? She bent to ruffle his fur, thankful that he’d at least tried to protect her from this arrogant jerk. Then she glanced around the gallery and gave thanks there were no potential customers lingering, before marching over to the steel entrance gates to close and lock them.
No matter that his dark gaze made her heart pound; the last thing she wanted was Travis getting the better of her. She hated that he was the reason for shutting up shop in the middle of the afternoon, but she wasn’t going to leave that wanker in her house alone just yet. She’d noticed the way he’d looked her over as if she were a piece of meat, and she didn’t trust him not to look through her underwear drawer. She didn’t trust him, period.
Whistling to Baxter to follow, she retraced Travis’s steps through the courtyard and into the building. Her dog might be small, but he had a lot of bite, and she felt more confident with him at her side. If Travis tried anything, she had no doubt that Baxter would sink his teeth into the guy’s leg, and the idea of him squealing in pain gave her a tiny bit of joy in what was turning out to be a very crappy day. Although more than likely he’d just kick Baxter in the teeth.
She stepped inside—he hadn’t bothered to shut the door—and although there was no immediate sign of him besides his backpack on the kitchen floor, her home already felt different. It felt . . . compromised.
The rooms at the back of the gallery were far too many for just Billie. In theory there was plenty of room for a housemate, but that wasn’t the point. She hadn’t advertised for one, and if she had, a guy like Travis would be the last person she’d get. She got the feeling that even if they were sharing one of the mammoth French Quarter mansions, she still wouldn’t be able to relax with him around. He’d stalked inside like a tiger, and the sensations he sparked inside her were not at all unpleasant, despite her head telling her to be on guard.
The sound of doors opening and closing had her heading down the corridor in search of him. She found him, much to her annoyance, in her bedroom, staring into her wardrobe. And although she should have told him to get the hell out, she took her sweet time in announcing herself, choosing instead to take a moment just to look. Her earlier assessment of “hot” didn’t really do him justice. He had dark hair—not short, but by no means long, either—and dark stubble to match. Never before had she found a beard attractive, but his wasn’t long and bushy, and on him, it worked. So much so she had to swallow to stop from drooling. The dark leather jacket only enhanced his appeal, perhaps because it was so far from anything her ex-husband would ever have worn.
Pity he was such an ass. Not in the same way as her ex perhaps, but an ass just the same.
The Research Behind Fire Me Up – Guest Post by Rachael Johns
When four other author friends and I decided to write a series centered around a biker club, I knew two parts of stuff all about such things, but I’m always up for a challenge.
Luckily Megan Crane – author of the first book MAKE YOU BURN – was already an avid fan of the MC romance genre and also practically knew the script of TV series Sons of Anarchy off by heart. With her encouragement, I downloaded a number of books in the MC romance genre and set to working out what they had in common – hot, alpha heroes with sexy tattoos and powerful rides.
I also started watching Sons of Anarchy and rapidly understood what all the hype was about. Two words – Jax Teller (played by Charlie Hunnam)! That swagger and the way he wore his biker cut had me melting in a puddle of lust on my couch.
Previously when I thought of biker clubs or gangs, my mind conjured up images of middle aged bearded men with smelly leather jackets stretching over their well-rounded middles. Men who rode and partied hard and had the scars and criminal convictions to show for it, but not men who made my body temperature soar and my ovaries hurt. But Jax, and quite a few of the other men on Sons of Anarchy, made the whole biker thing sexy and appealing and that’s what we hoped to convey in our series, The Deacons Of Bourbon Street.
Although there was a lot of time spent on the couch glomming Sons Of Anarchy – all in the name of hard work and dedication to my readers – it wasn’t the only form of research I embarked on to write this book. I also invested in a number of non-fiction books and memoirs about real-life outlaw motorcycle clubs. Most of what I read between these pages was far too terrifying to put in a romance novel, but it helped me see that we were writing about heroes dramatically different from the beta heroes I usually write. The books also taught me the biker lingo – names for the different positions in a biker club and other stuff I had no idea about.
And then, of course to even out the terrifying, I had to spend hours (okay maybe days) on Pinterest gazing at photos of the type of men we wanted our biker heroes to be. Much more akin to Jax from SOA than the type of men I read about in the pages of Wrecking Crew and Enforcer.
To understand what I’m talking about you can check out my Pinterest board for FIRE ME UP here – https://www.pinterest.com/rachaeljohns/fire-me-up/- and also look at the shared board for the series here – https://www.pinterest.com/maiseyyates/the-deacons-of-bourbon-street/
I hope you’ll read FIRE ME UP and the whole Deacons of Bourbon Street series and enjoy the ride as much as I did.
Fire Me Up is the second book in the Deacons of Bourbon Street series, which is being co-written by four authors. You may have noticed that I didn’t review the first book, Make You Burn, this summer. I did read it, but unfortunately, that book didn’t do much for me. Fire Me Up, however, was an enjoyable read, despite my initial trepidation after the first book.
Travis “Cash” Sinclair was sent away, along with three other Deacons, from New Orleans ten years ago after something went wrong – we don’t really get details on what it was that went wrong. He’s returned home now because Priest, president of the Deacons and the man that Travis saw as a father figure, has died under mysterious circumstances. He learns that Priest left some real estate to him and the other three men who were sent away – and this does not make him happy. He wants to get back to the life he’s built over the last decade, working as a computer security expert and making lots of money.
It doesn’t make Billie Taylor happy either – she was told that her art gallery wouldn’t be affected by Priest’s death, but now it looks like that could all change. Worse, she’s stuck living with Travis, a man she can’t stand from the moment she meets him, because he’s just like her ex-husband – a controlling ass.
Opposites attract, they say, and that couldn’t be more true for this book. Travis is a man in total control of his life, who works with computers and thinks logically, not emotionally. Billie is a hippie artist type. Those differences are quite clear, but they can’t stop the attraction that builds between these two.
They both also have reasons for wanting to avoid romantic entanglements, and it becomes particularly interesting to watch them try to work through them – especially Billie.
The book is set in New Orleans, and though I’ve never been there, I loved the descriptions of the city. I felt like they really gave me a glimpse of what it’s like, without being overpowering.
As Rachael mentions in her guest post, Sons of Anarchy was a big part of the inspiration behind this series. I have to say that, as a huge fan of Sons of Anarchy myself, there is something about the series that is inimitable. Kurt Sutter created something that no one else ever could, I think. No movie, no show, no book will be able to recreate what he did with that TV series. But, if you were a fan of the show and are missing that weekly fix of hot biker and biker justice, the Deacons of Bourbon Street series, and Fire Me Up in particular, doesn’t do a bad job of filling that hole. Use your imagination to fill in your favorite hot biker, and you’re all set.
Find Fire Me Up and the entire Deacons of Bourbon Street series on Goodreads.
Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website at www.rachaeljohns.com
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You can follow the rest of the tour here, to read more reviews, guests posts and interviews with Rachael Johns.