Jade Chandler’s Bail Out is easily my favorite action romance of the year. This sequel pairs a bail bondsman and a cop, but ultimately fails to deliver the fun and chemistry that made the first book a standout. Detective Charlie Pine and biker bail bondsman JoJo Marcone cross paths at Charlie’s precinct and exchange sexy looks but nothing else. Though they instantly lust after each other, Charlie’s put off by the whole biker thing. Eventually, a case they’re both working on and a perilous situation get them thrown together and the inevitable sexy times throw a kink in Charlie’s plans not to get involved.
The conflict in this book comes from two fronts. The first front is external – Charlie and her partner get into the mob’s crosshairs and JoJo takes on the job of keeping them from being assassinated. There are lots of shootouts and bombings and bad guys everywhere they turn. The action scenes are pretty exhilarating, overall.
The second front has to do with Charlie being rather less than enthusiastic about the biker lifestyle. Her career, and coming from a family of cops going back multiple generations, means that she’s not tolerant at all of illegal activities and makes assumptions based on her previous knowledge of motorcycle clubs. Charlie is rather sheltered and a tad judgmental and being thrown into the deep end without a life preserver doesn’t help the situation. She doesn’t know the lay of the land, Jojo fails to explain pretty much anything to her in a timely fashion (this is an unfortunate recurring theme), and all of the bikers and old ladies she meets are straight-up confrontational jerks to her.
The confrontational club members drove me up a wall. It’s come up in various degrees in the last couple of books, but it really makes no sense here. I’m really freaking over the other women in the motorcycle club being assholes to new love interests. They’ve all been on the outside looking in themselves, but suddenly they become old ladies and they are instantly incapable of having any kind of empathy? Eff that noise. Eff it to hell.
One of my favorite things about the previous book was the heroine’s extreme competence at her job and the hero’s genuine and sincere appreciation for her skills. That’s not really a thing here. Charlie feels rather green, but I didn’t get the impression she was a rookie cop learning the ropes. Part of the problem is JoJo getting high handed and not giving her the information she needs, but it’s irritating nonetheless. JoJo is the one who gets to be super competent. Charlie not so much.
This was a disappointment for me. The whole thing felt disjointed and rushed and sloppy in places. The central romance was okay, but there wasn’t a lot of meat to it and pretty much everything else was a hot mess. I generally really enjoy Chandler’s writing, and I hope the next book turns things around.
The by-the-book detective and the badass bounty hunter: opposites attract as they’re forced to work together
Hunting murderers is what I do, but this pair is different. A modern-day Bonnie and Clyde, they’ll kill again unless I stop them. I need help—and help in this case looks like bad-boy bondsman JoJo Marcone.
Good. Bad. Right. Wrong. Gray is dangerous, and Marcone is the most annoying shade of gray—the one that pushes me from merely turned on to totally insatiable.
Tracking down a skip for Jericho Bail Bonds doesn’t usually involve partnering with a hot lady detective, but this is no ordinary case. Too much blood has been spilled on my watch, and with the mob after us, it’s getting harder to keep Charlie safe.
It would be easier if she’d stop stealing my bike.
I’m the last guy Charlie ever saw herself with, that much is clear. But I need to find her before our enemies do—and then convince her to follow her heart.