Amazingly, this is my first Christine Feehan book. I did read one of her novellas way, way back when, but don’t remember anything about it, so I’m not counting that one at this point. From the little bit of feedback I’ve gotten about this book, I’m wondering if I should have started here.
I’m thinking it’s okay I did start here. This story, while brutal and more than erotic, apparently isn’t rubbing me the wrong way as it has other folks out there. That being said, there are things that do rub me wrong. The issues that seem to bother others bother me only a little, because I can accept how and why they happened. And the aftermaths of each are explained enough for me too. And it is a romance book after all, fantasy coming the imagination of a writer.
Anya is in hiding and working at a biker bar has been working out quite well for her. That is until she discovers Reaper wants her gone. What she doesn’t realize until later is he wants her gone because she does something to him. Reaper and his “family” were all trained and abused as children in Russia by horrible, evil people. And I think that’s where I can forgive like Anya does in this story. What these people experienced as children is horrific. They are doing the best they can to continue living a decent life. They protect their own in whatever way is necessary. That even includes when they think Anya may be a spy and they need to know for sure. Does their resolution to find out sit well with me? No. But I understand it. Does Reaper taking a swing at Anya and connecting when he’s more than half asleep make sense? Seems not for some readers, but, again, I understand it for all he and his family have gone through. They’ve had nothing good in their lives and when it comes along, it’s difficult to believe in.
What I definitely do like is the family aspect of this story. Not many of them are related by blood, but it’s their shared experience that brought them together and has kept them together, dealing with this new life the best they know how. They had no one to show them how to deal with the real world once they escaped their god-awful nightmare. Reaper is their enforcer, since he was trained to be an assassin. The club takes out the scum who mess with women and other despicable acts, with Reaper leading the way. Their “missions” are well planned and executed flawlessly and oh-so-efficiently.
My only real nitpick with the book is the sex that occurs page after page when Reaper tries to show Anya how he feels, all because he can’t put those feelings into words. I have a feeling that most romance readers, being a bit deceived by the cover on this book, will not be happy with the amount of sexual encounters here. I know I’m not. It’s just too much too often. And all basically at Reaper’s instigation, due to the fact he can’t take being touched at any given time. The brutality and killing isn’t nearly as often as the raw and intense sex.
Anya is a strong heroine, and she’d have to be to deal with Reaper and all his issues. Thus I see her forgiveness and staying as another strength when it comes to all that happens to her in their midst. She loves this broken man, and when the day is done, she’ll do what’s necessary to help him heal. Because she’s exactly what he needs. I think she begins to realize that and decides to deal with everything that comes with being affiliated with a club and making sure her man has a good and happy life.
There are a lot of characters in this series, and Ms. Feehan’s series have books for all involved characters. If that happens here, I sure hope not every one of them is as dark and starkly bleak as this one is. Maybe the later characters can learn from what their brothers and/or sisters go through on their way to love and those stories can be a bit less battering on all fronts. Time will tell, of course. So, while this book won’t be a favorite of mine, I think it’s okay I began my Feehan reading here, and it does what it set out to do, despite some of the negativity from me and other readers. Redemption on Judgment Road is long and difficult, but in the end it should be worth the sometimes agonizing journey.
See Veena’s review here.
A brutal education in a Russian training facility for assassins has taught this group of men one thing:
It’s a long road to redemption.
As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He’s a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can’t afford–until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin. . .
Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she’s desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper’s imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.
Anya’s touch is everything Reaper doesn’t want–and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up to her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club–his heart and his soul.
Read an excerpt.