Welcome to my review stop on the Release Day Blitz for HIDDEN HEAT, book one in the Brothers of Mayhem series by Carla Swafford. If you love Motorcycle Club (MC) Romances, you’ll love this one. I’ve got my thoughts on this MC romance as well as an excerpt and a giveaway so stick around.
***eARC provided by author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unscripted review.
Blurb for HIDDEN HEAT:
Sizzling with passion and suspense, perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Julie Ann Walker, the Brothers of Mayhem series revs up as a headstrong beauty faces off against an outlaw motorcycle club—and falls for the bad boy she never saw coming.
Cassidy Ryder refuses to be intimidated by anyone, even the hell-raising, hard-drinking Brothers of Mayhem. The daughter of their former president, she’s not above smashing a few heads to keep her teenage brother safe. But when Cassidy’s big mouth gets her in trouble, the only thing that saves her is some quick thinking from the Brothers’ bartender. He’s commanding and strong, and as smooth as the whiskey he pours: the ultimate temptation for a girl who swore she’d never be a biker’s plaything.
But Thorn Savalas is no ordinary biker. He’s a cop, and he’s worked too hard earning the Brothers’ trust to blow his cover over a female—even one who rocks a pair of jeans like Cassidy. The only way to protect her is by claiming she’s his old lady. Trouble is, Thorn can’t just pretend. He wants Cassidy, and every scorching touch tells him she feels the same. But acting on their hottest fantasies could leave them both exposed . . . even if nothing else has ever felt so real.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~
My Review of HIDDEN HEAT:
Not usually a fan of MC (Motorcycle Club) romances, I was a bit hesitant reading HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford but having read her Circle series, I knew she could pack a wallop when she needed to so I took a chance. I’m glad I did. This story was about more than bikers, causing trouble, and behavior bordering on misogynistic. It was tough but emotional, forgiving, and steamy as all get out. Cassidy is a woman with her own mind. Yeah, there were a few times when I thought she pushed the envelope a bit in her defense of her brother, Storm but hey, she is a badass biker chick. But then there is Thorn…hey, he could bring out the femininity in any woman, even the most badass like Cassidy. Carla is good at conjuring real men in her stories and that’s what you get with Thorn. He is sex personified. He’s everything you’d expect from a biker but then he’s not. The pairing was perfect.
HIDDEN HEAT, book one in the Brothers of Mayhem series by Carla Swafford is action from the start and it just keeps going. There’s so much going on in the story that you have to stay glued to it just to keep track. I do think the ending felt a bit rushed but it worked so I can’t complain too much. However, it would’ve been nice if it lasted just a little bit longer so I didn’t have to say good-bye to Thorn yet.
If you’re a fan of MC romance, you’ve got to read HIDDEN HEAT by Carla Swafford. If you’re like me, and kind of on the edge, give it a try because I think it might surprise you as much as it did me.
Excerpt from HIDDEN HEAT:
With a calmness he didn’t feel, Thorn looked over at Stonewall, the president of the mother chapter and the Skull of the club. From day one, each national president was referred to as the Skull, and during formal proceedings, the Brothers of Mayhem were called Bones. All taken from the design on the club’s center patch: bones surrounding a skull.
Stonewall wasn’t much to look at, with his droopy left eye and crooked nose. Rumor ran he’d been hit with a two-by-four some years ago, but it hadn’t damaged the man’s brain. He was known to be a wily bastard. It took more than brawn to lead the pack of deviants the old man had recruited over the last few years.
Only a small handful of the Brothers joined the club solely for the camaraderie of riding in the wind whenever and wherever they wanted. The majority wanted more, and there was a good reason they were known to be an outlaw motorcycle club; members were also called one percenters. A magazine article a long time ago said 99 percent of motorcycle riders were good, upstanding citizen.
The leftovers thought nothing of cheating, stealing, and selling to bring in the needed cash to work on their bikes and buy even bigger and faster ones. From what Thorn had seen, the majority of the club believed freedom was living a life filled with parties, booze, women, and drugs, and having the money to do it all.
Thorn checked the room for a place to be private and talk. Deciding a back room would take care of what they needed, he first waved over some help.
The woman in his arms tightened her hold and pressed her face into his vest. He inhaled her light, flowery scent and ran his hands up and down her back. Her mouth reached the center of his chest, perfect for wrapping her in his arms and keeping her safe.
Without releasing her, he said, “Pull a glass for the Skull, Prospect.”
The kid who wore a patch on his jacket designating his lowly status jumped over the counter and headed toward the tap. Not voted into the club yet, he had to follow any patched Brother’s orders. So he did all of the grunt work in the hope he could wear the club’s colors, a leather jacket with the sleeves cut off and the Holy Grail of a center skull patch.
Stonewall’s gaze narrowed, but he remained quiet. Thorn knew he walked on thin ice with the man. Stonewall trusted him as much as he did any of the newer members, and that was very little.
“I need to take care of some business,” Thorn said, smirking as he glanced down at the woman in his arms.
He tugged Cassidy toward the office in the back, the only place most of the Brothers would leave them undisturbed. As he expected, she stiffened her legs and tried to pull away. He picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.
“You bastard! Put me down!” Fists thumping his back, she struggled to be released as he held tight to her legs.
When she tried to throw her body to the side, he slapped her ass a couple of times. She quickly settled down. Damn, that felt good. Probably, someone should’ve spanked her years ago.
“Stay still!” He tried his best to keep his mind off those sweet red cheeks as he strolled along the back hallway. Once they were in the office, he closed the door with a light kick, and he let her slip to her feet, relishing the slide of her body down his. The urge was almost too strong to ignore. Who would blame him? A little demon in the back of his mind nagged that there had to be some benefit from saving her stubborn little neck.
She scrambled around the old steel desk and shot hate out of those beautiful, big, brown eyes. One hand found its way to her back end and rubbed before she caught his grin. She crossed her arms defensively over her chest and grimaced when her butt pressed against the wall. He chuckled, and she shot him an eat-shit-and-die look.
“What are you planning on doing to me?” Her gaze darted to the door, but she was smart enough to not make a move. Yet.
From the first time he’d seen her, a few months ago, he’d been fascinated by her gutsy, sassy attitude. She’d turned up at the bar obviously tracking down her brother. She’d chewed out Storm from the moment she spotted him talking with Stonewall until she shoved him into the car. Her brother, a head taller, let his sister fuss and shake a finger in his face, the whole time grinning ear to ear.
Yeah, the girl—no, scratch that—the woman was trouble, but he always had a thing for strong women. Sex was so much more fun and interesting when they surrendered.
His dick twitched.
To regain control of his body’s reaction, he gave her his back long enough to check for eavesdroppers. He peeked up and down the hallway. No one had followed. He closed the door again and faced her after curbing his wayward response.
“Lower your voice. The walls are thin.” He needed her to understand the danger she was in. Over the years, he’d done a lot of things he wasn’t proud of, but hurting a woman wasn’t one of them. Besides the few slaps he’d placed on her ass would sting for only so long. But if Stonewall had heard her demanding the whereabouts of Storm, the pain the prez dished out wouldn’t be so easily forgotten.
“Let me go. I’ll pay for the broken glasses, but I demand you tell me where Storm is.” She lifted her chin, and her chest rose and fell beneath the tight tee shirt.
Pulling his gaze back to her face, her pink cheeks warned him that she’d caught him staring. What could he say? He was a heterosexual, red-blooded male.
Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.
TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY