Desert Dogs #1
Adult Contemporary Romance
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Backbreaking days, wild nights, and the hard hum of steel between your thighs...
That’s a life well lived, according to the Desert Dogs—four friends who call Fortuity, Nevada, their badlands home.
Vince Grossier is the self-crowned outlaw king around here. But when Fortuity’s slick new mayor invites a casino development to town, greed isn’t far behind—and it claims Vince’s good friend as its first casualty. With the law turning a blind eye to the mysterious death, Vince must seek his own brand of justice. The pretty photographer hired by the developers might be the key to uncovering the truth. And she’s a temptation too good to pass up.
Finally free of a controlling ex, Kim Paget’s not looking to be taken for a ride—not on the back of some tattooed roughneck’s bike and definitely not in his bed. But when she uncovers evidence supporting Vince’s suspicions of murder, Kim must entrust her safety to a man whose body threatens danger of a whole different kind.
Lay It Down is the first in a new series by Ms. McKenna, and as has been the case with all her previous novels, it doesn’t disappoint. She has a gift for writing romance heroes who are rough and like to talk dirty, yet they never cross the line into what one might call alpha-hole territory, instead taking ownership of the men they are without expecting the women in their lives–and us as readers–to simply shrug off any misgivings and swallow the “I am who I am” excuse for their behavior. Her heroines are equally strong, full of fire and personality and capable of bringing a smile to our faces with the way they go toe to toe with their men, ensuring we’re thoroughly invested in our main couple beginning to end.
Kim, with her fancy camera and dressy clothes, first appears as though she might not have what it takes to hold her own when pitted against the immensity of Vince’s personality, but she quickly proves his blunt words and not-so secret desire to get her into bed are not enough to make her go weak in the knees. She appreciates his forthrightness, but she plays the honesty game equally well, admitting to herself and to him that she wants him while at the same time making it clear that though she’s willing to take him to bed, she refuses to be an anonymous notch on his belt. She always says what’s on her mind and doesn’t keep any of the information she learns about what’s going on at the casino’s construction site to herself, possessing zero desire to go running off under the delusion that she’ll magically be able to find out what happened to Alex on her own.
Vince, for all that he’s pushy (by his own admission) and completely focused on getting Kim between the sheets, is easy to like, his self-awareness something we can’t help but find attractive. He knows he has faults and he’s aware he likes to push people’s buttons, but because he’s so upfront at every turn about the his motivations–both with Kim and with uncovering what happened to his friend–he lives us little other choice but to love him. He doesn’t fight with himself regarding his feelings for Kim, never once boring us with a repetitive internal monologue as to why this is a short-term fling that will be dead in the water the minute she leaves town, instead he and Kim both take things between them as they come and accept it when they both find more than they expected.
Overall, Lay It Down is a well-written and sexy first installment to the Desert Dogs series, introducing us to a large cast of characters whose books will inevitably make their way into our grabby little hands somewhere down the line, and delighting us with a no frills romance between two extremely likable people.
This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review.
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.