Thursday, August 7, 2014

Review: Lay It Down

LAY IT DOWN
Desert Dogs #1
Cara McKenna
Adult Contemporary Romance
327 pages
Signet Eclipse
Available Now
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.


MY THOUGHTS
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.

Rating: 4/5
 

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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.

32 comments:

  1. Ah that sounds fantastic. I haven't read a Romance which is neither NA or YA in a very long time. This one however looks fantastic, and quite sexy.. I mean this cover tells is all!:)

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    1. It was quite sexy and I very much enjoyed both Vince and Kim! Can't wait for book two:)

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  2. Alpha-hole, love it and love that he doesn't cross over into it. Wonderful review Jenny, makes me want to buy this one for sure. :)

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    1. YES! I just loved his bluntness - he didn't try to hid his motives from anyone and I appreciated that:) Kim was the same way, so they were an all-around great couple for me!

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  3. Tats, bad boys and bikes are sure in

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  4. "yet they never cross the line into what one might call alpha-hole territory" YES PLEASE! And yesss for strong heroines :) I love the sound of Kim's honesty! Haha. Vince sounds like such a guy, but I like it. I'm glad you liked this sexy story and I hope you enjoy the following books just as much :)

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    1. I loved these two Siiri! Very low on the relationship drama and oh-so sexy together:)

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  5. I just had to laugh at "alpha-hole". I'm not the kind of reader who can really excuse people's behavior just because they are what they are so I really appreciate that there are no cases of that in here. Also yay for strong heroines! Kim is definitely someone I would love to read. Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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    1. Hehe. There are definitely some alpha characters in books that meet their heroine and just expect her to adapt to their alpha tendencies without attempting to meet her in the middle. Vince wasn't like that at all though he had alpha qualities for sure:)

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  6. Oh I'm in love with the cover and well who don't love a good bad boy romance like that! Great review!

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    1. YES MELLIANE! I'm excited for the rest of this series:)

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  7. Lol at "alpha-holes". I really dislike characters like that so it's good to know that the romantic hero isn't one of those types of characters. I also really like that both Kim and Vince are honest with each other ... romances that involve secrets are just waiting to fail.

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    1. Me too. I like my romance heroes alpha, but not overbearing and domineering and what not. Vince was fabulous:)

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  8. This sounds like a fun read, Jenny. I like the sound of Cara McKenna heroes and I think I need to meet one of these days. Kim and Vince sound like they are a great couple together. I think I'm going to start with this series.
    Lovely review!

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    1. I've been a big fan of all the books I've read of hers, so I highly recommend giving them a try!

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  9. I almost bought the audio yesterday and now I am going ot have too :)

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  10. McKenna really does know how to write strong, gorgeous characters with great chemistry, doesn't she? Plus, great cover!

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  11. Mmmm... this is a Top Off Tuesday worthy cover, Jenny. And the story sounds quite good as well.

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    1. Oh yes it is. *stares at tattoos*

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  12. I'm really happy to hear that Kim, the main character, doesn't go weak on the knees way too easily! That's refreshing!
    Glad to hear you loved it, Jenny!

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    1. YES! I could have hugged Kim. She let him know that she was attracted to him and his bluntness appealed to her, but she also let him know he WAS going to remember her name and not just love her and leave her like all the women before her:)

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  13. This is definitely one a bit out of your normal fare but I like it. The cover alone says sexy, bad and read me. I must check this out.

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    1. I read a lot of this genre, I just don't always review them because they're what I pick up for myself in between review books. But sometimes it's fun to write down my thoughts on them!

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  14. Yay - a couple I can root for and like as individuals! I am not a fan of the alpha-hole and so many love interests walk the line between pissing me off and making me swoon. Glad to hear Vince is more on the swoon side. I'll have to check this one out, thanks for introducing me to it!

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    1. Vince is definitely more on the swoon side. I adored him Lauren!

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  15. Yay, an exciting new Adult Contemporary Romance that is also a first in a series that I can check out! Vince and Kim sound like two strong characters that I would like, and the romance ... well you know I love them with lots of swoon. I haven't read anything by
    Cara McKenna, so this is my perfect chance to check her out. Thanks for the great review, Jenny! *Runing off to one-click land*

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  16. I've been seeing this one around quite often on GR so I'm glad you reviewed it, Jenny, as I finally know what it's about. I'm definitely adding it to my TBR as I love a solid contemporary romance when the mood strikes me. ;) Lovely review, dearest!

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  17. I have been wanting to try the author for awhile now, and I think this is going to be the one to finally make me do it. I have a separate shelf on goodreads for motorcycle club books . . . YEP. I do ;)

    Great review, Jenny!

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