Doing it at: 49%
Catnip: Burlesque; Motorcycles; Smoking Hot Ex-Military Guy; Sports Stuff; Dead Ex-Girlfriend Issues; Mysterious Stalker; Dual Narrative; Not Xena
Shame Scale: Medium.
Fantasy Cast: Jay Ryan, Isla Fisher
SHE’S GOOD AT HER GAME.
Raina Easton never dreamed she’d end up playing ring master to a bunch of baseball cheerleaders. But when the New York Saints offers her a job to coach its new squad–the Fallen Angels–Raina can’t refuse. As the owner of a burlesque club, she can certainly show the girls more than a few good moves. But as for her new boss? That is, as they say, a whole ‘nother story. . .
AND HE’S GOT IT BAD.
Army veteran, biker, and all-around tough guy, Malachi Coulter isn’t your typical sports-team owner. For one thing, he doesn’t think cheerleaders belong on the baseball field. Another: he can’t seem to separate business and pleasure when he meets his somewhat scandalous new employee. Seems the major-league bad boy has met his match in the gorgeous, feisty Raina. All’s fair in love and baseball…could it be that, after all this time, Malachi is playing to win?
We recently got our hands on a bunch of ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copy), making us Shame Girls feel verrrry professional and pleased with ourselves. Luckily the first few have been pretty good so we don’t have to say mean things, or lie and feel like we’re compromising our “Journalistic Integrity.”
Lawless in Leather is the third book in the New York Saints series. I’ve been wanting to check one of these out (because I like the covers. Faceless buns, bulge, and abs. #sorrynotsorry) and I was thrilled to have a chance to read this one for zero dollars. Also, when I was googling this book to get an image of the cover to use in this review, this was what came up:
So excellent. 🙂
Raina is a dancer who has been hired to choreograph a cheerleading squad for the NY Saints, a baseball team recently purchased by Malachi (love that name – it’s NOT too Children of the Corn, you guys) and his friends – the heroes in the previous two books. Raina and Malachi are both looking to settle down and do adult things, but both of them look at the other and see capital “T” Trouble: A curvy burlesque dancer with fiery red hair, versus a broody guy on a motorcycle, wrapped up in a leather jacket.
“Would you believe me if I said it’s not you, it’s me?” Dark brows lifted. “I might. If you explain it more.” “It… it sounds silly. But I just don’t trust my instincts with men anymore. Too many mistakes. So when my instincts say This one, I’m forced to consider if it’s more sensible to do the exact opposite.” He frowned. “Did someone hurt you?” “I’m thirty. It would be a little strange if I hadn’t had my heart broken by now.”
They spend a good bit of time letting the chemistry simmer and bubble, before they realize that it might not be the worst idea ever to explore the obvious attraction between them. Add in a mysterious someone who is messing with Raina, and Mal’s protective instincts, and it’s a pretty enjoyable read. Also, Raina’s cat is named after Wash in Firefly, so I’m sure Melanie Scott and I would be friends IRL.
I loved the characters in this. Raina is confident and mature, knows what she wants and is extremely direct about it. There’s no cliched misunderstandings that insult the reader’s intelligence. The drama between Raina and Mal feels real and satisfying. And this book manages to strike a good balance between giving us that protective alpha male we want, and the feminist hero we want to be. Take these excerpts for example.
“I don’t need to lock you up.” Her face went pensive. “Not literally. That would be weird. And really creepy and I’d have to call the cops on your ass. But there are things I want to do in my life. And some of them aren’t the safest things on earth. I want to learn to ski and maybe bungee-jump and some other stuff that I never got to do when I was dancing because I couldn’t afford to injure myself. I don’t life my life within the lines. Not all the time.” He sucked in a breath. “I know that.” “Yeah, but can you live with it? Because my choices are mine. No one else gets to choose for me. Or control what I do. So if you already know that the answer is no, we should cut our losses. Before anyone gets hurt.”
“Her definition of handling it was apparently different from his. But he remember what she’d said. About not wanting to be controlled. So he couldn’t just take over and do things his way. Not if he wanted to keep waking up next to her. He took a breath. Pushed back the worry and anger. She was safe. And she had told him. She’d given him that much. He could respect her boundaries in return. “Okay.” He nodded once. “Okay. Let’s see what happens.”
See that! He’s protective, she’s not meek, he agrees to compromise. Cleone and I first started throwing around the idea of blogging about romance novels when we realized that we were two educated feminist women, DEVOURING books about men that are borderline abusive. Controlling in the name of overprotectiveness. Truth: we LOVE those books. But we also love it even more when we find a book with characters we can relate to. Who do things we can see ourselves doing in real life. I’m giving this one a B, because I loved it, but I think it could have used a little more drama. I feel like if you’re going to add a stalker, there should be a little more danger or excitement than there was in this one.