Friday, April 14, 2017

ARC Review: Wild & Sweet by Rhenna Morgan

Series:     Haven Brotherhood #2
Pub. Date:Apr. 10, 2017
Publisher:Carina Press
Length:432 pages

I can't tell you how happy I am to have finally started reading Rhenna Morgan... and am kicking myself at the same time for not getting on the ball sooner!  There are very few authors these days that will inspire me to read a contemporary romance. The angst and annoying heroines were just getting to be too much for my patience. So having another author in this category really makes me happy, and Rhenna is definitely serving up some swoonworthy heroes and likable heroines.

If you haven't read the first book in the series, Rough & Tumble, then you are totally missing out. But if you want to start with Wild & Sweet and read out of order, you should be fine. Basically what you need to know is that the Haven Brotherhood is a group of unconventional alpha male bikers. These men are totally hot, totally possessive alpha male, and totally successful. From club owners to pilots to doctors... these are bikers outside the norm when it comes to the MC romance trope. My favorite happens to be Axel, but I wouldn't kick a one of 'em out of my bed for eating crackers. (Sorry, my southern came out there.)

Our heroine in this installment is Danny's sister, Gabrielle "Gabe" Parker. (You may remember Danny from Rough & Tumble; he is a sort of "prospect" for the Haven Brotherhood.) Gabe was a unique and refreshing heroine - a shy and awkward mechanic who suffers from social anxiety disorder. In my opinion, writing an insecure heroine is always a gamble... there is a fine line between her being sympathetic or exasperatingly annoying. But Rhenna did a great job with Gabe. I found her to be likable and inspiring. Gabe recognized her shortcomings and she worked to overcome them, and I found myself rallying behind her in every situation where her anxiety was an issue. When she put her anxiety aside, she was a quiet and uncomplicated character who loved her family, had a huge heart, and served as a calming influence on our dynamic hero.

Said dynamic hero was Zeke Dugan, the thrill-seeking sexy Brazilian trauma doc with anger issues. Zeke himself has a lot of nervous energy, always on the move to try to burn away that edge of anger. Between the emergency room, jumping out of planes, and speeding down the race track - Zeke is one of those guys who just can't sit still. His profession made him the most interesting biker for me... I definitely don't think scrubs and stethoscopes when I normally envision a biker. But Zeke made it work. I also liked that he was Brazilian and threw out Portugese phrases here and there. I can't think of another Brazilian hero that I have read in a while, so that aspect provided some nice variety as well. Probably Zeke's best traits were his patience and understanding when it came to Gabe. I loved loved loved how he handled her with care and helped her overcome her issues without being pushy or judgmental. He was a total winner in my book. 

The romance between Zeke and Gabe was great. It wasn't instalove, but was paced nicely within the confines of the story. Zeke had to do some work to get past Gabe's social anxiety and Gabe had to overcome her own issues to make the relationship work. And she tried so hard y'all... you couldn't not be proud of her with every step forward she took. This story wasn't quite as steamy as Rough & Tumble, but it still had a good level of heat. Rhenna's writing is hot and sexy without being crass... which is always good for a contemporary romance.

I enjoyed the side plot that was happening with the romance... it was integrated well and helped advance the story when we needed some suspense or action to get the adrenaline going. I won't say what this conflict involves as I think the readers may enjoy finding that out for themselves.

I recommend this series to fans of contemporary romance and alpha heroes. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Carina Press.

Haven Brotherhood