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Review: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes

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Running Wild
Author: SE Jakes

Reviewer:
B.
Rating: A-

What I’m Talking About:

When I first heard that one of my favorite authors, SE Jakes, was working on a new m/m series about a motorcycle club, I knew immediately that I’d be on board for anything she had planned. Having read the Hell or High Water books (as well as a few of her other titles), I was already aware of her abilities when it comes to writing sexy, complicated heroes. Now that I’ve had the opportunity to read Running Wild, I can happily confirm that I’ve fallen in love with the Havoc series, too.

Revolving around a car theft ring and its various participants, Running Wild introduces us to two unique new characters: Sean Rush, a twenty-four year old Army veteran and all-around danger magnet, and Ryker, Sean’s guardian angel and a Lieutenant in the local, ruling motorcycle club, Havoc. Sean is an interesting character in that his personal history is tragic enough that it could have taken the entire story into such a dark place that the rest of the narrative wouldn’t have felt balanced. Fortunately, Sean is no wilting victim, and his loyalty, tenacity, and complete disregard for his own safety when it comes to helping his friends makes him a much deeper and multifaceted character. Sean is easy to like, despite his knack for causing trouble, but never more so, at least for me, than when he’s with Ryker—or having an epiphany about himself because of Ryker.

Although the story is told in the first-person from Sean’s perspective, I completely fell for Ryker from the very beginning. Eleven years older than Sean, he’s a lot more level than the headstrong object of his desires, and his deceptively open approach to dealing with the chaos surrounding both of them in the first half of Running Wild makes him a dangerously lovable stabilizing force in Sean’s world. As the story progresses and the truth behind Ryker’s (and Havoc’s) interest in Sean is slowly revealed, however, we discover that Ryker is more than what he seems.

Ryker and Sean are positively scorching together. From their first encounter, it’s obvious that they make each other completely crazy in (mostly) all the best ways. Sean has had a lot of growing to do, and Ryker’s possessive form of patience is exactly what he needs. Ryker, by turns, wants Sean, wild and vulnerable as he is, and goes to tremendous lengths to protect the club that he considers his family, as well as save Sean from himself. Sexually, they are perfect for one another, and Sean’s attempts at self-control where Ryker is concerned, which he routinely dismisses as soon as he’s considered it, are unexpectedly sweet and funny at the same time.

One of my favorite things about Running Wild is that, except for a couple of token bad guys, the author doesn’t rely on mimicry to give her characters solid personalities. These men are interesting and complicated, and I still don’t think I’ve got them completely figured out, even though I thoroughly enjoyed trying to do so. Sean claims to be “okay,” and in some ways he is. In some ways he’s not, but thanks to Ryker’s acceptance, he keeps getting better as he goes. Ms. Jakes seems to understand that there are infinite types of “okay,” and it was nice to read a story that’s honest enough to acknowledge such a personally definable concept.

Although I have a soft spot for the first novels in the series I’ve come to love, they aren’t always the strongest narratives in the bunch. Havoc series, however, is off to a wonderful start with Running Wild, and I have high hopes for any stories yet to come. Sean and Ryker are intriguing, sexy, unorthodox characters, as well as being the very best kind of frustrating, too. With a wealth of established secondary characters, and the potential for many more, there’s no limit to what Ms. Jakes can potentially do with this series. But, if Running Wild is any indication of what’s in store, it will be one I’ll certainly follow until its end.

My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot

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About the Book:

Sean Rush is an adrenaline junkie. That’s why he was in the Army, why he steals and races classic muscle cars . . . and why he can’t stay away from bad boy Ryker, a Havoc Motorcycle Club lieutenant. Fortunately, Ryker can’t seem to stay away from Sean—he’s spent the last eight months breaking into Sean’s apartment and stealing into his bed, leaving Sean physically satisfied but increasingly restless.

Sean has always avoided relationships. He likes to come and go without being controlled. And Ryker is possibly the most controlling man he’s ever known. Still, he finds that he wants more from Ryker than their silent nighttime encounters.

Then one of Sean’s thefts goes bad, and Ryker’s protective instincts kick into overdrive. He takes Sean to the Havoc compound, determined to keep him safe. But Sean’s past threatens the safety of Havoc—and everything Ryker holds dear. Worse, Ryker’s hiding secrets of his own. Soon it’s obvious that the adrenaline rush can’t keep them together anymore. But maybe love can.

Release Date: June 30, 2014
Publisher:
Riptide Publishing
Series:
Havoc #1
ISBN: #978-1626491540
Genre:
Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, m/m Romance
Format(s):
paperback (270 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher

Purchase Info:
Running Wild (Havoc #1)

For more about Running Wild and author S.E. Jakes, plus a chance to win a $100 Gift Card from Riptide, check out the Book Spotlight post from earlier today!

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