Title: Opening Up by Lauren Dane
Ink & Chrome Series Book One
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, Romance
Length: 325 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
The men of Twisted Steel are great with their hands. And they’re not afraid to get dirty.
Asa Barrons is never lonely for long. Co-owner of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop, he works hard and plays harder. But he never allows his after-hours affairs to interfere with business-until he meets racing royalty PJ Colman. While the blue-eyed blonde is all princess on the outside, on the inside Asa can see that this woman is ready to take a walk on the wild side.
PJ knows trouble when she sees it, and Asa is the complete package: fast bike, killer ink, and a sinfully sexy smile that has her imagining things nice girls never do. She talks her way onto the Twisted Steel team to prove her painting skill, and soon learns that Asa is eager to show off some skills of his own.
With the help of Asa’s expert touch, PJ is initiated into a world of wicked desire. No limits. No inhibitions. No turning back. But as perfect as their passion seems, a new challenge awaits, forcing them to ask just how far they are willing to go . . .
Opening Up is the first installment in Lauren Dane’s deliciously erotic Ink & Chrome series and wow!! It is an absolutely FANTASTIC beginning to what promises to be a knock your socks off, über steamy series featuring sexy alpha men and the women who win their hearts. MAJOR props for choosing blue collar, rough around the edges heroes and Oh. My. Gawd! LOVE that they work on cars and motorcycles. And not just any cars. Vintage muscle cars! *fans self*
Oh, yeah, now on to the review 😉 . Asa Barrons co-owns Twisted Steel with his close friend Duke Bradshaw and he crosses paths with PJ (aka Penelope Jean) Colman at an industry event where she representing her family’s tire business. PJ holds a corporate position in the company but her true love is her fledgling custom paint business. The two are instantly attracted to one another but Asa has a strict rule about mixing business with pleasure and he is also convinced she is too young for him. But an attraction as strong as theirs is too powerful to ignore and they share one night of sizzling sex. However Asa immediately puts the brakes on their budding relationship and although PJ is disappointed, she moves on with her life but that does not mean she has given up on tempting him into reconsidering his decision.
PJ is the youngest of the Colman siblings and she has worked hard to prove herself to the rest of the family. After trying and failing to win her father’s approval, she finally dropped out of college to begin working in the family corporation. She is quite successful in her current position but PJ knows that adding her custom paint and detail business to the company would add to their bottom line and bring in new clients. As someone working in a male dominated field, she is used to proving herself, but neither her father nor uncle take her seriously and when they refuse to entertain her idea, she takes a calculated risk and quits the company to start up her own business. PJ is smart, sassy and self-confident and all of this combined with her stellar reputation makes it easy for her grow her new business. She also sees Asa on a fairly regular basis once she strikes out on her own since their careers are so closely intertwined.
Asa oozes sex appeal and he is an adrenaline junkie but he also has a very tender, gooey side that he keeps hidden underneath his tattooed, pierced and somewhat menacing exterior. He has nothing but respect for PJ but he is a little extremely protective of the people he cares about. This, along with his mistaken belief that he knows what is best for her (!), figure prominently in his decision to end their relationship after their night of incredible sex. But in actuality, he breaks it off with her because she challenges his ability to maintain control and his feelings for her are very different than any he has experienced before.
Surprisingly, the relationship between Asa and PJ is pretty evenly balanced. Sure, Asa is a take charge kind of man, but PJ is no shrinking violet. She knows what she wants and what she likes and she has no difficulty letting Asa know when he crosses a line with her. There is little conflict between them since they actually communicate with one another and talk through their problems with little angst or drama. Their compatibility extends to the bedroom and their sex scenes are quite naughty as Asa shows PJ just how pleasurably a little pain can be.
PJ’s issues with her father are the main source of friction in the story. She continues to hold out hope he will take her seriously and show his appreciation for her but she does not make much progress with him. This part of the storyline is wrapped up rather nicely and although not everything is sunshine and rainbows in the end, the resolution is realistic.
Opening Up is a well-written novel with fabulously developed, engaging characters. It is fast-paced with a distinctive storyline that is compelling and interesting. The romance is slow growing and believable and the sex scenes are exquisitely sensual and quite erotic. All in all, it is a warm, witty and scrumptiously sexy beginning to Lauren Dane’s Ink & Chrome series that will leave readers eagerly awaiting the next installment.