Redemption Road by Katie Ashley

After I finished listening to the final book in the Outlander series, I was really looking forward to listening to something new on my walk to work. You could say there was an extra spring in my step that morning! Redemption Road begins with Rev being drugged and raped as a young adolescent, followed by Annabel being kidnapped, gang raped and sold as a sex slave to a Mexican human trafficker. Probably one of the more depressing walks to work I’ve ever had.

What’s it About? 

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Looking for a walk on the wild side, Annabel Percy, the daughter of a powerful politician, gives in to an attraction to a sexy biker she meets one night. But she finds herself living a nightmare when she’s kidnapped and transported into a hell on earth she never could have imagined. Born and bred into the Hells Raiders MC, Nathaniel “Reverend” Malloy lives and dies for his brothers. But when he becomes the unexpected savior of a rival club’s captive, Rev makes it his personal mission to nurse Annabel back to health—and to shelter her from the nightmares that torment her. Once Annabel heals, she’s stunned to realize she is falling for the seductive man who saved her. Faced with their impossible attraction, can she accept the life he leads, or will Rev walk away from the only life he’s ever known for the woman he was never supposed to love?

First Impressions

This book obviously deals with some extremely sensitive topics, and they are described in enough graphic detail that it can be very difficult to read/listen to at times. Let’s just say the author doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh reality of Annabel’s capture, or her heart-breaking suicide attempt after being rescued. However, I must say I think this was a very important aspect of the novel which added a sense of realness to the story. It might not have been the happiest of reads, even though you can predict the eventual romantic relationship between Rev and Annabel, but I think the author did an amazing job of bringing their mutual hardships to the forefront. It showed that life can in fact be ugly and gruesome, but we’re able to see through Annabel’s initial friendship with Rev that things can get better, even though it seems impossible at the time.

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Guilty Flirtation

After Rev rescues Annabel from her hellish prison, it seems at first that the two of them would quickly jump into bed due to their obvious attraction and mutual flirtation. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for sex in romance novels, but I definitely questioned how wise this move would be considering how much Annabel had just been through. But I must say, the author addresses this topic superbly through a conversation between Rev and Annabel.

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Following the dramatic rescue, Annabel and Rev drive back to the United States, which means a lot of alone time together in the car and various hotel rooms. Annabel finds she can trust Rev after he confesses the details of his own rape. She starts to relax with him, and the two even start to flirt with each other. This quickly turns Annabel’s sense of happiness to guilt. She thinks something must be wrong with her to openly flirt with a man after all she’d been through. Rev shares his personal experiences of moving on after his own traumatic experience, and convinces her that there’s no reason to feel guilty. It’s simply a part of her old self trying to break through.

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Oh my, getting a little emotional over here! I must say I was very impressed that the author didn’t shy away from tackling such a difficult discussion. She easily could have had these two characters try and find solace through sex, and brush aside Annabel’s rape as though it never happened. Instead, they actually have these discussions about what life is like after their rape, and find comfort in sharing their own thoughts and emotions about what happened to them. After that, you can’t help but root for Rev and Annabel to eventually find happiness and love with each other.

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A Slow Blossom

The blossoming romance between Rev and Annabel does take some time to fully develop as he helps her learn to live life again after such a harrowing ordeal. Once they do start to feel something more for each other, Rev thinks she’s experiencing some kind of reverse Stockholm Syndrome, and doesn’t want to take advantage of her feelings if she’s just falling for her knight in shining armor. On the other hand, Annabel knows her feelings of love are true, and has to convince Rev that he’s good enough for her considering she comes from a wealthy background. She explains that their shared traumas bring them closer together than any societal differences may have pushed them apart.

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It does take them a while to finally have sex, but in my opinion the wait was absolutely necessary. If they’d had sex too soon after Annabel’s rescue, I think it would have seemed a bit rushed, as well as unrealistic to overcome all of the physical and mental atrocities which befell her so quickly. By waiting, Rev and Annabel are able to connect as friends before becoming lovers, which makes their eventual coupling so much more meaningful.

Last Minute Climax

We do get a few mentions here and there throughout the book that Annabel’s captor, Mendoza, is coming after her with the intention to kill both her and the scum biker who dared to steal away what belonged to him. It isn’t until the absolute very end of the novel that he finally makes his grand reappearance, and I must say it was kind of a let down. The climax was pretty much over as soon as it began. All of these characters have already been through so much, and the return of Mendoza almost seemed like an unnecessary after thought.

*A copy of this audiobook was provided by Recorded Books for an honest review*

Series: Vicious Cycle, book 2. Each book focuses on a different couple, but you need to read them in order.

Should you read it? This book dealt with much more sensitive topics than the first book in the series, and could have triggers for some people. I don’t think the narration was the best, but the writing was pretty great. It felt like two people were actually telling you their story of survival.

Smut Level: These two definitely bring out the best in each other, including their naughty sex kitten vibes.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $5.99 Kindle Price. Signet Publishing. 338 Pages.

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