Who knew a man built like a tank could have such a soft and loving personality?
What’s it About?
Tyler Wilde moves to Black Widow, Texas, to join the Blue Guardians, a local biker club that helps abused women and children. He’s intent on starting his life over, but a small piece of his past collides with his present when he runs into the local waitress, Annie Carter. Annie’s the girl of his boyhood dreams, and Tyler can’t wait to get reacquainted with her. Only problem is, Annie’s engaged. But what has Tyler more troubled than the diamond on her finger is the bruise that graces her arm. To make matters worse, Annie’s abuser and intended husband is also the town’s Chief of Police. Tyler is determined to offer Annie a safe haven, but she refuses his help until her life is hanging by a thread.
This is a phenomenal read that takes a close and haunting look at surviving abuse, and how troubled pasts can sometimes mold people into loving and caring adults. Now, normally I’m not a huge fan of biker romances. They usually deal with ultra possessive male leads, and biker groups with questionable morals. This romance presents the complete opposite on both accounts. In Tyler “Tank” Wilde we see a tough man of muscle on the outside, but when it comes to the woman of his dreams he’s adorably shy and unbelievably caring. As for the biker group he’s trying to join, they help save and look after abused women and children. How can you not help but fall in love with these characters?
Survivors and Superheros
Tank and Annie are both survivors of abuse. Tank experienced it as a child at the hands of his father. This has since influenced him to want to try and save others from ever having to suffer what he went through as a child. He’s literally a real-life, modern-day superhero. And he is set on saving Annie.
Annie is being abused by her fiancé, and before Tank comes into her life she sees no escape. Eventually Annie reaches her breaking point, and realizes she must either leave now, or risk dying at the hands of an abusive monster. She turns to Tank for help, and before long they start to realize they have deep feelings for each other which will come to the surface sooner rather than later.
Rebound or Real Love?
At first, I wondered if Tank and Annie’s inevitable romance would come off as some kind of rebound for Annie, as though she’s just falling for her savior out of a sense of duty. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. They have a deep connection which actually extends back to when they were children. Both had secret crushes on the other during one summer they lived next to each other, and they both see this twist of fate which brought them together again as a way to finally explore their feelings. This time, they won’t let the opportunity pass them by.
Male Point of View
While we do see parts of the story alternating between both Tank and Annie’s points of view, I felt like this was really Tank’s story. And oh my goodness was it incredible. I’ve always found it’s pretty hit or miss for me when it comes to a male-dominated point of view, but this telling was quite superb. He’s a noble character in every sense of the word, and you really see how much he cares for Annie as a person. One of my favorite quotes of the novel was, “She was his. Not by possession, but through desire.” And that’s what I loved so much about Tank. For him, Annie is his everything, yet he never treats her like an object. His love for her is pure an passionate.
Growth of a Character
Another aspect of the novel I truly appreciated was in the growth of Annie’s character. At the start of the novel, we see her stuck in an abusive relationship with apparently no way or will to get out. However, once her fiancé draws a gun on her she realizes she has to run or die. She runs to Tank, and we see how she has some initial inherent and deep-rooted fears of setting him off, as though he’ll treat her like her fiancé did. This is particularly evident during their first morning together, where she’s seemingly terrified at the possibility of sitting in Tank’s spot at the kitchen counter.
However, as the two spend more time together Annie starts to come out of her shell, and turns back into the woman she once was. She realizes that she doesn’t want to hide away anymore, living in constant fear of her fiancé. Annie chooses to stand up and start living life again. Through Tank she is able to start out on that path, yet in the end she is able to choose happiness for herself, without being solely reliant on Tank for guidance. He provided her with a place to turn to in order to escape this abusive scenario, but she was the one who ultimately made the decision to leave. She was never a damsel in distress who couldn’t take care of herself. I found that to be truly admirable.
The Portrait of a Villain
Now, a proper review of this novel would not be complete without exploring our villain, Annie’s fiancé, Duke. It is here where I feel the author specifically excelled at painting the horrifying portrait of an abuser. It was truly eerie to see how Duke was able to use his charm to not only sway Annie into his clutches in the first place, but then also woo the townsfolk to such a degree that Annie felt nobody would believe her if she revealed his abusive nature.
On top of this, it was frightening to see how Duke was actually far from stupid. He was shockingly methodical in the various traps he set to discover Annie’s location after she ran away from him. Like a hunter seeking his prey. We also see part of the story from his point of view, and it’s disturbing how he tries to justify his abuse of Annie to himself. An unbelievably realistic view at abusive relationships.
*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*
Series: Black and Blue, book 1. I’ll be continuing with this series, for sure.
Should you read it? A beautifully heartfelt read that draws you in right from the beginning. It takes a look at the complexities of abuse, and how it’s possible to achieve happiness after surviving a difficult past. While both Annie and Tank wish they never would have had to endure such atrocities, they also realize that while they can’t change their pasts, it shaped who they are today. All they can do is try to live their lives to the fullest, and look forward to a future together.
Smut Level: It’s amusing how often these two are interrupted from exploring their physical desires. They don’t take things to the next level until a bit later in the book, but I appreciated this as it didn’t make their relationship seem too forced or rushed.
Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $0.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 279 Pages.