Walk Through Fire (Chaos 4) by Kristen Ashley
Contemporary Biker Romance. Can stand alone, but better read in order.
I’m starting to feel like a broken record, but Kristen Ashley has done it again! Walk Through Fire is a nice and long, sweet, sexy, super emotional and totally engrossing second chance romance. This is High and Millie’s story. Given my lack of memory, I was worried going in. In fact, I re-read my reviews of all the Chaos books to refresh my memory. But I really didn’t need to. I remember the main players, and they all show up here, yet Walk Through Fire can easily stand alone as well. I didn’t really remember High beyond his name (he is also referred to as Low, short for Logan), but that was OK, I was totally invested right from the start.
Millie is classy, she owns an upscale event planning and decorating business, and lives in a kickass, girly house. At 40ish, she has lived as a shell , just existing for 20 years; hardly a social life, no excitement, no love life (at all!?!).
Please! God! Leave me to my nothing!” I swung an arm out to their table. “And if you gave one single shit about me, ever, make them let me have my nothing!”
While on line at Chipotle (I think this must be Kristen Ashley’s favorite place. Chipotle should pay for this advertising!) Millie hears a voice from the past, and sees Logan “High” Judd. The love of her life. The man she has successfully avoided for the 20 years since she left him. She overhears him on the phone talking about a divorce and about his kids. She decides it’s time to reconnect, and tell him why she left.
High and the rest of the Chaos gang hate Millie. She not only turned her back on Logan after 3 amazing years, she turned her back on the whole club who loved her. And holy crap, they let her know they didn’t like her! They were horrible to her. But the hate sex between her and High? YUMMY! And HOT! Not only that, but boy could you see the connection, even through the hate. The first half was filled with yearning, regret, hate, anger, love, and sadness.
I was a dick and I was a dick on purpose. Because what you did to us fuckin’ destroyed me and I never put the pieces back together.”
Twenty years apart, haunted by you, walkin’ around with a hole in my soul….”
Told in a combination of first person present and flashback (with no confusion at all), we were able to see the epic love that High and Millie had for three years when they were younger. Something tragic ended it, but we don’t know what for the first half of the book (I guessed wrong). I literally read the first 50% and checked out on life. It was completely emotional and unputdownable.
But once the main conflict is over and the sweet began, I still loved it, but it lost the urgency. The engrossing “check out of life” quality that I get from most of Kristen Ashley’s books dissipated. Don’t get me wrong, even the second half was better than almost anything I read, but it totally did not live up to the first half. It was basically the day-to-day life of blending a family. High’s daughters and his ex-wife played a huge part in the second half, and it was nice to not have the bitchy ex-wife for a change. Instead we got a bitchy daughter. But at ten years old, this was a realistic reaction to another woman in daddy’s life. I just wish High put her in her place a little more. And his ex-wife was almost too cool with everything. I loved her but she was almost too good to be true.
Then we have Benito Valenzuela who is Chaos’s enemy. He played a role in this book, but it was so secondary it was almost ineffectual. He seemed almost thrown in. I would have liked to see a little more Chaos conflict.
While I sound complainey…I’m really not. I freaking loved Walk Through Fire. The first half was easily 5++++ stars, the second half 4.25-4.5.
Walked into a party, fell in love with you. Walked through fire when I lost you. Got you back. Nothin’, Millie, nothin’ will make me lose you. Hear?”
- Emotional like crazy.
- The first half especially was HOT. (Hate sex, yum)
- Visiting with Chaos and all of the other characters we know and love, as well as Dream Man characters and others.
- Even though there are a ton of familiar characters, this is a great standalone as well.
- The old ladies were fun and I want to hang with all of them.
- Elvira’s comic relief (see dislikes as well).
- A likable ex-wife.
- Kids that were even more realistic (and not all that likable at first).
- I devoured the first half and checked out on life.
- So much emotion! They lost so much time!
- The cats! Love them!
- The second half of the book dragged a bit.
- I would have liked more detail about the cause of the reason for the separation (hard to word without spoiling).
- If their relationship was so perfect for three years, and he spent that time angry, why didn’t he fight for her then?
- I feel awful saying this, because Elvira is one of my favorite characters, but she was a bit of overkill in this one, she seemed like she was the leader of the Old Ladies and everyone did her bidding. But she’s not an old lady! Still, she provided plenty of comedy relief.
- Benito Valenzuela is getting to be annoying, and typical, kind of a cookie cutter bad guy who is creepy but ineffective against Chaos.
Rating: 4.5 Stars, 4 Heat
The Down and Dirty:
NOTE: Make sure you check out this bonus Elvira chapter AFTER you read Walk Through Fire
Purchase Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley
I beeped the locks and had a hand to the handle when I heard, “Lookin’ for me?”
When that deep, coarse voice came at me through the dark, my body became paralyzed, my eyes glued to my hand on the handle.
Then it kept coming at me.
“Bitch, followed you the last forty-five minutes. Reb got in touch. Told me you hit Scruff’s.” On the next, the voice was nearer. “You’re lookin’ for me. So tell me what the fuck you want so you can quit lookin’ and I can quit lookin’ at you.” Slowly, I turned, my head going back automatically because I felt him close and I knew what close to Logan meant.
I was five-seven.
He was six-one.
He towered over me, or at least that’s what it always felt like because he wasn’t only tall, he was also a big guy with a big presence.
And right then, it felt like that, especially since his big presence was an angry one.
His face was in shadows, I could barely see it.
But I could feel him.
And I could smell him.
God, I could smell him.
He didn’t wear cologne or aftershave. His scent was all his. And I remembered lying in our bed holding his pillow to me, my face shoved into the sheets, taking him in after I’d made him walk away.
His scent hadn’t changed. Not even a nuance.
Smelling it without warning felt like walking unsuspecting into the street and having a truck slam into you. And that feeling was so strong it was a wonder my body didn’t go careening through the trucks and bikes, slamming into them, shattering every bone.
He moved forward so he was in my space, the smell strengthened and my body tightened to guard against it.
“Woman, after all this time, whatever shit you gotta hand me, fuckin’ do it,” he ordered irately. “You got two seconds to spit it the fuck out. You don’t, you won’t get another chance, and you know I’ll make it that way. So this is your only shot. Take it or get in your fuckin’ car and get your ass outta my world.”
I stared into the shadows of his face, wishing with everything that I could see it.
Apparently, I did this for two seconds because Logan bit out, “Right. See nothin’s changed. Weak. Now get your ass . . .” he dipped his face to mine, “gone.”
And when he did, I got up on my toes and kissed him.
It was totally crazy.
But I also totally couldn’t help it.
He smelled so fucking good.
And he was Logan.
Close. Right there. His face in mine.
He jerked away, muttering a disgusted, “What the fuck?”
But the words or their tone didn’t penetrate.
I smelled him and I’d had a taste.
I was gone.
I lifted both hands to either side of his head, yanked him down to me, and went back in, going for it, giving it my all. Even when his fingers clenched painfully into my hips pushing them back to set me away, I held on tighter and shoved my tongue between his lips.
It touched his, just that, just a touch, and then I cried out into his mouth when I found my back slammed into my SUV.
But it wasn’t his way to get me to let him go.
His head slanted and he forced my tongue out of his mouth when his invaded mine.
And that was when I was gone.
I was already gone but right then there was nothing to me.
Nothing at all.
Except my hands on Logan’s head, his body pressing mine into my car, his smell all around us, his tongue plundering my mouth, all this exploding fire everywhere.
He drove a hand into my hair, twisting it, the pain bristling over my scalp and I cried out into his mouth again even as I arched deeper, pressed closer, willing, like it had always been, to give it all because he was Logan, he got it all.
But also because I knew I’d get it back a hundredfold.
He swayed us forward so his other arm could lock across my back and he kept at my mouth as I rolled way up on my toes, pushing deep, wrapping my arms around his neck, consumed by the kiss and not giving that first fuck.
I was ready to ride it out.
No, I needed to ride it out.
No matter where it went.
He broke away and that was when my hand went into his hair, fisting tight in protest.
“That what you want?” he growled, his voice lower, the abrasion physical, and I shivered with delight.
I wasn’t entirely certain of the question but I answered a breathy, “Yes.”
“That’s what you want,” he repeated, a statement this time, seeking confirmation.
He let me go but took my hand, his skin rough against my fingers. The feel of it back after all these years washed through me and I fancied I remembered every time, in quick succession, from the first night we met to the night before I broke it off when he’d taken my hand and guided me somewhere.
Lost in it like I’d always been lost in it, I followed blindly.
Attached to Logan, I’d go anywhere.
Even if we were walking through fire.
- What scene from WALK THROUGH FIRE was the hardest to write?
High yelling at Zadie. I understood his emotion. It hurt for me, how he had to struggle to keep his cool in front of his girls…and how he failed. I felt his panic, his impatience, his frustration.
High’s a pushover daddy. He adores his girls (to a fault). Dealing with the issues of Millie being in their lives, he could control and strategize how he was going to finesse that situation even when something happened earlier in the book to spark his temper.
But must not forget, High is a member of a motorcycle club. They live in a different world. A member’s reaction to what happened to Millie will be primal…and roundly understood by everyone in their circle. Except two little girls. High had to leash that, an almost impossible task for him, thus some came through. I knew it pained him deeply because it pained me writing it.
- What can you tell us about High and Millie that we won’t find in the book?
High’s fighting a losing battle. Millie might embrace a house where there are coasters in only one room, and the woman can make a mess, but in the end, she’s still tidy (and so is Cleo, Zadie…not so much).
- Finish this sentence: My hero will always…
Be nearly viciously protective, of his heroine, his children, his friends, his family.
- What’s next for you?
I actually haven’t quite decided. We’re getting my independently published books in print. There’s a lot of work involved around that and I’ve been traveling quite a bit this summer but home for a good stretch and nesting. It’s been a week since I finished SEBRING, the last in the Unfinished Heroes series (this book coming out in January). And now that week is done and I’m done with nesting! I’m itching to write another book.
I’m really feeling the pull of the mountains so I suspect it’ll be Deke, the next in the Colorado Mountain series. His heroine has hit me strong in the heart. So I’ll be wanting to deal with that!
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.