Smoke and Steel by Kristen Ashley
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy from Kristen Ashley’s publicist in exchange for an unbiased review. This post contains affiliate links. My reviews are NEVER influenced by ads or links.
I got a very early copy of Smoke & Steel by Kristen Ashley and had time to read it twice. I needed that because a lot was happening and I wanted to make sure I soaked it all in. In preparation for this read, I re-read Still Standing, the first in the series, but they are not really relevant to each other except the character “Nails”. What I should have re-read was Rough Ride, Free and Wild Wind. I also re-read all of my reviews to refresh my memories (that’s actually why I retell the beginning of the story in my reviews, it’s to jog my own memory.) You can see them all in my Complete Guide to Kristen Ashley.
In the prologue, Kristen lets you know that Smoke & Steel is not really for newbies:
Smoke and Steel is about the Resurrection MC. They used to be called Bounty, but after they did something so heinous they couldn’t forgive themselves, they disbanded. A group of the ex-Bounty members decided to resurrect themselves anew as a vigilante MC to try to make up for past sins, hence the name Resurrection.
“You could wallow in the hurts done to you and use them as an excuse to live your life hurting other people. Or you could fight the cycle and find ways to do better.”
Hellen, Jagger’s (Wild Wind) sister-in-law is smart and driven, running her own social media company. She broke up with her boyfriend because he didn’t respect her enough, and I loved her sass. (And OMG, her break-up speech was so spot-on and EPIC.) She has a cousin, “Nails” who is trouble, and Nails is headed to Denver. Resurrection is assigned to watch Hellen to see if Nails contacts her. And Core, Resurrection’s VP likes what he sees while watching her.
“I’d been stricken by that look on Core’s face because no one had ever looked at me like that. Stricken and moved. Something velvet glided through me as we locked eyes, and it was a feeling I’d never felt in my entire life.”
Core can’t forgive himself for the part he played in Rosalie’s beating (See Rough Ride and Free) He doesn’t think he deserves Hellen, but he doesn’t want to lose her and continually holds back such an important part of who he is. I loved how Beck stepped in to offer advice. In the end I really loved how healthy and HOT Core & Hellen turned out to be.
“Woman, I’ll trip on your shoes every fucking day of my life, if it means you’re in my life.”
The best part of Smoke & Steel is the family and brotherhood aspect. Though it sometimes felt a little corny to have men open up to each other so much, it shows the importance of family whether you are born into it or it’s found along the way. The Resurrection bikers have been to hell and fought their way back together, and I loved the redemption in the story.
- I loved Hellen’s character. She’s smart, independent and sassy.
- The whole side story involving Bree’s “Tinder Swindler”.
- Being back in Denver and especially visiting Fortnum’s and Tex.
- The meshing of her girl posse and the biker chick posse.
- The way Core respected Hellen’s career and drive.
- Beck’s guidance for Core.
- Seeing how the group paid for past sins and changed their lives.
- There is nothing like a KA read to suck you in!
- Rough Ride (Rosalie’s story) and Free both play heavily into this story, and they were released 4 & 5 years ago. I don’t remember yesterday, let alone details of a story I read 5 years ago.
- The guys aren’t the most realistic characters: They talk through their personal problems!
- I think her worlds are getting a little too big with too many crossovers. Though I love finding Easter eggs, her books are getting harder and harder to keep track of all of the characters & crossovers.
The Down & Dirty:
Rating: 4.25 Stars, 4.5 Heat
Purchase Smoke & Steel by Kristen Ashley
I highly recommend you read the Chaos Series before The Wild West MC Series.