Saturday, January 3, 2015

Review: Along Came Merrie (Red Wolves MC #1) by Beth D. Carter

 Along Came Merrie
This is book one in the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club series.
Merrie stumbles into a bad situation, forcing an outlaw motorcycle gang to ‘deal’ with her, but her escape leads her into the arms of two incredible men who change her life forever.
Merrie Walden is in the wrong place at the wrong time. When she sees something she shouldn’t, she’s attacked by a vicious outlaw biker bent on shutting her up—permanently. She escapes him by jumping out of a moving car. Luckily, horse rancher Braden McClintock finds her and takes her for medical attention to his adopted brother, Leo Cloud Dancer.
As she heals in the men’s home, Merrie realizes that she’s falling for both men. Braden is taciturn, while Leo is outgoing—both reaching a deep-seated need in Merrie that she never knew she had.
However, the outlaw biker has discovered her hideout and even if she doesn’t know what she witnessed, he sure as hell does—and he wants her silenced. Will Merrie have a chance to have a happily ever after with Braden and Leo?
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of anal sex.Publisher's Note: This book is best read in sequence as part of a series.

By reading any further, you are stating that you are 18 years of age, or over. If you are under the age of 18, it is necessary to exit this site.
Copyright © Beth D. Carter 2015. All Rights Reserved, Total-E-Ntwined Limited, T/A Totally Bound Publishing.

Merrie eased up on the gas when she finally accepted the truth. She was lost. Miles from nowhere, she looked down at her gas tank light flickering dangerously low. She dug around on the passenger seat until she found her phone then illuminated it to check her bars.
Of course. Dead.
Story of her life—dead end jobs, dead end future. She’d been taking care of herself since before she should’ve and the only job she’d been able to get at age fifteen was working on a dairy farm. It was nice but it didn’t pay all that much, and she’d gotten tired of her ass being grabbed each time she came by with the coffee carafe. The idea of moving to Cheyenne had sounded good at the time but now—lost in the middle of Wyoming—somehow it didn’t seem all that smart. Why was it that none of the roads had marker signs?
She’d gotten turned around at that last pit stop—that’s what had happened. Too many roads branched out for the truckers and she’d become confused about which road she’d been on. She was always doing stupid things like that. How hard was it to follow a road?
Apparently, very hard.
It only added to the melancholy lingering in her soul. She had wanted to start over, begin a new chapter in her life, so she’d donated most of her stuff to charity, keeping only the items that were important. It had depressed the hell out of her when she’d discovered all her worldly possessions had fitted in her trunk. It wasn’t as if she’d had a happy childhood full of memorabilia and crap. Hell, she’d barely graduated high school.
A glow in the distant sky lifted her spirits. A glow meant people, civilization. Hopefully it also meant a gas station or maybe someone who had information on how far the next one was—and food would be a plus. She hadn’t eaten since the truck stop a few hours ago.
She pressed harder on the gas pedal. The quicker she reached the lights, the quicker she’d get back on the right track. Merrie kept her fingers crossed that she wasn’t too far from her destination. Who knew driving could be so exhausting?
Her focus stayed on the lights and, as she grew closer, the shape of a large barn converted into a bar drew closer. Dozens of motorcycles surrounded it, big silver and black monstrosities that pushed a slither of unease down her spine. The only bikers she’d really heard of were the made up ones on television and they were dangerous bad asses. Plus, being a woman had her naturally distrustful of bars. There were too many horror stories where a girl went into a bar never to be seen again, and this one held bikers. She slowed upon noticing an old public telephone booth toward the back of the building. Never mind that it belonged in a museum—relief poured through her. She wouldn’t have to go inside to ask for directions. She could simply call the police to help her.
Merrie flicked off her headlights as she pulled into the parking lot then headed around back near the telephone booth. She didn’t see anyone, so she turned off her car and opened the door. Getting out, she looked around and took a step toward the call box when she heard a man laugh. She swung around. In the shadows of the building, two men talked and shook hands. They wore leather vests with many patches on them but one of the men had a band of red running along the bottom of his while the other didn’t. The second man faced her, the patch on his vest white with a red devil and two Ds on it.
Suddenly, the bearded man who faced her turned his head and looked directly at her. He tapped the other guy on the shoulder and he spun on his heel too. The second biker, his goatee cut close to his chin, glared at her like she was something disgusting on the bottom of his shoe. Seriously creeped out, Merrie debated if she should get back in her car and just leave. The telephone stood only a few feet away. Without knowing where she was, she had no way to judge how far the next gas stop would be. Did she really want to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere? Mind made up, she pushed her misgivings away as she hurried over to the phone.
She picked up the receiver, heard a dial tone and breathed a sigh of relief. It worked! She dug in her jeans pocket for some coins and was just about to put them into the phone, when a hand twisted in her hair and pulled sharply. Needle-like pain pricked her scalp and Merrie raised her hands instinctively, trying to alleviate the throb. The phone receiver fell to dangle at the bottom of the phone box.
The man holding her hair jerked her away from the phone booth. He twisted his hand, bringing her head up so she stared into his face. Tears flooded her eyes.
“Who are you?” he demanded.
“Let go of me!” she yelled, trying to free herself. This wasn’t the first time she’d dealt with this type of torment. Her mother had liked to hurt her whenever she was in her drunken rages.
The biker backhanded her. White-hot heat exploded in her cheek as the force of the hit spun her around. Dirt filled her mouth as she landed hard on her front and tears filled her eyes when her nerve endings processed the pain. Fear replaced every single coherent thought and instinct in Merrie’s mind. She pushed herself up and glanced at the man, holding her hands out in a pleading gesture for him to leave her alone.
“I asked who you are,” he said coldly. “I didn’t ask for a fucking attitude.”
“M-my name is M-Merrie,” she whimpered, spitting out dirt and blood. Her teeth had cut the inside of her mouth. “P-please don’t hurt me.”
“Merrie. Well, Merrie, who were you calling?”
“N-no one,” she said.
He grabbed her arm and yanked her up to stand in front of him. He bent her arm behind her until she whimpered and tried to pull away, but his grip was too tight.
“Now why don’t I believe you?” He shook her. “Were you calling the club? Are you someone’s old lady? Or just a fucking spy?”
“I don’t know any club. Please let me go!”
“Who were you calling?” he demanded again. This time he brought his hand back in a fist.
“The police!” she cried, cringing.
He leered in her face. The stale stench of cigarettes and the sour fermentation of beer on his breath activated her gag reflex. But she swallowed down the bile. “I’ve got the police in my back pocket, you stupid bitch. They can’t help you.”
“I’m lost,” she whispered, closing her eyes. “I swear. I was just calling them because I’m lost!”
“Well, shit,” someone else said.
Merrie cracked her eyes open. The other man with the gray beard looked at her with a mixture of pity and resolution. Her heart pounded as fear skyrocketed to terror and she knew her life was in jeopardy. Once again, she tugged her arm, trying to break the tight grip on her wrist.
“You fucked up, Axe,” the bearded man said. “And I don’t know if she’d have someone come looking for her.”
“I’ll take care of it,” Axe snarled.
“Make sure no one finds her body.”
“No!” Merrie screamed. “I won’t tell anyone anything. I swear. I-I’ve never been here. I don’t even know where I am. Please don’t hurt me. Please!”
“Shut up,” Axe snarled. He drew back his fist again and smashed it into her face.
Her vision faded and she gave in to the beckoning darkness. 

Review by Ramona
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Around the time the Red Wolves Motorcycle Club joined the rest of the 95%, otherwise known as becoming legit, Along Came Merrie to throw a major wrench in the works. Someone wants her to disappear and she has no idea what for. All she knows is that she tried to make a call from a biker bar and now someone wants her dead. 

Merrie keeps her wits, though, and escapes out of her car to evade her impeding death. Or does she? 

Rescued by a rancher and nursed back to health by his adopted brother, she thinks she's found everything she's ever dreamed of in her short yet painful life. There is yet another dilemma facing her. She has to choose between the dour and serious Braden or the fun, expressive Leo but she doesn't want to be the reason for the brothers to resent each other. But maybe she doesn't have to make a choice, if only the three of them can come to an agreement on how to share their relationship.

Beth D. Carter has spun a story of a woman who is a true survivor getting involved with two men that themselves  also have learned to cope. While that makes for extremely sizzling fireworks, it also means that there are three tough, strong personalities in a relationship that would be a challenge enough for two!how the dynamics will work, well, that makes the most interesting part of the story. 

Merrie has learned to deal with whatever life throws at her. From the time she was born to the time she finds herself trapped in her own car, everything has worked against her and hurt her badly. Everyone is out to just use or abuse her. Which is why she wasn't really surprised to find herself picked on by that group of bikers. It was just another major letdown which might end all her troubles - permanently. Yet Merrie is strong enough to will herself to survive.her instincts led her straight to the two men who just may be her first stroke of good fortune. 

Braden and Leo are just as opposite as two people could be. While Braden is just dead serious, Leo manages to find humor in just about everything. One is the perfect foil to the other. Put together, they're the irresistible combination that Merrie can't seem to resist. 

While I like Leo a lot, Braden at times needed to be reminded he wasn't supposed to be a spoiled brat. He certainly ac Ed like to, which made me want to hit him when he suddenly morphed into a toddler with a tantrum. Despite the vast age difference, Merrie seemed to be a lot more mature than he was. Not a surprise that he had been hurt badly before, but for me it simply wasn't enough reason to vent his frustrations on Merrie and Leo.  

I don't understand what the prologue has to do with the rest of the book. While Grey Dog plays a huge part in Merrie's story, the anonymous man in the beginning doesn't show up again. Perhaps this will be answered in the next book in the series? 

There are also shadowy hints to the next installments. Gavin, North, maybe Gunner? I wonder who's story is coming up next? For sure Grey Dog will show up in all of them. The big, bad dog has quite a few tricks to show before his possibly inevitable bloody end. Maybe I guessed right about that. Hmmm...

With Along Comes Merrie, Beth D. Carter has created a bloody and violent, yet beautiful, romance of a woman whose will to survive surpasses a traitor's need to make easy, illegal money and her men who are willing to protect her even to the risk of their own lives. If this is only the introduction to the Red Wolves MC series, it will be hard for me to wait for the rest of the books!

Note: Copy provided by publisher for an honest review.

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