Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley (Joint Review, Giveaway and Excerpt)

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Ashley_WalkThroughFire_MMAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Forever

Our Copy: Sent

Reviewers: Nikki & Michelle

Millie Cross knows what it’s like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn’t be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie’s chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can’t ignore. And this time, she won’t let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan “High” Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she’s just a ghost of her former self. High’s intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn’t want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie’s betrayal, he’ll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .

Michelle: I feel like I’ve walked through fire after reading this book. Kristen Ashley has a way of tugging your heartstrings in such a gut-wrenching way, you wonder if you’ll survive with your heart intact. High has been a behind the scenes character so far in the Chaos series, so I was a little surprised to find him in the hero seat. He did not disappoint. As she did with Hop in his book, the author made High seem larger than life and definitely someone you could fall in love with.

Nikki: I 100% agree with Michelle here! I felt so emotionally wrung out after reading Walk Through Fire that I had to take a break from reading for a couple of days. It was that intense. I never expected High’s book so be so emotional because he’s always been a present but background character. One who had been dealt a rough life in the form of the club and his wife, but still, just in the background. Yet Kristen Ashley made him stand out with what felt like little effort (though I’m sure on her end it was mind numbingly difficult).

Michelle: Millie Cross first met Logan “High” Judd at a party when she was eighteen. Despite her youth and his wild biker lifestyle, it was lust at first sight, with love following shortly after. Millie was born to be an old lady. Everything about Logan called to her, and vice versa. They moved too fast, became serious way too quickly, but everything worked in a perfect way for three years. When Millie discovered she couldn’t give Logan everything he wanted out of life, she pushed him away, breaking his heart and crushing her own in the process. For the next twenty years, Millie is just a shell of a woman, going through the motions without really living.

High was broken when Millie ended things between them. To him she was everything. He had the world at his fingertips: a club full of brothers who’d always have his back, and a good woman by his side. After their breakup, Logan does a downward spiral, letting rage dictate his life and not caring about much of anything. All of that changes when he becomes a father. He endures a friendly but emotionless marriage for over a decade before he realizes they’re not doing their children any good by pretending their union is a happy one.

A chance encounter brings High and Millie together after twenty years of living their own personal hells separately. To Millie, High is still her Logan, only an older, stronger, even more sexy version. She’s never stopped loving him and nobody has ever taken over the space in her life that he left when she ran him off. Seeing Millie again cuts through High like a knife. She’s the only woman he’s ever loved, the one woman he can’t forget, and the only person on the planet capable of twisting him up inside. He hurts, he rages, he pushes her away, and he treats her like trash. And through it all, their explosive chemistry still burns hot, and the love they once shared does its best to shine through their hurt.

Nikki: Can I take a moment and just talk about the sex these two have? Because oh my gawd, it was vicious and so hot that I thought about taking up smoking for a minute. High takes domineering to a whole other level. He’s a smack your ass, pull your hair and twist you into a pretzel kind of guy. Seriously, it’s that good. Kristen Ashley writes them downright gritty and dirty enough to make your momma blush.The choppy writing combined with the lust filled scenes act together to give readers sheer perfection…you know, if you’re into that kinda thing…which we all know I totally am.

Michelle: Kristen Ashley got it all right with this book. Millie and Logan were so real, so flawed, so vulnerable that they broke my heart. I loved the way Logan loved her, both twenty years ago and today. He was protective and caring and biker-romantic and wanted to give her the world. Initially the game they played after being reunited was messed up, to say the least. There were times when I hated him, even though I understood his anger. When the truth comes out and Logan finally understands how Millie “walked through fire” in order to give him the world, it’s all over for him. Millie doesn’t stand a chance against Logan wanting to love her again.

Nikki: These two has mad chemistry from twenty years ago and even hotter chemistry in the present as adults who now understand how the world works. High is so downright mean to Millie after their chance meeting and he treats her like the nothing he craves her to be. Many times I wanted to scream at him, to throttle him for being clueless. Yet on the other hand I wanted Millie to lay it on him. Explain her actions twenty years ago and get him to understand. Some of it was most definitely her fault for keeping him in the dark. I suppose I understood her motives, but still, it’s no wonder he reacted the way he did when he didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle of their relationship. Once he figures everything out though…everything changes and he vows to make amends for his actions in the past and the present. When High sets his sights on something, you better watch out, because he’s certainly going to get it.

We give Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley 4.5 stars!

****EXCERPT****

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.

No.

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.

“Yes, Logan.”

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.

 

Q&A With Kristen

1. There’s a line in the book: “There are only a few words in the Vocabulary of Badass but each one had a number of meanings.” What is your favorite word/meaning from the Vocabulary of Badass.

“Babe.” A badass can make “babe” say anything with just a change of inflection. “Babe” can be “shut up.” “Babe” can be “you crack me up.” “Babe” can mean “I cannot believe you just did that.” “Babe” is an all-powerful word that badasses have an innate ability to use and they use it frequently.

2.  What do you hope readers can learn from WALK THROUGH FIRE?

That there’s strength in sacrifice.  We are the most important people in our lives. We have to look out for ourselves. But sometimes doing that, we need to do something that will cause us extraordinary pain but the reasons we accept that are the right reasons. I believe (and hope) readers will debate if Millie made the right or wrong decision for her and Logan (High) when they were young. There were other ways to go about that and other paths they could have taken to get what they both wanted. But in the end, there was Cleo and Zadie. And it’s unthinkable that they wouldn’t exist. So the debate is moot. What needed to be was…because, losing what she loved most in order to do it, Millie made that happen. There’s extreme beauty in her sacrifice that, in the end, was totally worth the pain.

3.  Finish this sentence: My heroine will never…

Make herself a higher priority than maintaining and strengthening her relationships, any relationships, be it friend, family or lover.

4.  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!

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Kristen Ashley (2)About the author:

  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.

 

 

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