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A Review A REVIEWS B REVIEWS B+ Review Contemporary Romance

Joint Review – Opening Up (Ink and Chrome #1) by Lauren Dane

cover_opening-up
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: Out now
Reviewed by: E & MinnChica
How we got this book: ARC from the author via Netgalley

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers Book #1 in her Ink & Chrome erotic romance series.

The men of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop are great with their hands… and they’re not afraid to get dirty.

PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn’t need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he’s ever seen. But the chemistry between them won’t be denied, and soon he’s introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she’s ever experienced. PJ finds she can’t get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?

This blurb came from Goodreads

E: I have been looking forward to reading this series for a while, ever since Dane started talking about custom built bikes and ink. I apparently have a thing for competent characters and Dane’s heroines and heroes exude competence. I have to say I really enjoyed the pacing for this story, the immediate flash of tension and attraction followed by a very slow build up to combustion and then the bumps along the way made for very entertaining reading.

MinnChica: I’ve been excited about this book as well, so when I finally got it, I did a little happy dance. I love the characters that Dane creates, and this book is no exception. Both PJ and Asa are wonderful and amazing characters and I adored them and their romance. I also really liked the way that Dane put a little twist on one of her favorite themes, the strength of family. 🙂

E: On the surface PJ and Asa seemed to follow the mold of opposites attracting but as I got to know them as characters I really enjoyed finding similarities and ways they complimented each other as well as how they contrasted. One area in particular revolving around family both broke my heart and put it back together. Family was very important to both PJ and Asa even as they struggled with different types of family dynamics. It was great to see how family defined both what was wanted and what was not acceptable.

I really felt for PJ as she worked to gain acceptance for who she was and what she could bring to the family business. What she faced and how it impacted her was extremely moving. I loved the support Asa provided and how he wasn’t willing to give her family any slack in his mind. While Asa had a much more openly supportive family, he still faced some demons from his past which left him with a sense of shame about the contrast between his desires and PJ’s outward appearance. Watching them support and push each other as their relationship developed was really touching.

MinnChica: It took me awhile to really get on board with the romance between PJ and Asa, mostly because it felt as if it took them to really get on board with having a relationship. Asa fights his attraction to PJ like no other, and while it gave some amazing tension between them, I also was so desperate for them to get together that I was occasionally shaking my eReader!

Like I said earlier, the strong family bonds are such a huge ongoing theme in all of Dane’s books, and I loved the way she changed it up a bit in this book. PJ is super close with her brothers and sister, however the relationship she has with her parents, her father especially, is troubling. It’s twisted and dark and ugly and I loved the fact that Dane took the time to explore that and really make it an integral part of the overall story.

E: I really enjoyed not just the smoking chemistry between PJ and Asa but also their relationship with their friends. Both had a tight knit group they could relax with, people who had their back, individuals who knew the right things to say and when to say them to help bring future happiness. It is always good to see characters who have healthy relationships outside of their romantic interest because I find it really adds an additional dimension. Some of my favorite minor scenes involved their friends and the shifting dynamics as PJ and Asa figured out who they were together.

MinnChica: Yeah, I thought the cast of secondary characters was incredible, as they usually are with Dane’s books. I’m super excited to see what happens in the next book as both PJ and Asa’s circles intertwine and become a larger family. I have to admit that I’m nervous about how this series is going to go, because I want to see PJs family get their HEAs just as much as I want to see the guys at Asa’s shop get theirs. I hope Dane has many, MANY books planned!

E: Opening Up pointed out again why Dane is one of my go to authors regardless of the genre. I loved the combination of PJ’s skill, determination, and drive mixed with Asa’s grit, loyalty, and willingness to admit when he was wrong. They were both fun and intense together and the addition of their friends made this an emotional enjoyable read.

I give Opening Up an A

MinnChica: All in all, I thought this book was a stellar opening to what is bound to be another fabulous series. I loved PJ. She was strong and determined and so fiercely headstrong about making her own and getting her way. Likewise, Asa was such a great supportive hero, while at the same time maintaining his own level of total badass. 🙂 They were a wonderful couple and I can’t wait to see more of them.
I give Opening Up a B+

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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