Title: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic, M/M, Romance
Length: 270 pages/Word Count: 69,300
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Embrace the danger.
Sean Rush is an adrenaline junkie. That’s why he was in the Army, why he steals and races classic muscle cars . . . and why he can’t stay away from bad boy Ryker, a Havoc Motorcycle Club lieutenant. Fortunately, Ryker can’t seem to stay away from Sean—he’s spent the last eight months breaking into Sean’s apartment and stealing into his bed, leaving Sean physically satisfied but increasingly restless.
Sean has always avoided relationships. He likes to come and go without being controlled. And Ryker is possibly the most controlling man he’s ever known. Still, he finds that he wants more from Ryker than their silent nighttime encounters.
Then one of Sean’s thefts goes bad, and Ryker’s protective instincts kick into overdrive. He takes Sean to the Havoc compound, determined to keep him safe. But Sean’s past threatens the safety of Havoc—and everything Ryker holds dear. Worse, Ryker’s hiding secrets of his own. Soon it’s obvious that the adrenaline rush can’t keep them together anymore. But maybe love can.
Havoc, S.E. Jakes’ new series centered around a motorcycle club, is off to a strong beginning with the first installment, Running Wild. The storyline is refreshingly unique with a few unexpected twists and turns. The lead protagonists, Sean Rush and Ryker, are complex and a bit damaged, but these flaws and imperfections add to their appeal. The sex is über hot and erotic, but there is always an emotional component to the scenes that adds depth to their somewhat complicated relationship.
For the past eight months, Ryker and Sean have been involved in a super sexy but rather confusing non-relationship that is scorching hot and immensely satisfying. However lately, Sean is feeling a little restless and wants more from his enigmatic nighttime visitor. He has no way of contacting Ryker but when a favor for a friend takes an unexpectedly dangerous turn, Ryker is quick to whisk Sean away to the safety of the Havoc motorcycle club compound. Their relationship continues to heat up, but Sean’s unresolved issues, his continued loyalty to his friend and a dangerous car theft ring threaten their future.
Ryker and Sean are richly developed, vibrant characters, and of the two, Sean is the most fragile. His troubled childhood led to stealing cars and street racing, but since his return to town after getting out of the army, he has been keeping out of trouble working as a mechanic. Sean is still struggling with PTSD and he has yet to come to terms with the guilt he feels about a close friend’s combat related death. He is also very uncertain when it comes to his bewildering relationship with Ryker and his insecurities come between them on numerous occasions.
Since Running Wild is written in first person from Sean’s point of view, it is a little more difficult to get a good grasp on Ryker and his motivations where Sean is concerned. He has a strong and rather forceful personality, but he is also quite caring and very protective. He takes the dominant role in the bedroom, but this perfectly complements Sean’s need to give up a little control. Sean does a fairly decent job of peeling back Ryker’s many layers but he unexpectedly uncovers a secret that casts doubt on their entire relationship.
Running Wild is engrossing but it moves at an unhurried pace. The different storylines eventually merge together and seemingly unrelated events eventually intertwine. The secondary characters are well-developed, colorful and interesting. A lot of the communication between Ryker and Sean occurs during sex, and their scenes are exquisitely detailed and deliciously erotic.
With this first novel of her new series, S.E. Jakes focuses more on the characters and relies less on action to carry the story and I hope future works continue along the same vein. Very well done and I am eager to read Running Blind, the next book in the Havoc series.