Falling Under (Ink & Chrome #2)
by Lauren Dane
Duke Bradshaw, co-owner of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle and hot rod shop, may devote his days to chrome and leather, but his nights belong to Carmella. His sultry redheaded neighbor has a smile like an angel and a body built for sin, and for the past year both have dominated Duke's dreams. When a problem at Twisted Steel requires a fast fix, Duke sees his chance to finally make his fantasy a reality.
Ever since she first heard the low rumble of his engine, Carmella Rossi has wondered if Duke Bradshaw handles his women as expertly as he handles his bike. When he shows up at her door offering her a much-needed job at his shop, she gets her chance to find out. Beneath Duke's masterful touch, Carmella soon submits to a world of unimaginable pleasure.
But history has taught Carmella how bad a boy boy can be. If she doesn't put on the brakes fast, her hard-bodied heartbreaker could drive her right over the edge . . .
Carmella answered her door to find Duke standing on her porch with a six-pack and some chips.
He held them aloft. “I was thinking we could hang out and have a beer and some snacks.”
She smiled, even as she looked down at herself. “Uh. I’m sort of messy. I was cleaning the kitchen.”
He walked in without saying anything else, but once he got to her kitchen, he turned back. “You look fantastic.”
Ginger had already abandoned her nap at the sound of Duke’s voice and deposited herself at his feet.
“So easy,” she murmured to the dog as she joined them in the kitchen.
“Glasses or the bottle okay?” He indicated the beer with a tip of his chin.
“Bottle is fine. There’s an opener in that drawer there.” She pointed. “If you’re hungrier than just chips and dip, there’s leftover baked ziti. I was just thinking about some dinner.”
“Leftover ziti? How is that even possible? Was everyone sick? I promise if you made me baked ziti, I’d eat every last bit.” He cocked his head and looked extra hot.
She put a hand on her hip. He was so totally full of it. “Actually, I made a smaller one for myself and took two to a big family dinner. It’s my uncle’s favorite. But I brought home coconut cake and some other stuff.”
Carmella bent to look in her fridge because he was standing so very close and she was getting giddy. Giddy was bad. Giddy ended up being the last time she slept with her ex. Though to be fair, it had been fantastic.
This man was a giddy nuclear reactor and it made her girl parts want to be so stupid.
And then he bent to peer into the fridge at her side. “Jesus Christ. Carmella. Baby, this is the most organized refrigerator I’ve seen in my entire life. I’m in awe.”
She was so surprised and weirdly flattered, Carmella turned to look at him and ended up whacking her forehead to his so hard she saw stars against her closed eyes.
Firm hands took her by the upper arms and helped her stand though she wobbled a little. “Honey, are you all right?”
“Ouch,” Carmella managed. “Sorry. I got you pretty hard.”
Duke laughed as he moved the hand she’d had over her forehead and replaced it with a bag of frozen berries. “My go‑to is corn usually, but you don’t have any. That should help. I’m okay. I have a very hard head. That’s totally true so stop it with that look of yours.”
“You have a go‑to remedy for head bumping?” Carmella sat at one of the stools at the island. “And what look do you mean?”
“Works for busted knuckles, black eyes, the usual sort of lifestyle-related injuries.”
Carmella winced when she raised her brow at him. “Lifestyle-related?”
Duke shrugged. “What can I say? Ass kicking and fisticuffs seem to be a regular part of my life. And the look I meant is the one you’re wearing right now. The one you give that makes everyone feel like a wayward boy who craves your approval.”
“I have that look? Really?” How awesome! She clearly needed to use it more.
“You do. Why do you think we’re all so obedient to your paperwork rules?”
“Because it’s efficient and makes money move back into the shop more quickly?”
He laughed again and then moved the bag of fruit to kiss the sore spot.
They both went very still.
His muscles tightened, the tension radiating from him made her dizzy. And probably crazy, but needing to soothe. So she slid her hands up the wall of his chest, not to restrain or hold back, no matter how much she told herself that lie.
Once she touched him, she knew it to her toes that everything had changed.
“Damn it,” he snarled and then kissed her. Only, no. He took her mouth, owned it, and had his wicked way with it.
If you've read my review for Opening Up, the first book in Lauren Dane's Ink & Chrome series, then you know how much I loved Duke and couldn't wait for his book. Well, I finally had the chance to read Falling Under and, unfortunately, my love for Duke wasn't nearly as palpable, which left me a little disappointed if I'm being totally honest.
Duke and Carmella have been neighbors for a couple years and have always had the hots for each other but never did anything about it. However, Duke's office manager is leaving and he needs to hire Carmella to work in his shop, which means that they'll be spending a lot more time together and once they do there's no denying the attraction they have for each other. Of course, they both know that him being her boss could get a little complicated but we all know that chemistry that combustible is bound to explode, am I right?!
I wish I could say that watching these two give in to their desire's was the highlight of this book for me but, unfortunately, that just wasn't the case. Sure, they both knew what they wanted and had no problem taking it, but honestly the sexy times fell a little flat for me. I guess I just had a hard time feeling the connection between the two when they finally got down to it.
Now, the banter between Duke and Carmella, on the other hand, was everything I was hoping it would be. Duke's this real laid back, chill kinda guy, and I loved watching his interactions with Carmella. They almost played out like a movie in my head and I found myself smiling right along with them.
There wasn't a lot of drama and angst in this one, which was nice, but that's also where my issues with Duke came in. As I said, he's a real laid back guy whose friendly to everyone, has tons of friends, and is a total flirt when it comes to women. Now, I expected a little other women drama because of the type of guy that Duke is, and even though it was glossed over rather easily, I felt like Duke was totally disrespectful to Carmella in that regard and it made it hard for me to love him as much as I did in the first book. If he would have realized his actions were hurting her sooner, I could have overlooked it, but even towards the end, I felt like he didn't quite own up to it, and I just couldn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped because of it.
That being said, this was an easy read and even though I didn't love it as much as I thought I would, it was still enjoyable for the most part. I'm not going to read the next book in the series because after reading the blurb I know it's not my cuppa but I hope to be able to see more of these two in the future.
The story goes like this: While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time, so her husband took her comments about "giving that writing thing a serious go" to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it. Today, Lauren is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 60 novels and novellas across several genres.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Falling Under in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.