Loving Lucas (Lies & Leather #1)
by Violetta Rand
Perfect for fans of Joanna Wylde and Monica Murphy, Violetta Rand’s explosive new Lies & Leather series kicks off with a red-hot motorcycle racer who rides hard and plays for keeps.
Twenty-one-year-old Karlie Augustine is a survivor. She’s smart and tough, but she’s in too deep with a bad boyfriend who isn’t above breaking her spirit—or her body. Luckily, help arrives in the form of a leather-clad, motorcycle-riding hunk on the right side of the law. Lucas Lafontaine is pure muscle, a Corpus Christi cop who ignites something primal deep within Karlie. And when he offers her room and board in exchange for housekeeping, she finally starts to feel safe again.
As their arrangement turns deliciously decadent, Lucas gets hooked on Karlie’s killer body and fighting spirit. He wants to heal the pain he sees behind her eyes, but to protect her he needs to keep her close, especially now that her psycho ex won’t take a hint. Even as Lucas fights his own battle for custody of his young son, he knows that what he’s found with Karlie is real—and that he’d do anything to protect the woman he wants to take to the finish line.
Everything needs to be perfect. Connor loves beef roast, potatoes, and sautéed vegetables, so that’s what I’ve prepared. We’re celebrating his birthday a little early because he’s going out of town next week, competing in a flat track race. Even his mother closed her bakery early so she could help me with everything. As soon as he turns into the driveway, we scramble to our respective hiding places. I scan the dining room table one last time, pleased with its festive appearance; with Connor it’s important to make sure everything is perfect. I’m so anxious I’m shaking . . . I never know what to expect with him these days; the slightest little things can set him off. And even though he doesn’t like surprises, not even happy ones, I’m confident he’ll like this because it’s for his birthday.
The candles are lit and his present is in plain sight: the 5' × 5' poster of one of his most memorable American Motorcycle Association wins, with Connor at the finish line at the California Nationals. God, I hope he likes it.
I kill the lights and slip behind the drapes, then hear his heavy footsteps coming up the walkway. As the front door opens, I nervously smile—praying he’ll be pleased.
“Karlie?” he calls.
Of course I don’t answer.
“Karlie?” He sighs, stomping into the dining room. “Why’s it so dark in here?”
We jump out from our hiding places, yelling, “Surprise!”
At first he looks confused, then he frowns. “Happy early birthday.” I rush over to give him a big hug, noticing he smells like a distillery.
“I’m exhausted, Karlie. I’m going to take a quick shower, eat, then head back to the shop.”
“For what?” Another round of drinks with his friends? A fresh paint job on one of his race bikes? I’m so disappointed, but I try to keep my negative feelings to myself.
“Damn it, Connor,” his mother says. “Can’t you forget about racing for two seconds and act normal?”
“Don’t start, Mom.”
“If Karlie won’t say something, I will.”
“And I’ll tell you the same goddamned thing I’d say to her.” He throws his lunch box on the table—it lands on top of his cake. I wince, knowing I’ll never be able to fix the frosting. “If you can’t handle my lifestyle, get the fuck out.”
“Don’t talk to your mother that way,” I snap, shocked and angry at his disrespect. Not that this is unusual behavior for him; in fact the longer we’re together, the more mean and nasty he’s become.
His hands tighten into fists. He gazes at the table, then back at me. “How about we just eliminate the problem?”
With one violent sweep of his hands, dishes hit the floor and food splatters everywhere.
I can’t move. Hours of preparation and loving care wiped out by my selfish boyfriend. Cake and food are now splattered all over his poster, and tears begin to sting in my eyes. Even his usually vocal mother is speechless. That was the moment I knew I had to find a way to escape this turbulent household before he ruins my life or, worse, hurts me.
“Now clean it up,” he commands, disappearing down the hallway.
I have been wanting to read Loving Lucas for what feels like ever. A sexy cop helping a heroine in distress? What's not to love about that?! Unfortunately, I think my anticipation is what made me not enjoy this one quite as much as I hoped I would. Don't get me wrong, it's a good read, I was just hoping for a little more.
Having grown up in foster care, Karlie has never known real love... Which is probably why she stayed with an abusive boyfriend for so long. Finally deciding she's had enough, Karlie attempts to make her escape, and that's when she meets Lucas.
Lucas has always had a habit of rescuing women in distress and Karlie was no exception. Offering her a place to stay in exchange for cooking and cleaning seemed like a logical thing to him... Of course I'm sure it helped that he thought she was smoking hot.
Their attraction for each other is instant and their relationship starts up fairly quickly. Unfortunately I had a hard time believing their connection was more than just mutual lust. Plus, Lucas' reactions when it came to his ex, and the fact that he still had a picture of her sitting on his dresser, made it hard for me to believe that he wasn't still in love with her and if Karlie wasn't there he probably would have taken her back.
Along with the romance, there's a little drama with both of their exes, and a little twist towards the end that I didn't see coming. Unfortunately, I'm not really sure that any of their issues were resolved and that left me feeling a little unsettled when I got to the end.
Overall, Loving Lucas was an easy, low-angst, new adult romance and while I did enjoy it, it wasn't exactly the winner that I thought it would be. At this point I'm still interested in reading the next book in this series, but it's quite a while before that one releases so I may change my mind by then.
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Disclosure: I was provided with an ARC of Loving Lucas through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.