Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1) by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #1
Also in this series: Judgment Road
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 23rd 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance
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An outlaw motorcycle club sets up shop next door to Sea Haven in the dangerously sexy new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.
A brutal education in a Russian training facility for assassins has taught this group of men one thing: It's a long road to redemption.JUDGMENT ROAD
As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He's a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can't afford--until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin...
Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she's desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper's imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.
Anya's touch is everything Reaper doesn't want--and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up to her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club--his heart and his soul.
Trigger warnings: Abuse, Rape, Pedophilia and More. This is a dark book.
This was difficult to read at times. It’s a dark, MC romance with a lot of the bad elements that come with MC’s. I didn’t expect that since Feehan hasn’t gone down that road before, and the two previous series’ set in this world weren’t like that. Had I gone into it with different expectations, I may not have been as surprised by the violence as I was.
Reaper – and all his brothers/sisters in the MC – is seriously messed up. He suffered major trauma as a child and was shaped to be a monster by his handlers. He’s barely kept hold of his humanity and doesn’t trust himself with Anya. Several times he actually physically or mentally abused her while trapped in a nightmare, so he was right to be concerned. I actually liked Reaper and how he was able to maintain on his own for all those years. But he had no business being with Anya. He knew it, but couldn’t walk away. I’d have preferred if he sought actual help for his problems.
The paranormal elements aren’t focused on much here. Each member of the MC has some kind of psychic ability – which is what made them targets as children – but it isn’t really talked about. We see some examples of it, but I’m not sure how much new readers will understand.
I’m struggling to pin down my feelings for this book. There were elements I enjoyed, like the brotherhood of the MC and Anya on her own. But her relationship with Reaper was complicated and pretty messed up. I didn’t end the book feeling warm and fuzzy about them. Anya often recognized his – and the Club’s – behavior as unhealthy and thought she should get out, but then she’d make the conscious decision to stay. Something about her blowing hot and cold really pulled me out of the story. I think I’d have preferred her to either be oblivious to how weak she was being, or to be strong enough to walk away. As it was, she just seemed like a victim. She’s an orphan who spent much of her life on the streets. Despite some trouble with her previous employer, she’s doing her best to stay on the straight and narrow. She desperately needs her job as she’s currently homeless and living in her car. When things start going bad between her and Reaper, the club steps in and refuses to let her leave. Since she’s already alone in the world and struggling just to make it each day, their actions felt like forcible kidnapping rather than the family concern Feehan tried to make it out to be. I could maybe have moved on from that, but there were other things that pushed her over the edge for me. Spoilers below.View Spoiler »The Club tortured her to find out if she was hiding anything. She and Reaper were together at that point, and she felt betrayed by him and them. Yet she stayed and – rather quickly – forgave them all. Their behavior was often excused because “they don’t know any better”, and maybe that was true, but it felt like a cop out. Especially since she was so quick to let it go.
Not to mention…
Reaper has a very serious case of PTSD from things that were done to him as a child. So much so, he often wakes from sleep doing violent things. At one point he wakes up forcing his penis down Anya’s throat while punching her in the face. Despite the violence of it, my heart broke for him because he obviously had no control and hurting someone he loved really broke him. The problem is Anya’s reaction. She wasn’t upset for herself or traumatized by it in the least…she was only concerned for Reaper and how hard he’d be on himself over it. That didn’t ring true to me at all. Even the most kindhearted and loyal person is going to experience some bad feelings after being roughly jerked awake, mouth raped and beaten. « Hide Spoiler
Judgment Road a dark, gritty romance. It is not for the faint of heart. I can’t decide how I feel about it in the end. I’m not sure if my feelings were tainted by my expectations based on previous books set in the world. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5, but I may change my mind later.
3 out of 5