Still Standing by Kristen Ashley
Series: Wild West MC #1
Publication Date: February 2, 2021
Point-of-View: First Person, Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler » No « Hide Spoiler
Content Warning: View Spoiler » Domestic Violence, Violence Against Women « Hide Spoiler
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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When Clara Delany walks into the Aces High Motorcycle Club’s hangout, she’s hit rock bottom. She’s hiding her car from the repo man, she has less than two dollars in her bank account and the only employment she can get is delivering messages for a criminal.
All because of a man. Therefore, she’s sworn off them.
And then she meets West “Buck” Hardy, president of the Aces High MC.
Buck also meets her, and the minute he does, he makes it clear (to everyone but Clara) that they’re starting something. Since Clara doesn’t get that message, she decides to leave Buck and sort out her life in order to come back to him clean.
She’s not gone but hours before life hits Clara with another blow. Which means Buck and his boys have to ride in and save the day. After that, Buck makes no bones about where they stand.
But does he?
Welcome to the first novel in the Wild West MC series which will tell the stories of the brothers of the Aces High MC, the Resurrection MC, and the Chaos MC…and the women who love them.
Clara Delany hasn’t had the easiest life. Born into foster care, the only person she has ever loved is her bestfriend Tia. To protect Tia from her criminal husband, Clara delivers messages for him. Messages that people aren’t always happy to receive. Her current job has taken her into the Aces High MC where she has a message to deliver to their President. Clara doesn’t anticipate her attraction to West “Buck” Hardy, nor he to her. Clara just wants to conduct her business and be out of there, but Buck has other ideas.
They sleep together the day they met and honestly that didn’t bother me at all. It worked in this situation. Then Esposito (the boss) decides to teach Clara a lesson by kidnapping her and severely beating her. Buck & Aces High rush to her rescue and she finds herself living with Buck. This is after her abortive escape attempt when Tia disappears. Now it seems like Buck & Aces High are the only people capable of finding Tia. So what if she plays house in the meantime?
Before I started this book I made the mistake of skimming through GR reviews. Bad idea. Readers either loved it or hated it all for (what I thought were) valid reasons. I thought about not reading it, I’m not going to lie. Still, this is Kristen Ashley. I just couldn’t not read it. Even if it was as bad as reviews claimed it was, I still had to find out for myself. I thought that until about 31% in and decided to DNF it. Thirty minutes later I had picked it back up. That’s how Kristen Ashley works.
This review on GR really summed up the book:
If you love Motorcycle Man then you’ll love Still Standing because Still Standing is Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister.
This is true and false. Still Standing is definitely Motorcycle Man’s skeevier little sister. However not all of us like skeevier. I originally decided to DNF it after 31%. View Spoiler »You see Clara found Buck kissing one of the MC’s groupies and is told by her new “biker babe” friends that it’s just something that she has to accept and try not to think about. Yes, her friends tell her that. It’s like a don’t ask, don’t tell policy. Instead of talking to Buck about this, Clara decides that her life has been so shitty that she has to take what she can get. Even if that means sharing her man. Like WTAF? « Hide Spoiler I had a hard time with Clara because of her belief that she doesn’t deserve happiness and that she has to take what she can get.
Other than being the lover of the MC president, Tyra and Clara are nothing alike. Absolutely nothing. Tyra doesn’t take Tack’s shit. Clara thinks she should settle for whatever little happiness comes her way. I can’t see Tyra doing that. And Buck? Buck is Tack. They both just railroad their women into doing what they want them to do regardless of their feelings on the matter. It’s maddening but enticing at the same time.
View Spoiler »What was not enticing was Buck throwing (yes THROWING) Clara into a wall then actually telling her that she knew what she was getting into. Excuse me, what??? Then, her so-called biker babes tell her (once again) that this is the way that their men are and she shouldn’t have tried to get in the way. Like seriously? What kind of friend tells you that you should have stayed out of it and you basically deserved to get assaulted? By the man you love. « Hide Spoiler So yeah, I had a very difficult time getting past this.
Just like in Motorcycle Man, there was a family element that was very prevalent. Buck has two kids with a crazy ex-wife (see: Rush, Tabby, & Naomi). Something horrible happens to Buck’s daughter and the way that Clara was there for her was sure something to read. It made me sigh and smile how it brought the two closer. Especially since Tatiana hated Clara when she first met her. Their journey to friends and then a more mother/daughter dynamic was lovely.
My feelings about this book are so mixed that I can’t really decide if I really liked the book or not. I liked the characters. I only mildly tolerated Clara toward the middle of the book, but she got better as she started finding out who she truly was. Her journey was one that I enjoyed reading even if I didn’t really enjoy her character flaws. I’m not going to lie to myself, I will be reading the next book in this series.
Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Those spoilers are definitely unnerving, Casee. I think I’ll be skipping this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.