Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley (Book one in the Chaos series)

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 Title: Own the Wind
Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: Chaos
Genre: Contemporary romance
Published: 2013
Rating: 5 stars

Favorite quote (okay, one of many): “I decided that all’s well that ends without bloodshed.” An excellent rule of thumb.

Oh. My. Gosh. I sooooo get the Kristen Ashley fangirl squeeing that’s been going on online now. I. Loved. This. Book. Must read book two SOON. Like, REALLY soon. You feel me? 😉

Own the Wind is the first in Ashley’s new series, Chaos, which focuses on the Chaos Motorcycle Club. It’s her first published with a “bona fide publisher”, as Kristen writes in her acknowledgements (previously, she self-published). It’s a spin off of her earlier book, Motorcycle Man (Dream Man series #4), a book which you’d better believe I’ll be reading soon. The main characters in Wind are Tabitha Allen, Motorcycle Man Tack’s daughter, and Parker “Shy” Cage, one of Tack’s “brothers” at the club.

Tabby has grown up in the biker world, as her father is the leader of Chaos. She’s also been crushing on Shy since she was sixteen. Shy was twenty-two at the time, and though he noticed her as the daughter of his boss/brother, he spent several years seeing her as little more than a pain in the butt.  (No, not the word he’d use. But my kids might read this, so….) Wind starts when Tabby is nineteen and in college to become a nurse. Shy does something early on to make their relationship into a non-relationship. Tabby completely avoids Shy for four years, and that part of the story is told from his point of view in the third person, skipping months at a time to just show us the pertinent events during that time period.

After that four year stretch, most of the novel is told from Tabby’s first-person point of view, with just a few forays back into third person for Shy’s (and once, Tack’s) side of events. Often this kind of switching in a novel seems like cheating, but let me tell you–here, it totally works.

Tabby and Shy’s relationship develops slowly–antagonists, to friends, to something more, to lovers–and absolutely believably. I loved the progression. Ashley also did a fantastic job with Tabby’s grief at the beginning of the story–it was absolutely spot-on. The conversation that she had with Tyra, her stepmother about the feelings she was starting to have for Shy and how conflicted they made  her–just awesome. (The only tiny, niggling problem I had with that part of the storyline came at the end, when Shy put in his two cents about what Tabby’s former fiance would–or would not–have wanted for her. I get what Shy and Ashley were saying, I really do. But my personal bias just sat up and said no at that point. I know that’s me, though, and obviously, it didn’t affect my rating of this book at all. I really don’t want to believe that that could be true, though. It’s not fair.)

Tabby and Shy have far from a perfect relationship and face all kinds of problems in the novel from work, family, and friends. Even though I personally wouldn’t have agreed with all of their choices, Ashley made me believe that they’d work for them. I am about as far from a biker babe as you can get, but this novel had me totally buying into the culture. For them, mind you, not for me. And I am absolutely coming back for more.

Just one example of a scene that had me both laughing out loud yet nodding my head in perfect agreement:

She turned to me without hesitation and replied, “Careful what you wish for, girl. One by one my girls went down to badasses, I watched and thought, ‘I wouldn’t mind gettin’ me a little somethin’-somethin’ from a badass.'” She tapped her glass on the bar for another refill, Rush gave it to her, she threw it back, then she looked at me again and snapped with emphasis, “Wrong.”

“I have a badass,” I reminded her.

“Yeah,” she returned. “And Tyra told me you two went at it for days over a flippin’ fridge. Badasses are capable of and don’t hesitate to thrown down about a fridge. An IT geek does not care what kind of fridge you buy. An IT geek just thanks his lucky stars he’s gettin’ it regular. An IT geek would say, ‘Whatever you want, honey,’ if you told him you were paving the front walk in gold.”

I suspected this was true, but still I leaned back and took in Malik, who was now leaning against the bar. What I took in was a tall frame, lean hips, a flat stomach, big hands, broad shoulders, perfect skin, warm brown eyes, and a brilliant smile, even if it was directed at the bar while he shook his head in a way that said clearly he thought his woman was crazy but all kinds of cute.

I leaned forward again and toward Elvira to point out, “True, but IT geeks don’t tend to look like Denzel Washington circa Training Day. Denzel might have been scary in that movie, but his scary was all kinds of hot.” Elvira made no reply so I further noted, “And your man isn’t Denzel Training Day scary. He’s more Denzel Man on Fire intense with a little sense of humor and a goatee thrown in.”

Elvira turned her eyes to me and asked, “You got every Denzel film memorized?”

“Doesn’t everybody?” I asked back.

She looked to her glass, tapped it on the bar, and muttered, “Point taken.”

I’ve heard of Ashley’s books described as “cracktastic” and like Pringles. Let me tell you–they’re not wrong. I cannot wait for book two, and after that, her backlist.

I’m going to be busy for a while.

In a nutshell: Totally out of my element, but I loved it and want some more. 5 stars, no question.

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