Review: Make It Hurt by Jackie Ashenden

make it hurtTitle: Make It Hurt

Author: Jackie Ashenden

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Bounty hunter Nora Sutcliffe

The hero: Biker Smith (Tucker Smith Jr)

The blurb: Nora Sutcliffe enjoys having tough guys at her mercy—preferably in handcuffs. The best fugitive recovery agent in the business, Nora always gets her man. But when her latest pursuit leads her to a notorious biker hangout, she’s reunited with “Smith”: the one man who was too hot for Nora to handle. Once upon a time, she was a rich girl and he was a bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. Now she needs his help, and she’ll do whatever it takes to get it.

Eight years ago, Smith let a pretty little Texas debutante break his heart. He picked up the pieces, went to hell and back with the army, then rode out of the darkness with a gang of outlaws at his back. The last thing he needs is a blast from the past like Nora, who has reinvented herself as a gun-toting badass with the stones to challenge him in front of the whole club. But if she thinks Smith will give up one of his brothers for a single night of pleasure, she’s in for a rude awakening.

Standalone or series: Book two of the Texas Bounty series, but can be read as a standalone

The review: I think I’ve mentioned before that bikers and motorcycle clubs are not my favourite kind of genre of romance book, but Jackie Ashenden might just make me change my mind.

Eight years ago, eighteen-year-old Nora fell in love with a young man named Smith, who was a member of a construction crew working on her home. Her parents are rich, and despite knowing the risks, she seduces him until he can no longer resist her and she gives him her virginity. Eventually Daddy catches them and hauls Smith up in front of his boss, claiming Smith seduced and raped Nora. Smith expects Nora to tell the truth, but she doesn’t, and Smith is forced to leave town after nobody will hire him, his reputation shattered.

Eight years later, Smith is the president of the Graveyard Ministry motorcycle club. Nora blows into the bar they hang out in one day looking for his vice president, who has a warrant out for his arrest. It seems Nora has gone from sweet debutante to bounty hunter, and Smith can’t help but find the transformation hot. He eventually agrees to hand over his VP – if Nora agrees to spend the night with him.

Nora doesn’t want to let Duchess, who took a chance on her after her father threw her out of the house for failing to marry a business associate at nineteen, down by failing to bring her bounty in so she agrees – not just because she wants the VP, but because she can’t resist Smith. So they spend the night together, and then he wants another night. And another. Pretty soon they’re involved, although neither will admit it’s more than sex. The desire for revenge for letting him take the fall fades as Smith realises he never got over Nora, but he has no intention of handing his VP over.

The situation resolves itself when the VP turns himself in (it was over a custody battle for his child) and Nora moves in with Smith, in the house they designed together when they were younger and he built later. She agrees to become his old lady, and they get their happily ever after. I loved Smith, loved that he let Nora see his vulnerability. I also loved that Nora’s determination to make something of herself after her father kicked her out. I look forward to reading more in this series.