ARC BOOK REVIEW ~ HELL ON WHEELS BY JULIE ANN WALKER
Title: Hell On Wheels (Dark Knights, Book One)
Author: Julie Ann Walker
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Expected Release Date: August 7, 2012
ARC copy provided by Net Galley
He’s the bad boy she’s always wanted...
Nate “Ghost” Weller has loved Ali Morgan nearly half his life. But he’s done something so heinous he’s convinced she’ll never forgive him if she discovers the truth, so he keeps his feelings and his secrets to himself. Then she blows into town with a mother lode of bad guys on her tail and Nate can’t deny she’s in serious trouble. Unfortunately, he’s the only one who can help her.
She’s the good girl he’s kept at arm’s length...
Ali knows Nate as the most solemn, aloof man on the planet. Sadly, he’s also the sexiest. For years she’s avoided him, unable to stomach his dark scowls and brooding silences… especially when she secretly yearns for his touch. Now she must rely on him to save her from the malevolent shadows ghosting her every move. When the bullets explode, so does their passion. But can love really conquer all? Or are some things just too terrible to forgive?
Hell On Wheels is the debut novel from Julie Ann Walker and a promising start to a series that I will most defintely read. There were a few kinks to the writing style for me and I wasn't sure how the story would pan out. At the half-way point, the author seemed to find her groove and the story's pace picked up and flowed from that point on. I am now hooked on her 'family' of motorcycle- riding-rough-boys, the Black Knights.
I must admit it was hard to fall for Walker's Alpha hero at the beginning. Nate comes across as cold and indifferent to Ali and I didn't get the warm fuzzies. But he has his reasons for his aloofness and all is explained. Nate Weller is one of those quiet Alpha heroes that is hiding a lot of pain and soon I found myself crying at what he had to endure. If you have one of those tender hearts (like me), you may need a box of tissues for when Nate recalls the horrific torture and death of his best friend. It is a brutal and somewhat hard-to-read scene, so be prepared.
At the beginning of Hell On Wheels, Ali Morgan has just received word that her brother, Grigg, is dead. Distraught with a flood of emotions, Ali reaches out to Nate in her grief and shares an erotic moment on the beach with the bad boy who she has had feelings for since she first met him.
Now someone is following Ali. And she suspects that Nate is hiding something big regarding her brother's death. After a masked man attempts to rob her, she drives to Chicago for answers that only Nate can provide and finds herself neck-deep in trouble.
What follows is a story involving a corrupt Senator trying to cover his slimy tracks and a combustible chemistry between Nate and Ali that will not be denied.
There is also a secondary story between Becca 'Rebel' Reichert and 'Boss' Frank Knight that will be continued in book two of Walker's Black Knight Series--In Rides Trouble.
World building and character development may hinder the reader's enjoyment at the beginning, but overall I think that Walker has developed a strong back story and three-dimensional characters with quirky flaws. I can't wait to see where she'll take me next.