The first in a new contemporary series by Lauren Dane, Opening Up is the story of Asa and PJ, two people who are convinced the other is exactly what they DON’T need. A mix of blue-collar take charge men, women who hold their own in more ways than one and several moments of steam will keep readers (and listeners) panting for the next moment and installment.
Asa and his partner Duke have a custom garage – specializing in motorcycles and vintage muscle cars. He’s one of those gruff, bristly men who appears more than slightly menacing and completely in control. All of that (we know) hides his soft and fluffy center, but not only is it a struggle to get to that center, once you have reached it his control issues take over. Asa is more than fond of ‘knowing’ what is best for those around him, or so he thinks.
PJ is the baby of her family, and works for the family tire business. Like many women in male-dominated industries, she has to be on her toes and better than the boys at all times: while others outside the family see her as capable and confident, her father has yet to fully trust her. While she’s good at her job, she really wants to branch out and start her own custom paint line, where proving herself to the clients is the only constant pressure. Instantly attracted to Asa, the two have a hot and steamy night, and then he reinstates his rule: no mixing business and pleasure. Oh, and he’s decided PJ is too young to know her own mind.
There were times when a crescent wrench against the side of Asa’s head would not have gone amiss: he’s so sure he knows what is right for everyone else that he completely misses the turns in front of him. Yes, PJ is younger but she’s determined, smart, clever and funny, and she wants him despite his overwhelming tendency to treat her like a child. He’s unwilling to admit that PJ makes him crazy in all the good ways, and that he just could see himself rearranging his life to have her. Big scary monster in the closet. She’s more than willing to call him out on his bad behavior, she has no problem challenging his habit of being in charge of everything, and while you can see the fireworks in their spats, there really isn’t anything that the two don’t, or can’t share. The occasional dust up for PJ in the ongoing conflict with her father and his inability to take her seriously plays nicely with her determination, and has a simple, if rather quick resolution.
Narration for this story is provided by Sasha Dunbrooke, who has an interesting rasp to her voice that plays nicely for PJ. I don’t think there was a great distinction between characters, a touch of tone or delivery emphasis was the most obvious with her male characters, although the differences were often uneven when dialogue was rapid fire. A solid performance that would have benefitted from more consideration paid to developing distinct voices that were consistently applied would have helped this performance.
Fortunately, the story is such a fast-paced and enjoyable listen that the minor hiccups in the performance soon fade away as the characters of PJ and Asa take over, and their story takes flight. A wonderful start to a new series, sure to please fans of romance with heat and humor.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 3 Story 4
Title: Opening Up
Author: Lauren Dane
Series: Ink & Chrome #1
Genre: Contemporary Erotic Romance
Narrator: Sasha Dunbrooke
Published by: Forever, Hachette Audio
Published on: 16 June, 2015
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 55 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lauren Dane delivers Book #1 in her Ink & Chrome erotic romance series.
The men of the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop are great with their hands... and they're not afraid to get dirty.
PJ is exactly the kind of woman Twisted Steel owner Asa Barrons doesn't need. The last thing he wants to do is mix business with pleasure, and PJ has some of the best custom detailing he's ever seen.
But the chemistry between them won't be denied, and soon he's introducing her to a whole new world in the bedroom, pushing her far beyond anything she's ever experienced. PJ finds she can't get enough, but how far is too far before he consumes her completely?
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.