Review: Burn It Up by Cara McKenna


Title: Burn It Up (Desert Dogs #3)
Author: Cara McKenna
Genre: Romantic suspense, Bikers
Release Date: 3 Nov 2015

Author's links:
Website / Twitter / Tumblr / Goodreads

My rating: 3.5 Stars
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After a decade spent chasing shadier pursuits, Casey Grossier has come home to the badlands to settle down in Fortuity. Vowing to put his days of dirty money behind him, he’s cleaned up his act and become co-owner of Benji’s Saloon. But despite his efforts to be a better man, he can’t shake his crush on his sweet-faced bartender, even though the woman screams trouble.

Abilene Price hopes she can outrun her mistakes and build a safe, respectable life for herself and her baby. So she’d be wise to keep her distance from her boss, Casey, and the rest of his roughneck motorcycle club, the Desert Dogs. But she just might need their help. The return of a violent figure from Abilene’s past ignites a powder keg—and it’s only the beginning…


I love Cara McKenna's writing and her erotic stories push many of my boundaries in reading. This romantic suspense series is tamer in terms of sex scenes but it still has the depth of exploring relationships and the human mind/emotions which I consider typical of Ms Mckenna's romances.

While I liked this story it is not my favourite in the series. The premise of a single mother and a wayward but nice guy who finally gets his stuff together is one a usually like but I had some issues with the heroine here.

I liked Casey, he really grew up in this story, his struggle what to do with his life felt real. We see more of the rest of the gang and their relations and I especially enjoyed this aspect of the story. The author managed to create a real sense of community and friendship without turning the what the characters have into the typical, semi-illegal, violent biker club.

We see Casey as a brother, a bar owner, being responsible, trying to break up with his past. His desire to be needed, to be useful, appreciated was presented really convincingly.

My main problem in this story was Abilene. I understood a lot about her, being a young, single mom, hiding from the father of her daughter who is violent criminal, yet there were a lot about her that annoyed me. She was not honest with or about her baby's father - leading everyone around her to believe is a danger to her and her kid. I felt it was a strong point in the story that he is a criminal, yet he cared about his kid and wanted to change, to be a good dad, give Abilene and Mercy what they needed.

I was most angry with the way Abilene rejected Casey because of  his criminal past. Like, she is the one to talk, when she was keeping her own (no less grave) mistakes a secret. I understand her desire to move on, to be better, to provide the best possible future for her daughter but I felt she was unfair to Casey. She didn't value his efforts to change, to become someone worthy of love and trust.

The chemistry between them was strong, their physical coming together was done with the intensity and depth typical for Ms McKenna's writing. The intimacy was real and moving and I loved it. In a way, Abilene's (unforgiving and dismissing) attitude after that was even more hurtful and unacceptable for me because of that.

Ms McKenna once again creates multi-layered, complex characters dealing with their past and present to the best of their abilities, often failing but never really giving up

There is a common suspense plotline running through the whole series and it gets further developed here though some questions still remain unanswered. We get some hints about Miah's potential HEA and I'm really looking forward to it in the next and final book in the series.

Overall I'd say this book is a good addition to the series, with a wonderful Casey and slightly annoying Abilene.

Purchase links: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBooks

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