Falling Under is the second story in the Ink and Chrome series by Lauren Dane. The first in the series, Opening Up, was one of my favorite reads of 2015 and I’m happy to say that this one is also an entertaining and enjoyable read.
Duke has been lusting after Carmella since they became neighbours. Knowing she’s been looking for a job, and with her background in the car industry from working at her uncle’s repair shop, when the opportunity arises to offer her an accounting job at Twisted Steel he jumps at the chance. He wants to develop a real friendship with her by having her close at hand, with the possibility of more. Carmella can’t say no to the opportunity. It’s the perfect fit for her and her skills, plus she needs the money. Her attraction to Duke is equal, though she worries about the whole ‘sleeping with her boss’ fallout. Assured by Duke that she’ll still have a job if things go south, she dives headlong into an affair with him. She’s used to keeping her secrets though, wary of getting emotionally involved after years of heartache. When Duke wants more, will she be willing to give him her heart?
Duke’s got that laid back ladies’ man thing going on, but he has a core of steel that comes through when you least expect it. He’s a loyal man, a giving one too, and he is always willing to help out a friend. He makes mistakes sometimes, but he owns up to them fully, and this only makes him more attractive as a partner. Carmella is a woman who is used to being underappreciated (by her drug addicted mother, her criminal father, and an ex who took advantage of her time and again). It takes a lot for her to trust someone, but Duke slowly eases his way into her life with his words, but more importantly with his actions. The two of them share some very steamy scenes. Carmella is a woman who isn’t shy about her sexual desires and she and Duke have no problem communicating in the bedroom. When it comes to letting him in emotionally though, it’s a whole other ball game. I like how the story progresses, how they start to share more about their lives with each other and build that trust that is necessary to sustain a relationship.
The setting is unique and well described, the Twisted Steel custom motorcycle shop getting lots of attention as the new showroom is being built over the course of the story. Duke, Asa and Mick are the three friends and co-workers in this story, with their military team background making them brothers in arms, if not by blood. They look out for each other, but they also tease each other mercilessly when necessary, and there are lots of amusing and heartfelt scenes between them. I’m looking forward to reading Mick’s story next.