The alpha president of a motorcycle club (MC) and a bartender-turned-badass heroine fall in love and raise a little hell in the newest installment of Chantal Fernando’s Knights of Fury series. A moderately affecting romance with thrilling action, Temper tells an entertaining, at times soap-operatic, story about a young woman’s journey to self-discovery.
Abbie (whose last name is oddly never mentioned until the epilogue) lives an uneventful life running her family’s bar in a quiet Nevada town. Since dropping out of college to care for her sick mother, Abbie has resigned herself to a mediocre existence. So, when the handsome president of Knights of Fury MC, Temper (real name Tommy, surname unknown), asks Abbie out on a date for the fifth year straight, she finally says ‘yes.’
On the way home from a wonderfully romantic dinner with the easy-going biker, Abbie witnesses a fatal shootout between the Knights and unknown assailants. To ensure Abbie’s safety and her silence, Temper carries her away kicking and screaming to his Southern California clubhouse. Abbie is appropriately furious at Temper for kidnapping her, even though his reasons appear to be honorable. Luckily for Abbie, her confinement is more like a vacation. The MC family, particularly the members’ girlfriends, treats Abbie like a VIP and show her a good time in Los Angeles. As Temper and the Knights dig deeper into the curious attack, danger follows all of them. Facing an uncertain future, Abbie must decide if she trusts Temper with her life and her heart.
The courtship between Abbie and Temper is neither spectacular, nor particularly memorable. But Chantal Fernando gets two things right: a female protagonist with engaging character growth, and a male protagonist who embodies the true essence of an alpha male. (Fernando does not subscribe to the bastardized definition of ‘alpha’ that is synonymous with insufferable arrogance, stalker behavior, supreme dominance, and narcissism.)
Loyal and hard-working, Abbie is a relatable Everywoman. She steadfastly protects her mother and sister and puts their needs above her own. It is her care for her family that enables her to handle her abduction so admirably, with level-headedness and humor. (Abbie’s kidnapping is not portrayed as seriously threatening. Nonetheless, it’s traumatic.) While staying at the MC club, Abbie learns that she can thrive beyond her insular world. Not only does she empower herself by learning self-defense and how to shoot a gun, she is able to acknowledge her value beyond that of a good daughter and a supportive sister.
In spite of his aggressive ‘road name,’ Temper is a vigilant leader and a responsible father figure, not a rageaholic a-hole. He makes sacrifices and tough decisions to ensure the well-being of all club members and their families. (Note: He might also be a crime boss. The author does not make clear whether or not Knights of Fury is an outlaw MC club. However, this gun-toting band of bikers definitely lives on the fringes of ‘Sketchville.’) Most importantly, Temper treats Abbie like a queen – with admiration and respect. (Yes, I do recall that he kidnaps Abbie. The act is business-related, not a purposeful display of control.)
While Abbie and Temper’s personalities are compatible and their mutual physical attraction is undeniable, I didn’t feel their love spark on the page. Perhaps the frequent perilous situations left less time for tender moments and relationship development. Perhaps, the novel’s emotional impact is lessened by Abbie’s first-person narration. Or perhaps, it’s the fact that Temper didn’t get Abbie’s permission to execute his particular brand of protective custody. (He could have at least tried to explain his ‘you need to hideout’ plan to her.)
The appeal of Chantal Fernando’s Temper lies not in its romantic elements, but in its portrayal of a woman who learns to claim the happiness she deserves. Between the kick-ass leading lady and the intriguing MC subculture, there is a buzz of excitement throughout the novel that is worth the sometimes bumpy ride.