Walk Through Fire
Kristen Ashley’s books are like alpha crack for me. I get that feminism in her characters is not this author’s strong suit, but nevertheless something pulls me in and keeps me reading. This latest book is part of her Chaos series, that features members of the motorcycle club…known as Chaos. Walk Through Fire is High and Millie’s story. This book stretched my feminist sensibilities to their outer limits though, and while there was some redemption, I never completely bought into their story.
Millie Cross and High (Logan Judd) met when they were both very young, but they knew almost at once that they were meant for each other. With High just getting started at Chaos and Millie working and going to school, their lives were busy, but they found time for each other and time to dream about the life and family they planned to build. Then suddenly, without warning, Millie irrevocably ended the relationship. Millie wronged High when she left and has felt guilty ever since. So guilty that she has not had a single relationship since. Twenty years later, Millie happens to see High in a restaurant and makes the decision to clear the air with him so that she can finally move on.
High was just starting out as a recruit with Chaos when he met Millie Cross. They moved in with each other almost immediately and High thought he had his life planned out. Then she dumped him in such a way that he almost has no alternative but to hate her and hate her he does. So when he sees her again after twenty years, his first thought is revenge. But his revenge is not as sweet as he thought and he begins questioning just why she left and what happened to her.
Ashley’s male characters tend to be somewhat stronger than her female characters, but they usually have a balance of redeeming characteristics that make that palatable. In this book, there were just too many aspects of Millie that I did not get. I don’t care for literal or figurative punching bags and Millie strayed too close to that cliché. I know…true love is not selfish, but Millie not having any relationships for twenty years stretched my credulity just a tad too thin. I got her reasoning for leaving High in the first place, but it was so far into the book, I just did not buy it.
High’s treatment of Millie when he first encounters her after twenty years almost made me stop reading the book. I get that bikers are bad-ass, but I have not seen Ashley do really vindictively cruel before. If his turnaround had not come fairly quickly in the book, I might not have ever bought into his redemption. Fortunately, I was able to do that enough to finish the book, and the second half was more to my liking. High realizes he seriously messed up with Millie and sets about doing everything he can to make it up to her. I also loved that for once Ashley does not present the ex-wife as a total bitch.
While Walk Through Fire will not make it into my re-read pile, I am glad I soldiered through and added another Chaos biker to my frame of reference. Hard core Ashley fans will probably love this book for its happy ending. I did not love it, but it is Kristen Ashley’s world and she is true to it.