Hell on Wheels (Black Knights Inc. Series #1)by Julie Ann Walker
USA Today Bestseller!
Black Knights Inc.Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight...
Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cooland his distancewhich makes him/strong>/strong>/em>
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USA Today Bestseller!
Black Knights Inc.Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Hold On Tight...
Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cooland his distancewhich makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits.
Rough Road Ahead
Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harleyor the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possiblebut her heart is another story altogether.
Sweeping contemporary romance has been the motorcycle club craze, which has its outposts in military romance. What would be more natural than for a group of men who served together to continue to work as a team, using a motorcycle shop as a cover for elite special ops? In the eight books in the "Black Knights, Inc." series (two more titles are projected for 2017), Frank Knight and his band of mercenaries still do the kind of work they were trained for—this time only occasionally under the auspices of U.S. authorities. And while they fend off bad guys and seek out international trouble spots, they find women who see through their masks of impassive badassery to the strength and protectiveness underneath.
Read an Excerpt
Jacksonville, North Carolina
Outside the Morgan Household
Man, he'd been witness to some bad shit in his life. A great deal of which he'd personally perpetrated but very little of which stuck with him the way those screams were going to stick with him. Those soul-tearing, gut-wrenching bursts of inconsolable grief.
As Nate Weller, known to most in the spec-ops community simply as "Ghost," gingerly lowered himself into the Jeep that General Fuller had arranged for him to pick up upon returning CONUS-continental U.S.-he figured it was somehow appropriate. Each vicious shriek was an exclamation point marking the end of a mission that'd gone from bad to the worst possible scenario imaginable, and a fitting cry of heartbreak to herald the end of his best friend's remarkable life.
Sweet Jesus, had it really been just two weeks since they were drinking raki in Istanbul? Two weeks since they'd crossed the border into Syria to complete a deletion?
And that was another thing. Deletion. Christ, what a word. A ridiculously euphemistic way of saying you put a hot ball of lead that exploded with a muzzle velocity of 2,550 feet per second into the brainpan of some unsuspecting SOB who had the appallingly bad luck of finding himself on ol' Uncle Sam's shit list.
Yep, two lines you never want to cross, horizontal and vertical.
"Get me out of here," Alisa Morgan choked as she wrenched open the passenger door and jumped inside the Jeep, bringing the smell of sunshine and honeysuckle with her.
Ridiculously pleasant scents considering Nate's day had begun in the seventh circle of hell and was quickly getting worse. Shouldn't that be the rotten-egg aroma of sulfur burning his nose?
He glanced over at the petite woman sitting beside him, stick straight and trembling with the effort to contain her grief, and his stupid heart sprouted legs and jumped into his throat. It'd been that way since the first time he'd met Ali, Grigg's baby sister.
She hadn't been a baby even then. At seventeen she'd been a budding young woman. And now? Over twelve years later? Man, now she was all woman. All sunny blond hair and fiercely alive, amber-colored eyes in a face guaran-damn-teed to totally destroy him. Oh buddy, that face was a real gut check, one of those sweet Disney princess-type deals. Not to mention her body. Jesus.
He wanted her now just like he'd wanted her then. Maybe more. Okay, definitely more. And the inner battle he constantly waged with his unrepentant libido whenever she got within ten feet of him coupled with his newly acquired, mountainous pile of regret, guilt, and anguish to make him so tired. So unbearably tired of...everything.
"What about your folks?" he murmured, afraid to talk too loudly lest he shatter the tenuous hold she seemed to have on herself. "Don't you wanna be with them?"
He glanced past the pristine, green expanse of the manicured, postage-stamp sized lawn to the little, white, clapboard house with its cranberry trim and matching shutters. Geez, the place was homey. So clean, simple, and welcoming. Who would ever guess those inside were slowly bleeding out in the emotional aftershock of the bomb he'd just delivered?
She shook her head, staring straight ahead through the windshield, her nostrils flaring as she tried to keep the ocean of tears pooling in her eyes from falling. "They don't...want or...n-need me right now. I'm a...a reminder that...that..." she trailed off, and Nate had to squash the urge to reach over and pull her into his arms.
Better keep a wrinkle in it, boyo. You touch my baby sister and you die. Grigg had whispered that the day he'd introduced Nate to his family and seen the predatory heat in Nate's eyes when they'd alighted on Ali.
Yeah, well, keeping a wrinkle in it was impossible whenever Ali was in the same room with him, but he hadn't touched...and he hadn't died. Grigg was the one who'd done that...
"They want you, Ali," he assured her now. "They need you."
"No." She shook her head, still refusing to look at him, as if making eye contact would be the final crushing blow to the crumbling dam behind which she held all her rage and misery. "They've always been a pair, totally attuned to one another, living within their own little two-person sphere. Not that they don't love me and Grigg," she hastened to add as she dashed at her tears with the backs of her hands, still refusing to let them fall. "They're great parents; it's just...I don't know what I'm trying to say. But how they are together, always caught up in one another? That's why Grigg and I are so close..." Her left eyelid twitched ever so slightly. "Were so close...God!" Her voice broke and sympathetic grief pricked behind Nate's eyes and burned up the back of his throat until every breath felt as if it was scoured through a cheese grater.
It was too much. He couldn't stand to watch her fight any longer. The weight of her struggle compounded with the already crushing burden of his own rage and sorrow until all he could do was screw his peepers closed and press his clammy forehead to the backs of his tense hands. He gripped the steering wheel with fingers that were as numb and cold as the block of ice encasing his heart. The one that'd formed nearly a week before when he'd been forced to do the unthinkable.
A barrage of bloody images flashed behind his lids before he could push them away. He couldn't think of that now. He wouldn't think of that now...
"Nate?" He jumped like he'd been shot when the coolness of her fingers on his arm pulled him from his brutal thoughts. "Get me out of here, okay? Dad...he shooed me away. I don't think he wanted me witnessing Mother's breakdown and I think I can still hear her..." She choked.
Uh-huh. And Nate knew right then and there those awful sounds torn from Carla Morgan's throat weren't going to stick with just him. Anyone who'd been within earshot would be haunted forever after.
And, goddamnit, he liked Paul Morgan, considered him a good and honest man, but screw the bastard for not seeing that his only daughter needed comfort, too. Just because Ali put on a brave front, refusing to break down like her mother had, didn't mean she wasn't completely ripped apart on the inside. And damn the man for putting Nate in this untenable situation-to be the only one to offer Ali comfort when he was the dead-last person on Earth who should.
He hesitated only a second before turning the key and pulling from the curb. The Jeep grumbled along, eating up the asphalt, sending jarring pain through his injured leg with each little bump in the road. Military transports weren't built to be smooth rides. Hell no. They were built to keep chugging and plugging along no matter what was sliding under the wheels. Unfortunately, what they gained in automotive meanness, they lost in comfort, but that was the least of his current problems. His pain he could deal with-brush it aside like an annoying gnat. He was accustomed to that, after all. Had trained for it and lived it over and over again for almost fifteen years.
Ali's pain was something else entirely.
Chancing a glance in her direction, he felt someone had shoved a hot, iron fist straight into his gut.
She was crying.
Now that she didn't have to be strong in front of her parents, she let the tears fall. They coursed, unchecked, down her soft cheeks in silvery streams. Her chest shook with the enormity of her grief, but no sound escaped her peach-colored lips save for a few ragged moans that she quickly cut off, as if she could allow herself to show only so much outward emotion. As if she still had to be careful, be tough, be resilient.
She didn't. Not with him. But he couldn't speak past the hot knot in his own throat to tell her.
He wanted to scream at that uncaring bitch, Fate. Rail and cry and rant. But what possible good would that do them? None. So he gulped down the hard tangle of sorrow and rage and asked, "Anywhere in particular y'wanna go?"
She turned toward him, her big, tawny eyes haunted, lost. "Yeah, okay." He nodded. "I know a place."
After twenty minutes of pure hell, forced to watch her struggle to keep herself together, struggle to keep from bursting into a thousand bloody pieces that would surely cut him as deeply as they cut her, he nosed the Jeep along a narrow coast road, through the waving, brown heads of sea oats, until he stopped at a wooden fence. It was gray and brittle from years spent battling the sun and weathering the salt spray.
He figured he and that fence were kindred spirits. They'd both been worn down by the lives they'd led until they were so battered and scarred they no longer resembled anything like what they'd started out being-and yet they were still standing.
Right. He'd give anything to be the one reduced to an urn full of fine, gray ash. Between the two of them, Grigg had been the better man. But on top of being uncaring, Fate was a stupid bitch. That's the only explanation he could figure for why he'd made it out of that stinking, sandy hut when Grigg hadn't.
A flash of Grigg's eyes in that last moment nearly had him doubling over. Those familiar brown eyes...they'd been hurting, begging, resigned...
No. He shook away the savage image and focused his gaze out the windshield.
Beyond the fence's ragged, ghostly length, gentle dunes rolled and eventually merged with the flat stretch of a shell-covered beach. The gray Atlantic's vast expanse flirted in the distance with the clear blue of the sky, and the boisterous wind whipped up whitecaps that giggled and hissed as they skipped toward shore.
It just didn't seem right. A day like that. So sunny, so bright. Didn't the world know it'd lost one of its greatest men? Didn't its molten heart bleed?
He switched off the Jeep and sucked in the familiar scents of sea air and sun-baked sand. He couldn't find his usual comfort in the smells. Not today. And, maybe, never again. Hesitantly he searched for the right words.
Yeah, right. Like there were any right words in this God-awful situation.
"I won't offer y'platitudes, Ali," he finally managed to spit out. "He was the best man I've ever known. I loved 'im like a brother."
Talk about understatement of the century. Losing Grigg was akin to losing an arm. Nate felt all off-balance. Disoriented. More than once during the past week, he'd turned to tell Grigg something only to remember too late his best friend wasn't there.
He figured he wasn't suffering from phantom-limb syndrome, but phantom-friend syndrome.
"Then as a brother, tell me what happened...what really happened," she implored.
She'd always been too damned smart for her own good.
"He died in an accident. He was cleanin' an old gas tank on one of the bikes; there was a spark; some fuel on his rag ignited; he fell into a tray of oil and burned to death before anyone could get to him." The lie came out succinctly because he'd practiced it so friggin' often, but the last word still stuck in his throat like a burr.
Unfortunately, it was the only explanation he could give her about the last minutes of her brother's life. Because the truth fell directly under the heading National Security Secret. He thought it very likely Ali suspected Grigg hadn't spent the last three-plus years partnering with a few ex-military, spec-ops guys, living and working in Chicago as a custom motorcycle builder, but it wasn't his place to give her the truth. The truth that Grigg Morgan had still been working for Uncle.
When he and Grigg bid their final farewells to the Marine Corps, it was only in order to join a highly secretive "consulting" group. The kind of group that took on only the most clandestine of operations. The kind of group whose missions never made the news or crossed the desk of some pencil-pushing aide at the DOD in a tidy little dossier. They put the black in black ops, their true identities known only to a select few, and those select few were very high up in government. High. Like, all the way at the friggin' top.
So no. He couldn't tell her what really happened to Grigg. And he hoped to God she never found out.
She searched his determinedly blank expression, and he watched helplessly as the impotent rage rose inside her-an emotional volcano threatening to explode. Before he could stop her, she slammed out of the vehicle, hurdled the fence, and raced toward the dunes, long hair flying behind her, slim bare legs churning up great puffs of sand that caught in the briny wind and swirled away.
He wrenched open his door and bounded after her, his left leg screaming in agony, not to mention the goddamned broken ribs that threatened to punch a hole right through his lung. Blam! Wheeze. That quick and he'd be spending another day or two in the hospital. Fan-friggin'-tastic. Just what he didn't need right now.
"Ali!" he bellowed, grinding his teeth against the pain, running with an uneven, awkward limp made even more so by the shifting sand beneath his boots.
She turned on him then in grief and frustration, slamming a tiny balled-up fist into the center of his chest. Sweet Christ...
Agony exploded like a frag grenade. He took a knee. It was either that or just keel over dead.
"Nate?" Her anger turned to shock as she knelt beside him in the sand. "What-" Before he knew what she was about, she lifted the hem of his T-shirt, gaping at the ragged appearance of his torso. His ribs were taped, but the rest of him looked like it'd gone ten rounds with a meat grinder and lost.
"Holy shit, Nate!" He almost smiled despite the blistering pain that held him in its teeth, savage and unyielding as a junkyard dog. Ali never cursed. Either it was written somewhere in her DNA or in that contract she'd signed after becoming a kindergarten teacher. "What happened to you?"
He shook his head because, honestly, it was all he could manage. If he so much as opened his mouth, he was afraid he'd scream like a girl.
"Nate!" She threw her arms around his neck. God, that felt right...and so, so wrong. "Tell me! Tell me what happened to you. Tell me what really happened to Grigg." The last was breathed in his ear. A request. A heartrending plea.
"Y'know I can't, Ali." He could feel the salty hotness of her tears where she'd tucked her face into his neck. Smell, in the sweet humidity of her breath, the lemon tea she'd been drinking before he knocked on her parents' door and told her the news that instantly blew her safe, sheltered world apart.
This was his greatest fantasy and worst nightmare all rolled into one. Ali, sweet, lovel Ali. She was here. Now. Pressed against his heart.
He reluctantly raised arms gone heavy with fatigue and sorrow. If Grigg could see him now, he'd take his favorite 1911-A1 and drill a .45 straight in his sorry ass. But the whole point of this Charlie Foxtrot was that Grigg wasn't here. No one was here to offer Ali comfort but him. So he gathered her close-geez, her hair smelled good-and soothed her when the grief shuddered through her in violent, endless waves like the tide crashing to shore behind them.
And then she kissed him...
What People are Saying About This
Meet the Author
Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of wickedly sexy romantic suspense novels, including the acclaimed Black Knights Inc. series. A former high school math teacher, Julie Ann lives in Chicago with her husband. Visit her at julieannwalker.com.
Abby Craden is a professional actress and voice artist who can be heard in numerous TV and radio commercials, video games, and audiobooks. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner as well as an AudioFile Best Voice of 2012, Abby is an award-winning stage actress and a resident artist with the prestigious theater A Noise Within.
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My Review: Yes, I'll admit it. I absolutely did bawl with ugly wrenching sobs at one point in this book and yes, that does mean this book is just that good!! For those of us that love romantic suspense along the lines of Cindy Gerard, Christy Reece, and Tara Janzen, this is a brand spanking new series for you that you are GOING TO LOVE!!! In this first book, we get introduced to the Black Knights, Inc. They are a black-ops contracting company that works out of Chicago under the guise of a custom motorcycle shop. And yeah, you guessed it, these guys all ride seriously souped-up motorcycles. *sigh* They're extremely bad-ass AND they ride hot bikes. This is my fantasy series!! Thank you Julie Ann!!! Grigg and Nate have been best friends and tied to the hip since joining the Marines. They were a sniping team...Grigg, the spotter; Nate, the shooter. They got out of the Marines together 3 years ago and joined the Knights. But they were sent out on a mission that went horribly wrong and were captured and tortured for three days. Three days which Grigg didn't survive. The book opens with Nate and Grigg's little sister, Ali, right after he's told them that Grigg died. The family and Ali have no idea what they are really doing...they think they just work building motorcycles. Within a couple of months, Ali realizes that something is very wrong. She's being followed and was even attacked so she high-tails it to Chicago to get Nate's help. It soon becomes very apparent that there's a whole lot of something else going on here and that it probably ties back to Grigg somehow. There has always been chemistry between Ali and Nate, but there are 2 problems there....Grigg told Nate to NEVER touch his sister, and Nate is hiding a horrible gut-wrenching secret about Grigg's death. OMG, I dare you not bawl like a little baby when it's revealed what really happened. OMG....poor Grigg and poor Nate. Gut. Wrenching. Nate is one of those guys...he never says much and he sure doesn't share his feelings. I really loved him especially when it came out exactly "why" he doesn't ever talk around Ali. He just turned my heart to mush. Then there's Ali...LOL...that poor girl needs to get a tougher stomach, but after she's through getting sick...you can throw anything at her and she hardly flinches. She's tough. Grigg taught her well. Then there are all the other members of the Knights. I can already promise you, this series is on my auto-review/then auto-buy list. I have an ARC of this on my kindle, but I WILL be going out to buy a print copy for my permanent bookshelf. Yes, it was truly that good!! Honestly, I couldn't tell you the last time that I was this excited about a start of a series. I love these Knight boys....and Becky. Damn, this is a great start!!! Off to go check out the deets on book number 2, In Rides Trouble, out next month. I received a complementary copy of this book in return for an honest review.
Overall I think the story line was good and I do plan on reading the other books in the series. However, it did get a little wordy, some of the scenes were more graphic than I thought necessary and a few things seemed too far fetched. This made it almost have a juvenile feel at times. As I said though, the plot was good, I did feel a connection with the characters and I will read the rest of the series. I think it would make a great movie.
Great book with great characters. Kept me entertained
Well written, plenty of action, and a little funny thrown in too makes for a well rounded action/romance. A few times it felt a little too unbelievable, the alpha was way too thick headed, and they sometimes went overboard on the "gun-speak," but overall cute story. I will be buying the next in the series.
8/5/12 Pretty good start to a new series. The "h-e-double hockey sticks" and the vomiting got a bit much. No one spews THAT much unless they have a stomach virus.
I enjoy an exciting Alpha warrior as much as the next girl, but Nate 'Ghost' Weller was a bit weak in the personality department. And Ali annoyed me most of the time with the 'cripes', 'h-e-double hocky sticks' and vomiting. Story had potential but didn't really live up.
Hot ex-military men who ride motorcycles, a political conspiracy, action-packed suspense and humor laid out in one thrilling package made Hell on Wheels impossible to put down. Julie Ann Walker did not fail to impress me with her entertaining, fast paced and highly addictive debut novel. The descriptive writing, well rounded characters and the scorching romance delivered an exhilarating story, that I was hooked to from word one. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. A very promising start to a new romantic suspense series. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of romantic suspense. Just the same, Hell on Wheels hit it right on the mark for me. There was never a boring moment and I was constantly pulled in by the adrenaline-filled events. Trying to figure out the mystery alongside the characters was very enjoyable. Ms. Walker’s descriptive writing style definitely helped with that, making the story believable enough for the readers to feel as if they were actually in it. The existence of espionage, deception and a secret government organization (Black Knights Inc.) were all an exciting addition to the story – successfully accomplishing that thrilling feeling that should be present in the suspense genre. The heroine, Ali, was easily likeable. She had a feisty personality yet her character felt very composed. Ali has been through a lot, after losing her brother, and the author didn’t make that a secret. The emotions in the story were on full display but not to the point of becoming over the top. In fact, they were done just right, as they showed the characters’ development throughout the story. Then we have Nate. To describe him in as few words as possible, ‘he was absolutely mouth watering’! I loved his bad boy aura but at the same time also loved his vulnerable side, which was shown through the moments he shares about his past. He was a fitting love interest. Alongside the main characters, the cast of secondary characters were all very entertaining. Above all, they were like family, always having each other’s backs during any situation - which I loved. I am definitely looking forward to seeing them again. On a different note, this book had some issues, that I sincerely hope are fixed in the next book(s). For starters, where the romance had an excellent start – with lots of sexual tension that slowly built over the book, the ending of it was disappointing to say the least. It felt rushed and very cliche. Another aspect that I found less than appealing was the abrupt scene changes. There were several POVs in the story – if you know me, you know I’m not a huge fan of those – and too often I found myself confused due to them. I had to re-read several scenes in order to fully grasp the whereabouts of the story and I didn’t enjoy the hindrance to the flow of the story. There is room for improvement, but regardless, Ms. Walker did a good job in keeping my interest. In light of the few issues, Hell on Wheels proved to be a great mixture of action, romance and suspense. I was captivated from start to finish and the witty dialogue constantly kept me entertained. Not to mention, the likeable characters. Overall, despite the cliche ending, I felt this was a fun read and look forward to reading the next books in the series by Ms. Walker.
All in all very formulaic. Like Cindy Gerard or Maya Banks KGI series. I won't be reading any more by this author, the torture scene was blood porn, i.e. gratuitous and horrible. One reviewer seems to think that is good writing. I don't. I was left with a deep distaste for this author and the heroine inthe book, she seems to spend most of her time vomiting.
Disappointing - just didn't seem realistic in any sense of the word. Characters were stereotypes of the genre with little originality. The dialogue made me cringe at times, and one particularly violent scene was unneccessarily descriptive.
Thanks to the publisher, Sourcebooks, and NetGalley for the chance to read this early! This is the first book in a romantic suspense military trilogy by Julie Ann Walker releasing August 7, 2012. However, I actually read the books out of order; I read the third installment, Rev It Up!, first. This was a very enjoyable book. The suspense portion made/kept the book interesting and fast moving. The book was ninety percent suspense, ten percent romance but, every bit adventurous. This was one hot, straight-forward, easy to read book, with a pretty simple plot to follow. There wasn't a whole lot of characters to keep straight – which is often the case with the first book of a new series. What do kindergarten teacher, Alisa Morgan, and Sniper, Nathan “Ghost” Weller have in common? -- Grigg Morgan. Nate has been attracted to his best friend’s baby sister since she was seventeen. Nate remembered the first time he ever met Alisa… “Better keep a wrinkle in it, boyo. You touch my baby sister and you die.” Grigg to Nate. Nate is very intriguing...even with all of his guilt – he is sexy, alpha, commanding, stubborn, and determined ~~ all those things together are guaranteed to get a woman out of her panties...lucky thing Alisa is just as stubborn plus she has secretly yearned for his touch since they met.
BAM! Julie Ann Walker’s Hell On Wheels starts out with a bang and just keeps on rolling. An excellent read that I did not put down; it grabbed me from page one, threw me in the emotional wringer and refused to let go until the very last word. 4.5 Stars Nate “Ghost” Weller is an ex-marine sniper, who along with his best friend, joined an elite and very covert special ops team, Black Knight’s Inc. Using a custom bike shop as a front, this team of alpha males take the government missions that no one else can handle, off-the-books missions that are both dangerous and deadly. When Nate’s best friend, Grigg Morgan, dies and his baby sister, Ali, shows up at the compound Nate’s world is turned upside down. Already fighting the grief and guilt from losing his best friend, now Nate must fight the desire he’s had for Ali since the first moment he saw her twelve years ago. Little does she know that the emotional distance he’s put between them was because of Grigg warning him off. But Ali needs his help and Nate’s not going to let Ali down like he let down her brother. Someone is stalking Ali but she doesn’t get really scared until a mammoth of a man in a ski mask tries to mug her. Ali knows someone is after her and seeing as she’s an unassuming kindergarten teacher then it must have something to do with her brother so she turns to the one man she has left, Nate. As they puzzle through the mystery of her Ali’s shadow stalker Ali can’t deny that she feels something for Nate but despite his obvious attraction for her, Nate continuously pushes her away. Will she ever be able to break through his wall or will the secrets he hides end up breaking them both? Hell On Wheels is an exhilarating and powerful debut for Julie Ann Walker and the Black Knight Inc. series! This book has everything a romantic suspense fan can hope for; heart-break, loss, humor, action, passion, romance, sex, need, intrigue, along with a tortured bad-boy hero on a kick-ass bike and a sweet but feisty heroine who can roll with the punches. I laughed, I cried, I got all hot and bothered, I cried some more; this novel covers all the emotional range. The author’s writing style captured by attention from the get-go. I could literally hear Nate’s voice in my head and I loved it! The pages were brimming with the sexual tension between Ali and Nate. Nate has a lot of inner-demons to face and Ali doesn’t understand why he won’t let her in, he very obviously wants her if you know what I mean. ;) The action was non-stop, the dialogue captivated, the characters were believable, and the plot consumed. So why the 4.5 rating, instead of a perfect 5? A few things with the heroine got to be annoying after a while; the constant weak stomach and the ‘h-e-double hockey sticks’. Also, the world building at the beginning of the story jumped around some and it took me a little bit to catch up, but after that initial rough start the story quickly found it’s grove and I loved every minute of it. If you think you’ve read ex-military special ops stories with sexy but tortured alpha men, well you ain’t read nothing yet! Pick up Hell on Wheels, you will not be disappointed! I am now an official Julie Ann Walker stalker….err…fan ;) and Hell on Wheels is, without a doubt, one of my favorite reads of the year. I would compare Hell on Wheels to Lori Foster’s When You Dare (Men Who Walk The Edge Of Honor) and the first few books in Maya Bank’s K.G.I. series, it was that dang good!
I liked a lot about this book, especially Peanut the cat. But so many pages were devoted to what each character was thinking - and so much of what they were thinking was teenage-girl-level romance fantasy. That got frustratingly repetitive and really interfered with the pacing of the action. Also distracting were the mispelling of "retching" as "wretching" since the heroine vomited so often, and what was probably a thumb / flash / jump drive being referred to as a zip drive. Those devices have lots of names, but AFAIK, a Zip drive was produced by Iomega for Zip disks a couple of decades ago. There's a really good book in here, but it'll take a lot of cutting to get there.
Needs a proofreader. We learned about the childhood of Ali and her brother, but nothing about the " hero" Nate. Also Nate's constant use of contractions was ridiculous. Ali needs a good doctor...her weak stomach was overstated, and annoying to read about.
The story line was good but the characters weren't very believable and left much to be desired. Could have done without so much graphic sex and puking.
Good character development for the 2 main characters. However, I did feel as if I was missing character background for the rest of the people -- almost as if I was picking up this story in the middle of the series instead of it being the first in the series! I think there were also about 100 pages of previews for other titles. Sigh.
Reviewed by Jen Book provided by the publisher for review Review originally posted at Romancing the Book Growing up a military brat (my father was in the Army), I’ve always been fascinated with romance books featuring members of the military. So, when I saw this new series I knew I had to give it a try. And as a debut author, Julie Ann Walker shows much promise with this book and series. What we have in Hell on Wheels is the set up of the Black Knights series as well as the love story between Nate and Ali. Because it’s the first book in the series, there is a lot of setting the stage which sometimes overwhelmed the love story. And there were a lot of characters to wrap my head around. When I thought I’d finally gotten everyone straight, someone new would be mentioned. I know this has to do with the world building, but so many of those introduced weren’t necessary at this point and could have been gradually worked in later in the series. My other pet peeve in this story was the head hopping. For me, the fewer heads we visit, the better. But in addition to our hero and heroine, we also were privy to the thoughts of both bad guys and at least 2 of the supporting folks in the Black Knight organization. And of course, this harks back to the world building aspect and setting up book two. So, this book is about Nate and Ali. They’ve known each other for years and unbeknownst to the other, they’ve each harbored a crush on each other. However, Nate is Ali’s brother’s best friend and the brother warned Nate off when he noticed the interest. Years later, Nate is back in Ali’s life to tell her that his brother is dead. They share a passionate, yet grief filled, night and go their separate ways. But when someone seems to be stalking Ali, she turned to Nate for help. And then all hell breaks loose. I was totally drawn into the story. There are lots of twists and turns when it comes to figuring out who’s targeting Ali (not for the reader, we know pretty early on… but more the mystery as the characters). The action scenes, whether it was a flashback to Nate’s military career or a car chase were written with so much description that I felt as if I was there. The spark between Ali and Nate burned up the pages. However, I did get tired of some of the repetitive internalization that Nate kept going through. His “I’m not worthy” attitude did start to get old after a while. That said, it was a very solid debut and I will be looking forward to reading more books in this series.
## I enjoyed this book for the most part. What I liked: Loved the story, the action and the intrigue. Also, a big part for me was the humor. There were several times I found myself laughing out loud. I found the ending was not rushed (yay -nice reward for the reader) and completely satisfied. What I didn't like: the romance was lacking, although it was implied. Second, I didn't like that the heroine kept vomiting so much (way overdone), and there's nothing sexy about that. And OMG, the hero spoke like a child. It seemed like he was too lazy to annunciate his words and just strung them into a bunch of weird contractions. That was so incredibly annoying! Again, not sexy. So a good story with humor, intrigue and even some heartwrenching angst, yep! Romance, not so much.
Sadly, a good storyline couldn't make up for poor character development and insultingly inane dialogue...in no way believable or entertaining
This book was amazing. It made me laugh, cry, and then laugh again! The character’s are loveable yet have a sexy edge that is hard to resist. I look forward to reading the next installment!
I bought the book on a Thursday night and finished it by Sunday morning. I throughly enjoyed it. Julie is a really good author.
I like these kind of books
Not bad but way to much sex really ,i dont think i will read any of her other books and no im not religous but get out of the gutter