Fourteen months. For fourteen months, Puck Redhouse sat in a cell and kept his mouth shut, protecting the Silver Bastards MC from their enemies. Then he was free and it was time for his reward—full membership in the club, along with a party to celebrate. That’s when he saw Becca Jones for the first time and set everything in motion. Before the night ended he’d violated his parole and stolen her away from everything she knew.
Five years. It was five years ago that Puck destroyed Becca and saved her all in one night. She’s been terrified of him ever since, but she’s even more terrified of the monsters he still protects her from… But Becca refuses to let fear control her. She’s living her life and moving forward, until she gets a phone call from the past she can’t ignore. She has to go back, and there’s only one man she can trust to go with her—the ex-con biker who rescued her once before. Puck will help her again, but this time it’ll be on his terms. No more lies, no more tears, and no more holding back what he really wants…
There are very few biker romances I’m willing to read these days simply because I can’t take all the angst and conflict that comes with the club lifestyle, but Joanna Wylde is one author I won’t hesitate to read because she combines just the right amount of grit and romance to make for one compelling story. Usually I really like or love her books but I have to admit…I wasn’t too sure about this book for a while, and I even thought about putting it down for good. What sets this book (and probably series) apart from her Reapers MC books is that they’re not set around a club, but a location – the Silver Valley region from where the series name is derived. Thus, a lot of the grit and action I’ve come to expect from her stories was absent in this book, and – in my opinion – is the cheesiest out of all her stories, but in the end I’m glad I continued with it. An author who can make me want to give up but then turn things around and make me enjoy the story by the end is a talented writer.
If you’ve read the Reapers MC books, you’ll remember Puck as the guy who got thrown into jail with Painter on a weapons charge, and now after a year he’s finally out. Prior to his serving time, he was just a prospect for the Silver Bastards MC, but by keeping quiet and protecting the club even while he was in prison earned him respect and an official place in the club, and at the start of the book is out celebrating when he spies the heroine Becca. He can tell that she’s not like other club whores and immediately wants her. What follows is one unforgettable night and total chaos the next day when the truth about Becca’s circumstances comes out; thus, Puck and the others take Becca with them and relocate her to a new place and keep tabs on her to make sure she’s safe.
At this point in the book (around the 10% mark) I was totally feeling the story. Unfortunately the author threw in a plot device that I absolutely abhor – time gap! Unless it’s for an epilogue, I just seriously can’t stand time gaps. You could even say time gaps are a hard limit of mine. Either way, I felt like the 5 year time gap here was only inserted so Becca would be out of her teenage years because honestly? It felt like no time passed at all. The many chapters following the time gap consisted of Becca and Puck going on and on about how amazing their one night together was and everything else was virtually the same, so I didn’t feel like 5 years had passed. It got to a point where I wanted both of them to just shut up and move on or screw each other already, and THANK GOD there was some development in that area thanks to Puck.
I also didn’t really connect with either Puck or Becca individually and as a couple. Their relationship was solely based on the fact that they had some history that night 5 years ago, and to see Puck suddenly want to claim Becca as his old lady made two words pop in my head: insta love! At this point in the book, I really wanted to throw in the towel and call it a day. Puck didn’t stand out as a Joanna Wylde hero and Becca was extremely childish.
But I’m glad I didn’t give up.
Somewhere after this first quarter of the book the story turned around for me. There was still some character stupidity and bad choices made, but the characters owned it. They matured the more I read, and developed a level of mutual respect I couldn’t help but have to acknowledge. I also loved getting the details about club life – member interactions, meeting the other old ladies, etc…– and there was a secondary subplot that added a suspenseful tone to the story which was great.
I think my main issue with the book would be the frustrating first 25% of the story along with the weak romantic connection. While I ended up enjoying the story tons by the end, I still can’t forget that it took me a long time to really get into the story in the beginning which is why I can’t bring myself to give this book 4 stars or higher. It’s definitely not my favorite from this author, but is still a solid, intriguing first installment to this series and with the clever sneak peek at the end, I’m just dying to get my hands on the next book! I’m sure it’ll be a hit for readers who loved her Reapers MC series and as long as you don’t mind insta-love and time gaps like I do, you’ll enjoy this book just fine
Silver Bastard is the first book in the Silver Valley series and can be read as a standalone. While a few characters from the Reapers MC series make an appearance you don’t have to read those books beforehand.
An advanced copy was provided by Penguin Intermix via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.