Today I’m absolutely over the moon and super excited to share my review and an excerpt of Kristen Ashley’s last installment in the CHAOS series, Free, with you. Please scroll down to check both out.
For another excerpt, check my review here.
Through good times, bad times and times of war, Cole “Rush” Allen grew up in the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Along this journey, he watched his father, Tack, and his MC brothers fight, sweat, bleed and die to steer the Club to legitimacy.
And they’ve got one more battle on their hands.
A battle they have to win.
But when Rush meets the woman who put herself right in the thick of it, he knows he has to stop at nothing to get her out.
Rebel Stapleton has lost someone she loves to murder and she’s the kind of woman who’s going to do something about it. She puts her career on the line, and her life, to bring the man who did it to justice.
That is, she does this until Rush Allen intervenes.
Chaos is at war and they’re about to face the ultimate showdown. They’ll have to negotiate skeletons from the past, enemies becoming allies, and loved ones in the line of fire on their ride to be…
In this manner, they guided me onto 6th Avenue and all the way down that long, heavily trafficked, three-lane bastard into the foothills. I lost my side bikes on the small mountain town roads that led to back country roads, the guy to the left going forward to lead the pack, the guy to the right falling back.
It did not make me feel cozy and happy when we hit a gravel road, in the middle of nowhere, that was winding and ended at a remote cabin that did not look like it was set up to play its role as a vacation relaxation station.
More like where Jason might show with an ax.
The bikes stopped.
I stopped, cut the ignition to my Subaru, tossed open my door, hauled myself out, slammed my door and advanced fast on who I was guessing was the leader of the pack.
The guy who’d rode to my left.
He was off his bike when I got there.
He was also taller than I’d have guessed.
He definitely rocked that leather jacket.
And he had a great head of thick, dark hair that was overlong. So long one side of the front was tucked behind his ear and it was flippy messy in the back in a way that practically begged a woman to grab hold.
I did not grab hold.
I got up to the toes of my boots and shouted in his face, “You could have killed yourself, asshole!”
“Calm down,” he growled.
His voice was deep and gravelly, rumbling up his chest and out his mouth in a way I could almost trace that shit.
I ignored this additional nugget of awesomeness that made this biker and yelled, “Calm down? Calm down? Are you insane?” I took a step back and threw out both arms. “I’m in the middle of nowhere at Jason’s Lodge o’ Ax Murdering Fun with a pack of bikers when I should right now be home, meditating or some shit.”
His head tipped to the side. “You meditate?”
I didn’t answer that.
I said, “Newsflash. When a bunch of dudes on bikes wearing leather jackets with patches surrounds a woman’s car, she’s not gonna go Thelma and Louise on their asses on the exit ramp off Speer Boulevard to I-25, which is right in the heart of the city, which means right in the heart of Denver traffic. She might hurt them. More, she might hurt herself. But most, she might hurt some unsuspecting single mom on her way home from work to feed her kids and later, lament her choice of their deadbeat dad who’s off banging his secretary.”
“It gonna sink in we’re here safe, so you can be done yelling at me?” he asked.
“Am I safe?” I asked back.
“You gotta ask that, you don’t know Chaos,” he retorted.
“Well, another newsflash, stud, I don’t know Chaos,” I shot back.
He leaned into me.
I smelled leather, fresh air, and the remnants of some sharp, tangy aftershave that I kid you not, actually tightened my clit.
“Well, you’re about to know Chaos, so let’s get on to that,” he rumbled at me. “Get inside.”
“I want your promise right here you’re not gonna ax murder me when I go inside that cabin,” I snapped.
From around us, I heard a deep chuckle, actually a few of them.
“We’re not gonna ax murder you.” He sounded beleaguered.
He sounded beleaguered.
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Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
CONNECT WITH KRISTEN
by KRISTEN ASHLEY
You know, when you read the last The End of a beloved series it’s always with both sadness and joy.
Free is the phenomenal conclusion to the Chaos series by Kristen Ashley and has pretty much an all-cast from Dream Man, Chaos, a little Honey and Unfinished Heroes. Heads up: this book can’t be read as a standalone. The sheer amount of POVs will leave anyone, who hasn’t read the previous books in this series, completely lost. While I usually don’t like jumping between so many multiple viewpoints, it didn’t bother me in this story because I knew all the characters.
Cole “Rush” Allen is a chip off the old block. He is in most ways a carbon copy of his dad, maybe a little more easy-going. But everything I loved about Tack I also love about Rush – his protective nature, his open adoration for his woman, how he looks out for her, his bossiness, his integrity, his humor…I could go on for a while.
“You’re lucky you’re a great fuck.” I grinned.
“And got great hair,” he went on. I grinned bigger.
“And fantastic legs.” My grin got seriously toothy.
“And beautiful cheekbones.” That surprised me.
“Beautiful cheekbones?” Another sigh.
“Baby, you pretty much got beautiful everything, which means I’m fucked.”
So it’s probably no surprise when I say he has joined the ranks of Tate, Tack and Luke, who are my top favorite Kristen Ashley male characters. He falls for Rebel fast and when he loves, he loves hard. Tack and Rush’s relationship was one of my favorite things. His dad gave him advice in typical Tack manner. Straight, to the point but not unkind and with so much wisdom – Tack has come a long way. Father and son had an unbreakable bond.
“You’re a good son. You’re a good man,” his dad whispered. “I have no idea how, through all the shit you had to wade through that was not in my power to protect you from, you turned into the man you are.
But you did and I’m damned proud, Rush. You’re the man I wanted to be. You’ll have the Club I wanted to make. And I did more. I made Tabby. I had a hand in makin’ Ride and Cut. I earned the love of your stepmother. I debate it every day, what makes me the proudest. And I gotta tell you, son, havin’ that to debate is the best place a man can be.”
Rebel was da bomb. I adored her. She has a bit of a superwoman complex, a need to always take care of others and make things right for them. She just can’t help herself. If someone needs a leg up, a shoulder, she’s there. I think she may be one of my most favorite heroines. I adored her for Rush. She was perfect for him in every way. She had sass, courage, smarts, compassion and a tender heart. There were so many sweet moments between them, moments that left me without a doubt that these two were a once-in-a-lifetime, meant-to-be love. And I didn’t care that they it was pretty much love at first sight.
“I’m keeping you,” he said against my lips. He was keeping me. I was going to belong to somebody. And that somebody was Rush Allen.
There were also many laugh-out-loud moments, and I was again floored how kind and sweet and funny the Chaos men could be when they didn’t need to be tough. I *need* to paste this interaction between them when they meet Essence, Rebel’s hippie neighbor (who reminds me a little of Tex in a more feminine, sweeter way), for the first time.
Another side character who stood out was Beck, the Bounty MC member who treated Rosalie horribly in Rough Ride. I loved what Ms. Ashley did with him. He was definitely one of my favorite POVs in FREE. The villains’ POVs (yes, plural) raise the tension and the stand-off left me a little breathless and tense.
Leaving Chaos isn’t as easy as I thought it would be, even though I knew Kristen Ashley would leave them in a happy place. These characters have stolen a piece of my heart and run away with it. FREE is the perfect conclusion to the series and will remain with me for a long while. It is about amends and tying up loose ends, solving the remaining mysteries, catching up with beloved characters and finally bidding them goodbye. I hope we get to see the Chaos cast in other books and can catch up with them. Until then, I’ll listen to the audiobooks and relive vicariously through these awesome characters and hope that maybe, someday, there will be another MC series in the future.
Tacked grinned at the open stretch of tarmac in front of him, glinting in the sun. And Chaos rode.