Not Your Usual Biker Romance

Under LockeUnder Locke by Mariana Zapata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although this was not the raunchy, offensive, biker romance that I had anticipated, I really liked ‘Under Locke’. Unlike most MC romances, this story does not focus heavily around the debauchery of the clubhouse and the biker lifestyle. There is a little danger and some club business, but it is more in the background vs. being the central focus of the story.

‘Under Locke’ is a very slow-burn romance. It did take some time for me to get into this story. However, once I did, I was hooked. This author definitely didn’t rush anything. I thought I would combust long before these two even kissed. There was plenty of anticipation and sexual frustration with this one!

Iris Taylor, aka “Ritz”, has recently moved to Austin. Iris is broke and looking for a fresh start, after death and disease have upended her life. She is staying with her half-brother, Sonny, who has hooked her up with a job at a tattoo shop owned by his friend, Dex.

In no time, Iris figures out why Dex is in need of help. The guy is a royal a$$hole! He has managed to chase off a string of assistants before Ritz with his rude, insulting behavior. Dex has a total lack of patience and a hot temper. He says what he’s thinking before stopping to think about how nasty or inappropriate his comments might be. Yeah, it took me a while to warm up to this guy.

Iris is the polar opposite of Dex. She’s sweet and innocent, having missed out on a lot of life’s experiences as she was forced at a young age to become the sole provider for her younger brother after her mother fell ill. After her mother’s health issues, Iris was faced with her own health crisis and then the death of her grandmother. Needless to say, her life was not easy and it didn’t allow a lot of time for the usual parties and dating that comprised the social life of most young women her age.

That being said, this book does have one of the big romance genre clichés that will drive some readers crazy. Iris is the quintessential naïve, good girl virgin. Dex is anything but virgin-like. He’s the stereotypical manwhore that has slept around with a large part of Austin’s female population without discrimination. This isn’t really a problem for me, but I thought I’d mention it because I know it is something that many readers can’t stand.

Despite their differences, Iris and Dex find themselves attracted to each other. Dex tries to stay away from Ritz out of loyalty to her brother. She tries to deny her attraction to him because she knows that he is nothing but trouble.

What follows is a series of absurdly jealous actions by Dex, while a clueless Iris wonders why he is acting like such a jerk. Perhaps if I was in a different mood when I listened to this story, I might have been irritated. As it is, I found their back and fort antics to be highly amusing.

One thing that the two of them have in common is deadbeat fathers. When Ritz’s sperm donor messes with some dangerous people, Sonny and her are placed in danger. This led to some interesting situations and a mild sense of suspense. However, I can’t say that I ever had that “on the edge of my seat” anxious feeling.

In the end, things work themselves out. There was plenty of back and forth throughout the book, followed by plenty of groveling. That was a big plus for me. I love it when my heroes have to do some groveling!

Overall, it was a nice, sweet story. It was different from other MC romances that I’ve read, but that was okay. This was my first book by this author, but definitely won’t be my last.

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