I took a break from this series after reading the novella In Dark Woods last summer. As these books have popped back up in my social media feeds in recent weeks, I’m ready to revisit one of my favorite series again.
I’ve probably said this before, but I’ll say it again — The Signal Bend series is the best MC series I’ve read to date. This series is dark, gritty, violent and raw — everything I’d expect from an MC series. Straight, no chaser! There’s no sugar coating for my delicate sensibilities here. Thats what I love that about it. I wouldn’t call these stories romantic per se, yet even in the midst of chaos for the MC, there’s a believable HEA for the featured couples. I think one could read these as stand alones but to really understand what’s happening in Signal Bend and the Night Horde, I’d say it’s best to read the series in order.
When we meet Joe “Havoc” Mariano again he’s part-owner/manager of the local wine bar owned by the Night Horde, and none too happy about it. Havoc, known as the “enforcer” of the Night Horde is an unapologetic, sexist, jerkwad. Havoc is a Signal Bend native who grew up in a household with a strong disciplinarian father (I’m being very kind here) which has left him somewhat emotionally stunted. He’s been with the Night Horde MC for 20+ years and misses the adrenaline rush of the outlaw life after a few years of quiet for the Night Horde. Havoc’s 38 years old; he’s never been in love and isn’t looking for it. Havoc likes his women for one thing only…and it doesn’t involve much talk, kissing or touchy feely romance. After seeing his MC brothers, Isaac, Show, and Bart fall in love Havoc is even more convinced that women just ruin everything.
Cory Hawes is a singer at the wine bar the Night Horde owns. She’s raising her teenage son, Nolan, alone after divorcing her cheating, loser of an ex-husband. She and Nolan are living pillar to post since Cory hasn’t held a steady job for a while. Cory is too “hippie-dippie”/dreamy for her family’s sensibilities — and her own good sense at times. Unfortunately, she’s not going to win any awards for Mother of the Year, but she’s trying to do the best she can. What Nolan lacked in stability or discipline, there’s no doubt Cory loves her kid and Nolan loves his mother. What I loved about Cory is that she wasn’t a doormat in spite of her circumstances…even though it gets her in a bit of trouble sometimes. I respect that in a MC romance heroine.
Having read a few reviews beforehand, I was prepared in advance to not like AtS as much as I did.
I wasn’t as bothered as I thought I’d be by Havoc’s aggressive, sexist ways. I think I would have been more disturbed if he wasn’t based on what we know about him. Similarly, Cory’s lax parenting and dreamer ways weren’t as grating to me as others pointed out. I enjoyed both Havoc and Cory’s transformations and how these two flawed, broken souls make a family despite all they’ve been through.
Dare I say, I liked that the Night Horde are back in the thick of things with the drug cartel following the calm of the last few books. I’m excited to read the last 2 books of this series to see how it all goes down for the Night Horde/Signal Bend in the end.