Wow!!!!! This book….WOW!!!! This series…WOW!!!
I’ve said it many times before — MC romance and I have a love-hate relationship. This is the one subgenre of romance that I don’t expect — or need — a syrupy sweet story. I expect the heroes to piss me off with their alpha-holeness, the rules of the MC aren’t going to jive with my real-life sentiments and my soft heart will be broken at times. The MC world is a place I know absolutely nothing about, so I want to be taken far outside of my reality. Many (not all) MC romance novels I’ve read have either become a trite rip-off of the TV show Sons of Anarchy or I felt the author failed at building the MC world in a way that made me REALLY believe that the MC members were true badass outlaws, not wanna-bes.
I fell in love with this series from the first book, Move the Sun. Lilli and Isaac Lunden will forever be my favorite romance couple of all time. (I won’t bore you be re-reviewing each book in this series here — they are all on the blog if you are interested.) Most times, if I’m loving a series and the books are published, I read them back to back. Not here…it took me a while to get through this series; a couple of years actually, despite the author releasing a new book every few months. After Book 6, Show the Fire, I needed a break. I had to go back to syrupy sweet reads to restore and rebuild my broken self before tackling Leave A Trail. That and admittedly, I wasn’t ready to see this series end because I’d grown to love these characters THAT much.
In Leave A Trail we have Badger and Adrienne whose romance started in Book 3, Into the Storm. Adrienne was a recent college grad, looking for her birth mother which leads her to Signal Bend, Missouri. Not because her adoptive parents didn’t give her a good life. Rather, she’s a little lost and looking for something to anchor her. Signal Bend is nothing like she’s experienced before. Badger is charged with showing her around and playing a bit of babysitter/bodyguard while Adrienne is in town. There’s an attraction brewing under the surface but Badger has been warned to leave Adrienne alone, so that’s what he does. Adrienne leaves Signal Bend and both go on with their lives while keeping in touch through Adrienne’s short visits to Signal Bend to see Shannon, texts, emails, etc for the next few years.
Adrienne has been traveling the world the last few years while Badger has been steeped in the MC life and all its glory. To say things have been vastly different for these two is an understatement. Adrienne comes back to Signal Bend, possibly for good as she’s ready to take the friendship she and Badger have built to the next level. Unfortunately, Badger isn’t the same sweet, young man anymore. He’s gone through hell and back a year ago at the hands of the cartel. He’s living with the constant reminder and pain of what was done to him and his MC brothers. Badger has cut off contact with Adrienne and when she sees him, he’s just not the same man she’s grown to love.
Leave a Trail, like the other stories in the series, has amazing character development that makes you feel every emotion Adrienne and Badger experience. The love story between Adrienne and Badger isn’t sweet; it’s gritty and raw and at times made me wonder why Adrienne doesn’t just pack her bags and go back to the comfortable life she’s lived. Because…love.
And Badger, for all the suffering he deals with, deep down he was still the sweet man that Adrienne fell for in the beginning. He tries to push her away, not because he doesn’t want her in his life, but doesn’t want to sully her with his and the MC’s troubles. I loved every moment of Adrienne and Badger’s journey as much, if not more, than some of the other leads because they persevered through seriously dark times to make it work in the end. Throughout we get updates and cameos from previous characters so we know everyone is okay…well as okay as they can be after all that has happened to the Night Horde throughout this series.
Then Ms. Fanetti gave us an epilogue to put all other epilogues to shame for Isaac and Lilli. God almighty, I love them so much!!
Seriously if you haven’t read the Signal Bend series yet, get on it! You won’t be disappointed with this gripping saga. I’ve added the spinoff series, The Night Horde SoCal series to my TBR list so look out for more from the next generation of Night Horde to come.