Is it possible for a motorcycle club (MC) president to be a cinnamon roll? If Cam had been born into any other life, he absolutely would be. Even the sharp edges he does have due to his position are there more for automatic defense than because he has any desire to be a villain. I loved that this book contained the raw elements of unapologetic violence that exist in the MC genre but that this particular club, led by Cam and the other officers of his generation, is fighting to improve their lives. Not to necessarily go fully legitimate, but open to breaking from discriminatory tradition and drawing a moral line in the sand regarding legal and illegal business practices. The external plot of this novel comes to an explosive conclusion from an arc over ten years in the making.
Events would have turned out drastically different if a random hookup hadn’t thrown Cam and Alexei on a collision course with each other’s worlds. Alexei doesn’t do repeats, but Cam draws him in against his best intentions (see above RE cinnamon roll). And it’s no wonder that Cam falls so hard for Alexei in return—the enigmatic Russian is basically the same person as Cam’s not-quite-unrequited love, Saint. This echoing isn’t Leigh being lazy with characterization, however. Saint and Alexei share similar attributes and outlooks on life and quickly bond with each other based on these elements and their shared dedication to Cam’s wellbeing.
A few parallel universes get to read the versions of this story where the love stories only exist between Cam and Saint, Cam and Alexei, and possibly even Saint and Alexei. Those would all be great books, too. We’re lucky enough to get the slightly messier but much more enjoyable and intricate dance that links all three men in this universe. This book ends on a solid “happily for now” between the characters and regarding the external drama of their MC. I’m already anxious to read the follow-up that will solidify everything, especially after the post-story teaser that shows a glimpse into Saint’s point-of-view. Questions remain regarding the stability of the Rebel Kings MC territory, and Alexei might still be a flight risk. I loved this book, and I already know from how much I enjoy Leigh’s writing and storytelling that the full duology will be epic.