Review originally posted here: http://thebookpushers.com/2012/08/08/review-hell-on-wheels-by-julie-ann-walker/
Romantic suspense with a bad boy biker? When I first saw this cover and blurb I knew that I would need to get my hands on a copy ASAP.
Nate has known Ali since she was a teenager, and been crushing on her for just as long. But since her older brother is his best friend, he always kept his distance. Now that her brother was killed in action and Ali has found herself in hot water, she turns to Nate to not only keep her safe, but to get her feelings out in the open – once and for all.
Ali isn’t sure why someone is following her and breaking into her house, but she does know that she can trust Nate to keep her safe. When the two of them treck across the country to try and find the reason behind her stalker, the two will have to dodge not only bullets, but their growing attraction as well. When they get closer and closer to discovering the truth, Ali and Nate will have to decide how they are going to move on, once the whole truth comes out.
I’ve always loved friends to lover stories, when you throw in a sexy biker or two and a few high stakes situations, I’m pretty much guaranteed to enjoy it. I have to say, I really liked the premise of this one. Although these guys are all ex-military, they are also contractors to the government which gives my brain a little leeway to allow for the biker chop shop front.
While I enjoyed Nate as a hero – he was strong and sexy and damn good at his job – there were times I wanted to smack him as well. his attraction to Ali was obvious and even though he kept her at an arms length because of her brother, he was (at times) a dick. It was easy to see he was flustered and put off by his ever present feelings, and instead of dealing with them, he treated Ali like crap at times. For some reason, that has always bugged the crap outta me when a hero has trouble dealing with his feelings and treating his heroine with the utmost respect at all times.
And while Ali was a great character as well, she also had a few moments when she annoyed me as well. I was glad to see that she wasn’t TOO much of a TSTL heroine. There were a few moments when she did seem to think highly of her skills, but in those moments she was able to back it up. But when the bullets went flying, she was a typical, normal heroine in that she was freaked and scared witless. I liked that vulnerability to her.
Their romance was one that built very slowly throughout the book. The sexual tension was off the charts from page one, but the journey to get from friends to so much more took them a long time. While Ali was ready to jump in both emotionally and sexually, Nate was the one who held so much of himself back. Once his big secret was revealed, it was easy to see why he was so hesitant, but I want him to be a little nicer to Ali when he would let her down or leave her hanging.
One of the greatest aspects of this book, for me, was the supporting cast of characters. I really enjoyed the other guys that we got to meet briefly, especially Frank and Becky. I’m anxious to read their book next and see where Walker takes them and their very rocky relationship. I’m also anxious to see what happens with the other guys, and where this series will go overtime.
All in all, I really enjoyed this debut from Walker. The characters were flawed and yet fun to read. The romance was filled with tension and built slowly over the book, which are fun reads for me every now and then. I can’t wait to see where we go next with this series, and to meet more of the team and guys on it.
I give Hell on Wheels a B