— Don’t talk to strangers. —
Zak. Tattoo artist. Independent. Doesn’t do relationships.
Stitch. Outlaw biker. Deep in the closet. Doesn’t share his property.
On the day of Stitch’s divorce, lust personified enters the biker bar he’s celebrating at. Tattooed all over, pierced, confident, and hot as hellfire, Zak is the bone Stitch has waited for life to throw him. All Stitch wants is a sniff, a taste, a lick. What follows instead is gluttony of the most carnal sort, and nothing will ever be the same. Forced to hide his new love affair from the whole world, Stitch juggles family, club life, and crime, but it’s only a matter of time until it becomes too hard.
Zak moves to Lake Valley in search of peace and quiet, but when he puts his hand into the jaws of a Hound of Valhalla, life gets all but simple. In order to be with Stitch, Zak’s biker wet dream, he has to crawl right back into the closet. As heated as the relationship is, the secrets, the hiding, the violence, jealousy, and conservative attitudes in the town rub Zak in all the wrong ways. When pretending he doesn’t know what his man does becomes impossible, Zak needs to decide if life with an outlaw biker is really what he wants.
Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
Gitte: This was our first time spent with the two Authors writing together as K.A Merikan. Also, it was our first M/M biker book. We’ve done sexy biker; fluffy glamourized biker and filthy ‘organised crime’ biker. But I have to say this is the first time we’ve come across ugly gritty biker with a conscience where we’ve actually hated one of the heroes through half the story. It wasn’t pretty nor was it anything like the typical biker books we’ve read. Was this a good thing or not? Well I’d say yes it was in some respects because it felt original and also no in some ways as it took some getting used to.
‘He lived in a culture where tough was the only currency. He didn’t even cry when he was alone. Being able to let it out made him just as relieved as having the amazing hot body on top of him. Made him remember he was still human, not a man whose muscles were made out of violence and bones out of fury.’ – Stitch
I think we hit about 50% before we truly inhaled every word and formed an emotional attachment to Stitch; our fucked up closet gay biker and Zak our sexy up front tattooist. At no stage did I feel like I wanted to stop reading but up until then it just wasn’t wow-ing me at all. Then, all of a sudden, it was as if the Authors hit their stride and the story of Stitch and Zak became very emotional and dramatically thrilling. I actually shed a few tears and my heart pounded in angst and worry. I would have LOVED an epilogue, I have to say. Once I actually got invested it seemed over so quickly and I was left feeling like I wanted more ‘afters’. Your thoughts pretty much matched mine didn’t they, Jenny?
Jenny: Absolutely Gitte. I agree with you wholeheartedly. Well, we didn’t have to think twice when we received a review request for this MM Biker book that’s for sure! While it did take a while to settle into the story, like you I never once considered putting it aside. I had to keep going and I’m glad I did because I did end up enjoying Road of No Return. It was definitely a grittier biker world that we’re used to and at first it was a little off putting but again, I settled into the scene and Stitch and Zak’s story took flight. And what a story it was. Wow! Talk about some things coming out of left field.
As you said, there was a time or two I welled up, times my heart was in my mouth and I believe there was one time I texted you with a WTF?? Didn’t see that coming! There were definitely an abundance of sex scenes in Stitch and Zak’s story and sometimes this can overwhelm the emotional and the guts of the story but I didn’t feel that was with Road of No Return. I felt the frustration leave Stitch when he could just ‘be’ around Zak and years of hiding who he was and how he felt were dispersed when he felt that passion and closeness to Zak.
“I want to be everything to you.”
An epilogue would have finished their story off perfectly and I’m kind of bummed there wasn’t one.
Gitte: I fell in love with Zak straight away. He was such a gorgeous man. He had a heart of gold, a great attitude and convictions. He was quite comical at times but incredibly sweet, sexy and straight up which came across believable and real.
“If you want us to be good, you can’t spy on me, or trash my stuff.” – Zak
Now, Stitch, well I thought he was a complete arsehole to begin with and I didn’t like him at all. He was rude, crude and abrasive – he was really a caveman in many respects. Then….I fell in love with his character, flaws and all. I started to understand this conflicted biker who just wanted a peaceful life being free to love whom he wanted. This wild aggressive beast of a man had a vulnerability that shone like a beacon when he was completely relaxed with Zak.
“I had a bad night. All I wanted was to come home to you.” – Stitch
In the end Stitch is who broke my heart and made me cry! He really got to us after rubbing us up the wrong way didn’t he, Jenny?!
Jenny: These guys were like night and day. I thought I was never going to warm to Stitch, Gitte. He definitely started off on my bad side when he’d be quite cruel to Zak. Who knew Stitch would end up being the vulnerable romantic? There were even times he could be very chessy! I wouldn’t have guessed I’d utter those words when I first met him. Gee I felt for him, for the lie of a life he had to lead and my heart raced in fear of his club finding out his secret!
“I was a perfectly miserable closeted guy, and then you just walking in and…and….”
Zak was such a beautiful man and if anyone could look after Stitch and see him through his conflicted emotions it was this guy. He gave Stitch the confidence to be who he wanted to be.
“You are not disgusting. You are a real man. You are beautiful. Don’t ever forget that.”
G&J: The Hounds of Valhalla are a fucked up and nasty homophobic lot of bikers. There’s nothing nice or redeeming about them. This story depicts the reality of what’s ugly, about having to make sacrifices for who you truly are and what you believe in. It’s a story of survival and following your heart in the face of conflict. It’s beautiful in its ugliness and has a few twists that we did not see coming. Whilst we struggled to begin with, we ended up falling in love with this atypical biker story and a passionate couple who defied what they believed they wanted only to follow their hearts.
**Reviewed off an ARC copy provided by the author**