As Vice President of the Riot MC Biloxi Chapter, Brute lives for his motorcycle club. Meeting Kenzie Whitehall challenges his dedication to his carefree lifestyle. Everything about her appeals to him, but he knows she’s looking for commitment. She’s forced to tell him she’s a single mom which should send Brute packing, but he can’t stay away. Meanwhile, Brute has a homicide detective breathing down his neck. The officer believes Brute has answers in an unsolved murder, and he isn’t above playing Kenzie against Brute to solve the case. When Kenzie’s ex-husband finds out she’s dating a biker, he threatens to drag her back to court regarding custody and child support payments. Kenzie refuses to give up her shot at happiness with Brute to appease her ex-husband. Even though he’s falling fast for Kenzie, Brute knows walking away from her is the best thing for her and her daughter. Leaving should be easy. But with three hearts on the line, will Brute find the strength to fight for love?
Brute & Kenzie
This is book 2 in Karen Renee’s Riot MC Biloxi series. There’s an event from Harm’s Way (book 1) that is the impetus for a bulk of the storyline here. While this stands on it’s own in terms of Brute & Kenzie’s relationship, I think it’s best enjoyed having read book 1 first. This review will contain spoilers to that book as well.
Brute & Kenzie meet by chance at a bar after she’s stood up for a date. There’s definitely instant attraction and I enjoyed Brute’s no-nonsense “wooing” of her. I love single parent romance, especially when the love interest falls just as hard for the kid(s) as the parent. Renee delivered on that here and for making Aubrey a consistent part of the story. Kenzie rightfully gets to know Brute better before introducing Aubrey, but it’s adorable when it finally happens. I also love the way the rest of Brute’s family embraces Kenzie & Aubrey.
There’s a little angst from Kenzie’s ex, but the big drama comes from the aftermath of Wreck’s disappearance. Police and Wreck’s family are convinced Riot MC, and specifically Brute, are involved. It creates problems not only for the club, but also for Brute & Kenzie’s burgeoning relationship. I enjoyed the way Renee weaved all these storylines together. It kept the pacing engaging and offered a bit of a romantic suspense element.
The resolution was good, but I could see how it could still be a theme in future books. Mostly I loved Brute, Kenzie, & Aubrey’s HEA. The epilogue was perfect.
Paige Reisenfeld and Christian Leatherman were solid again. I like their voices for the all the characters – as well as the emotions and drama. Engaging listen.
A great cast of characters…
Story: 4.5 ⭐️s
Narration: 4 ⭐️s
This second installment of Karen Renee’s Riot MC Biloxi was just really enjoyable. I listened on a long car ride and the story just made the miles and hours fly. There were some leftover story elements from Har’s story because of Brute’s actions in that book, so it may be a good idea to read book 1 before, but you can still get by without it. The conflict carrying over provides some good tension in this story.
I have to say, I really like K.R.’s heroines so far; though I’ve only read two, both have been written in a way that made me invested in their journeys. Kenzie was able to hold her own against all the crap that got throw at her; despite her ex-husband’s douchery, to a trigger-happy whack-job, and a misguided/meddling police detective, she was all in with Brute and wouldn’t let anyone dictate her choices. And even though getting involved with Sam/Brute inadvertently brought danger into her life, she didn’t let that hinder the connection they shared from their first meeting. (She and Sam had a pretty great meet cute.) I liked how the MCs stood by each other despite all the craziness and that there wasn’t the cliched third act noble sacrifice breakup; such a refreshing change.
As in the previous book, I once again enjoyed the connections between the main and secondary characters. The scenes between the h and H and their families were wonderful. I really enjoyed Kenzie’s interactions with her mom, Lydia, and Aubrey, but the moments between Sam and his dad are some of my favorites. I just adore Sam Sr. - Gina is a lucky lady! And the scenes between the MC brothers continue to set up the club dynamics so well. As in the previous book, the way they show up here makes me want to hear their stories, and I can’t wait to see what’s going on with Roman!
Paige Reisenfeld and Christian Leatherman return to narrate, and their performances were as good as the first time around. While it might have been cool to have two different narrators for these two new characters, they did somewhat differentiate Sam and Kenzie from Har and Stephanie. And their performances did add to my listening experience. They’ve definitely hit a stride and having been in the world before can bring another layer to it.
Overall, this is definitely a listen for the ‘recommend’ pile, especially if you enjoy a ride or die couple and great family/found family dynamics.
I received an ALC copy of the audiobook via Home Cooked Books. All opinions are my own.
Loving this series
Sweet motorcycle gang – oops, sorry – motorcycle club members? Who would have thought? But they are. Maybe they are not always politically correct with their terms of endearment, frankness and approaches to women, but they are thoughtful, caring, and protective. I was so happy to receive an audio ALC of Brute’s Strength, the second book in Karen Renee’s Riot MC Biloxi series. Paige Reisenfeld & Christian Leatherman are back to narrate, and they are just perfect. Perfect pacing, tone, emotion. Accents that sometimes make you think you are listening to The Beverly Hillbillies or Ozark, but then slide right into intense, smoky, slow and sexy as all get out. Lots of motorcycle club action, rough, raw situations but also lives, loves, families beyond just what they have with the club.
In Harm’s Way, the first book in the series, I thought Brute was – well, brutish. Big, tough, gruff, man of few words, total biker dude. Soft spot maybe for his ex-stepsisters, but not very nuanced. Well, happy to say I was totally wrong. T-O-T-A-L-L-Y. Yes, still big and tough, but what a sweetie. A big guy with a big heart. Many layers, loving and protective of his family, runs a successful business. Not to mention smokin’ hot.
Kenzie has reluctantly joined a dating app, more to get her mother and boss off her back than in hopes of finding a new husband. She had one and was lucky to get rid of him. She’s satisfied with her single mom life for now. Until she meets Brute. Unlike any other man she’s ever met. And she’s unlike any woman he’s ever met. Not only sparks of desire shooting between them but sometimes sparks fly when they disagree.
Good guy, sweetie, softie aside, motorcycle business can still be rough and Brute has done some bad stuff. Dangerous stuff that has the cops harassing him and has Kenzie drawn into it. Their connection is strong and just keeps getting stronger, but can he endanger her and her daughter. Is the right thing to walk away? But is that one thing this tough guy just can’t handle?
To say I’m amazed at how romance is woven into this series sounds a bit insulting, so I’ll say I’m pleased, very pleased, at how expertly author Karen Renee blends the tough with the touching. The issues the club members face are serious and the things some of them have done are dark. Most readers probably can’t relate and can only experience it through author Renee’s words. But we can absolutely relate to the humanity she brings to these guys, with their caring and protectiveness, their flip sides.
Brute’s Strength was an amazing listen, maybe even a little better than Harm’s Way, which I loved. I can’t wait for the next story in the series to see if it’s as exciting, edgy – and romantic. And check out those covers: didn’t I tell you Brute was easy on the eyes?? I received a free copy of Brute’s Strength from Home Cooked Books. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.