The Blurb: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.
And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop.
… she should have chosen the strip club.
When I read the blurb, I at first thought “Widower” meant he had lost his wife! It turns out that was the name of the motorcycle club. I read one of the author’s other books The Wall of Winnipeg and really enjoyed it even though that one had been slow-developing. The hero in the Wall was short-tempered, bossy and a little obnoxious, but as the book went on and you got to know the character, he grew on you. The hero in Under Locke, Charles Dexter Locke, is much the same.
I don’t get the whole “doesn’t know how to tell time” thing in the blurb. Dex gripes at Iris a couple of times about being late for work, but she’s not. No explanation is ever given for that – perhaps it’s just to suggest he’s a bit of jerk. The story was slow-moving and the romance non-existent until past the halfway mark. The heroine spends most of the book annoyed with the hero because she overhears him call her a “f@$#ing idiot”. She eventually confronts him about it, and he apologizes and says he often says things he doesn’t mean. Does she let it drop? No. She confronts him about it on at least two or three other occasions and makes the poor guy apologize and beg her for forgiveness over and over again. I kept wishing she’d just drop it. It seemed childish and petty after awhile for a character that had faced so many horrible and more serious challenges in her life. To be that upset over a stupid comment she’d heard seemed silly, especially after he was already showing her that underneath the gruff exterior he was really a good guy.
The motorcycle club part of it wasn’t really at the forefront of the story. I’ve read other biker books that were more over the top, rough, wild and dangerous in nature. I liked that it wasn’t as huge of a factor in this book. Dex was a member, her brother was a member, and her father was an ex-member. The fact that he was a talented tattoo artist wasn’t really played up all that much either. He did the Accounting details for the MC club. I really liked the hero and her brother as well as the other tattoo artists. They were all good guys and took good care of Iris. She ends up having to move in with the hero when bad guys beat her brother up as a result of something the father did. The brother then goes off with another club member looking for the father.
It was a long book, but then hers usually are. Some of the slower or more repetitive bits could have been edited out. Her estranged father was the bad guy in the story, and it took a long time for him to get his comeuppance, but it was satisfying when it happened. I loved the interplay and romance between Ritz and Dex once it started to develop. I’d recommend this one. I just wished the pacing had been a bit faster.
Image and blurb from Goodreads