Aubrey moves to a new town in a new state when things with her now-ex-boyfriend turn abusive. When she lays her eyes on sexy bartender and bad boy, Smith Beckett, she knows she’s in for trouble, and pleasure beyond her wildest dreams.
In SMITH (THE BECKETT BOYS) by Olivia Chase, readers meet Smith Beckett, the ornery oldest brother and owner of a bar called Outlaws, an establishment best known for its wild and rowdy ways. Left in charge of his two younger brothers after their father’s premature passing, Smith takes his responsibilities seriously, despite liking his other pursuits rough, dirty, and sexy. In Aubrey, he sees an innocent, someone he should stay away from. He certainly does not expect the little girl at the end of the bar to spark his darkest desires. But the chemistry between them is incendiary and immediate, more consuming than either of them expect.
SMITH is closer to novella length than novel, but the length works well for this new adult erotic romance story. Chase is a capable author with a seriously hot hero on her hands, and a heroine who is both feisty and sweet, challenging the stereotype that submissives are weak or bratty. The romance works because both Aubrey and Smith, for the most part, behave like adults. Smith is a damaged alpha bad boy looking for the right woman, and when he meets her, the chemistry between them is hot, hot, hot! There are good reasons behind the character’s actions and they have real, clear motivations.
Two points of weakness in this otherwise well put together story are the confrontation with Aubrey’s ex and the ending. While trying to avoid spoilers, the former felt rather anticlimactic after all the buildup for the ex-boyfriend as such a daunting antagonist. There’s an expectation that the ex will retaliate differently and when he is instead backed down like a playground bully, it’s less satisfying and more like the air getting let out of a balloon. The ending further deflates the balloon by slipping into a very traditional and stereotypical conclusion. It would have been nice to see something less expected and more unique to this couple and their kink.
That being said, SMITH is a very satisfying read and super-hot. Readers won’t be able to use a bar bathroom again without thinking of this story. It’s a great demo of D/s relationship that is mutual, consensual, passionate and loving. The characters aren’t stereotypes and don’t have stupid, immature hang-ups. While strongly grounded in formula, it stands strong in the genre.