Review of Laurent and the Beast (Kings of Hell MC, #1), by K.A. Merikan

I borrowed an audio copy of Laurent and the Beast (by K.A. Merikan) through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

1805. Laurent: Indentured servant. Desperate to escape a life that is falling apart. 
2017. Beast: Kings of Hell Motorcycle Club vice president. His fists do the talking.

Beast has been disfigured in a fire, but he’s covered his skin with tattoos to make sure no one mistakes his scars for weakness. The accident not only hurt his body, but damaged his soul and self-esteem, so he’s wrapped himself in a tight cocoon of violence and mayhem where no one can reach him.

Until one night, when he finds a young man covered in blood in their clubhouse. 

Sweet, innocent, and as beautiful as an angel fallen from heaven, Laurent pulls on all of Beast’s heartstrings. Laurent is so lost in the world around him, and is such a tangled mystery, that Beast can’t help but let the man claw his way into the stone that is Beast’s heart.

In 1805, Laurent has no family, no means, and his eyesight is failing. To escape a life of poverty, he uses his beauty, but that only backfires and leads him to a catastrophe that changes his life forever. He takes one step into the abyss and is transported to the future, ready to fight for a life worth living. 

What he doesn’t expect in his way is a brutal, gruff wall of tattooed muscle with a tender side that only Laurent is allowed to touch. And yet, if Laurent ever wants to earn his freedom, he might have to tear out the heart of the very man who took care of him when it mattered most.

Review:

Honestly, not bad. I generally enjoyed this, but several things held me back from loving it. First, I struggled with how naive Laurent was. That he would be confused by the future makes sense. But he also seemed naive in his own time and there was at least one point in the story where his naiveté seemed so extreme as to feel artificial to force the plot along. 

What’s more I struggled with him only being 19, to Beast’s 32. I understand that in 1805 19 wouldn’t have been very young. But the way he was constantly called ‘the boy’ and treated as a child, even during sex scenes squinked me out. 

Second, the lack of communication between the men, leading to misunderstandings annoyed me. This isn’t a rare plot device, but here some of them were too ridiculous to swallow. What was causing the problem was so very obvious that I couldn’t believe Beast didn’t see it.

Lastly, I didn’t feel like anyone outside of Laurent and Beast were given any depth. Everyone accepted time travel and demons with barely a raised eyebrow, and Merikan wasn’t whole successful in making the bikers both dangerous outlaws AND not bad guys. 

Despite all of that, I did mostly enjoy it and will likely pick up the next in the series at some point.

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