Book Review: Smoke and Steel by Kristen Ashley

My first read of the year was a winner! Thank you Kristen Ashley for creating such amazing stories for me to get lost in. Smoke and Steel was a seriously fantastic redemption story! 

Book Review: Smoke and Steel by Kristen Ashley
Smoke and Steel (Wild West MC #2) by Kristen Ashley

She wasn’t a white dress type of girl…

Hellen Moynihan didn’t have dreams. She had goals. She knew who she was and what she wanted. She also knew what she didn’t. So when her long-term boyfriend didn’t make the grade, she moved on. And when her best friend’s boyfriend showed signs of being a scam artist, Hellen was on the case.

And he wasn’t a white hat type of guy…

Dustin “Hardcore” Cutler didn’t have dreams or goals. A troubled past led Core to do something irredeemable. The only thing he and the men of the Resurrection MC could do was vow to live their lives making up for an unforgivable act.

And they did.

This duty leads Core to being a part of a covert protection detail, looking after Hellen Moynihan when trouble is coming to town.

At first, Core finds this dynamo of a woman intriguing, but he’s decided she’s off-limits.

Then Hellen and her friend wade into a multi-state swindling scheme.

Suddenly, off-limits for Core is out the window.

He’s got no choice but to get up close and personal.

5 out of 5 stars

Smoke and Steel was an excellent read! To say I had a lot of feelings is an understatement but I loved the emotional rollercoaster I was on. It was a seriously fantastic redemption story!

Hellen was such a strong character and I loved how hardworking and dedicated she was. I loved that she knew her self-worth and that she wouldn’t let a man disrespect her or make her feel like some things should just be accepted. I couldn’t get enough of Core. He was sweet and flirty and he and Hellen had a lot of fun scenes together. I loved that spark between them and their undeniable chemistry and how it ignited into so much heat. And this baby had some serious steam!

I liked learning about Core, his traumatizing past, and his personal journey of finding redemption and the build to Hellen finding out about his past choices and how they moved on from there. It was emotional and filled with so much pain, it felt like a slow burn to this intense, poignant moment. I loved the overall growth and healing that happened and the moments when you can see Core being a good man, the man Hellen needed him to be. I loved the epilogue, the meaning behind it, and the statement it made. 

I am a huge Kristen Ashley fan and I really like how this series has been set up, each story focusing on a different MC, but how their worlds are still connected and intertwined. I like how the characters have been brought to life, all the different bonds that have been formed, the found families and friendships, and how they all tie together. I also really liked learning about the new path Redemption is on and how the brothers are there for one another.

This story was filled with emotion, heat, passion, and love. It’s pretty low-key in the drama department and I was all about that since I was caught up in Core and Hellen getting to their HEA. There are some serious subjects involved but I like how KA had the characters move on and heal, change, and grow from them. I thought it was incredibly well done. Loved it!

Book Review: Smoke and Steel by Kristen Ashley | About That Story
"Emotional story filled with redemption, passion, and love!" - About That Story

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The Wild West MC Series
Still Standing (#1) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Book of 2021
Smoke and Steel (#2) - Amazon


Mystery Man Wild Man Law Man Motorcycle Man

The Dream Man Series
Mystery Man (#1) – Amazon | My Review
Wild Man (#2) - Amazon | My Review
Law Man (#3) – Amazon | My Review
Motorcycle Man (#4) - Amazon | My Review
Quiet Man (Dream Team #0.5/Dream Man #4.5) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2019

The Dream Team Series
Quiet Man (Dream Team #0.5/Dream Man #4.5) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2019
Dream Maker (#1) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2020
Dream Chaser (#2) Amazon | My Review
Dream Spinner (#3) - Amazon | My Review
Dream Keeper (#4) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Book of 2021

The Chaos Series
Own the Wind (#1) - Amazon | My Review
Fire Inside (#2) - Amazon | My Review
Ride Steady (#3) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2015
Walk Through Fire (#4) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2015
Rough Ride (#4.5) - Amazon | My Review
Wild Like the Wind (#5) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2018
Free (#6) - Amazon | My Review | Favorite Read of 2020
Wild Fire (#6.5) - Amazon | My Review
Wild Wind (#6.6) - Amazon | My Review

River Rain Series
After the Climb (#1) - Amazon
Chasing Serenity (#2) - Amazon
Taking the Leap (#3) - Amazon
Making the Match (#4) - Amazon
Fighting the Pull (#5) - Amazon | Releases: September 12, 2023

Misted Pines Series
Girl in the Mist (#1) - Amazon
The Girl in the Woods (#2) - Amazon | Releases March 21, 2023

What was your first read of 2023? Let me know!