Overall Grade: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The first book by T.M. Frazier I ever read was Nine. Yep, that’s right. I hadn’t read any of the King series books prior to being dropped into Nine’s story. It was there that I encountered my favorite type of hero: the anti-hero. From King to Bear to Preppy, I found myself intrigued by Frazier’s ability to craft heroes who were seriously flawed within the context of society, but who had strong codes of honor. The second series of Frazier’s that I read was the Perversion Trilogy which offered that same construction of character: a flawed, deviant anti-hero, a heroine whose pure essence redeems the hero, and a story that shows the worst of society as a way to show the power of redemption through love. Even in moments when the story is painful, Frazier shows us that love will carry us through it.
With her latest offering, Pike, the first book in a duet, Frazier takes us back to the place we love to hate: Logan’s Beach. At the beginning of this year, I finally jumped onto the King series ship. I knew King of the Causeway was coming, and I wanted to better understand the story of Nine, so I started reading. And this reader binged the series. Hardcore. I put off teaching and reading ARCs because Frazier’s Logan’s Beach compelled me further into its darkness. I loved every moment of it. When she announced Pike’s book, you can bet that I signed up quickly to read and review it (and hopefully, it’s second book, Pawn). Pike intrigued me in Nine. There is something compassionate and soft behind his hard exterior, making him like the other heroes in the King series: enigmatic. And this is Frazier’s superpower. This is the reason that readers adore Frazier. She is writing romance that seems so wrong at times that it is wonderfully right.
Pike is no different from his King series predecessors. Like her other anti-heroes, Pike’s past has influenced his present; Nine and the other men are his family in the absence of his own biological family; there is an outside influence seeking to destroy his life in ways that are dangerous and predatory; and a woman enters his life and threatens to challenge everything he believes about love and relationships. As Mickey enters Pike’s life, it’s clear that his rejection of love will change, and his sole purpose will move away from his criminal activities to protecting and living for her.
As I was reading Pike (trust me when I say this: I picked this up one afternoon and finished it before I went to bed. It is an absolute page-turner), I marveled at Frazier’s skill in writing. Why is Pike, along with her other books, so interesting to read? One word: chemistry. Frazier has this super ability to craft chemistry. People might say “well so what? Other romance readers do that.” That is true to a degree. Frazier’s superpower allows her to take a hero, a male who, quite frankly, would be unloveable to most because they are criminals and builds an instantaneous attraction to a heroine, that you turn the page until they finally consummate it. Frazier makes us wait for it in Pike. For much of the story, Pike and Mickey fight. They challenge each other; they push back against each other; and Mickey remains resilient in the face of Pike’s abuse/retribution. And it becomes their foreplay. Frazier creates an attraction so palpable that you feel it as you read each page. As the reader, you cheer for them, waiting for the moment when the distinct connection between the two explodes and they can’t deny themselves any further. It’s at that point that Frazier offers us her secondary superpower: the craftsmanship of a possessiveness in the hero that changes his life’s direction. After bingeing her King series and reading Pike, I realized this is Frazier’s genius, and her readers are the better for it.
Along with this dexterity, Frazier offers up heroines who are as broken as their heroes. This means her heroines and heroes complete each other, each being a piece of the puzzle of the other’s soul. This makes it easy for us to accept the world of Logan’s Beach because the love between her hero and heroine ameliorates this world. We can accept it in her current romance, Pike, because Pike and Mickey, while not together in this book, will eventually find their happy ending (hopefully!). When that happens, all will be right again in Logan’s Beach. Mickey as the heroine is resilient, intelligent, and incredibly capable, and I am waiting anxiously for more of her story in Pawn.
If you are a fan of T.M Frazier’s King series, then Pike and Pawn MUST be in your Kindle Library. It is exactly what you love about Frazier’s writing because it is more of Logan Beach and its criminal characters. Frazier left me, as she does so well, on a major cliffhanger, and May can’t come fast enough with the conclusion to the powerful story she has told in Pike.
In love and romance,