5 Second look at 'Under Locke' by Mariana Zapata
A Quick Summary
- Life has kicked Iris Taylor down…a few times. With few options she heads to live with her brother in Texas. Her new boss, Dex Locke is a motorcycle riding, tattooed ex-con with serious attitude. They don’t get along… at all.
- Tasked with keeping her safe while her brother goes on the road to look for their sleezy dad, Dex takes Iris to his place and tries to pretend there is nothing between them.
- When other MCs and even some mobsters come after Iris, she takes matters into her own hands and with the help of her few friends, finds her deadbeat dad. But not before some secrets are shared.
My Take on the Book :
A woman looking for a home finds one in a place she least expects. It’s a slow burn with plenty of fun characters, action and details that keep you interested along the way.
He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widow, 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.
“Babe, I’ve handpicked everythin’ and everyone in here. I know what I want and I get what I want,” he breathed. “And I keep what’s mine.”
My Review of 'Under Locke' by Mariana Zapata
Iris Taylor has never had anything close to an easy life. With a mother that died of cancer in her teens, she has had to take care of her family her entire life. Her little brother depended on her to pay the mountains of bills and she did the best she could. But life hasn’t gotten much better for her since her brother joined the Army and left. (Spoiler #1)
She just can’t seem to find what others take for granted all the time. A home. After her last job fired her, Iris travels from Florida to Texas to live with her older half brother Sunny and try and get on her feet again. After all it’s what she does. Looking at her you would never know all the things, this slim, quiet, meek woman has been through. She is also running out of options. With practially nothing in her bank account, she has a choice, take the job that her brother set up for her at a tattoo studio or waitress at a strip club.
Dex Locke is a broody biker with a record….and a temper. He takes one look at Iris Taylor and knows that she is the wrong girl for his shop. She wears cardigans and not only doesn’t have a tattoo, she looks like a sorority girl for god’s sake. And when he has a really bad couple of days when coincide with her first few days of working for him… well, its a recipe for disaster. And it is. Spoiler #2
It’s hard to call Iris and Dex’s first few interactions as “misunderstanding” because they just aren’t. Dex is rude, judgmental and insulting. He takes one look at Iris as she walks up to his tattoo shop and knows that she doesn’t fit with his crew, despite her being part of the Widow Maker MC family.
Her first few days of work are awful. He explains things at warp speed and only once. After that she is on her own. Although she likes the rest of talented crew of Pin and Needles Tattoo Shop, she knows that she needs to find another job. Fast. But the longer she stays and hears what Dex really thinks of her (Spoiler #2), it only gets worse for her. So, when her deadbeat dad that walked out on her and her family years and years shows up to ask for money from the MC and Dex is tasked with protecting Iris while Sunny tries to find him, it’s uncomfortable living with the man that as best puts up with her.
Mariana Zapata is a master at building a slow burn. This book is no different. We see the evolution of Dex and his feelings for Iris. We get to see Iris find her chosen family (even if she didn’t realize it all.) Inspired by the Sons of Anarchy, this book has just enough action to keep the story moving. This isn’t a dark book at all. An enjoyable read with minimal angst.
- Iris is hiding a secret, but not for the reasons you would think. She doesn’t want her new friends to pity her and see her as something. After her father ran out of on her family and her mother got cancer, Iris was diagnosed with cancer as well. While she was fighting to keep her family together she was undergoing surgery to cut out part of her bicep and fighting her own cancer battle.
- Going to the bathroom on her second day of work, she over hears Dex talking about her to one of his MC brothers:
“Even a fuckin’ idiot can figure out how to do it.”The tile floors carried the not-so-quiet conversation down the hall. I recognized the deep baritone voice as Dex’s and my stomach revolted.
There was a laugh. His.“I don’t give a shit if she’s hot. I’m not lookin’ to get my dick wet. I need to get shit done around the shop that I don’t like doin’,” he snickered.“How hard is it to find a reliable bitch to help out around here?”
I froze for a split second right there in the hallway. The words seeped into my pores, rejuvenating my blood cells and apparently my tear ducts as well.
He thought I was a fucking idiot? All because I asked him a simple question?
I wasn’t stupid. I knew that. Knew it without a doubt. I hadn’t gone to school any more because I couldn’t afford it, not because I wasn’t smart enough. And while I’d worked for a boss that was an asshole back at the cruise line, he wasn’t an unfair asshole. He was simply an overzealous, hardworking asshole.
He’d never upset me though, and here I was. Standing like a pathetic fool that wanted to cry.
“My rib cage clenched all of the organs and muscles within it. It pulsed, full of life and warmth and gummy bears and glitter. This was… I don’t know how to explain it—it was like Christmas morning when you were a kid. It was everything I’d wanted.
Each of his thumbs curved over the shells of my ears. “That’s my girl.”
After all the crap that I’d gone through today, there couldn’t have been three better words to hear.
Well, there were three other words I’d like to hear but I’d take these from him. That didn’t mean that he was the only one who knew how to give. He’d given enough. My bones and heart knew that there was nothing for me to fear. I loved him and sometimes there were consequences of it that were scary, but it—the emotion itself—wasn’t. I knew that now.
What kind of life was I living if I let my fears steer me? This was a gift I’d forgotten to appreciate lately. For so long I’d been happy to just be alive but now…now I had Dex. I had my entire life ahead of me, and I needed to quit being a wuss and grab life by the balls. In this case, I’d take his nipple piercings.
“What’cha thinkin’, Ritz?”
I held my hands out for him to see how badly they were shaking. “I’m thinking that I love you so much it scares me. See?”
Dex’s thumbs tipped my chin back so that I could look at his face—at his beautiful, scruffy face. “Baby.” He said my name like a purr that reached the vertebrae of my spine.
“And even though it really scares the living crap out of me, I love you, and I want you to know that. Everything you’ve done for me…” Oh hell. I had to let out a long gust of breath. “Thank you. You’re the best thing that ever yelled at me.”
He murmured my name again, low and smooth. The pads of his thumbs dug a little deeper into the soft tissue on the underside of my jaw. “If all the shit I do for you, and all the shit I’d be willin’ to do for you doesn’t tell you how deep you’ve snuck into me, honey, then I’ll tell you.”
He lowered his mouth right next to my ear, his teeth nipping at my lobe before he whispered, “Love you.”
The feeling that swamped me was indescribable.
He gave me hope. This big, ex-felon with a temper, reminded me of how strong I was, and then made me stronger on top of it.
“Dex,” I exhaled his name.
He nipped my ear again. “I love you, Ritz.” The scruff of his jaw scraped my own before he bit it gently. “Love your fuckin’ face, your that’s what she said jokes, your dorky ass high-fives and your arm, but I really fuckin’ love how much of a little shit you are. You got nuts bigger than your brother, baby.”
I choked out a laugh.
Dex tipped my head back even further, holding the weight on his long fingers as he bit the curve of my chin. “And those are gonna be my nuts, you little bad ass.”
Fire shot straight through my chest. “Yeah?” I panted.
“Yeah.” He nodded, biting my chin even harder. “I already told you I keep what’s mine.”