Katiebabs is a self-proclaimed present day bluestocking with her head always in a book. She runs her own book blog called Babbling about Books and More!
I picked up The Tornado by Missy Blue (debut self-published author with absolutely no on-line presence anywhere) with some reservations because I was worried this would be another New Adult with a bad boy MMA fighter, walking STD douche canoe hero, and the oh so innocent Mary Sue heroine who is damaged by some over the top unspeakable trauma in her past. I’m happy to say that The Tornado proved me wrong. There are some familiar tropes that I usually roll my eyes at, but Missy Blue has a unique storytelling skill, especially with her characters. The reason The Tornado worked for me was because of the main couple. I adored Asher, aka “The Tornado”. He may be an intense, mega-brooding, “F bomb” dropping alpha hero, but underneath it all he’s a protective gentleman with great morals. He reminded me of the heroes from Nalini Singh’s Rock Kiss series, or Lori Foster’s SBC Fighters series.
Juliet, the heroine is a dancer who moved back to Pittsburgh after being attacked by a serial killer in NYC. She was the only survivor of that horrendous attack. She has severe anxiety problems she controls with medication, and is now fearful of men. But she’s a fighter and a true survivor. She works at her parents’ bakery, bartenders and teaches dancing at the YMCA to save money to buy her own dancing studio. She also has joined a boxing gym where it’s overrun with men. She goes there dressed as a man to punch a bag. Why she goes there instead of the YMCA that’s co-ed and more comfortable isn’t explained, but I think it has to do with her proving to herself that she can’t live in constant fear. The men there don’t have a high opinion of Juliet who they nickname “The Loner.” Even the owner of the gym, Asher thinks Loner is a strange kid, but he ignores him for the most part.
Asher has a small knit group of friends and is respected in his community because of his almost super star status as a champion MMA fighter. Asher is more of a salt of the earth type of guy. He’s not flashy or a showoff. He doesn’t sleep around or use his toughness to get what he wants. Asher is what some may call a caregiving alpha hero.
One day Loner is bullied by some jerks at the gym, and they find out Loner is a girl, which happens very early on in the story. Asher comes to Juliet’s rescue, aka Jewel. He treats her with extreme care because the way she acts and the signs shown, proves she has been through some hardships, much like PTSD of some sort. There’s something special about Jewel Asher likes and wants to protect. He wants Jewel to come back to his gym so he can teach her self-defense moves in the hopes she’ll trust him and become his friend.
Jewel is skittish with Asher, but he respects her space and takes his time with her. He doesn’t push her into accepting him or even dares to try to kiss or touch her. They develop a relationship that moves very slowly, which Asher does on purpose in order to get Jewel to trust him. Watching Asher with Jewel is sweet and tender. This is the type of man any father would love his daughter to be with. Jewel lowers her defenses with Asher, and he in turn is given something beautiful.
Jewel and Asher have a wonderful courtship, which builds into something more. The way Asher is with Jewel is patient and kind and overall sweet. And then Jewel decides to take what Asher is offering, and falls in deep. When she does, watch out because these two are intense and all consuming with their shared passion. Missy Blue can write combustible love scenes without actual intercourse. That comes later. Asher is a king of foreplay. He is an incredible giver.
The first half made me sigh. The second half was more about Asher winning a big MMA fight and some intentional soap opera (dum dum dum) drama to keep the story exciting, which I wasn’t too gung-ho about. Some may find it eye-rolling. But I did like the aspect with Jewel and her family, including her best friend Ruby. When Jewel tells Asher what happened to her in NYC, you may end up gasping and then crying because what she went through at the hands of a madmen is truly an unspeakable horror.
The main reason to read The Tornado is Asher. What an amazing, prince of a hero. He’s everything a romance hero should b,e and is one of my book boyfriends for 2015. I’m definitely interested in reading more from Missy Blue, especially if she keeps writing heroes like Asher.