October 4, 2016 by Evelyn Summers
It’s one thing knowing your ex-boyfriend is a bit of a player, but it’s another thing altogether to find out he’s pimping himself out to anyone who’ll pay good money for it.
Not just himself, either. That would be far too regular for Darren Trent.
Darren Trent – my teenage sweetheart and father to my two young girls – is not just whoring himself out. Oh no. Darren Trent pimps himself out alongside four of his mechanic friends – all of them at the same time.
Five hot, sweaty mechanics at your service.
They call themselves the Bang Gang… you can imagine.
In a village our size I should keep my head down and hope the scandal blows over before the girls or my poor old Nanna catch wind of it.
Only it’s not blowing over. Far from it. It seems every woman in the village wants themselves a five-mechanic sandwich.
They make no qualms about it, either. Just rock on up to my café counter and ask how they can book themselves in for a Bang Gang special. Like I would know.
I definitely wouldn’t know. I hardly even know Darren Trent anymore. We split up a lifetime ago.
I definitely don’t think about him late at night. Don’t think about five mechanics and me as much as every other woman in this village.
And even if I did, I wouldn’t act on it. I wouldn’t draw the money from my savings account and have a go for myself.
And even if I did that. I definitely, definitely wouldn’t fall for him. Not again. Not after everything we went through. Not after splitting up the first time nearly brought me to my knees.
Not after settling into a decent routine, the girls and me, with no drama, no heartbreak, no crazy passions to rock the calm little boat we’re sailing on.
I mean, who would be stupid enough to risk all that over a hot, sweaty, oily bit of rough like Darren Trent?
I want to start this review by saying that it took me a while to decide whether to rate this as a three or four star read. I went with three in the end, for reasons I will explain – despite having immensely enjoyed reading it.
I’d loved Jodie Symmonds when she’d forgotten how to love herself. I thought I’d loved her enough for both of us. But no. Life fucking sucks like that.
During the first half of the book, I was emotionally invested in the lives of these characters. I am deeply in love with Darren Trent (I appear to have a thing for the quiet, manly types who don’t quite understand how to be expressive), and I thought Jo was fabulous, too. I loved the fact that this book dealt with slightly older characters, with children – both of whom were deliciously developed, too.
I really, really enjoyed the slow burn, the details about their everyday lives, separate from one another, mixed with the gorgeous chemistry West is so brilliant at conveying through the pages. I loved how realistic their lives and characters were at this stage, and I was absolutely desperate for them to work it out – I’m a total sucker for a second-chance romance, and this was no different. And at this stage, I wassure this would be either a four or five star read.
Hard to feel lucky when you’re seeing your forever every fucking day as you hand your girls over and knowing you fucking blew it.
The second half, however, was a little disappointing for me. West’s trademark filthy sex scenes were massively toned down – and although I understand that she wanted the focus to be more on the romance, this is, in my opinion, the aspect of her writing that I actually enjoy the most. Yes, there were some erotic scenes, but there was nothing particularly special about them. And I missed that. I’d have like to have seen this deep, emotional love story with more filth, even if it isn’t quite to the same extent as, say, the Dirty Bad series.
Similarly, I found that there was quite a lot of forced angst here. From Mia’s issues at the Rally, to batshit crazy Lorraine’s ridiculous manipulation and one-dimensional development. It all felt very melodramatic and frustrating, and this is, unfortunately, where it lost the beautiful realism for me.
Five men. I’d be having the Bang Gang special.
A second-chance story to get invested in, Bang Gang is, no doubt, a good read from West. I just wish the second half had matched the excitement the first half had given me.