Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: June 1st 2015 (Australia)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen Australia
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher courtesy of Netgalley
Blurb:Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.
Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.
No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.
I am a huge fan of Katie McGarry's work and so it's always a good thing when I get to read one of her books. Nowhere But Here marks the start of a new series, separate from Pushing The Limits. It still takes place in Kentucky, and there is a tenuous link with the first series, but this one definitely stands alone.
Emily has met her biological father, Eli, but she doesn't know him well. She knows that he belongs to a bikie gang called the Reign of Terror, and that he chose them over her. She knows that she has to endure his yearly visits. She knows that she'd rather he disappear. So when an email arrives to say Eli's mother has died, she's not thrilled about heading to Kentucky for the wake. When a threat from a rival gang means she has to stay in Kentucky indefinitely while her parents return to Florida, she's horrified.
Oz can't wait to be patched into the club. Now that he's finished school it's only a matter of time before his probationary period can start and he can join the family security business. The club is everything to Oz - his home, his family, his future. So when Emily arrives and he's placed on baby sitting duty, he's not too pleased about it. This is his test, and messing up will mean losing everything.
When Emily and Oz meet, there is an instant physical attraction, but neither can stand the other. Emily doesn't want anything to do with Eli or the club, and wants nothing more than to return to Florida and resume the summer she had planned with her friends. Oz knows that Emily and her mother are traitors to the club, and hates her for it. Somewhat inevitably, being forced to spend so much time together leads to a thawing of feelings, and some pretty amazing chemistry develops.
When I first heard that this book was coming, I wasn't sure about it. The Motorcycle Club setting didn't really appeal, but I'm happy to admit that I was wrong. Emily gives voice to the concerns many people would have about the Club's way of life - the sexism in particular - and Oz exposes the positives that we might not otherwise see - family, camaraderie, loyalty.
The hate to love trope has been well explored, but the quality of Katie McGarry's writing means that it doesn't feel stale. It's comfortably familiar - we know that Oz and Emily will fall for each other, but we're desperate to see how it will happen, and what Eli will do when he finds out about it!
There are, as with all of Katie's books, moments of laughter and moments that will bring you to tears. I finished this book with a contented, if wistful, sigh. I can't wait for more, and hope that a certain character from PTL will appear somewhere along the line.