This is the 3rd book in BB’s Royal Bastards MC contribution to the Royal Bastards shared world. Her chapter is in NYC and is called the Rotten Apple. Southern Ballz takes place in Brooklyn, which is the only borough that isn’t part of the Rotten Apple chapter. That’s because it had recently been Malevolent MC territory, and Red Hook, the national prez for the Malevolent has ceeded it over to the RBMC. This is the story of Blitz, who is currently the acting prez for Brooklyn.
Blitz was a Malovent who was traded to the RBMC for FOCUS, who is now a Malevolent. Blitz was in the Marines with FOCUS and Bishop. He has PTSD. He’s done a lot to treat it, but he still is dealing with nightmares and being triggered. Blitz is usually OK now, but only because of all the work he’s put in and all the things he does to control it, like chew gum and make sure that no women spend the night with him. He has a routine that he follows. He wakes up, goes for a run, hits the weights, and then goes to the local VFW for a couple of drinks, and a chance to talk to Ronnie, the sweet waitress there.
Ronnie really looks forward to seeing Blitz when he comes in. She has a thing for him, but she doesn’t know that he has decided that she is too sweet and innocent for him, so he sees her strictly as a friend. That’s OK, Ronnie has a secret that Blitz doesn’t know. She has a rockstar secret identity. As Vixen, she is the bassist and lead singer for a band called Vixen’s Kiss. And they’ve just been booked to play a gig at the RBMC Brooklyn chapter’s open house. She has plans for Blitz.
On the night of the open house, Vixen’s Kiss keeps playing Ballroom Blitz until someone points that out to Blitz and he takes a look at the singer of the band and realizes that Vixen is Ronnie. And let’s just say that serious sparks start to fly.
I grew up with a former Marine who survived the Vietnam War, and one of his experiences is remarkably similar to one of Blitz’s. Dad had PTSD, but it wasn’t really accepted or treated back in the late 60s and 70s the way that it is now, not that the treatment is always all that great. PTSD in a loved one means that everyone is dealing with their PTSD too, and you can end up walking on tiptoe to keep everything calm and to avoid triggering people. It’s a vicious cycle, and what doesn’t trigger a person one day can turn into a massive trigger the next day. It isn’t easy for anyone. I can really feel for Blitz and Vixen and the situation that they are in.
I like Vixen/Ronnie a lot. She has a lot of guts and strength. I do think that she does jump to conclusions a lot, but I get why she does. And really, I’m not sure if conclusions is the right word, really, but she does jump off and does get angry because of certain things. And again, I get it, it’s easier to be mad than scared, and scared would’ve been an appropriate reaction sometimes. Not necessarily THE appropriate reaction but AN appropriate reaction.
I totally get Blitz too, and I have mad respect for him. He has done a lot of work to deal with this PTSD, and he is honorable within the framework of honor for his world. He is really trying to do the best for his guys and for the MC as a whole. That means interacting with a lot of people who don’t know him and may not trust him. Since he came up from GA, South Pole GA to be exact, to Brookly, he is a kinda stranger in a strange land. There is some resentment against him because FOCUS was so loved by everyone. Crucifix seems to be riding his back hard and it’s all really frustrating to Blitz, but that doesn’t mean that he’s going to stop doing everything he can to make his chapter successful and to show everyone he’s a good guy.
This one isn’t as dark as some of BB’s other stories. What darkness there is surrounds Blitz’s PTSD more than anything else. While there are some outside forces at work, I feel like the biggest driving force is handling the PTSD. And that might sound like I’m downplaying everything, but PTSD at the level of Blitz’s and in someone with Blitz’s training can be a hug deal. I think that BB does a really good job of showing the effects of PTSD on everyone involved. It isn’t glamourized, it isn’t downplayed. It is just shown in all its naked truth.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’m really looking forward to the next book. I’m hoping that we get a story about Tarot. Also? I’d love for Tarot and Barely to meet.
OK, that’s all for today. Go check it out. Happy reading!