Wednesday, April 8, 2015

review + blitz || HARD RIDE part 1

Hard Ride #1 by Opal Carew

Publisher: St. Martin's Press (4/7/2015)
Series: Hard Ride, 1 of 3
Genre: MC, Romance
Source: NetGalley/Xpresso Book Tours
Purchase links || amazon | bn || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★★1/2

Liv never expected to find herself trapped in a dark alley facing a band of rough bikers. And she certainly never expected to see him again. Back in college when they dated, he was heir to his family’s business empire–and their fortune. She expected him to become a billionaire. Instead, he’s the heavily muscled, tattooed member of a rough biker gang…and just as sinfully sexy as ever.

When Shock sees Liv again, he’s ready to pay any price to have her in his bed and on his bike. Shock has his own scars to deal with, but he soon learns that Liv is in desperate need of financial help, though she won’t tell him why. So he offers her a sensual deal: his help for her complete submission. Can Liv entrust Shock with her secret…and how can she stop herself from falling for the hard rider?

about Opal Carew || Hi. I'm Opal Carew, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. I write erotic romance for St. Martin's Press and Samhain Publishing, and I self-publish stories. I also write romance as Amber Carew. So why do I like writing erotic romance? I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries. I like dealing with a female character who is growing and evolving - questioning her sexual boundaries and pushing past them. My stories usually include menage a trois. It is great fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing heroes... or more. These aren't women who just jump into bed with anyone. They find themselves in an unusual situation - something exciting and erotic - but a situation where they have to push themselves beyond their comfort level. As a result, they grow as a person. So often fear holds us back - of what others will think of us, of what we will think about ourselves - and we don't follow our hearts. These women push past that fear.

{ excerpt } .

Shock led her to a big Harley and handed her a black helmet.  She pulled it on and stared at the bike.

“Get on,” he said.

She frowned, unsure how to do it with a dress on.  Before she could pick her strategy, he encircled her waist with his big hands and lifted her onto the bike.  Her thighs were spread wide, hugging the black leather seat, and she quickly smoothed her skirt over herself, afraid he’d gotten a glimpse of her pink lace panties.  Her cheeks flushed and she realized she was being ridiculous.  They were both adults . . . and they were just panties.

Shock grabbed a black leather jacket and helmet and pulled them on, then mounted the bike in front of her.  He settled his big body between her legs, the warmth of him against her inner thighs sending her senses reeling.

“Put your arms around me.”


He glanced over his shoulder.  “You have to hold on to me.”

“Oh, right.  Sorry.”  She slid her arms around his waist, her hands resting lightly on the leather of his jacket as she tried not to actually make contact with him.

He pressed her hands tight against his stomach. The feel of his hard muscles under her fingertips, even through the warm leather, sent heat fluttering through her.

“You have to actually touch me to hold on.  You don’t want to fall off the bike and onto your ass, do you?”  He grinned.  “If that happened, then you’d be flashing those pink panties of yours to the world.”

Her cheeks flushed even hotter.

Then the engine started and the bike shot forward.  She sucked in a breath and tightened her hold on him, afraid her ass would land on the pavement.  When he turned onto another road, she rested her head against his back, clinging to him as the bike leaned to the side.

The feel of the supple leather against her cheek, the manly smell of it, filled her with longing.
As she clung to him, she wondered what had happened to him since she’d known him in college—whether his situation had changed or he was just defying his family. But there was no denying that he was earthier. And more rugged.

And at the same time totally intimidating with his badass clothes and his biker attitude.  Which, she admitted, was a big part of why she was filled with yearning.

She knew him, but she didn’t.  Which made him a mystery.

They left the downtown area and traveled along the quiet highway.  She lived on the outskirts in a low-rent building on the bus line.  She heard the sound of engines behind them.  She glanced back to see other bikers following them.  She noticed Shock glancing in his mirror, his expression drawn tight.

He turned on a side road and one of the bikes pulled up alongside them, then another pulled up on their other side.  She thought it might be Shock’s friends, but there were four in all.  Suddenly the bikes pulled ahead, and the two behind them pulled beside them.  The bikes slowed and swerved to the right.  Shock tried to pull away from them, but they surrounded the bike and forced him off the road.

“What the fuck are you doing?” Shock shouted as he stopped the bike.

But two of the men grabbed his arms and pulled him from the motorcycle, and she felt a third slide his arm around her waist and pull her roughly from the seat.

“So this guy is good enough for you, but not us?”

Her gaze shot to the owner of the voice.  It was Crow from the bar.  And she now recognized the others, who had pulled off their helmets, as the guys who had been with him at the bar.

It took all three of Crow’s men to restrain Shock as Crow grabbed her arm and pulled her off the side of the road.  Liv was terrified as he dragged her toward some trees.  The others dragged Shock along with them.

Her captor backed her against a tree and leered at her, his tight grasp on her arm biting into her flesh.  He grabbed the neckline of her dress and she gasped as he tore it open, revealing her pink lace bra, her breasts swelling from the top.

He pushed her shoulders back, forcing her against the rough tree bark, his dark, weasel-like eyes locked on the swell of her bosom.  His sour beer breath washing across her face, paired with her debilitating fear, sent her stomach into somersaults.

Suddenly, she heard a growl and a thud, then a heavy thump.  She glanced around just in time to see one man on the ground and Shock’s fist connecting with the jaw of the other one.  The third man rushed him from behind, but Shock turned and flipped him onto the grass.  With all three men on the ground, he kicked the first, who was starting to get up, in the ribs, then stormed in her direction.

“You get your fucking hands off her.”  Shock’s voice was intimidating and dangerous.

{ review } .
After starting this part, I realized that Steele was the main character in RIDING STEELE (go figure), so I went back and quickly read that book --

Note: You don't need to read the previous books/serials in order to start this serial. However, you do need to read each part of whichever serial you choose, in order.

While I won't be formally reviewing RIDING STEELE on the blog, the gist I can give you is this:

These books are about opening up to your fears and realizing the potential that you have. And with most erotica stories, these fears are around the sexual kind. Also, with most MC books, there's a lot of grit, a lot of sex, and a lot of sharing...

I don't necessarily agree with the whole, "I love you, I want your body, and if I tell you to share it with three other bikers, you do it" thing -- nope, I actually don't -- but it's the style of this particular genre so I deal with it.

That said, I enjoyed this part of the HARD RIDE serial simply because we don't get to the sharing aspect -- it's the learning part.

We have Liv -- she is a great sister who has done everything in her power to keep her sister's medical bills from piling up. She has sold her townhouse, her car; now she's frantically trying to find other ways to get money to keep the bills at bay while her sister is still inpatient.

She ends up at a biker bar, there to meet a guy named Carl (her ex? Her sister's ex?). He doesn't show, and a group of bikers harass her. On her way out, she (dumbly) takes an alley to find a cab, and ends up running into a savior -- and not just any savior, but a man she knew in college.

Shock has had quite the whirlwind of a life since he last saw Liv. Back then, he had money, a family business he was set to get a good part of, and a crush on Liv; Liv had a crush on Devin, as well, but a night gone wrong made her wary of men and she all but pushed him away.

Now Devin has erased that part of his life and goes by Shock. He's no longer the well-dressed, fancy Devin Liv knew, but a gruff biker -- and he reminds her that Dev is gone, stop calling him it.

I rather liked Shock's gruffness where Liv was concerned, however I felt he acted a bit too entitled to her. He decides to help her out, but in exchange he's going to get what he's always wanted from her, but with a few extra rules in place. Liv has a right to be apprehensive.

So, again, while I'm afraid I'm not going to like where this is going -- the whole 'sharing' thing -- I'm interested in what part two is going to bring us.

The last line of part one certainly has me begging for more.

{ giveaway } .

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