Monday, September 14, 2015

review || RIDE STEADY by Kristen Ashley

Forever | June 30, 2015 | Romantic Suspense
Chaos, book 3


The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

{ review } .

Every now and then you come across a book that's been out for a while, and after reading it (& it hits you hard), it leaves you wondering:

Where have I been?!

Where have I been all this time that Kristen Ashley has been writing (because it's so much more than CHAOS)? Why in the world did I wait so long to look into a book that many of my favorite authors were pushing to their readers? Why, oh why, when the book was waiting on my carousel to be read, did I wait so long to read it?!

Never again, Mignon... never again.

I have a few MC romances that I enjoy a lot but I have found that most are a bit more gritty than my liking. Not so with these CHAOS books. While yes, the Ride men have their short not-proper English, the underlying family unit, the love and acceptance amongst this group of people... I simply enjoyed it all.

From the superbly written prologue, to the happy, content end... I was sucked in and had no desire to come back out.

Generally I have a huge disliking for stories with secrets -- Joker keeps from Carissa that he knew her in high school and eventually it comes to a head and there's a pretty decent blow out from it... but I didn't mind this secret so much because of the past Joker had, this was his only safe-place, his only way to stay away from his past. Re-introducing himself to the one of the only bright spots of his past would be like re-opening a wound -- but by doing so, he finds himself searching out the other people who kept his younger years sane (Mrs. Heely? I loved that woman...).

"...Time for you to go all in, Joke. And time for you to stop accepting the dregs, reach for what you deserve, and take hold of butterflies." 

What I absolutely loved about Joker was the fact that although he had a terrible upbringing, he was an excellent man, a great significant other, and hands-down, an awesome father figure. He let Carissa fight her own battles, but he was the solid wall behind her, offering her the support she needed. I loved him most when he put his foot down and would push her past away, declaring when she had had enough. He was never overbearing or in the wrong; he was simply a huge supportive presence.

I felt that Kristen Ashley did such a great job with these two. Their interactions, their emotions, the dialogue... and the dialogue Joker had with baby Travis! My goodness, I truly loved that Ms. Ashley added Travis's babble and watching as his coo's became more. I was so focused on the relationship between Joker and Carissa, though, that it was easy to forget the whole territory expansion part; and while that is a huge part of this series, I was thrilled that the idea of the story more followed the relationship.

"Yeah, Carrie... It's you. It's always been you. It'll always be you. Fuckin' always." --Joker

The last time Carissa and Joker saw one another as teenagers, both wished the other a beautiful life -- it would take some years (and a flat tire), but eventually it would be the two of them who gave the other that life. 

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