Kristen Ashley writes the kind of romance so sweet, deep and hot, that it warms you, seeps down to your bones and takes root in your heart and soul. I loved this emotionally charged story about finding goodness in life and then giving it back.
Carissa Teodoro thought her dreams of marriage, kids, baking cookies in a house with a white picket fence had come true. Until she was hit with a sour dose of very unpleasant truth forcing her into the unfortunate situation of becoming a struggling single mother. Can a flat tire actually be a blessing in disguise? Does she know the stranger that’s stopped to help her?
Abandoned by his mother since before he can remember, Carson Steele dreamed of being free from the miserable, abusive life his father has submitted him to. As a teenage loner, feeling unloved and unlovable, his only escape was to sketch things that made him smile. That and revere Carissa from afar.
“Every girl in school could read the tortured brooding of the mysterious outsider who was Carson Steele right from his eyes. Every girl wanted to soothe his savaged soul. Every girl in school. Including me.”
He was finally able to escape and has now found a brotherhood where he belongs. A place where he can be free and ride hard. Carson “Joker” Steele is part of the Chaos Motorcycle Club doing what he loves, designing and building cars. But it’s no place for a girl like Carissa, and neither is her being with a man like him full of demons, no matter how irresistible she is. Will he leave her on her high pedestal or will he reach for her and find out just how much better his life can get?
“Good stuff for you out there, Carson. Good stuff… A good life. A beautiful life. You’ll get it. I know it. Because you deserve it.” ~Carissa to Carson
I have read a number of Kristen Ashley books and have learned that she’s an author I have the complete faith will write wonderful stories that will bring all the right feels to the forefront. Even since before opening this book I knew I would absolutely love it. Now that I’ve finished it, highlights on almost every page and a huge book hangover are a testament of it.
I panted, still not in control of my breathing. “If that’s the official going steady ceremony, tomorrow I’m expecting a promise ring. But warning, I’m breaking up with you tomorrow so we can make up and decide to go steady again.”
I loved both Joker and Carissa individually and as a couple. Even when it took a while for Carissa to recognize Joker/Carson, and for him to accept that the two of them together would be great, their attraction and connection was strong and almost palpable from the start.
Once they finally give into each other they are terrific together. Even when outwardly they seem complete opposites and from different worlds, they fit perfectly. I adored how they communicated and sought to make their relationship better, valuing what they already had. Because both had had trying times, but they both overcame them and fought to get to a better place and once there, they got beauty and easy happiness beyond their dreams.
“Jesus, you do it for me.”
“I do… what for you?”
“Everything.”~ Joker and Carissa
Carissa was incredibly charming and kind. Her son came first and she would do just about anything to keep him. She was also sweet, thoughtful, incredibly grateful and loving and could stand up to a tough, manly man, biker.
Even though there were people in Carson’s young life who cared about him like his teacher and neighbors, the cruelty he suffered in his early life broke my heart. But he put it back together and then stole it. It wasn’t just his incredibly sexy alpha maleness, it was how without delay he sought to help and protect Carissa and her son, how he defended them and stood by them, and then how he loved them. All this without being overbearing. I completely fell for him when he realized he came to be in a position where he could give back the goodness.
“The good he got from the people who cared about him set him up to return it, maybe no to them, but to people who deserved it. And that was what it was all about. The meaning of life.”
The pacing, in my opinion, was perfect. I was absorbed with everything that happened, from the mundane to the funny, to the scorching hot sexy moments, to the sweet and tender ones that warmed my heart and made me sigh.
“I think I might be falling in love with you.”
“Then quit thinkin’, Carrie, because I know I’m fallin’ for you.”
Kristen Ashley has a very unique writing style. I’m almost certain I could identify it just by reading a paragraph or two. She writes with depth and the emotions she transmits are almost tangible. If I could only choose one word to describe her stories it would be gorgeous. I can’t wait for more.
“No matter what happens, I will never, not ever, not f*ckin’ ever, Carissa, regrest ridin’ down that shoulder to help you and your boy. It’s the best decision I ever made in my life, and I know that in a way I know I’ll feel that until the day I f*ckin’ die.”
There are many other reasons to fall in love with this book, among them are all the cameos of epic proportions of the incredible characters from past books. Since this is a Chaos book, there’s Tabby, Shy, Hop, Lanie, the loveable Bit Petey and the rest of the brothers who stood by firm and strong behind them. There’s also Elvira who has found a place in this series as well. Tack and Tyra from the Dream Man series also appear, and so do Hawk, Brock, Lee Nightingale, I can go on. They all add their special part to the story making it richer.
Book Facts: Ride Steady is book #3 in the Chaos series by Kristen Ashley. It’s written from several points of view so you can fully connect with the characters. It can be read as a standalone, although it’s easier to understand the dynamics between the supporting and interconnecting characters and not get spoiled if you read the Dream Man series and then the previous books in this series in order. The story has a happy ending and no cliffhanger.
* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *