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Blog Tour and Giveaways: Ride Steady: Kristen Ashley

Ride Steady (Chaos #3)
Kristen Ashley
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Expected June 30, 2015

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 . . .
“What now?” he clipped, planting his hands on his hips. 

I watched him do this.

His knuckles were all scabbed. But his fingers were long, not graceful, but handsome. They were a working man’s hands. They’d be rough. I could even see grease stains around the nail beds.

Something about that caused something to happen inside me.

My focus shifted from his hands to his crotch. His jeans were faded. The area around his crotch more faded.

Up I went to a black belt with silver rivets in it that had seen some wear, the length beyond the clasp dangling from a belt loop to the side in a supple way, the leather not close to stiff.

Up his flat belly to his wide chest and broad shoulders and bulging arms.

And up to his long black hair that looked thick, messy, had a lot of wave and brushed his shoulders. His beard wasn’t bushy, it was trimmed, but it was about two days away from being unkempt.

He was tall.

He was annoyed.

I felt the latter because he was the kind of man whose mood altered a room and I understood this because I was right then experiencing it. But I also knew it wasn’t just that or that we were the only ones in the room and having the conversation that was making him annoyed so of course I’d be feeling it.

It was him. He had that kind of power behind his personality.

I shifted my eyes to his.

Steel. A strange flat color that seemed impenetrable.

And suddenly I had a new dream. One that didn’t involve motherhood, cookies, doing laundry, and being a soccer mom.

One that centered around penetrating the impenetrable.

“So? What?” he prompted irately.

At his words, I flew across the room.

He had the chance to go back on a boot but that was all he had before my body slammed into his, my hands went to either side of his head and I lifted up on tiptoe as I yanked him down.

Then I pressed my lips hard against his.

A breath later, something strange happened.

Strange and wondrous.

His arms closed around me, and if I could think of anything, I’d worry about the state of my ribs.

But I couldn’t think of anything because his tongue spiked into my mouth and my world changed.

My entire world.

I didn’t have a dead sister.

I didn’t have a dead mother.

I didn’t have a lonely father looking after his mother, who was addled with Alzheimer’s disease.

I didn’t have an ex‑husband, who I once loved who I thought would cherish and protect me and help me build my dream, but now was making my life a misery and trying to take my son away from me.

I had this.

All of it. All the biker named Joker gave me by holding me so tight it was a pain that hurt so good and who was invading my mouth with his tongue in a way that stated clearly he could do it for a lifetime and never get enough.

My hands left his head so I could curve my arms around his shoulders as I pressed closer.

In return, one of his hands slid up my spine. He pulled out my ponytail holder and drove his fingers into my hair, cupping the back of my head, tilting it one way while he slanted his the other. He deepened the kiss in an intoxicating way while his other hand glided down and cupped one cheek of my behind.

That felt good.

He shuffled me back.

I went with him.

We kept kissing.

Then he turned quickly and we were falling.

Then he turned quickly and we were falling.

He landed on his back on the bed. I landed on him but barely had the opportunity to experience the dizzying beauty of the long length of his hard frame under mine before I was given more beauty when he rolled me and I had the weight of his hard frame pressing mine into the bed.

His hand left my bottom and went up, fingers yanking at my navy LeLane’s polo shirt, pulling it from my khakis, and then I had its heat, skin against skin.

I was right.

His hands were rough.


Kristen Ashley's Dream Man and Chaos series are some of my fave reads with hot alpha males and strong heroines. I got sucked right into this newest Chaos book with likable, interesting new characters and lots of old friends.

This begins with Carson Steele, a boy from the wrong side of the tracks suffering through a traumatic life. And Carissa Teodora, a popular cheerleader who managed to keep a positive outlook despite her own tragedies. They had a connection that was never fully realized but still had an impact, and then went their separate ways.

Seven years later Carson Steele is finally realizing one of his dreams by becoming a member of the Chaos MC club. His club name is Joker, but he is not a happy man. He's got scars and secrets. He is closed off, rarely smiles, feels darkness within him, and does not get attached. He is held hostage by his own demons and feelings of unworthiness.

Despite her positive hopes for her future, Carissa's life did not turn out as she had hoped. She is now a single mother on her own and and has a lot to deal with. When rescued by a burly, bearded biker she has no idea how her life was about to change, but all of a sudden she has Joker and Chaos at her back. But even though Carissa has fallen on hard times, he still feels she is too good for him. He struggles between what he has always wanted and what he thinks he deserves versus what she deserves. But Carissa is pretty persistent in her pursuit of the moody biker and does not let him off the hook easily.

And once Joker decides he needs her in his life and they start to find their way, he goes all in and wants to be her champion. They have some challenges to face that could either push them together or pull them apart. They have some nemeses in their lives, but are seeing more and more that there are good people around them too. But Joker is keeping one big secret from her that he is not sure how she will handle.

Joker easily wormed his way into my heart and I loved him with Carissa. Their shared history, their support, their protectiveness of each other. They had a good rapport, connection and chemistry. She was a bit goofy and awkward, but also had an inner strength too. She was protective of those she loved and worked hard to take care of herself and her son. He was rough around the edges, totally alpha, and strong, but also caring and sensitive. Her infant son Travis was a scene stealer and seeing Carson with him just melted my heart.

I was thrilled to see so many familiar faces from other books...of course the Chaos group Tack, Tyra, Shy, Tabby, Hop, Lanie, High, and Rush, but also more of the bad a** brigade from the other series. Each time a new one would show up I might have squeeeeed out loud! There were a couple of scenes with multiple bad a**es together that totally made me smile and want to fist pump. And gotta love that the outspoken Elvira often finds herself in the middle of other people's personal lives. She always cracks me up. I love the support that all of these bad a**es and their women have for another. And it is fun to see additions to the crew with the ever growing families. I really enjoyed the new side characters that came along with Carson...Mrs. Heely, Mr. Robinson, and Linus and his family.

Chaos are comfy reads for me. I was pulled right in and was engaged in their story. This installment was not so much about MC business, but more personal business. It was more emotional and inspirational than it was suspenseful or action packed, but there was a little MC and fighting action interspersed in the background. This was mostly about Carson's journey of pulling himself up from his past, finding what was really important, and realizing his potential. And also a woman who was beat down and broken, but was inspired to find her backbone and take another chance on love. Both characters went through many trials, personal growth, and finally began to realize they were not alone. It was about second chances, giving back, redemption, and the power of love and family that does not have to share the same blood.

I can't wait for High's book Walk Through Fire. I am already intrigued by their story and High has been in the background of all of these stories and has definitely had his struggles.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Carissa sweet, sassy, and a bit of a goof as she begins to let Joker into her life. The picture we get of her in high school and before the story begins is of a quieter, doormat who just wanted a family, and put up with a lot in order to get her dream, only to have her dream smashed. Struggling to keep her son, and not let the hurt caused by her ex drown her or keep her from caring for her son.

Joker was raised in an abusive situation. Seven years later, he has returned and put his past behind him, found a family in Chaos, and has everything he wanted as a kid. But a chance encounter with a blast from his past has him softening in order to help an old friend.

This is a sweet second chance of sorts. While they knew of each other in high school, they didn’t move in the same circles. As Joker, Carissa doesn’t recognize him as the boy she knew so long ago. There is a comfort and attraction between them that makes her feel safe, and gives him a steady feminine presence, but secrets (and his real identity) are like a ticking time bomb between them.

As soon as Joker claims her as his, even before he recognizes that that is what he had done, Chaos and their women rally around to help Carissa before she can hit rock bottom. I love both the fact that Chaos offers this, and that Carissa really does want to make it on her own. She doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone anymore.

There is not as much club business running in the background, but I have a feeling some of the things that did pop up related to the club will have ramifications later. This was a lighter, more family feeling personal story versus a straight up MC story, but with the MC as Joker’s family the club life isn’t far from anyone’s minds at any given time.

Ride Steady is filled with great cameos by the entire Denver area group of KA characters. Tack & Tyra, Elvira, the whole Chaos brotherhood, and Hawk, Lee, Mitch, and Hank, Knight. There were actually some really great plot additions that included some of these guys that made this feel like an extended family looking out for each other and their community rather than a group of men who happen to run into each other over the course of their business dealings.

This was such a great comfortable read. Kristen Ashely’s books, especially her series set in Denver, feel like I’m home and part of the action at the same time. I love the feeling I get when I read them -- settled, engaged, part of the family.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

With my KA issues lately, I am wicked excited to say that Ride Steady ended up on my automatic reread list. In fact, I have already read this a second time. I loved Carson “Joker” Steele that much!! It appears that no matter which male MC hero Ashley writes about within Chaos, I am bound to fall head over heels for him. 

Whether you are a dedicated or new fan of KA, I think you will really adore Joker and Carissa. They were both very different from the other couples in both personality and plot. Instead of focusing a lot on club business and the intense suspense and action KA’s known for, Ride Steady focuses more on friendship, compassion, acceptance, and love. It’s ok though; I really liked that Joker and his girl were more relationship focused, with the villain being Carissa’s ex-husband. 

Joker is the book boyfriend every girl yearns for; e.g. alpha, sexy as hell, supportive, dedicated, and wicked sweet, especially when he was with Travis. Let me just say, Joker with a baby…oh my gosh…swoon fest!!! This badass biker will absolutely melt your heart. I know he did mine. However, as much as I loved “daddy” Joker, what endeared me the most to this fine specimen was the simple fact that he let Carissa navigate through her own issues while standing alongside of her offering his love, empathy, tenderness, and support. When I look back over everything, I’ve learned about Joker, I’d have to say, next to Tack, Carson has become my second favorite biker.

Carissa was a complete doll. Our girl was the perfect “Old Lady” for Carson & Joker. I adored the fact that she fit both of his personalities. Carissa had tons of personality and character, often showing a mix of sass, vulnerability, and strength. Our girl gave Joker a run for his money, never backing down. She may come off as shy and a bit beaten down; however, don’t let that fool you, Carissa doesn’t hesitate to go after what she wants, making it hers. The best part about her was her optimism. No matter how bad life was she did whatever she could to make sure Travis was loved, well taken care of, and happy. In order to do this, Carrie has to put her pride aside and accept the help Chaos is offering her. Carissa also extended this same dedication and devotion to Joker, first in the form of a pie and later on in the form of pure love. 

In KA fashion, she builds our protagonist from the ground up. Which brings me to the few issues I had with Ride Steady, which is why I couldn’t rate higher than a 4. We seem to experience some of the same ole’ trends in every KA book (long descriptions, bad mother, short, curt sentences, etc. Some things never seem to change, and while that can definitely be comforting, it would be nice to experience something unique and unexpected within a KA book. 

Prepare yourself to be drawn in by Joker’s charm and Carissa’s sweetness. These two will keep you captivated from the first page. As will Tack, Tyra, and Elvira. Yes, you read that right, we get to visit with some of our favorite Chaos members. But that’s not all, KA throws us a bone with a surprise visit or two from some of our other favorite badasses. I’m not going to reveal who though, as it would ruin the fun when you come across them. 

Ride Steady was a wicked fun read that will have you flipping the pages as fast as your eyes will allow you. In my opinion, when it comes to KA and her MC, nothing comes close to comparing. 

Now, I anxiously await Walk Through Fire. Bring on High!

Thank you, Forever (Grand Central Publishing), for the complimentary copy of Ride Steady. 
Suggested reading before Ride Steady since the characters have been introduced in these previous books...although this can be read as a stand alone:
The Chaos Series:

Own The Wind (Chaos #1)

Fire Inside (Chaos #2):
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Our reviews

Upcoming:

Walk Through Fire (Chaos #3)
Goodreads | Pre-order: Amazon | B&N

Expected October 27, 2015


The Dream Man Series:

Mystery Man(book1) 
Wild Man (book 2)
Law Man (book 3)
Motorcycle Man (book 4)
Kristen Ashley

Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake. Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up. And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
Tour Giveaway: win a Chaos series set
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Blog giveaway: win a paperback of RIDE STEADY  

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1 comment:

  1. A Kristen Ashley release day is like literary Christmas :) Thanks for the reviews and the giveaway!!!

    ReplyDelete

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