Release Reviews: Wild Ride: Julie Ann Walker

Wild Ride (Black Knights Inc. #9)
Julie Ann Walker
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Release Date April 4, 2017

The hero we've all been waiting for...

Ethan "Ozzie" Sykes

Former Navy SEAL

Underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop.

In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he's stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. To his disgust, he's tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who's been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha's beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie's losing his desire to keep her at bay.Ozzie's tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best-and worst—person to share his secrets with...

Graphics from Author's Facebook page
It is finally Ozzie's book! He has been a stand out in many of the BKI books as the team computer hacker, and we have recently seen him get injured. He is still dealing with some of the after effects of that ill fated mission and his injury.

He was supposed to avoid Samantha Tate...they all were. She is a pesky reporter who has been after a story about the secrets of BKI for years. But while recuperating, Ozzie finds himself enjoying spending more time with her. She has the ability to make him laugh and stimulate him. They are friends, but he has so many secrets...not only about BKI, but also about how he feels about her.

But Samantha's search for information gets her into a big mess. One that makes her question Ozzie even more. But at the same time, he seems to be her self appointed protector. She finds herself staying at the BKI shop...close to Ozzie. During the building of their friendship neither ever mentioned trying for more, but in their minds they are stripping each other naked and having some fun. And being in close quarters will not help that situation.

Ozzie...he's built, hot, and charming, but he's also highly intelligent and a sci-fi geek. He's got a big heart, great sense of humor, and a strong protective streak. He is just irresistible and I adored him. But he's also been in a funk since his  injury and feeling useless and restless. He would fall into periods of guilt, remorse, and self pity. But Samantha was starting to help him move on. Her sassy, stubborn, personality and intellectual stimulation hooked him and he was starting to have an inkling of hope. And her needing help and protection gave him new purpose.

I loved seeing Ozzie realize he actually liked her, cared for her, and wanted her. He was formerly known as a player, but due to recent circumstances, he does not feel like playing anymore. They have smoking hot chemistry, but Ozzie also has guilt since he has so many secrets. So it's a bad situation. Ozzie is too good of a guy to want to hurt her when he can't share his secret life and risk that the reporter in her won't be able to resist the big scoop of BKI's hidden agenda. But he is also scared of rejection. My heart just hurt for him when his vulnerability showed. Samantha has her own fears and they are not helped by his mixed signals. These two are not the best at communicating and tend to jump to conclusions and get their feelings hurt.  Their only chance would require truth, trust, and a leap of faith.

We get to spend more time with a couple of newer BKI members. Christian is a fashionable, sarcastic, ex-member of SAS, Brit who drives a sports car instead of a motorcycle. And Emily is the new secretary who used to work for the CIA. She is snarky and feisty and loves to ruffle Christian's feathers. There is so much sexual tension underlying their sparring that they were scene stealers. Other BKI family featured in this one were Delilah, Becky, and Michelle. Most of the guys were away on missions, but I liked having Ozzie, Christian, and the women dealing with the situations in this one.

This is more about a dangerous problem closer to home as Samantha has ticked off the wrong people and stirred up trouble. Ozzie and Christian have to work with the police to help keep her safe and try to delve into the layers of dirty dealings. It was funny, sexy, suspenseful, and fast-paced. I think this might be my fave BKI book yet, and I am sure that Ozzie is my favorite hero. 

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

Ethan “Ozzie” Sykes has long been the guy who kept everything light within BKI, as long as you were an 80’s music fan. Now he’s stuck behind while the rest of the crew runs missions, waiting for his injury to heal, and he’s not happy about it. He’s also been tasked with keeping an eye on reporter Samantha Tate.

Samantha has been trying to get the scoop on BKI for years. She’s sure there is more to the motorcycle shop than there appears. A new lead has her looking once more at the shop for nefarious acts, only this time she might be closer to danger than she anticipated.

Samantha is a good reporter, and this time her search for information has landed her in hot water. She has a hard time believing that the men she has spent so much time around are into the things she has heard, and for the first time she isn’t sure who to trust.

Ozzie’s interest in the pretty reporter has been sidelined, because having a reporter in the shop is a bad idea. But when she finds herself in real danger, he has little choice but to keep her close, but keep her distracted. Too bad that distraction is as much for him as it is for her.

These two were so much fun to read. Ozzie is not happy at being left back at headquarters. But watching him skate around Samantha and try to get her to trust him again was just so entertaining. He has a way about him that makes it difficult to take things too seriously, even when danger is high. 

As the twists and turns in this story were revealed, I couldn’t help but be pulled back into the BKI world. I loved watching Ozzie and Christian try to figure out how to handle the threats while keeping Samantha in the dark, and loved Ozzie’s self-realization about the feelings he had for Samantha. There isn’t a lot of outside play from the other members of BKI, but the wives are present to watch (and razz) Ozzie as he tries to keep a lid on things around Samantha. Though the danger was high throughout, there was a lightness here that isn’t always in these books, and I think it is solely due to Ozzie’s normally light hearted self. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Series on Author's Website | Goodreads
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See Kim's reviews of 
Thrill Ride (# 4) 
Born Wild (# 5)
Hell for Leather (# 6)
Full Throttle (#7)
Too Hard to Handle (#8)

Upcoming in 2017
Fuel For Fire (#10) July--Zoelner
Hot Pursuit (#11) October --Christian
Julie Ann Walker
 Website | Facebook | Twitter

Julie Ann Walker is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of award-winning romantic suspense. She has won the Book Buyers Best Award, been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA award. Her latest release was named a Top Ten Romance of 2014 by Booklist. Her books have been described as "alpha, edgy, and downright hot." Most days you can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.


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