Ride Steady (Chaos) by Kristen Ashley
Adult Contemporary MC. Can stand alone.
Just when I thought I couldn’t read another MC book, Kristen Ashley comes along with one that just consumed me and renewed my love for reading…again. That Kristen Ashley magic was in Ride Steady, and the magic burned bright. This was my favorite Chaos novel to date, and one of my favorite KA books ever! Due to some issues with my eyes, I have been forced to cut down my reading and computer time immensely. I was limiting my reading to less than 30 minutes a day. With over 600 pages, this book should have taken me forever. But I couldn’t stop. I was in pain, my eyes killed, but I could not put it down. And let me tell you, I enjoyed every second!
This is Joker’s book. Due to my serious memory deficiency, I didn’t really remember Joker beyond the name, but that didn’t matter one bit. I loved Carson Steele just the same. The book began with a prologue of the boy in high school getting beat by his single dad, learning how to pleasure girls, and watching and yearning to be part of the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Watching Tack and his boy…
It was a hug. A motorcycle guy hug for his boy.Carson knew it, even though he never felt anything like it.”
Carson carried a sketchbook with him, and drew beauty. His neighbor, who was always nice to him’s dog. The other nice neighbor’s house…and Carissa Teodoro, the cheerleader who dated the quarterback.
The golden girl. Half of the golden couple. It was too bad her boyfriend, Aaron Neiland, was a total fucktard.”
Besides his neighbors, Carson had a teacher, Mr. Robinson, who tried to help, and I love how KA brought in the importance of that one special teacher in this book. Carson also got friendly with his golden girl Carissa. She was the only one that was nice to him, and not one of the girls that just wanted him for his ‘skills’.
A good life. A beautiful life. You’ll get it. I know it. Because you deserve it.”
Seven years later, Carson “Joker” showed up to be a Chaos prospect. He has become a master car & bike designer & builder, and Ride can really use him. Carissa married the fucktard quarterback, then was divorced when he left her for a model while she was pregnant, and he left her with no money or support and an awful custody arrangement.
Stuck on the side of the road, with a broken down car and a baby, Carissa and her baby Travis were rescued by a biker who looked really familiar. As he held the baby for her, he was a natural (Swooooon). Joker recognized her immediately, but never came clean when she didn’t recognize him with his long hair and full beard.
Carissa is a good girl. She is sweet, and doesn’t even curse. But she was never judgmental. She didn’t have a problem with bikers. In fact, she went right to Chaos to thank Joker with a pie and her sweet butterfly shoes. She was the nice prom queen. He was the bad-boy biker, but damn, you couldn’t miss the connection. I guess opposites do attract!
Regular curse words are a nickel,” I told him. “Bad curse words are a dime. Everyone knows the f-word is a bad one and since, starting now, you’re paying me every time you curse, that’s twenty cents you owe me… I’ll give it to charity or something. The way you cuss, we’ll probably be able to build a homeless shelter in a week.”
This was not the typical KA book where the guy has the girl moved into his house before she even gets to say no. This time Carissa was the pursuer, and Joker had the whole “I’m not good enough for her” attitude. But his brothers at Chaos saw through it.
Gone for her.”
That was Shy. he was talking about Joker.
He would know. He had the love of a good woman, gave that back.
Tack knew too. He had the same.
You caught that Shy and Tack are in this, which you would expect, but so were so many other KA greats including Elvira, Shirleen, Tyra, Indy, and the guys… it’s the hot bunch squared with Hawk, Mitch, Brock, Lee, Luke, Hector, Hank, and OMG, Knight, who just personified what all of KA’s men stand for…taking care of the women, even strangers, at all costs. LOVED this!
As Carissa’s problems increase, Joker finds that her mothering, her selflessness and compassion have only gotten stronger over the years, and his icy behavior begins to thaw….
She might make it tough on you, but if she’s that girl and you’re it for her like she is for you, this will be a bump in the road, but then you’ll ride steady.”
Not only was this a great romance with visits from favorite characters, Joker was hot as fuck, and the sex scenes were awesome.
Fuck, his little hot little piece, naked, ass in the air, lips begging”
There is nothing like escaping into a world that Kristen Ashley creates. She just knows how to create characters that you love, both the woman and the man. The connection between Joker and Carissa was tangible and it never felt like rushed insta-love.
- Getting back into the Chaos World.
- I loved Carissa.
- Her boy Travis, though too young to even talk, had a ton of personality, and I loved the baby scenes.
- Big Petey.
- Visiting with all of my favorite KA characters, and how KA was able to weave the characters we love into the story without it feeling like a cheesy reunion.
- How the women took Carissa into the fold immediately.
- The amazing relationships Kristen writes, be it friendships or romance, she knows how to connect the characters.
- The baby with Joker (and Joker’s beard) OMG….SWOOOOON!
- It was long and juicy and never felt too long.
- Not a thing.
Rating: 5 Stars, 4.25 Heat
The Down and Dirty:
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Read before the Chaos Series!
Q&A with Kristen Ashley
- A la Twitter style, can you describe your book (or series) in 140 characters or less.
The answer to this is no. I can barely form tweets not describing my books in 140 characters or less. But I shall try!
Joker and Carissa…
Okay, that’s sat there for three days. So I actually can’t do this!
- What do you love about writing stories that involve the characters getting a second chance at love?
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Even if we’re sure whatever we’re doing is right at the time, life has the power to make things go wrong. And if you feel you’ve failed, if you’ve been burned, if you’ve been in pain, it is very hard to pick yourself up and start again. Or pick yourself up and try again. It takes a great deal of courage to move on from whatever may have happened in life and still reach for happiness. So I like exploring that idea with love not just because I’m a romance novelist but also because I’m a to-the-bone romantic.
- Do you have a song or playlist that best fits Ride Steady?
Not really, though there’s a song that plays at the end of the epilogue that I think works for that moment for Chaos as a whole but particularly, and finally, after a very long row to hoe, it works for a lot longer than a moment for Carissa and Joker.
- What scene from Ride Steady was the most fun to write?
The scene nearer to the end when all the girls get together to take Carissa’s back when she makes a not-very-smart decision about exacting revenge. I love, love, love the sisterhood and showing how awesome it is in my books. How it can be hilarious and supportive and enlightening and thoughtful and rich and warm and meaningful all the same time. That scene is a perfect example of all that.
- Do you have a favorite quote/scene from the book?
Close to the end, Joker with Travis when they’re looking through the magazine. That gets me (happily) in the throat every time I read it.
“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.
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