by JC Emery
Death comes in Armani. Salvation comes in leather.
Principessa to the Mancuso crime family, Alexandra knows a thing or two about living outside the bounds of the law. Suffocated by the future her father has laid out for her, she makes a choice she can’t take back, changing the entire trajectory of her life. Thrust into the dark and dangerous world of the Forsaken Motorcycle Club for her own protection, Alex finds herself faced with the last thing she needs right now: the man of her dreams. He’s sex in leather, the devil incarnate, and one hell of a kisser. But he’s also off-limits. Ryan Stone can be her friend, but he’s forbidden to be her lover.
Third-generation Forsaken, Ryan knows nothing other than life on two wheels, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He enjoys the many privileges that come with the patch, and the only laws he recognizes are the ones set-forth by his club. That is, until who he wants more than anything isn’t allowed on the back of his bike —or in his bed. Balancing his desire for her body, and need to keep her safe, Ryan tries to keep Alex at a distance. Finally having made a choice for herself, she’s done hearing the word “no” and will push boundaries even Ryan himself doesn’t dare cross.
Before setting out to read Ride, by JC Emery, you should be warned that Emery is totally unapologetic in the telling of Ryan and Alex’s story, the first in her Bayonet Scars series. I’ve read or started many MC series and this is the first one since Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series and Joanna Wylde’s Reaper series that I’ve wanted to read past book one. Emery digs deep and dirty in this book, her characters, raw and gritty. The men live hard and play hard and they’re matched by those who are up to the task of loving them. Ride feels heavy with back story and specifics, but never feels long-winded. Instead, Emery tells her story without compromising the important details, developing both her plot and her characters in an entertaining way. While she builds her world, the book ends up short on romance, but I found myself not minding because the details in the telling enhanced the eventual love story instead of making me want to flip through pages to get to a big moment.
Love is never more tempting than when it’s forbidden.
This book may not be for everyone. The men, especially hero Ryan and his father Jim, are asses more often than not, but it’s who they are and this is important in the storytelling. Both come across as mean and (or because) their patch comes first. But, their characters grow and this is rewarding for the reader. Alex, the heroine and Ruby, Jim’s wife and Ryan’s stepmother, are the perfect match for these men. Alex is the person Ryan needs in his life to find the love and balance that he needs and their love is a reflection of Jim and Ruby’s. And, Ruby is, by far, my favorite character in the book. (If I go into why I’d be spoiling and nobody likes a spoiler)
The backdrop of Ride is two-fold, starting in New York where Alex is all but a prisoner in the home of her mafia king father. When Forsaken, Ryan’s MC, rides into town and pulls her out, she’s thrust into a new world in northern California in a very Sons of Anarchy-type setting:
Emery does a nice job of setting both sets of scenery and captures the mentality of Italian men, at least those of a generation ago (I grew up in an Italian household, so I know). The supporting characters are important to the story and don’t hesitate to steal a scene or two, especially Ryan’s best friend, Duke. While this book is a standalone, Duke is the H for book two in the series, Thrash, and having already started it I can say I’m happy to have read Ride first. One thing I was uncomfortable with and wondered how important it was to the story was the drug use. While I understand that it was designed to highlight the lifestyle for some MCs, I found it unnecessary to the story as it didn’t play into the plot except when mentioned as recreational.
4 Stars for Ride because it was fun, thrilling, and sexy when needed. Heat level: 4
Ride was published by Left Break Press in October 2013. It is the first in a 7 book series, including 2 novellas.
Click on the cover for information on making Ride part of your library.