Hi there! Today I’m sharing a release day review for a new contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. RIDE ROUGH is the second book in her Raven Riders series and find the club VP, Maverick Rylan, reconnecting with his first and only love-Alexa Harmon-right when she needs him most. If you want to catch up on the series, check out my review for RIDE HARD.
About the book:
Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.
Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.
Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.
How about a little taste?
“What am I going to do? My entire life is wrapped up in him. My job. Where I live. My car. Where Mom lives. Everything. Oh, God. This is going to be a nightmare, isn’t it?”
Maverick grasped Alexa’s hands. “One thing at a time. You’re out. You can stay here as long as you need to. I have plenty of room. I’ll help you through it. That’ll give you time to figure out what it is you want. There’s no rush.”
“Okay,” she said. “Okay. God, thank you.” A shiver raced over her skin.
“You don’t have to thank me. I’m so relieved for you that I might fall the fuck over,” he said, his thumb rubbing over her knuckles. She almost managed a little smile. “Your hands are like ice, Al. I shouldn’t have made you stand her all this time when you’re soaking wet.”
Alexa shook her head. “It felt good to get it out, Maverick.”
“Glad to hear it. Would a hot shower make you feel better? I can find you a T-shirt and a pair of boxers to change into while your clothes dry.”
All the TLC and understanding he was giving her reached right inside her chest. When was the last time someone had taken care of her this way?
The last time you were with Maverick. The truth of that thought made her breath catch. “Yeah. I’d like that,” she managed.
He gave a tight nod and stepped back, and she missed his heat immediately. “Uh, good. That’s good. You remember your way around?”
“Of course,” she said. How much time had she spent here over the years? Even before they dated? At one point, Maverick’s place had practically been a second home.
“You okay?” he asked, watching her.
She pushed off the door. “I don’t know yet,” she said, coming to him. “But what I do know is how grateful I am to you. For everything. For being there when I told you not to. For listening. For just . . . being you.”
“Always.” He crossed his big arms and ducked his chin, like something about the exchange made him uncomfortable.
“I mean it,” she said, and then she pressed onto tiptoes and kissed his cheek, his stubble tickling her lips. “You saved me tonight.”
“No,” he said, eyes flashing, one brow arched. “You saved yourself, Al. I was just your getaway driver.”
Staring into one another’s eyes, the tender moment stretched out, morphed, suddenly flashed hot. Being so close to him set her body on fire, and finally she could actually consider acting on it. Need roared through her, a living, breathing thing. “Maverick,” she whispered.
“Fuck, Alexa, I think you better go take that shower,” he said, his jaw ticking. “Now.”
She released a shaky breath and nodded. He was right. Of course, he was.
So, showering. She could handle that. Afterward, God only knew what she was going to do.
Alexa Harmon is caught in a dangerous bind; she’s due to marry her fiance, Grant, who happens to be one crack away from physically abusive. He’s certainly not the nice guy who wooed Alexa over the past several years–and Alexa isn’t sure when that all changed. Grant’s a wealthy real estate developer, and he’s the owner of the construction company Alexa works for. If she pulls out of the wedding, what will happen to her job? Or, her hoarder/invalid mother living rent-free in one of Grant’s properties.
Thing is, Alexa’s beginning to recognize that Grant’s temper and mood swings aren’t normal, and pose a very real threat. She’s scared and has few close friends to seek shelter from, but one man in her life was once her rock: Maverick Rylan. Mav was her elder brother Tyler’s best friend–and her boyfriend–until Tyler died in a motorcycle wreck. Alexa freaked out that Mav would be next and broke things off. Now, she turns to Maverick to see if she’s just got jitters, or the dread she’s sensing in her gut is justified.
Maverick never thought he’d see Alexa again, but he’s not about to let her walk out of his life a second time, and especially when he’s not sure who is responsible for the bruises on her face. Maverick’s MC, the Raven Riders has been in a land battle with Grant for the better part of a decade, and Grant’s tried every dirty trick in the book to claim the prime real estate the Raven Riders own. Even if Mav can only have Alexa’s friendship, he’s willing to accept it–but he’s more than a friend. He’s able to cajole Alexa’s mother into a better living situation, as she trusts him from so many years of acquaintance. And, Mav’s even smitten by Alexa’s hairless cat. When Grant gets word that Alexa’s been seen in Mav’s company, well, it’s a rotten experience for all, but Mav’s there to help her pick up the pieces.
While this book has lots of plot points just on the edge of abuse, the climax is a tense and emotional scene. Mav and Alexa make a good pair, and their reunion is really tender. They had a good love way back when, but it was raw and young, and they’ve both grown a lot in the meantime. Grant’s a Class A Jerk, and he’s no less than lethal by the end. The Raven Riders get several tests to challenge them when they are still suffering the loss of members in the past few weeks and months. I liked how Alexa was humble, and made amends with Mav’s dearest friends and family. It’s an interesting read with a good love story, but could be a trigger for fans with a history of domestic abuse.
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Good luck and keep reading my friends!
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense, including the Hard Ink and upcoming Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.