Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a newly-released contemporary romance from Laura Kaye. My goodness, I’m backed up with reviews. I guess that happens when you fall into a black hole while student teaching chemistry!! RIDE DIRTY is a novella, book 3.5, in her Raven Riders series and features the club sergeant-at-arms, Caine McKannon, a jaded man with a horrifying past finding inconceivable love with a kindergarten teacher, Emma Kerry. If you want to catch up on other books in the series, check out my reviews for RIDE HARD and RIDE ROUGH.
About the book:
Caine McKannon is all about rules. As the Raven Riders Sergeant-at-Arms, he prizes loyalty to his brothers and protection of his club. As a man, he takes pleasure wherever he can get it but allows no one close—because distance is the only way to ensure people can’t hurt you. And he’s had enough pain for a lifetime.
And then he rescues a beautiful woman from an attack.
Kids and school are kindergarten teacher Emma Kerry’s whole life, so she’s stunned to realize she has an enemy—and even more surprised to find a protector in the intimidating man who saved her. Tall, dark, and tattooed, Caine is unlike any man Emma’s ever known, and she’s as uncertain of him as she is attracted. As the danger escalates, Caine is in her house more and more – until one night of passion lands him in her bed.
But breaking the rules comes at a price, forcing Caine to fight dirty to earn a chance at love.
How about a little taste?
“What do I do?” Emma asked.
“We,” Caine said as an urgent, demanding possessiveness dug its claws into his soul. Dug them in, deep.
And it was, without question, something he’d never felt before in his whole life. When you felt as unworthy as he did, you rarely believed that you deserved to possess anything at all. But now, in the face of her vulnerability, Caine dared to hope that he might deserve…what? Not her, exactly, because after being viewed as no more than a possession by the couple that ran his group home, the idea of possessing another person made his stomach roll. But maybe the chance to get to know her, at the very least. And maybe even the chance to give her the things he’d always wanted but never been able to have.
Jesus, even daring to hope for such things made him feel like the bottom might fall right out from underneath of him. And when that happened, he’d just fall and fall and fall…
But if she was going to be brave, he sure the fuck would, too. “We’ll figure this out, Emma. Do you hear me? You’re not in this alone.” His voice sounded like it’d been scoured with sandpaper.
She peered up at him, and her bottom lip trembled a little more. “Promise?”
“Jesus, come here,” he rasped, hauling her in against his chest. He held her tight with one arm and stroked her hair back with the other. And Christ, she felt so good there. So warm and soft against all his cold hardness. So right. These thoughts were so foreign to him he hardly knew what to do with them, but that didn’t make them any less true. He had to swallow around a knot of emotion before he could go on, but when he finally did, his voice was rock solid again. “I give you my word, Emma.”
He made one more promise, too, but this one he kept to himself. Once, he’d failed to protect someone he should’ve. Worse than that, her death had been his fault.
Caine vowed to himself—he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
This time, he’d rather die first.
Caine McKannon is unlovable–that’s what he’s been told his whole life–a life filled with loss, abuse and pain. He’s built himself a new family with the Raven Riders where his no-nonsense attitude suits his role as Sergeant-At-Arms and chief enforcer–not that he lets anyone get too close.
Caine meets Emma Kerry late one night when he rescues her from a mugger just outside her property. The mugger escaped, though, and that didn’t sit well with Caine. He’s a man who likes to maintain control of situations, and his opinion of Emma’s security in her home–alone and poorly shielded–comples him to peruse her property regularly on his other security details. Emma’s attracted to Caine, whose mis-matched eyes seem to hold a well of sadness. But, Caine knows this sweet kindergarten teacher is too soft for him–not that he’s fit for a relationship.
Turns out that Emma wants to thank Caine for his protection and that links her to some of his Raven Rider comrades–through a mutual love of baked goods. The Raven Riders have long wanted Caine to find a steady woman, and if Emma’s interested in the position, well, they are going to push the issue. And the more time Caine spends watching of Emma the more he thinks her mugger has a more sinister motive after all.
This is a short read, with a Christmas-ish theme, as the story is set in the weeks surrounding the holidays. Emma’s a solitary gal, having no living family to celebrate with, but she’s able to convince Caine to stoke her home fires… O.o It’s a sweet and sexy read, two lonely souls finding solace and safety together. I liked it.
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.