by Opal Carew
Series: Ready to Ride #4
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on June 30, 2015
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, Erotic, Menage
Format: ARC, Ebook
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley.
In his arms, she's about to take the ride of her life...
Liv never expected to find herself trapped in a dark alley facing a band of rough bikers. And she certainly never expected to see him again. Back in college when they dated, he was heir to his family's business empire—and their fortune. She expected him to become a billionaire. Instead, he's a heavily muscled, tattooed member of a rough biker gang...and just as sinfully sexy as ever.
When Shock sees Liv again, he's ready to pay any price to have her in his bed and on his bike. Shock has his own scars to deal with, but he soon learns that Liv is in desperate need of financial help...though she won't tell him why. So he offers her a sensual deal: his help for her complete submission. Can Liv entrust Shock with her secret? And how can she stop herself from falling for the hard rider?
A+ for that cover. That’s an awesome cover.
I wanted to like this book, but unfortunately there are several things that didn’t work for me. I read and enjoyed the previous book in the series, Riding Steele, but Hard Ride seemed disjointed to me.
The basic plot is that Liv needs money to help her sick sister, so she enters into a contract with Shock that she’ll be his sex slave for a month.
Okay, what? Let me back up.
Liv knew Shock in college (back when he was called Devin) and they had a close relationship, but it didn’t go beyond friendship even though they both wanted it to. But Liv pushed him away, for reasons that become clear later. When Liv and Devin (who now goes by Shock, his ride name) meet again, she asks him for money and he agrees to help her out–on the sex slave condition. Seriously, he has his lawyers draw up a contract and everything.
At this point, I feel like I’m reading a surprise billionaire Dom book, rather than a biker book. In general, I don’t like billionaire Doms. So you can see why I had trouble there. But really, what kind of friend is he? She’s clearly desperate for money, but she doesn’t tell him that it’s for her sister. He agrees to help her, but uses it for his own sexual gain. That’s…not a good friend.
Even though he’s living as a biker, Shock is very wealthy. His family lost their wealth after a scandal, but after that, he went off and made his own fortune. Even still, he chose to walk away from the business world in order to join the other bikers. (He still owns his company, but obviously doesn’t run the daily operations since he’s always on the road.)
Meanwhile, Liv has an extremely painful past that she explains to Shock and which also reveals why she pulled away from him emotionally back in college. When Shock learns this, he’s incredibly sweet and supportive. He even offers to tear up the contract. But Liv has this duty-bound thing where she insists on fulfilling the contract.
So, they go forward with the sexual relationship, but it just didn’t feel natural to me, considering Liv’s past. Additionally, I found it really tough to like her as a character because she withholds communication from Shock throughout the book. He asks her why she’s upset, but she’ll lie to save face and say she’s fine. That drives me crazy. I wish characters would talk to each other! You can have conflict in other ways, but let the characters be honest with each other.
There’s also the matter of how the bikers share their women. Even though Liv has a traumatic past, she basically is open to being shared amongst all the men in the group. I had a really hard time believing that she would be so willing, certainly not this soon.
Lastly, there’s this other odd subplot where Liv finds out that Shock may or may not actually be married. It’s explained away and dismissed so quickly that I didn’t understand why it was included in the story to begin with.
I was disappointed with this book because I liked the previous one, but I will probably read the next in the series anyway. I like the ensemble of characters and would like to see how the rest of their stories turn out, but this is one that I wouldn’t recommend.
Rating: 2 stars