It’s been awhile since readers have been treated to a new story in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series. Honestly, the last couple of books the author has put out didn’t work for me and I was worried going into this book. Thankfully, the story hit all the right notes and even surprised me with its tenderness.
Growing up, Carson Steele had it rough. His mom ran out on his dad just after he was born and left Carson subjected to his father’s drunken rages and flying fists. Carson survived it all by keeping his head down and taking the punches all the while saving up for the exact moment he could leave town and never look back. Carson passed the time drawing and leaning on two neighbors. However, there were two things that he kept secret in his heart: a beautiful and kind, yet untouchable cheerleader at high school , and the father and son working together at Ride Garage and Chaos Motorcycle Club. Just when Carson gets an opening with the girl of his dreams, the opportunity to finally escape his hell arrives. He left without a backwards glance but never forgot the girl.
Carissa Teodoro thought she would be leaving all the sadness of her sister and mother’s deaths and looking forward to a being a wife and mother when she married her high school sweetheart. Eight years later, Carissa is a divorced single mother who can barely rub a couple of coins together with an ex-husband who dangles custody over her head. As if things couldn’t get any worse, she blows a flat on the highway on the way to drop off her son to visit with her jerkface ex. Carrissa’s luck turns when a knight in shining chrome rolls up on a Harley to help her out.
Carissa doesn’t know any bikers, let alone any bikers named Joker, but this man feels so familiar to her and she wants him – bad. Joker isn’t the Carson that she remembers. He wants to keep Carissa far away from his darkness but the extended Chaos family quickly adopts her. Joker tries to rebuff Carissa’s advances but she slowly wears him down. Joker can’t resist helping the woman that his heart has secretly always called his and her son that burrows under his skin.
Joker and Carissa are just lovely together. Joker was alpha but had such tenderness to him beneath the exterior and it didn’t take much for Carissa to get at it. The way he was with her baby boy was really touching and I’m not a person who enjoys kids in my romances. Joker was a little over the top with the way he put Carissa on a pedestal but it was easily overlooked.
I really appreciated how Carissa was written. She had more than her fair share of disappointments in life but she kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept slogging along. She had a spine of steel but a gentle disposition. Joker and Carissa were fun and sweet and totally had each other’s backs. I also really enjoyed their cobbled together family of Joker’s former neighbors.
Of course, as with any Ashley book, there’s drama galore that kept the story chugging along. KA fans will be delighted to see a TON of former characters from a bunch of her different series. Ride Steady is a treat of a read for KA fans and newcomers alike. Laughter, perseverance and love makes even the darkest night survivable. The sneak peek for High’s story looks super angsty has me jonesing for October.
*ARC provided by Forever/GCP
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Kristen Ashley
Release Date: June 30, 2015