Review: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley (Chaos #3)

Note: This ARC was provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

And all this came about when she stated, "You don't heal from that, Carson. Not from that. My God," she threw out both hands, "how magnificent of a man do you have to be to go through what you went through, doing it alone, nobody to ease the way, the pain, no mother, no bother, no sister, all by yourself enduring that and fight your way to becoming all that you are. It isn't amazing. It's a darned miracle."

The last time Carissa Teodoro saw Carson Steele, she told him to go after his beautiful life and gave him a kiss on the cheek. Later she found a sketch he had made of her tucked in her locker with a note saying that she deserved a beautiful life as well. Neither had any clue that they shared the same feelings for one another, Carson believing Carissa deserved someone much better than him, and Carissa thinking that Carson was never interested in her. Eight years later, she's divorced and with a baby, the same baby she was pregnant with when her ex-husband left her, the same guy she's been with since they were teenagers in high school.

Struggling to create a new life for herself and her child, away from the privileged one she had with her ex-husband, the last thing Carissa needed was a flat tire on the interstate in rush hour traffic. When she's rescued by a biker named Joker, she finds herself drawn to him in ways she's never experienced before. Joker has secrets that he's kept even from his brothers in Chaos and sharing those secrets with someone like Carissa would mean opening himself up to a past he swore he'd never go back to. But what's happening between them has been a long time coming and they could very well be in for a ride that may last a lifetime.

I knew I was a Kristen Ashley fan when I found myself reading fifteen of her books--the entire Rock Chick  series, Play It Safe, all four books in the Dream Man series, and the first two books in the Chaos series (in that order)--in less than two weeks' time in September 2013. There's something about her writing that makes you feel as if you're simply sitting back and listening to the lead characters tell their story. Her lead male characters are men who know what they want and go after it and are often intimidating, but have enough love in them for the women they fall for and the people they consider part of their family and inner circle of friends. Her lead female characters vary but they've all got a couple of things in common: they would lay it all on the line for the men they love and will never back down when the ones they love are threatened.

I've been waiting for the third book in the Chaos series since I finished reading Own the Wind and Fire Inside more than a year and nine months ago. And when I finally got my hands on Ride Steady, I realized how long of a read it was going to be but once I started, there was no putting my tablet down. I don't know if you could really call Joker and Carrie's tale a second chance romance because they never really got the opportunity to pursue anything when they were younger, what with Joker's abusive home life. This felt more like how I described it in my synopsis above: a love story that was a long time coming, and what a love story these two have! I believe that things that are meant to happen do when the time is right and that was the case with Joker and Carrie.

Both Joker and Carrie have pasts that have shaped them, though Carrie's is more recent than Joker's, and I love how these two wanted to ease the burdens that they knew the other one was carrying. There's a part in the book where Carrie tells Joker that she's going to help heal him and I could feel my heart squeezing in my chest. Heck, there were a lot of points in the book that had me feeling that way! There were a couple of times that I actually teared up because of everything Joker had gone through. And talk about quotable quotes. There were many of them here and choosing my favorite was difficult. The one I posted at the beginning of my review pretty much sums up Joker's journey from the bruised and battered boy he was to the man embracing his future he becomes with Carrie, the people who saw the man he could be, and the Chaos brotherhood by his side. 

May I point out that there were quite a number of familiar people who were part of this book, and I'm not just talking about the men of Chaos and their old ladies. Think Rock Chick series, Dream Man series, AND Unfinished Hero series, which I have yet to read and have now bumped up in my to-be-read list. Goodness, talk about alpha male overload, but then I could never get enough of these guys, so imagine how happy of a camper I was while reading this book. It was great being able to get even the tiniest of glimpses as to where these characters are now in their lives and that they're all tied together by their friendship and mutual respect.

After having read sixteen and a half of Kristen Ashley's books, it's safe to say that I've found a favorite: Ride Steady. It was about the journey of a young man who didn't just survive his past but overcame it to become a much better individual. He had people who had faith in him and knew that he was destined to be more than just another statistic. When he finally opened himself up to the love he had from Carrie, Chaos, and his true family, Carson "Joker" Steele truly became an awe-inspiring hero worthy of permanent book boyfriend status. This is one love story you seriously must not miss and make sure to check out the rest of the Chaos series. Ride Steady gets five-plus stars. ♥♥♥

Release Date: 30 June 2015

Date Read: 26 June 2015

Learn more about Kristen Ashley here.

Purchase Ride Steady on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.

Check out my reviews for the Chaos series:

1 - Own the Wind (five stars) - Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo
2 - Fire Inside (four stars) - Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo
2.5 - Every Year (five stars) - Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo


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