Thursday, July 9, 2015

Blog Tour : Ride Steady (Chaos #3) by Kristen Ashley - @KristenAshley68

The ride of her life . . .

Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .

In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

“What now?” he clipped, planting his hands on his hips.
I watched him do this.
His knuckles were all scabbed. But his fingers were long, not graceful, but handsome. They were a working man’s hands. They’d be rough. I could even see grease stains around the nail beds.
Something about that caused something to happen inside me.
My focus shifted from his hands to his crotch. His jeans were faded. The area around his crotch more faded.
Up I went to a black belt with silver rivets in it that had seen some wear, the length beyond the clasp dangling from a belt loop to the side in a supple way, the leather not close to stiff.
Up his flat belly to his wide chest and broad shoulders and bulging arms.
And up to his long black hair that looked thick, messy, had a lot of wave and brushed his shoulders. His beard wasn’t bushy, it was trimmed, but it was about two days away from being unkempt.
He was tall.
He was annoyed.
I felt the latter because he was the kind of man whose mood altered a room and I understood this because I was right then experiencing it. But I also knew it wasn’t just that or that we were the only ones in the room and having the conversation that was making him annoyed so of course I’d be feeling it.
It was him. He had that kind of power behind his personality.
I shifted my eyes to his.
Steel. A strange flat color that seemed impenetrable.
And suddenly I had a new dream. One that didn’t involve motherhood, cookies, doing laundry, and being a soccer mom.
One that centered around penetrating the impenetrable.
“So? What?” he prompted irately.
At his words, I flew across the room.
He had the chance to go back on a boot but that was all he had before my body slammed into his, my hands went to either side of his head and I lifted up on tiptoe as I yanked him down.
Then I pressed my lips hard against his.
A breath later, something strange happened.
Strange and wondrous.
His arms closed around me, and if I could think of anything, I’d worry about the state of my ribs.
But I couldn’t think of anything because his tongue spiked into my mouth and my world changed.
My entire world.
I didn’t have a dead sister.
I didn’t have a dead mother.
I didn’t have a lonely father looking after his mother, who was addled with Alzheimer’s disease.
I didn’t have an exhusband, who I once loved who I thought would cherish and protect me and help me build my dream, but now was making my life a misery and trying to take my son away from me.
I had this.
All of it. All the biker named Joker gave me by holding me so tight it was a pain that hurt so good and who was invading my mouth with his tongue in a way that stated clearly he could do it for a lifetime and never get enough.
My hands left his head so I could curve my arms around his shoulders as I pressed closer.
In return, one of his hands slid up my spine. He pulled out my ponytail holder and drove his fingers into my hair, cupping the back of my head, tilting it one way while he slanted his the other. He deepened the kiss in an intoxicating way while his other hand glided down and cupped one cheek of my behind.
That felt good.
He shuffled me back.
I went with him.
We kept kissing.
Then he turned quickly and we were falling.
Then he turned quickly and we were falling.
He landed on his back on the bed. I landed on him but barely had the opportunity to experience the dizzying beauty of the long length of his hard frame under mine before I was given more beauty when he rolled me and I had the weight of his hard frame pressing mine into the bed.
His hand left my bottom and went up, fingers yanking at my navy LeLane’s polo shirt, pulling it from my khakis, and then I had its heat, skin against skin.
I was right.
His hands were rough.
Q&A with Kristen Ashley
1. Is there a lot of meaning behind the names of your characters and how do you go about selecting names?
Sometimes characters come to me named (Carson Steele is one). Sometimes I get inspired by something (Carissa’s last name is the name of two sisters who are avid readers of mine, lovely gals, fell in love with their name, gave it to Carissa). And sometimes a meaning I am so not clever enough to give to names, the characters give it. Steele, for instance, is very descriptive of Carson in the early part of Ride Steady. And Tack, I didn’t even know why he was called that. For three books in the Dream Man series, I had no clue, until he explained it in the fourth book, Motorcycle Man.

2. If Ride Steady became a movie who would you want to see playing the lead characters?
My characters are so strong in my head it’s very difficult to fit a real person to them. I even try not to because it messes with who they are and in the worlds I create they can be in there and appear in books for many years to come. But there’s this absolutely fantastic gal I’ve met through my books, her name is Irene. She makes totally awesome graphics and videos. She found a guy for Joker, perfect hair, fantastic sunglasses. I don’t know who he is but her choice was sheer perfection!

3. Finish this sentence: My hero will always…love my heroine and her son until the day he dies.

4. What are three things you can’t write about?
I keep telling myself I’ll never write about…then I write about it! Ha! I guess it’s pretty much anything goes with me. If the idea comes to me and I believe in it or feel it, I’ll take the risk and go for it. That said, it’s highly unlikely, unless I get to make absolutely everything up and readers completely suspend their disbelief (because I know nothing about science), I won’t write science fiction.

5. What’s the last book you read?
Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan. Lovely, lovely book.

Advance copy received in exchange for an honest review
Euphoric feelings consumed me as I queued Ride Steady on my kindle, knowing I’m about to visit a world I dearly missed…On a forecourt off Broadway sits RIDE and the brothers of the Chaos Motorcycle Club. It’s home to my FAVORITE bikers. This time, it’s Joker’s story. He, as well as Carissa, took my hand and led me on a profound journey chock-full of everything I cherish from a Kristen Ashley novel.
Heart-racing drama.
Hardship and despair.
Love of family, brother-hood and sister-hood.
Hope and healing.
And most importantly…undying desire and passion.
No one pens a story like this author. She has the power to bring me to an entirely different level. Ride Steady was one of those reads I could not put down, grabbing me from the first word, then rocking my world with an overwhelmingly emotional epilogue. It was an absolutely remarkable experience.

Carson Steele…

In the prologue we see a young Carson and let me tell you, his suffering made my heart bleed. Treated terribly by an abusive bastard of a father, very little joy cut through the darkness that suffocated his life. The only gentleness that touched his world were a handful of friends, a concerned teacher, observing a lovingly playful father and son in the shadows of a mechanic’s garage and a lovely young girl - who fueled Carson with hope and whose light served as a means of escape from his horrors. For years, Carson worshiped Carissa from afar and believing he was unworthy of her beauty completely destroyed me.
When deciding to free himself from his father’s tyranny, Carson sees Carissa one last time, and she foretold the unimaginable – a future filled with hope.

How I desperately hoped Carson would find exactly what he deserved – he made my heart ache. His childhood left him emotionally scarred and feeling worthless and me a blubbering, tearful mess. 


Working hard to turn his life around, Chaos eventually became his family.

With Tack as their leader, they took Joker on as one of their own, offering brotherhood, freedom and the beginnings of a ‘beautiful life’.

However, Joker held his cards close and remained mysterious. I freaking love a damaged, broken hot guy and Joker was seriously emotionally wrecked. He’s a fighter, a survivor, but the demons of his past still haunt his gorgeous steel gray eyes.  And on a chance encounter, on Interstate 25, this badass biker finds himself facing beauty from his past…Carissa.

The once cheerleader and homecoming queen, now recently divorced (from a major dirt bag son-of-a-bitch ass that I freaking loathed) and new mom to the super adorable Travis, finds herself in a bind. Life has not been kind to Carissa and she too pulled on my heartstrings. Stranded, all alone and overcome with insecurities, I just wanted to embrace her and make all her woes disappear. Her life takes a turn when she encounters the uber-sexy bad boy biker who saves the day…Joker. 

I simply loved Carissa. She was beyond sweet and her character radiated an aura of gentleness, compassion and kindness. She loves to a fault and is funny in a cute, quirky kinda way. I adored her courage and optimism despite the constant blows she’s endured.  Her character, for me, possessed a hint of innocence – especially when entering the world of Chaos MC, where she is lovingly welcomed. I adored her tenacity. Carissa wanted Joker and was determined to insert herself into his life, not allowing him to freeze her out.

Their scorching romance was amazingly moving and their back and forth chit-chat was hysterical. Joker is a supreme bad ass with an icy cold exterior freezing out all from seeing his inner turmoil. But once Carrie and baby Travis broke down his walls, I fell in love with his tenderness. How he loved her and their off the charts passion, had me swooning and melting. I fell deep for all things Joker – his grittiness, his passion, and his torments – he was the perfectly shattered hero I wanted to see healed. As with all of KA Alpha’s – Joker’s edgy side remained raw, unbelievably sexual, dominant and demanding. And that’s exactly what I crave from her men. They never loose their sense of command and control.

What touched me the most was the blossoming relationship between Joker and Travis. It was so endearing witnessing an insanely sexy man take-on such a sweet, loving little boy. Their moments together swelled my heart with joy.
I’m completed hooked on Kristen Ashley’s writing style and the way she tells a love story, it’s become an obsession. Ride Steady was THE PERFECT fix for my addiction. And HOLY SHIT! KA kicked my Alpha fix up a notch with an EPIC, all-out badass fest. One thing I look forward to (aside from her hot sex scenes, gorgeous macho men, and HOT sex scenes) is seeing some of my old loves pop into a new story. I was elated…they were crawling all over this read and it was scrumptious. Needless to say, my man Tack was heavily involved in this story (YIPPIE)!! No spoilers as to what other dudes made cameo appearances, but I will say that a certain character, that I’ve hungered to see join forces with the Chaos crew, finally came into play. I was in total Alpha-heaven and bubbling with delight.
Ride Steady was a brilliant 5-star read for me. Page after page, I fell hopelessly in love with this story as Joker, Carissa and Travis burrowed their way deep with in my heart. I never wanted the ride to end. It could be read as a standalone, but honestly, it would be a disservice not to read the series in its entirety. With great sadness, I had to say goodbye to my Chaos loves, but not for long! The Chaos saga continues with High’s story – Walk Through Fire.

Tatum Jackson will always be my "#1 KA Alpha Male" - but let me just say that Joker has moved up the the #2 spot on my list and bumped Joe Callahan down to #3.  I don't know how to even begin starting to explain the pure perfection that is Joker, you'll just have to   trust me on this one.

I really struggle with reviews for any KA books - because to me, there's no words to describe how much I love them all - every part of them, from the story line, to the location, the songs, the clothing, and each and every character.  So I thought of a crazy comparison - food:

 Most of the books I read are really like a good meal out - leaves you satisfied, glad for what you ate - maybe a really good burger and fries.  Then others books are more like a better meal - sit down, dress up a little, maybe get an appetizer and share a dessert.  Those meals don't come as often, but they are looked forward to and enjoyed immensely.  Then there are KA books that I have to compare to those meals where you get the WHOLE experience.  I'm talking dressed up, you're getting a drinks, salad, appetizers, sorbet in between to  cleanse your palate, you're getting all the food groups, cooked by the best chefs, and having the best dessert at the end to wrap it all up.  You're getting the full experience, pure bliss,  leaving nothing out - and to me that's what this book, and every KA book I've read has been like.  I savor it, never want it to end - but thoroughly enjoy the entire experience - and sometimes I even go back for seconds.

So do I recommend you read this book? - Hell Yeah!!! 

Ride Steady was brilliant. It was romantic, funny and extremely heart warming. This book was the reason Kristen Ashley is still my favorite author ever. 

She gives me love stories that make me grip my Kindle in the pain and the goodness. 

Joker has burrowed into my heart so deeply 

I just feel like I actually met him. 

I hurt for the little boy he was and I cheered for the beautiful special man he became.
 Kristen has a way of taking one story about one couple and threading it into a tapestry of so many more side stories that it ripples in a vast ocean of wonderful goodness. We got to see all our favorites from so many previous stories. She always makes it feel like you've come home to 

I adored Carissa so much. She just had such a beautiful soul. Some women would be torn down by a man and then one day deny ever loving him but Carissa never regretted her love for Aaron because for one thing it gave her that sweet bundle of googly Travis and for another it just made her stronger. What I loved about Carissa was her belief in those around her. She never doubted Joker. Not once and with her history.. She could have easily doubted any man.

 But Carson Joker Steele was not just any man. He was her friend from those high school days when he was just Carson till he came home as Joker  was her man in all the most profound ways that a real man can be. The way he adored her was like the perfect balance of love and respect. He lifted her up and he also wanted to give her the world, while at the same time receiving the world in the form of her and Travis.

There is nothing more beautiful than a man who unapologetically  loves a child.. Proving blood does not determine parental love. 

This man was just so wonderful and I'm still in fuzzy butterfly love hours after finishing. I just simply loved every single moment, the highs and lows and all the in between. 

I'll never find enough words to describe how very much I enjoy getting lost in this authors work. Simply brilliant , that's all.

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Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!).

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.

Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
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