Friday, April 28, 2017

ARC Review: Ride Rough by Laura Kaye

Series:     Raven Riders #2
Pub. Date:April 25, 2017
Length:320ish pages

Laura Kaye is back with her next installment of the Raven Riders series... the biker gang that is more altruistic than outlaw, using their collective power for good by helping abuse victims. Ride Rough picks up shortly after Ride Hard left off, and I recommend you read the books in order so you have the back story on the characters, MC club and past events.

The heroine of this second installment is Alexa Harmon, who we met briefly in Ride Hard when she showed up at the compound bloody and bruised. Alexa has been in a five year relationship with Grant Slater, a well-known and well-connected real estate developer around town. This relationship was more about safety and security for Alexa than romantic feelings it seems, and things with Grant have taken a downturn as they get closer to their wedding date. I thought Laura Kaye did a good job with detailing Grant's behavior as it escalated toward physically abusive. I liked that Alexa was a mature heroine (not new adult), and that she made her decision to get out and stuck to it. I did have a bit of a problem with the time and transition to a new relationship, but it wasn't a dealbreaker for me.

Maverick Rylan is the Vice-President of the Raven Riders, and he has been carrying a torch for Alexa for a long time. For him, she was the one who got away and it was a decision that he always regretted. Now that she is back on his radar, it is impossible for him to turn off those protective alpha male instincts. I loved Maverick and how he took care of Alexa. He encouraged and cared for her without smothering her... and some of the ways he demonstrated that (like with her cat) were adorable. 

The plot conflicts in this installment were somewhat easily resolved and I would have preferred to see the danger and suspense amped up, particularly when it came to dealing with the Iron Cross gang. But this is a romance, and so the focus was definitely more on the second chance romance between Alexa and Mav, which included her re-integration into the Raven Riders, dealing with Alexa's mother and ending things permanently with Grant Slater. The relationship between the two was rekindled quickly, but I will refrain from calling it instalove as they had a past relationship and feelings already developed. I did like how the two worked together... they were both supportive of the other without being stifling, they had shared interests, and there was a good amount of chemistry and steam. 

I thought the bit about Alexa's mother and her "issue" was quite interesting. I don't think I have read about another character with this particular affliction, and I think that Kaye researched and portrayed it well. I definitely felt Alexa's frustration in dealing with her mom and the living environment. 

I have been enjoying the men of the Raven Riders MC, and I am looking forward to Slider's book next. However, I think my favorite hero of this series is going to be Phoenix so I hope we get to him soon.

Don't miss the bonus novella at the back of this book, Hard Ever After from the Hard Ink series. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Avon.

Raven Riders