07 March 2015

Ride: In Between the Covers (Carolina Bad Boys #2.5) by Rie Warren

 College man Jase Everly has bad boy written all over him. Rides a motorcycle? Check. Has tats? You bet. Couldn't give a shit about rules? He's all over that.

When he's cut off from the oil baron family funds, he finds a new way to support his education, his bike habit, his bad habits. And his business venture is nothing he's proud of.

Top-notch student Avery Greene is a good girl. Deans List, never missed a class, straitlaced material. She's on the college fast track until one night and one jock destroy her life. She hides inside her sweaters. She buries her nose in her books.

She ignores the pain inside her, and she's sure she hates Jase from the moment she lays eyes on him.

The problem is—Avery needs someplace to stay, and Jase wants a roommate. They’re enemies at first sight. Now they’re going to live together.

Roomies? Maybe.
Romance? Never.

That’s what she said.

Please note: This story includes a discussion of rape. This painful conversation is necessary for the growth of the couple's relationship.
I LOVED IT!!!! If you read and enjoyed Stone: At Your Service, then you’ll be pleased to know that Ride: In Between the Covers is the new adult novel featured as Leelee Songchild’s book. When that fact finally clicked for me, I couldn’t wait to read it. Even though Ride didn’t feature the cast of characters I’ve come to know and love from Stone and Nicky’s lives, it was a treat to read because Jase and Avery would fit right in with that crew.

On paper, Jase and Avery do not fit. He’s a trust-fund baby who’s also the tattooed bad boy. She’s a scholarship student who is all about studying and keeping her head down. The only thing they have in common is that neither is looking for love. And an address because Avery needs a place to live that is not the dorms and Jase needs a roommate. Despite their initial animosity towards one another, they become friends. Their banter, baiting, and flirting was always entertaining for me and frequently had me grinning like a loon. As their relationship evolves, the sexual tension is ramped up quite a bit. But because of his secret (and no, I won’t tell you what it is), Jase refuses to cross that final line with Avery. While it’s sweet that he wants to protect her from the worst parts of himself, I could empathize with Avery’s sexual frustration because she wasn’t the only one seduced by Jase’s dirty mouth. Jase’s continued refusal to have sex with her just causes Avery’s self-doubt to worsen as she fears that it’s because she told him about her rape. When things finally align and they find themselves in bed together, well Jase learns that you really do have to watch out for the quiet ones.

Despite Ride being a novella, Ms. Warren avoided the insta-love trap and allowed Jase and Avery to fall in love gradually. She does this in part by clearly indicating breaks in time (e.g., two weeks later, a month later, etc.) and by writing the book from both Jase and Avery’s points of view. By being privy to their thoughts, I could see when their feelings for one another began to change. That they began the story with a seeming hate-on for one another doesn’t hurt either. While I expect that some will complain that Avery forgave Jase too quickly when she found out about his big secret, I felt it was consistent with the genre, the novella format, and the couple. Jase and Avery talk to one another instead of at one another, and they actually listen to each other so Avery didn’t just hear Jase’s explanation, she felt his pain and his truth. This just made the relationship that much more believable for me and the book that much more enjoyable. Yet another book in the Carolina Bad Boys series has made it to my reread list. Makes me want to jump right into Steele: Into Your Heart, but alas, I cannot. At least anticipation is a good thing.
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