Series: Raven Riders #2
Published by Avon on April 25th 2017
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Brotherhood. Club. Family.They live and ride by their own rules.These are the Raven Riders...
Maverick Rylan won’t apologize for who he is—the Raven Riders Motorcycle Club Vice-President, a sought-after custom bike builder, and a man dedicated to protecting those he loves. So when he learns that the only woman who has ever held his heart is in trouble, he’ll move heaven and earth to save her.
Alexa Harmon thought she had it all—the security of a good job, a beautiful home, and a powerful, charming fiancé who offered the life she never had growing up. But when her dream quickly turns into a nightmare, Alexa realizes she’s fallen for a façade she can’t escape—until sexy, dangerous Maverick offers her a way out.
Forced together to keep Alexa safe, their powerful attraction reignites and Maverick determines to do whatever it takes to earn a second chance—one Alexa is tempted to give. But her ex-fiancé isn’t going to let her go without a fight, one that will threaten everything they both hold dear.
My own feelings on the MC type romance are still somewhat nebulous and I’d hoped Laura Kaye’s books would help shed some light on it. As far as I’m concerned, it’s not quite a sub-genre that I can easily get into, even though I’ve always known has to be more than simply a bad boy on a bike in a rough-looking, territorial (but ultimately brotherhood/family-oriented?/very protective) club that functions on its own code of honour.
This particularly story left me undecided still. Apart from the territorial MC spat that the Raven Riders have gotten going, it’s a second-chance story of two people who couldn’t quite see the obvious in front of them when tragedy struck five years ago. But going their separate ways led to certain consequences that affect present-day circumstances, and it’s—predictably—up to Alexa Harmon and Maverick Rylan who, being older and wiser, should know how to right those wrongs together.
‘Ride Rough’ isn’t exactly romantic suspense, though there are some elements of those, along the description of activities that do fall in typically in the grey legal area. Much of the story has to do with the drama of their reconciliation and there are certain triggers to do with abuse here that would resonate with several readers, that much I’m sure. Kaye certainly describes the subtle kind that some women suffer in relationships and the tendency to blame themselves while becoming a doormat in the process in the character of Alexa. This sort of divided the book in 2 where their relationship was concerned: the first half that had an abused woman who blamed herself for her fiancé’s behaviour, to the repetitive, recriminating guilt after leaving him when she didn’t realise how domineering he was especially after he turned ‘evil’. I do prefer my lead female characters a bit less needy though and perhaps this is why Alexa didn’t appeal to me that much as a heroine, despite he trying valiant to rise above her own troubles.
Yet I found myself sorely disappointed when she jumped straight from a controlling abusive fiancé into straight out sex with Maverick who never quite stopped wanting her, since it simply felt like her shame at having made so many mistakes and the resulting gratitude that someone seemed to have given her the kind of self-worth and identity she needed to possess again. After all, wasn’t it only a day ago when Alexa had been trying to rationalise how good she was for her fiancé who could provide what Maverick couldn’t? In fact, it was hard to shake the feeling that Alexa was using Maverick as a rebound—or rather, as an affirmation of her own self-worth—and that he deserved better. Blinded by lust, with the admittance that she is messed up, buying into their relationship was near impossible. Her numerous comparisons of how Maverick’s superiority to grant merely emphasised her own failings and I thought she never quite chose Maverick as clearly as she’d chosen to walk away from him five years ago. The downtrodden, abuse status should garner sympathy from me really, but all I could think of was that the support she received from Mav made him more like a caretaker than an equal.
Obviously, my personal preferences account for the rating of this book. It’s definitely a story and a pairing that others can get into more than I did, and this review is in no way a reflection of bad writing. It isn’t. Only that the plot and characters aren’t quite to my tastes.