Ride is book one in J.C. Emery’s Bayonet Scars series. This is a story about an overprotected and sheltered mafia Principessa thrust from the dangerous world of Mafioso politics to another one full of bad-ass bikers. Further, it is also the tale of a sexy as hell biker who takes douchebaggery to epic proportions. This author spins a very unique plot mixing the two very different worlds of the mafia and motorcycle clubs. The two worlds may be vastly different; however, the peril that comes with the life is the same. How will our mafia Principessa fair with the dirty, dark and daring bikers?
Nineteen year old Alexandra Mancuso has been prepared for one role her entire life. She has been groomed to be the wife of a mobster. As the daughter of the most powerful mafia crime boss in New Jersey, Alex has her entire future mapped out for her. Despite the fact that she has been shielded from most of her father’s nefarious business transactions, she has never been given a choice in matters concerning her life nor has she ever been able to do what she wants. Her father rules with a violent fist and there is no crossing him. Family or not, Alex knows exactly what happens to those who go up against her father. Therefore, Alex knows how to keep up the façade, she comprehends obedience and she understands that she must keep her mouth shut and turn the other way. When Alex is out with the man her father is wanting her to marry one evening, matters take a turn for the dark and violent and Alex gets caught up in a situation that has her making the wrong choice. One incident changes the course of Alex’s life. One incident cuts her off from the only life she has ever known.
Ryan Stone has grown up around the Forsaken Motorcycle Club. Given the fact that his father is now the president of the club, Ryan has not really known any other type of life and his patch as part of the Forsaken MC means everything to him. When the club gets the call to rescue a mafia Principessa who now finds herself in a terrifying predicament, he heads out with his biker family. Their job is to collect her, bring her back to California and keep her safe. It all seems kosher until Ryan gets his fist look at who they are called to protect. He never expected the girl to be absolutely beautiful and he definitely did not expect that he would have such a hard time staying away from someone who could cost him everything.
Alex finds herself taken from the only world she has ever known and plunged into a life she would never have imagined for herself. This rough and gritty biker world is all new to Alex, but she finally feels safe for once in her life. Perhaps this feeling of security has to do with the intense biker who she can’t help but be intrigued by. Both Ryan and Alex know that they must keep their distance but it is hard to deny their strong attraction. To make matters worse, Ryan is confusing Alex with his hot and cold demeanor. Ryan has been warned to stay away from Alex and must constantly fight the strong urge to pursue Alex like a raging bull on steroids. As Alex and Ryan are forced to spend more time together, the emotions and lust they have both been suppressing come to a head and the explosions are ignited. When Alex’s past comes back to tie up the loose end, can Ryan be the one to save her or is he too distracted by all his conflicting emotions?
“You deserve happily ever after,” I say, for no other reason than I’m a fucking moron.
She clutches the blankets to her chest and hisses, “I don’t want happily ever after. I want fucked up and mean.”
“And this is a promise of protection. I’ll protect your heart because I love you.”
I will admit that I disliked Ryan pretty much for the entirety of the novel. Ryan took assholery to absolutely epic proportions. He was not a hero. He was not a shining white knight. And, he definitely was no romantic champion hoping to win the hand of his lady. What you get with Ryan is a young man (and ladies....you do have to realize that Ryan is in his early twenties and therefore being a bastard and dumbass is all part of the equation) who is struggling for perhaps the first time in his life with deep feelings he has no idea what to do with. Do I condone his actions? Hell no. With this being said, I do understand him and this allowed me to look past the fact that I wanted to feed him his own penis for how he treated Alex. I know that there are those readers that will be unable to look past how callous Ryan is. For me, I simply saw him has a conflicted young man very much controlled by his lust-filled hormones. For the first time in his life something he desperately wants is what can make him lose his family and his patch. It is not an easy situation to be in.
Alex at times did grate on my nerves as well especially with her constant state of tears. I could not come to grips with why she allowed herself to be treated like crap by Ryan. But, like Ryan, Alex is young. She really has no life experience being that she lived such a sheltered existence with her father at the reigns. Alex may have endured more in her young life than most, but that does not mean that she could hold her own against someone like Ryan. With all this being said, I really loved the fact that Alex grew up a lot throughout the book. She came into the Forsaken Biker world very much a naïve girl. As time went on, we see her grow a backbone and have the courage to go after what she wanted.
All and all, Ride is a well-executed book that gives us the big, bad and raw biker world with a twist. I love how J.C. Emery merged two very intriguing underground societies with a fast-paced and edge-of –your-seat plot. For me, I think this author truly shined in her development of Ryan and Alex’s individual characters. Yes, we do get a romance; however, what made this a great read was the fact that we see both Alex and Ryan go through this emotional journey that at times was hard to take but in the end it brought them to each other. This book does end in a happily ever after for Ryan and Alex but the story line itself involving the mobsters and the bikers will continue. My understanding is that we will see more of Alex and Ryan in the second book in this series although it is about a different couple. Whatever Ms. Emery has in store, I will be reading it. There are so many possible directions in which this can all go and I am signing up for the ride.
You can read my full review at Sinfully Sexy as part of the Ride tour.
***An advanced reading copy of Ride was provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.