Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ride - Cat Johnson

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Ride
What happens in Vegas…sometimes follows you home.
Studs in Spurs, Book 3
Pro bull rider Chase Reese knew things move faster than an eight-second ride in Las Vegas. He just never expected to be driving home with a national championship under his belt and a wedding band on his left hand with no clue how it got there.
Yet he can’t complain about the stripper bride beside him. From the moment his buddies bought him a lap dance from her, her trembles told him there was more to her than stiletto heels.
Leesa Santiago has met the perfect guy. Her timing couldn’t be worse though. If it was just their explosive sex, she could walk away. But from the moment her lap dance brought her this close to his baby blues, she was hooked. She can’t lie that she couldn’t be happier to bear his name—or guiltier that she’s using it and his Oklahoma farm to hide out from mob hit men.
That’s before Chase’s family gets involved. And his determination to do the right thing pushes her to do the one thing that will keep him safe. Break his heart.
Do cowboy boots mix with stripper heels? And can a love that started out on the wrong foot end up on the right one? That’s the risk you take waking up in Vegas.
Warning: Contains one happy-ending lap dance that will make you squirm, some pretty hot sex between two strangers who also happen to be married to each other, and a huge surprise conclusion.

A review for
Ride
Ride started out strong but burnt out a bit in the end. It is totally worth reading for the sweet and sexy young  professional bull rider Chase Reece. I adore Chase; having followed Chase since book one in Studs in Spurs, I couldn’t wait to read his HEA. One of my favorite Chase moments was when he hit on Slade’s Jenna in “Unridden”. We follow Chase – who first seems the star-struck younger bull rider – as he comes into his own skin and mighty fine skin that is. But the thing about Chase that got me most is he's not the typical Alpha hero. He's a tad shy and a bit awkward around women, has good manners, and that innocent sweet charm - yes, definitely his “yes ma’am” in that sexy southern drawl is toe-curling. But be warned, there’s nothing too innocent about Chase in this book. Good-bye innocence and hello Leesa.

Leesa was a worthy heroine for him. He’s sweeter than the other heroes in Stud in Spurs – he needed just the right woman.  Leesa fits the bill. She’s an intriguing character, a Vegas stripper who doesn’t quite fit that stereotype - she's shy and unsure of her sexuality but the job pays her bills. Their personalities allow them to meet in an unlikely scenario. Getting married right up front is quite a way to start the book out with a shocker! And the sexual tension between Leesa and Chase is off the charts hot (still in that toe-curling sweet southern way Chase has).

When Chase decides to bring her home to Oklahoma with him so his uncle ( a lawyer) can straighten everything out for them, it gives them time to get acquainted and serves to keep Leesa away from people she’s hiding from.  But most importantly, it gives them a chance to fall in love. *sigh* The more time they spend together, the more they wish they could stay married. Now if they could only be honest with each other?! Things all come to head towards the end of the book. But that’s where everything seems to go into fast-forward, the book ending too soon. There were moments I needed to know more about and the story felt rushed. I could definitely have used more time with Chase… oh yea, and Leesa too.

I love Cat Johnson’s writing, her original characters in stories that are never boring. Johnson infuses a sense of warmth – of family – in her stories even while she weaves in the get-down-and-dirty rodeo loving. There is a common thread of light humor and happiness in her books and Ride is no exception. Grab the book – it’ll take you for a ride. It’s a wild one. You might want to buckle up!


An excerpt from
Ride
For the second time in two days, Chase woke and had to pause a moment to take inventory. He hated waking up feeling like this. Wondering things like where was he? Why did his mouth taste like stale beer and pepperoni? What happened last night? More importantly, who was this warm body pressed up against him?Holy crap! Eyes fully open and brain wide awake now, Chase glanced down at the woman by his side. It didn’t take long for him to recognize the fall of long brown hair splayed across his chest. He breathed a sigh of relief.
Leesa. It all came rushing back to him.He hadn’t drunk that much last night. At least he didn’t think so. He remembered he hadn’t wanted to get too drunk in front of her. If things had gone anywhere with her, he wanted to be in top shape. More than that, he didn’t trust the other guys around her if he passed out.Chase had fallen asleep in his jeans and shirt, but he didn’t think he’d passed out from alcohol, just from exhaustion since he hadn’t been totally recovered from the night before. There was the memory of Garret and Skeeter, pretty inebriated themselves, busting through the door, demanding the last two pieces of pizza and then not leaving until Chase did a shot of bourbon with them. Or was it more like two or three shots?Those two had talked Leesa’s ear off about the competition and how great they’d both ridden, ninety percent of which were exaggerations. She’d listened politely and then even laughed when Skeeter sang the song that had gotten him his nickname.Leesa had drank the two beers he’d brought her. Then Garret had handed her another cup when he came in for the pizza. That might have had bourbon and coke though, instead of beer in it.Damn. Chase should have paid closer attention to what he’d given her. Garret could have made it super strong for all Chase knew. He glanced at the sleeping figure next to him. No wonder she still slept so soundly. Poor thing.After Garret and Skeeter’s intrusion, once he’d finally convinced them to leave, they’d turned on the television for a bit. Leesa had looked tired and had drunk too much for him to let her leave, not that she was trying to go anywhere. She seemed perfectly content to sit in the room with him. Then what? He supposed they’d fallen asleep right there on the bed. The television was off now. Had he turned it off last night? Had she? He didn’t remember.He really had to quit drinking, because he was pretty tired of piecing together the night before the next morning. All he was sure of now was that there hadn’t been any more than those two kisses right before the pizza came. If there had been more, he would remember it without a doubt.Leesa still breathed with the steady, deep rhythm of sleep. Not wanting to disturb her, he slipped his body out from beneath her. She let out a little moan and rolled over, snuggling into the pillow. He regretted getting out of bed more than he could have imagined, but nature called. Maybe he could slip back into bed when he was done without waking her. That was a really nice idea.He touched his head. Not so bad. No headache. No hangover. Yeah, he was tired and a little groggy, but that could be the early hour. Judging by the grey light filtering through the curtains, the sun had barely risen. Then again, this was Las Vegas. That glow coming through the window could be caused by neon, not nature.Chase shook his head as he stumbled toward the bathroom. He’d be happy to get back to his family’s farm. This life was exciting. Travel. A different city every week. But he’d be happy to have his mama’s home cooking every day, and be able to cleanse his system of all the junk food and alcohol he’d indulged in lately. He’d work out daily at home and come back next season leaner and meaner and ready to win.That resolution made, Chase took care of what he had to in the bathroom, including a quick shower. He decided it was best to be clean in case Leesa woke up feeling amorous. You never know, and it didn’t hurt to be prepared.After brushing his teeth, Chase eased open the bathroom door.She was still asleep. Good. He could creep back into bed and she’d never know he was gone. Even if they hadn’t had sex, he still liked waking up next to her. It felt nice.With one of the hotel’s white towels wrapped around his waist, Chase tiptoed into the room. They’d fallen asleep last night with the lights on, so he’d have no problem finding a pair of shorts in the clean clothes piled in his duffle bag. He would put those on instead of getting back into his jeans. Might as well be comfortable, and as far as access in case Leesa was a morning person, shorts were far better than jeans. Hell, a man could dream, couldn’t he?Chase found a pair of boxer shorts, but decided that was too intimate. He had a feeling she might not like waking up to find him in underwear in bed with her. It would make him seem damn presumptuous. In spite of the fact they’d done stuff together at the club, he wasn’t about to assume anything because of it.She was different here, off work. Besides, the strip club and that lap dance had been part of her job. Chase didn’t want to be a job. He wanted her to like him, to want him, to be with him because she wanted to, not because someone paid her to.He dug farther into the jumbled heap, looking for a pair of his workout shorts to wear. Unfortunately, with home just a day away, most of his clothes were dirty. He’d gotten lazy and figured he could bring his laundry there and wash it more easily than locate a laundromat.This was Vegas. There were far better ways to spend his time than to sit and watch his clothes spin in circles. One such way was snoring lightly in his bed. That thought made him smile, and he dug with more enthusiasm than before. Hell, if he had to, he’d grab a pair of Garret’s shorts. The guy had more clothes than most girls.Chase turned toward Garret’s side of the room intent on pilfering some shorts when something shiny caught his eye. On the dresser, right in front of the mirror and below the lamp sat two gold rings.“What the hell?” Chase moved closer and picked one up, then the second. One was tiny, the other large enough to fit on his finger. Then he spied the pieces of paper lying beneath the rings. He picked up the smaller one. It was a receipt for one wedding ceremony and two gold bands, paid for in cash with yesterday’s date.Swallowing hard, Chase picked up the larger, more decorative piece of paper. Across the top, in fancy printing was written Certificate of Marriage. Below that, under the word groom was—holy crap—his name printed in block letters. 
 More info including other books in the series at http://samhainpublishing.com/authors/cat-johnson
Or through her website at www.catjohnson.net.



RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries 
This book was given to us by the author in exchange for a fair review. Many thanks.
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