RIDE STEADY by Kristen Ashley
The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.
Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .
Joker and Carissa…
Okay, that’s sat there for three days. So I actually can’t do this!
2. What do you love about writing stories that involve the characters getting a second chance at love?
No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. Even if we’re sure whatever we’re doing is right at the time, life has the power to make things go wrong. And if you feel you’ve failed, if you’ve been burned, if you’ve been in pain, it is very hard to pick yourself up and start again. Or pick yourself up and try again. It takes a great deal of courage to move on from whatever may have happened in life and still reach for happiness. So I like exploring that idea with love not just because I’m a romance novelist but also because I’m a to-the-bone romantic.
3. Do you have a song or playlist that best fits Ride Steady?
Not really, though there’s a song that plays at the end of the epilogue that I think works for that moment for Chaos as a whole but particularly, and finally, after a very long row to hoe, it works for a lot longer than a moment for Carissa and Joker.
4. What scene from Ride Steady was the most fun to write?
The scene nearer to the end when all the girls get together to take Carissa’s back when she makes a not-very-smart decision about exacting revenge. I love, love, love the sisterhood and showing how awesome it is in my books. How it can be hilarious and supportive and enlightening and thoughtful and rich and warm and meaningful all the same time. That scene is a perfect example of all that.
5. Do you have a favorite quote/scene from the book?
Close to the end, Joker with Travis when they’re looking through the magazine. That gets me (happily) in the throat every time I read it.
“Yo!” I heard Snapper call and I looked to him to see he was looking beyond me. I turned around and saw Tabby was heading toward me and Snapper. “I’m takin’ Carissa out on my bike. You wanna look after her purse or put it in Shy’s room or somethin’?”
At his request, Tabby’s gaze immediately cut to the pool tables. When she took them in, for some reason, her face got hard before she softened it and looked back toward us.
“Not a problem,” she said, stopping at us. “Go. Ride.”
“Never been on a bike,” I told her and her face split in a big smile.
“Then go. Ride.” She leaned in to me. “Beware, wind in your hair, moon on your skin, you’ll fall in love.”
I wasn’t sure that was a good thing. I’d fallen in love with something I couldn’t have, and if I fell in love with the wind in my hair and the moon on my skin, without someone to give that to me, I couldn’t have that either.
But to heck with it.
Maybe this would be the only bike ride I’d I’d have in my life.
And maybe the kiss Joker gave me was the only fabulous kiss I’d ever get.
And maybe my dream of having a family or the other dream of getting behind the steel guarding Joker’s eyes was lost to me.
But I was still breathing.
So I’d take what I could get.
Tabby put her hand on my purse, which was lying on the bar. “Got this. Have fun.”
“Thanks,” I whispered.
She winked at me.
I looked to Snapper. “Let’s go.”
“Meet you at the end of the bar, babe.”
“Right!” I chirped, jumped off my stool, threw Tabby a smile, nabbed my jacket that I was sitting on and bounced to the end of the bar.
When I got there, Snapper had pulled on his leather jacket. He grabbed my hand and guided me out the door and to his bike. Then he got on his bike before instructing me on how to do the same.
The bike roared, he backed out on an angle, and we glided over the tarmac of Ride.
He pulled out onto Broadway and I got it.
The wind in my hair.
The moon on my skin.
The leather of his jacket in my nostrils.
The solidness of him under my hands at his waist.
We got close to the onramp of I‑25 and he shouted, “Hold on!”
“Sorry?” I shouted back.
“Hold on!” he yelled, taking one hand off the grip and using it to pull my hand from his waist and around to his stomach.
He put his hand back on the grip and we turned up the ramp, going faster, faster, faster, the wind whipping my hair and biting into my skin. I curved my other arm around him, put my chin to his shoulder, drew in air and leather, and I got it.
That it being why this was the life for a biker.
No encumbrances. You wanted to smoke pot, you smoked it. You wanted to wear a tube top, you wore it. You wanted to drink shots, you drank them. You wanted to make out hot and heavy on a couch in a room filled with people, you did it.
You wanted to live, you lived.
You wanted to be free, you got on your bike and rode in the moonlight.
You did not drink martinis you didn’t like. You did not take a job your mother‑in‑law thought you should have. You did not take guff from your ex, not ever.
You did what you wanted.
You were free.
In all that was happening to me, all that I was feeling, all the disappointment of that night and the bizarre devastation I felt that the first time this happened, me on the back of a bike, I would have preferred it be with Joker . . . right then, for that moment, I let it all go.
I let it go, held on to Snapper and I let myself feel it.
Feel something rare and beautiful and overwhelming.
Feel something I knew for certain I hadn’t felt in my whole life.
Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA. She nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorise and she hadn’t taken her first breath!).
Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana but has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multi-generational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland and existed amongst the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.