REVIEW: Ride (Studs in Spurs) by Cat Johnson
“What happens in Vegas-sometimes follows you home.
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.
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.”
Dear Ms. Johnson,
Usually I’m leery of starting at book 3 but this time it paid off for me since I’m not really into the menage and light bondage featured in the first two books in the “Studs in Spurs” series. What caught my eye about the blurb sent to us was 1) the hero is a PBR bull rider and I think they’re sexy as hell and 2) the heroine is a stripper. I mean she looks to be a real stripper and not just a “this is her first time and she just happens to find the hero immediately” teasing my interest way.
Readers who’ve not read any of the preceding books are still in great shape as this one stands alone, IMO. The heroes of the previous books are mentioned but that’s all and then the action focuses on Chase and Leesa. I like the fact that Chase is a gentleman though he knows his way around strip clubs enough to know the back room rules. Meanwhile, Leesa has worked enough to have routines for birthday boys mapped out with a coworker. But the “only two people in a relationship for me, please” part of me likes that Leesa and Chase feel an immediate connection and how well you convey this from the start. There’s also mention made of how what Leesa does with Chase in that back room can and does affect her. Though it’s not explored further due to the fact that it’s the only time Leesa does this, I still like that you even brought it up.
When Leesa realizes that her life is in danger, she acts quickly, has a ‘somewhat’ plan that she executes yet she’s still not a pro at dodging the mob. Which makes sense and adds to the tension as she maneuvers her way out of danger and into Chase’s life. And Chase’s life seems to be shown as realistic for a young man out on his own and surrounded by his buddies. Yes, they drink and they pick up willing women and are out to have a good time and play jokes on each other. You strike just the right balance for him with me: he’s no Boy Scout but he’s not a Cowboy of Slut either.
Then there’s the hot sexing. Chase is a red blooded male who’s interested in what he can get as often as he can get it from this woman who he’s finding more and more might be The One but he remains the type of gentleman who I like to see as the hero. I also like that he’s the one who is most sure and determined in the relationship rather than being a skittish male the heroine has to pursue. Leesa is also in control of her own sexuality and feels no problems going for what she wants. The back room, hotel room, barn and Chase’s truck get plenty steamed up here.
Their relationship isn’t all about sex though. Chase soon knows that this is a woman he could settle down with and it bothers him that she won’t open up to him. It bothers Leesa that she can’t though there is a good reason, running from the mob, that keeps her quiet. Still, by the time these two settle on looking towards the future, I have a good feeling that they’re going to have a solid base to build a relationship on rather than just being in lust.
One thing that did bother me just a bit is the fact that Leesa is willing to head off with Chase despite the fact that she could be putting his life and then later his family in potential danger. You did put her back to the wall and she does reason that they’re headed to a small Oklahoma town still the niggle is there for me.
I enjoyed reading the book. Chase is a wonderful hero and I think he’s made a good choice in Leesa. The prose is smoothly written, the pacing is good, there aren’t any extraneous subplots mucking up the action and I like the background details seamlessly worked into the story. I hope that you continue the series as there are a few potential heroes I’d love to see find their own special heroine. B