(Raven Riders #1)
by Laura Kaye
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Brotherhood. Club. Family.
They live and ride by their own rules.
These are the Raven Riders . . .
Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.
Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.
The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .
I had no idea that this was a spin-off from another series until I finished the book. Which explains why we spent so much time learning about a tattoo parlor and the people who worked there when the story was about a motorcycle club. Apparently the original series covered the tattoo parlor. However, aside from my curiosity on why the author put so much stock in the tattoo people, I never really felt left out. Mainly because she pretty much catches you up on all the characters. So, I could see fans of the Hard Ink series really loving the fact that some (maybe all) of the characters from that series make an appearance in this one.
One thing that I liked about Ride Hard is that the MC isn’t your usual bad-ass outlaw club. These guys work as security details and do all they can to protect those who can’t protect themselves. Which is why when an associate comes across a couple girls imprisoned in a gang’s basement, the Raven Riders take them in and give them sanctuary. They had no idea when they took in the two women that there was a massive reward out for their return. Which is why the gang had them in the first place, to get the reward money. With the reward hanging over their head, the Raven Rider’s need to come up with a plan fast to keep the women safe and hide them from the men who seek to get them back. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I can be down for a little illegal MC romance but it’s rare when the club is actually set out to do good for others. I loved that these guys cared so much for others but were able to flip a switch and do what they had to do in order to keep both their charges and their club members safe. Even if it meant doing some illegal things.
The romance revolves around the Raven Rider’s president, Dare, and Haven, the girl with the price on her head. Due to Haven’s horrible upbringing as a possession owned by her father, a man who knows a thing or two… or fifty about illegal dealings, she’s very skittish at the beginning of the book. She hides away in her room when people are at the clubhouse. She has trouble sleeping and therefor is always in the kitchen baking while everyone else is asleep. She was just this skittish cat that was so afraid of gaining attention or being noticed that it was really sad to realize she’d lived like that all her life. However, one thing that I loved about her story was that you saw her start to overcome it as she spent some time at the club. She realized not everyone is like her father and his men. Even though the club members looked dangerous, they were huge softies and would do whatever they could to protect others. It was great getting to see her gain confidence and become more independent and assertive as the story progressed.
Dare was also an interesting and noble character. Due to his past, he has taken it upon himself to help out those in need. Even though he’s attracted to Haven, he can see how afraid she is by everything and knows that she’s been abused. Not wanting to scare her, he tries to remain cordial and professional towards her. However, he notices that while she shies away from the other club members, she responds to him and seems to be a little comfortable with him over time. Which of course makes it that much harder for him to keep his distance. Not to mention, when he realizes that they will have to get the girls a new identity and send them away to a new place in order to hide them from her father, he knows a relationship is not in the cards for them and thus tries to reign in his feelings for her. I really enjoyed Dare’s character and the fact that he wasn’t your typical MC guy that took what he wanted and didn’t apologize for anything. Dare was really a great guy just trying to help out others less fortunate.
Even though I haven’t read the original series to this, I really enjoyed it. I thought the author did an amazing job catching new readers up to speed without feeling like you were getting an info-dump thrown in your lap. I also liked that she didn’t write your typical MC romance. At no point did I feel like I was reading a Sons of Anarchy remake. Not that there’s anything bad with that, sometimes I enjoy it. However, the author did her own thing with this and created unique characters that were unlike the majority MC romances out there. I’ve already added the next book onto my list and plan to read it soon.
“Just try to remember that those who’ve seen the most ugliness are also most able to recognize beauty. It comes down to trusting yourself as much as other people.”