Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox
Publisher: Loveswept on February 13, 2012
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (Adult)
When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.
Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.
Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Lexie Marshall’s luck in finding a riding companion is about as good as her luck with men in general. Twice engaged and now single, she’s determined to bike the TransAmerica Trail, and she thinks she’s finally found another cyclist to join her. But the Tom she’s been talking to online turns out to be his sister, and he’s none too pleased to find that “Alex,” the buddy he didn’t want in the first place for the trip, is worse than he expected — a woman. Now they’re stuck together, two strangers who couldn’t be more different from each other, on a trek across the country. But you know what they say about opposites…
I really didn’t know what to expect from this story. I’d seen enough decent reviews to think it might entertain me, but at the same time, I couldn’t imagine getting into a story that centered around bike riding. I mean, we all know how I feel about torture exercise. It was, however, a pretty pleasant surprise.
Tom was kind of an ass, not necessarily cruel, but certainly insensitive and gruff. Oddly enough, that’s one of the first things I liked about the book. Instead of the usual jerk that the girl falls in love with, he seemed a hell of a lot more real. I mean, how many stories have we read that had some guy trampling all over some chick’s feelings, only to later turn out to be some squishy marshmallow who was just being a jerk because he needs to uphold an image or impress someone not at all important or not let anyone see that he has a good side? Nope, Tom was not that guy. He was a semi-hermit who was eaten up by guilt about something — and not the usual guilt, either. He knew his actions, however noble, had destroyed a lot of people’s lives, and he had a hard time facing society and himself.
Lexie was pretty cool, too. She was a bit of a control freak but super-friendly, and while there was all kinds of tension between her and Tom, she didn’t pick some bratty way to fire back at him. She tried to be funny and get him to open up a little, and she stood up to him when he needed to be taken down a peg. Normally the girl in a romance novel makes me cringe a few times with juvenile antics or all around girliness, but Lexie seemed more like someone I could know in real life, who might have bad luck with men but still look at the world like it had something good to offer, who enjoyed a sport but was more than a cyclist.
And the whole riding bicycles thing? Genius. Many romance novels find a way to throw two characters together, whether they’re forced to work together or stranded in some mountain cabin during a blizzard, but Ride with Me took a more original approach. Sure, their predicament was manipulated by Tom’s sister and Lexie’s reluctance to admit her gender during her online search for a trip companion, but they made the decision to see it through, and any further interaction was choice or fate or just dumb luck, as opposed to some third party pushing them even closer together. It was a nice change, and it made for much better reading.
All in all, Ride with Me was a damned good read, complete with a few funny moments, lots of sexual tension leading up to some pretty hot encounters, and some awkward and sweet moments, and the set-up, characters, and chemistry made this freebie something I’d have gladly paid for. Only after finishing the book did I figure out the author is a.k.a. Robin York, author of some of my favorite books of all time. Yep, that explains it!