I found another great romance novel!
Ride With Me, by Ruthie Knox
This one comes via a flattering Smart Bitches review–basically, SB Sarah, whose reading taste is similar to my own, liked just about everything about this book except for the rushed ending. I’d pretty much concur except I think I liked it even more (she gave it a grade of B; I’ve give it a solid A). Also I knew to expect a rushed ending, so at least it didn’t blindside me.
The premise is that Lexie, the heroine, wants to bike the TransAmerica trail from the west coast to the east coast, but for safety reasons she needs someone to ride with her. She advertises for a riding buddy without mentioning she’s a woman. She gets Tom who, unbeknownst to her, didn’t want a riding buddy at all but got roped into it by his sister who didn’t want him riding alone either.
Tom is pissed off about the whole situation–he was looking forward to months of touring solo–yet he’s too protective to abandon a woman to bike alone across the whole country, so he sticks with her. He’s just a complete grump about it.
I’m completely indifferent to biking. I couldn’t care less about the TransAmerica trail. But the author sold me on it. I’m certainly not going to pick up a touring bike and try it myself, but I ended up really enjoying the vicarious experience of following the trail with Tom and Lexie. Somehow the author picked just the right amount of detail to share about the trip to make it interesting, and never so much that it got dull.
And oh boy, you wouldn’t think a book about biking cross country would get super hot, but it does. The alternate title to this book should be How to Write Sex 101, because normally I think the sex scenes in romance novels are just tiresome and I skim past them, but these were worth reading, and there are a lot of them. They’re not overwritten, there are no embarrassing euphemisms, the sexual tension is scorching–they just work. I read the book the first time just for fun. Now I’m reading it a second time to analyze the craft.
This appears to be a debut release, which surprised me because for a book this well-constructed, I expected to find a long author back-list (which I was prepared to buy). But there isn’t one. So I’ll have to be content with waiting for the author’s next book.