Saturday, August 10, 2013

Review of A Little Harmless Ride by Melissa Schroeder

When this Dom falls hard, he will do anything to protect the woman he loves.
Elias St John has lived a life most people wouldn’t believe. An Aussie by birth, he has found his way to the Big Island working as the right hand man to Joe Kaheaku. When his boss dies and leaves the ranch to Eli and Joe’s niece Crysta Miller, Eli finds himself more than a little attracted to her.
After finding her fiancé in bed with another woman and helping her father through his illness, Crysta is ready for a new start. The offer of the ranch far away from home is perfect. The only problem she has is with Eli who constantly tells her what to do. When an argument turns into a passionate kiss, both of them get more than they were expecting.
Eli finds himself completely enthralled with Crysta as his submissive. As seemingly simple accidents turn deadly, Eli realizes that someone is bent on destroying the ranch by any means possible—even murder.


As the ninth book in the Harmless series these characters have become like family.  They care for one another and playfully bet on who will be the next to fall in love.  After forging a path through numerous subs at Rough n' Ready, and remaining enticingly mysterious throughout eight books, sexy Australian Eli has finally met his match.  What starts out as a stipulation of his friend/father figure Joe's will to keep the ranch he calls home, he must teach Joe's niece Crysta how to run a ranch.  At first he sees her as an annoyance to his peace of mind but her strength and gumption soon win him over.  Until now his relationships have always revolved around the club and been of the one-night stand variety, but Crysta has him thinking of something long term if he can just convince her that work and play CAN go together.  His espionage past though has left him not only with scars on his back but deep seated fears of how to keep those he cares about safe.  It leads him to flashes of jealousy and a tendency to be overbearing towards Crysta which shows her how good of a Dom he could be.  Those fears are especially warranted as danger has come to the ranch and left blood in its wake.  The list of culprits is long and no one appears to be safe. Just when it looks like Eli and Crysta have come to an agreement, their lives are put in peril in an action-packed conclusion.

Crysta regrets not visiting her uncle more growing up and vows to do right by him now.  She knows Joe thought of Eli as a son and is determined to fulfill her commitment so Eli can keep the ranch.  Eli is a big temptation but after finding her ex cheating on her she's hesitant to embark on another Dom/Sub relationship.  He slowly and subtly woos her, and no matter how much she tries to keep their relationship all business, she eventually gives in to the sexual excitement he promises.  This leads to scenes that are indeed HOT with strong BDSM elements but aren't too over the top.  Those who enjoy more vanilla encounters will find these scenes immensely satisfying as well as those who enjoy a bit of kink.  The sexual tension is palpable from the start and eventually culminates in some hot and heavy sexual interludes that surprise them both in their intensity.  Though Crysta is smart and strong-willed, and more than capable of taking care of herself, she's more than happy to give control to Eli in the bedroom.  Out of the bedroom she wants equal control and though Eli wants her safely hidden she jumps right into the fray to find out who's harming the ranch and those she loves.

Along with the steamy interludes comes an intriguing mystery where many characters could be the culprit.  Such a long list provides numerous twists and turns and red herrings to keep you guessing until the very end.  The sabotage gets more intense as the story progresses and gets closer to Eli and Crysta ultimately leading to a near death experience that makes them realize how important they are to each other.  This final scene is fast-paced with the reveal of the villain coming almost out of nowhere.  The capture of the villain is rather unsurprising unfortunately as we've seen this particular series of events unfold numerous times before and results in a rather rushed ending that's still satisfying though.

Along with a likable main couple who have entertaining verbal banter and electric sexual tension comes the return of previous characters who bring much appreciated humor to such an intense story at times.  Where Eli was once the man of mystery, we've now been introduced to the sexy Sean who has a secretive and emotionally scarred past that has me dying to know more.  We again get a delectable glimpse of Devon whose flirtatiousness towards Crysta has Eli fuming and me laughing.  These continuing glimpses have me intrigued and longing to see such a stoic and secretive man brought to his knees by love.  The Harmless series still has lots of sexy stories yet to tell and I'm greatly anticipating the next installment to learn more about these hot heroes and the women who love them.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

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