From New York Times Bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes RIDE DIRTY, a new novella in her Raven Riders Series, brought to you by 1,001 Dark Nights!

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Caine McKannon is all about rules. As the Raven Riders Sergeant-at-Arms, he prizes loyalty to his brothers and protection of his club. As a man, he takes pleasure wherever he can get it but allows no one close—because distance is the only way to ensure people can’t hurt you. And he’s had enough pain for a lifetime.

But then he rescues a beautiful woman from an attack.

Kids and school are kindergarten teacher Emma Kerry’s whole life, so she’s stunned to realize she has an enemy—and even more surprised to find a protector in the intimidating man who saved her. Tall, dark, and tattooed, Caine is unlike any man Emma’s ever known, and she’s as uncertain of him as she is attracted. As the danger escalates, Caine is in her house more and more – until one night of passion lands him in her bed.

But breaking the rules comes at a price, forcing Caine to fight dirty to earn a chance at love.

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Caine McKannon would never use ‘hero’ as a word to describe the type of man he is, not with his past, not with his self-perception, and not with how other people, besides his fellow MC brothers, react to his anti-social attitude and broody demeanor. Caine feels unworthy and insignificant because when it really mattered, he couldn’t save someone he should have and he wears those scars like armor…as a means to keep people at a distance to protect himself from being unwanted or deemed not enough to care.

But Caine can’t control how other people view him, so when he saves Emma Kerry from a scary situation and then gives her his time and his company, she goes out of her way to thank him…to express her gratitude because what he’s done for her is above and beyond the call of duty, especially for someone who feels alone since she lost the person who raised her, her grandmother, three years ago.

The instant attraction and strong connection Caine feels towards Emma scares the hell out of him, so much so, that he keeps his walls up and does everything in his power to stick to the rules he’s established for himself, but he didn’t count on Emma being so much more than the sweet and innocent Kindergarten teacher that she depicts herself to be, so when Emma takes a chance and shows Caine just how not innocent she can be, Caine has to decide if he’s willing to dirty up his life and go against his entire way of living in order to be with the woman who truly sees him for him and more than enjoys his company and their time together.

I wasn’t too sure what to make of Caine based on his interaction with his Rough Rider brothers in the previous books in the series. What was clear was that he enforced the rules of the club, kept everyone safe, and punished those who crossed the Rough Riders. But beyond that, I really couldn’t get a handle on his personality or why he was the kind of man who stayed at a distance, preferring to keep himself isolated than be a part of a big group.

With Ride Dirty, I was able to understand Caine more and his reasons for standing apart from everyone else. His unhealed wounds from his past make him feel abnormal…make him feel insignificant, which is not true at all, but no one has been able to get Caine to understand and accept that until Emma.

I loved how Emma treated Caine right from the start even though she was a bit scared of him due to the way he portrayed himself, but she quickly saw through the wall he had built and did her best to tear it down piece-by-piece as she accepted him for who he was and went out of her way to show him that she cared for him and desperately wanted him in her life.

Emma and Caine may be opposites when it comes to their personalities, but as the saying goes, opposites definitely do attract, and Laura Kaye makes it known at the beginning of their story that there is something different about how Caine feels about Emma, and while that scares him, he would be crazy not to see what’s there between them and even though he has to be talked into a bit, he finds himself desperate for Emma and the light she provides his darkened life.

I do have to say that I didn’t really understand the antagonist and his role in Caine and Emma’s story; don’t get me wrong, I know that each book in the Rough Riders series comes with danger and even angst, but this time around, I didn’t find it necessary, and it didn’t make sense to me because it didn’t feel flushed out even once it was seemingly resolved.

But regardless of my disinterest of the added conflict, I liked Caine and Emma’s story and I felt like Laura Kaye allowed readers to get to know one of the members of the MC that we wouldn’t ordinarily have, which made his and Emma’s book unique and enjoyable.

4 Poison Apples

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“What do I do?” Emma asked.

We,” Caine said as an urgent, demanding possessiveness dug its claws into his soul. Dug them in, deep.

And it was, without question, something he’d never felt before in his whole life. When you felt as unworthy as he did, you rarely believed that you deserved to possess anything at all. But now, in the face of her vulnerability, Caine dared to hope that he might deserve…what? Not her, exactly, because after being viewed as no more than a possession by the couple that ran his group home, the idea of possessing another person made his stomach roll. But maybe the chance to get to know her, at the very least. And maybe even the chance to give her the things he’d always wanted but never been able to have.

Jesus, even daring to hope for such things made him feel like the bottom might fall right out from underneath of him. And when that happened, he’d just fall and fall and fall…

But if she was going to be brave, he sure the fuck would, too. “We’ll figure this out, Emma. Do you hear me? You’re not in this alone.” His voice sounded like it’d been scoured with sandpaper.

She peered up at him, and her bottom lip trembled a little more. “Promise?”

“Jesus, come here,” he rasped, hauling her in against his chest. He held her tight with one arm and stroked her hair back with the other. And Christ, she felt so good there. So warm and soft against all his cold hardness. So right. These thoughts were so foreign to him he hardly knew what to do with them, but that didn’t make them any less true. He had to swallow around a knot of emotion before he could go on, but when he finally did, his voice was rock solid again. “I give you my word, Emma.”

He made one more promise, too, but this one he kept to himself. Once, he’d failed to protect someone he should’ve. Worse than that, her death had been his fault.

Caine vowed to himself—he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.

This time, he’d rather die first.

About Laura Kaye

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Raven Riders, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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