Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox

Why I read it:  I’ve had this one on my TBR for ages and I finally decided to open it.   I think when I bought it I was a bit worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype.  All my Twitter friends were saying how good it was.  I think the hype was right as it turns out.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads) 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?

What worked for me (and what didn’t): I loved that this book was a straight out contemporary romance.  There were no serial killers, stalkers, explosions or terrorists.  There was just two people stuck together for months, getting to know one another, falling in love and working things out.  Oh joy!

My favourite stories are when the h/h spend loads of time together.  Their relationship is what I want to see (I’m the same with movies – this is the main reason why I HATED Sleepless in Seattle with the passion of a thousand fiery suns).  Tom and Lexie join up very early in the book and they are together for almost all of it.

Tom’s sister Taryn sets Tom up to ride with Lexie because she doesn’t want him to be alone on the road for thousands of miles.

“Please, Tom. You can’t ride your bicycle across the country alone. It’s insane. You’ll end up being slaughtered by a serial killer.”

“Taryn, I’m thirty-five, single, tattooed, and antisocial. I’m the serial killer.”
The writing is slick and fun and sexy and funny and easy to read.  Lexie’s character had me laughing quite a few times at her various descriptions of Tom – Angry Tom, Sexy Tom, etc, but more, she was smart and capable and not looking for a man to fix her.  In fact, it’s Tom who needs fixing. Having removed himself from most of society some years earlier, he’s taciturn and morose but spending time with Lexie makes him realise that he deserves a better life than that.  And, it’s only because he’s forced to spend that time with Lexie (he’d have much preferred to run away from her and the feelings she evokes) that he comes to these conclusions.
I enjoyed how Tom decided to teach Lexie how to be more spontaneous and enjoy the journey more and I liked how Lexie called him on it later – (“Am I a project too?”) and ovaried up and told him the truth.  I liked how they didn’t jump into bed together immediately, but took time to get to know each other a bit before acting on their attraction.  Because they spent just about every day for three months or so together in very close quarters, I believed the HEA completely – that kind of close quarters sorts the wheat from the chaff very effectively.  I reckon if Lexie and Tom could survive in a little tent for that long, they’ll be fine.
The book left me with a big smile on my face and I think I made that good book noise that Sarah from Smart Bitches talks about.
Favourite Quote that made me wheeze/laugh:  

Lexie had a hard time getting the Death Sauce out of the bottle, and in the end she had to hand her chip to Tom and make him hold it while she whacked the glass with the heel of her hand. The result was a larger-than-strictly-necessary glob of hot sauce on the chip, but she forged ahead. Surely an extra eighth of a teaspoon wasn’t going to decide her fate. Tom fed the chip directly into her mouth, his dark eyes positively dancing with amusement. 

As soon as the sauce hit her tongue, her taste buds dropped dead. You’d think that would be a good thing, but it didn’t make any difference, because on their way out those taste buds had rung the alarm, and now every nerve ending in her body was positively writhing in pain. Somewhere in the vicinity of her brain stem, a siren was going off so loudly she thought it might deafen her. Tears streaked down her face as she flapped her arms up and down helplessly like a giant flightless bird. Nose running, mouth full of napalm, she looked over at Tom. He was watching her closely, and his hand covered the bottom half of his face in a completely vain effort to conceal how very entertaining he found her predicament. 

And she still hadn’t managed to start chewing. 

All of her senses now pulled it together to deliver one urgent message: Spit it out spit it out spit it out spit it out! 

No way was she spitting it out.

Grade:  B+

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