Title: Ride Along (A States of Love Story)
Author: Meghan Maslow
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 122 Pages
At a Glance: I dug this one for sure! A quick, enjoyable read that I would absolutely recommend.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Drew Nolan is a loud-and-proud mystery writer with a brutal case of writer’s block. He needs practical experience with the Baltimore police beat to get his latest manuscript to his publisher on time. When he wins a ride-along at a writer’s conference, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot… until he meets his partner.
Closeted cop Josh de Oliveira lost his family, his partner, and the respect of his unit—all for doing the right thing. Recently busted back down to patrol, he’s relieved to get a cushy assignment at the Author’s Police Institute where he’ll take one lucky writer on a ride-along. Unfortunately, his author looks like he belongs in the backseat of Josh’s squad car—long, ginger dreadlocks, piercings, and an “I would bottom you so hard” T-shirt. But there’s something about Drew Josh is having a hard time resisting.
It’s going to be a long night and one hell of a ride as opposites attract and realize they share a lot in common beneath the surface. As animosity becomes desire, they realize they can help each other out—in more ways than one.
Review: Full disclosure right up front…I’m not even gonna lie. I picked this one up because of the cover. What? Did you see that guy? That cover is smokin’ hot. Ok, I also thought the blurb was good, and I’ve been really enjoying the States of Love series. So, my reasons were maybe not all that shallow. But, the cover definitely didn’t hurt. 😉 Ride Along was the first story I’ve read by Meghan Maslow (I believe it’s only her second published story, the first being a short story in a Dreamspinner anthology from last year), and I was very impressed! I thoroughly enjoyed Drew and Josh’s story.
That’s Josh on the cover. Did I mention the cover? *snicker* Okayyyy, I’m done. Seriously, though, I adored both Drew and Josh. The story is told in alternating POVs, beginning with Drew, a fabulous ginger-dreadlocked mystery writer who is attending a writer’s conference, hoping to brush up on his police procedurals. The conference is given by the local police institute, and one of the most coveted prizes is a spot on a ride along with an officer. Drew wins a ride along, but there’s just one problem. He’s assigned to Officer J. de Oliviera, who, though ridiculously attractive, was pretty much openly hostile to Drew when he tried to ask him a question during the conference. Not at all a winning first impression.
Thankfully, that initial impression doesn’t seem to be all there is to Josh, or Joao, as Drew learns is his given name. During the ride along, Drew sees a completely different side of Josh. He was no longer the uptight, angry cop he’d seen all day at the conference. Drew witnesses the officer jump out of his car to help a drag queen–who turns out to be his uncle–cross the street, and stop to give some kids pointers on their martial arts moves. This man loved people, loved his city, and, in that moment, even seemed to love his job. There was clearly still a lot of anger and bitterness simmering underneath, but at least Drew now knew he was a person worth getting to know.
We learn that Josh is battling bullying and animosity from a group of his fellow officers, due to the fact that he is responsible for putting his ex-partner, who was also his ex-lover, in jail. He was also demoted from detective down to patrol, and is now estranged from his family because of the same situation. I felt terrible for Josh. He was amazing. I loved his Brazilian heritage, and everything he stood for. His family shutting him out was absolutely their loss. Because of everything that happened, though, Josh was truly alone for the most part. And, while Josh may not have immediately been ready to embrace it, though he definitely couldn’t fight the attraction, Drew couldn’t have come along at a better time.
Drew was also a wonderful character. I loved that he was an author. And, that he had won an Edgar for his very first novel. With that, however, comes pressure to perform again. Which pretty much guarantees some kind of issue with your next book–which, for Drew, came in the form of some heavy-duty writer’s block. As Drew and Josh get to know each other better, both during the ride along, and then after, they have a couple of disagreements over the fact that Josh is closeted at work, and Drew refuses to be anyone’s secret. He’s gone down that road before, and it ended very badly for him. Thus we have one of the main conflicts that needs resolving.
I loved the idea behind this story. I thought it was so interesting; I even had to go do a little research to see if there was such a thing as “Authors Police Institute of Maryland,” as it’s called in the book. There is a Writers’ Police Academy conference in Wisconsin, which is basically the same thing. How cool is it that they do that? I also thought Maslow did a really nice job with her character development, and with the romance. With as many books as I read, I’ll be honest, the sex scenes all tend to blend together. But, Drew and Josh were super steamy together, and the scenes were very well-written.
As I’ve said before, I’ve really been loving Dreamspinner’s States of Love series, and Ride Along was a great addition. In the first half of the book, there were some instances of telling rather than showing, and maybe less of a polished feel, but in the second half Maslow really seemed to hit her stride. The book absolutely got better as it went along; it had a really nice flow in the latter portion. I dug this one for sure! A quick, enjoyable read that I would absolutely recommend.
You can buy Ride Along here: