Liv never expected to rekindle her romance with her college boyfriend, who's now a hard-bodied, tattooed biker. And she never imagined sharing herself with his entire gang.
Shock can feel Liv pulling away from him, just like she did all those years ago. Her lies are a painful reminder that she's not ready for anything more than a good time in bed, but he's not willing to let her go. He lost her once, and it's never happening again. Faced with losing the one thing he's always wanted, he must prove to Liv that what they have is more than physical and that his heart is in her hands. But is she ready to give him hers?
This is part three of HARD RIDE, a three part novel.
About the Author
OPAL CAREW is the author of fifteen erotic romances for St. Martin's including His to Command, Blush, Riding Steele and other erotic romance novels. She lives in Canada and makes regular trips to the U.S. to speak at conferences and industry events.
Opal Carew is the author of Total Abandon, Pleasure Bound, Twin Fantasies and other erotic romance novels. “So why do I like writing erotic romance?” she asks. “I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries.” Opal loves crystals, dragons, feathers, cats, pink hair, the occult and all that glitters. While she writes, she listens to inspirational music, lights candles and keeps crystals near. Before devoting herself to her passion as a writer, Opal spent 15 years as a software analyst, and she has a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo. She lives with her husband and two sons in Ontario, Canada.
Read an Excerpt
Hard Ride: Part Three
A Novel in Three Parts
By Opal Carew
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Opal Carew
All rights reserved.
Shock watched helplessly as Liv's eyes flooded with tears. He pulled her into his arms and held her, but she was stiff and unresponsive.
"We'll go see her right now," he said.
"But ..." She choked back a sob. "We're so far away."
It was true the drive here had taken the better part of a day.
"I know, but I'll get you there in three hours. Rip, stay with her while I make some calls."
* * *
As Liv watched Shock stride from the room, she felt guilty for having been so stiff in his arms, but she couldn't give herself over to the comfort he offered. She couldn't allow herself to start relying on him, even for emotional support.
A few minutes later Steele and Tempest came to the door.
"What's going on?" Steele asked.
"Liv's sister is"—Rip glanced at Liv uncomfortably—"in the hospital."
"She's dying," Liv said. Oh, God, how could this be happening? She'd done everything she could to prevent this. To see that her sister got healthy again.
She wobbled as her knees threatened to buckle, and Rip caught her elbow, then led her to the bed. She sank onto it. Tempest hurried over and sat down beside her. Liv welcomed the feel of the other woman's arm around her waist. She rested her head on Tempest's shoulder, needing the warmth and comfort of another person desperately.
A moment later someone handed her a glass of water and she took a sip, still trying to stifle her sobs.
"Do you want to talk about it?" Tempest asked, her lovely face filled with warmth and concern.
Liv drew in a deep breath. Maybe it would help.
"Julia's been sick for quite a while now. She's been in the hospital. I thought —" Her throat closed up and her fingers clenched into a fist as pain tore through her. She sucked in a breath as a tear streamed down her cheek.
Tempest pulled her close and hugged her and Liv settled into the hug, resting her head on Tempest's shoulder and closing her eyes. Tempest stroked her back and Liv soaked in the warmth and support.
When she had collected herself, Liv sat up, wiping her eyes. "I thought she was getting better. They did surgery and they thought she was improving. I ..." She pushed away the insistent tears. "I never would have left her otherwise. Now she's unconscious and unresponsive."
Tempest squeezed her arm and handed her the glass of water again. She sipped, but her hand was unsteady, so Steele took it from her and Tempest pulled her into a hug again. Steele put his hand on her back, and Liv felt grateful for their presence.
"Oh, Liv, I'm so sorry," Tempest said.
Liv just nodded.
Liv eased away from Tempest, her gaze locking on Shock, who stood in the doorway.
"I've arranged a flight. A car will be here in five minutes."
Liv stood up, feeling shaky. "I need to pack."
"Don't worry about it. We'll buy what we need when we get there."
"I want my bag," she said adamantly as she stood up. She walked to the closet where she'd stowed it and pulled it out, then walked into the bathroom and started tossing things into it, like her hair dryer, toothpaste, and moisturizer. She didn't know why, but she had to have her bag. She had to have her things, even if it was just a collection of toiletries, like her own hairbrush.
Shock followed her into the room and rested his hands on her shoulders.
"Liv, it's okay. You really don't need to worry about this right now."
"I ..." Then her chin quivered and tears fell from her eyes. "I just ... I'll feel better with my own stuff."
He squeezed her shoulders gently. "Whatever you want, sweetheart."
He helped her pack the things into her backpack. Once the counter was clear, she glanced around helplessly.
"Liv," Shock said softly, "why don't we go now?"
Why? Maybe if she stayed here—if she ignored the call from the hospital altogether—she could make herself believe it wasn't true. That Julia wasn't really ...
Tears welled in her eyes again and rolled down her cheeks. A sob clutched her throat and escaped.
"Oh, God, Liv."
Shock swept her into his arms and this time she welcomed him. Her arms wrapped around his big solid body and she let him pull her tight to him, then melted against him.
"Shock, I ..." Her tears flowed freely now.
Shock's lips brushed the top of her head in a kiss. "What is it, sweetheart?"
"I don't want my sister to die."
"I know, sweetheart. Neither do I. And we'll do everything we can to stop that from happening."
* * *
Shock took Liv's hand and helped her from the town car. A driver had picked them up from the house and got them to the airport in twenty minutes. Now the private jet he'd arranged was waiting for them.
Liv sank into the cream-colored leather seat and Shock sat across from her. Soon they were in the air.
Shock watched her. In the hustle of getting here, they hadn't really spoken. He hadn't wanted to push her to talk.
"Liv, that's why you needed the money? To help your sister?"
She bit her lip and nodded.
"Why didn't you tell me your sister was sick and that's what the money was for?"
She looked blankly at her hands folded in her lap, and her eyes were wet. "I don't know. I guess I ... didn't want to beg for my sister's life."
Then she shook her head, her fingers gripping the armrests of her seat. "I also didn't want you to pity me. I've always valued your opinion of me and I guess that didn't change even after we lost touch. And if I'm being completely honest I think ... I guess I wanted to know if you'd actually lend it to me ... just because I asked. I didn't want to have to prove that what I needed it for was worthy."
"You wanted to know if I trusted you."
She nodded. "At least, that you trusted my judgment."
He leaned back in his seat. "You know, I actually thought you were borrowing it for that guy I saw you with. You never denied it."
She pursed her lips. "But you lent it to me anyway."
"Of course I did. And now I know what it was really for." He reached out and took her hand, then enveloped it in his own. "Liv, I'm so sorry about your sister."
She just nodded and held his hand tighter. "You know, I just can't believe I might lose her."
She looked so fragile sitting there, her eyes shimmering.
She drew a deep breath. "I still remember when I was about four years old and Mom got Julia a teddy bear. It was brown with a plaid bow around its neck and she called it Mac." She smiled tremulously. "And it was so soft and cuddly. I picked it up and hugged it and I fell in love with it. I didn't want to let it go. Julia and I shared a room and she let me sleep with it that first night. In the morning I didn't want to give it up. Instead of being upset, when she saw how much I loved it, she told Mom that she wanted me to have it." She stared at her hands, her lip quivering. "Even at eight years old, she took care of me. And as we grew up, she always looked out for me like that. That's why"—her eyes met his—"I'll do anything I can to save her."
He leaned in and held her close. "I know, sweetheart. And I'll help you in any way I can."
* * *
Liv wasn't prepared for the sight of her sister, hooked up to monitors and machines, her face so pale she looked like a ghost. Liv hurried to the bed and rested her hand on Julia's.
"She's in an induced coma, so she won't regain consciousness," the nurse said to Shock, who'd followed her in, "but you're both welcome to sit with her as long as you like."
A moment later, she felt Shock at her side.
"Liv, sit." He had pulled a chair close to the bed. Liv sank into it.
He pulled over another chair and sat beside her. He rested his hand on her arm as she sat staring at Julia, pain gnawing at her insides. She barely noticed Shock beside her, but on some level, his warmth and strength helped.
Time passed, she didn't know how much. Shock went to talk to the nurse for a little while, but other than that, he'd stayed by her side. He'd offered to get her a coffee a couple of times, which she declined.
The hospital was quiet. They'd arrived after midnight and she knew it was the wee hours, but slowly light crept into the room with the rising sun.
She could sense the increased activity around them, which made her feel even more weary than she was. The nurse who had led them into Julia's room had stopped by several times during the night, but now a new nurse showed up to check Julia's chart.
Shock excused himself, then returned a few minutes later.
"I talked to the nurse and she said the doctor will want to talk to you, but he won't be available until this afternoon. Why don't we go get a few hours' sleep?"
Liv was exhausted and knew what he suggested was wise. She nodded and squeezed Julia's hand, then let Shock lead her out the door.
* * *
"Liv. It's time to wake up."
Liv opened her eyes and glanced around, disoriented. She was lying in a soft, cozy bed, sunlight streaming in the window.
She blinked as she glanced up at Shock, who stood leaning over her.
"Where am I?"
"You're in the hotel."
She sat up. "How's Julia? Can I go see her now?"
Fear jolted through her. What if she'd slept too long? What if Julia was ... if she ...
"Yes, that's why I called you. The doctor wants to speak with you. Then you can see Julia."
Liv stood up and hurried to the bathroom to wash her face, then she followed Shock from the room. After a short cab ride they stepped off the elevator and went to the nurses' station near Julia's room.
Shock spoke with the woman behind the counter, then someone led them to an office. She and Shock sat in the two guest chairs facing a small desk and waited.
A tall, blond doctor stepped into the room and closed the door behind him. "Hello, I'm Dr. Greyson," he said. "Miss Hughes?"
"Yes." Liv watched him sit in the chair behind the desk, her stomach clenching, afraid of what he might be about to tell them.
"As you know, we thought your sister was in remission after the surgery, but then she took a downward turn. We put her into a medically induced coma until we could talk to you and decide what course of action to take."
Liv nodded. "They called yesterday and told me that ..." She bit her lip, trying to stop it from quivering. "That she was dying."
"Well, we didn't have many options, and most of them were very expensive and with no guarantees." His kind blue eyes locked on her. "Now, however, I have some promising news. It seems that there might be another course of action we can take. We did some tests earlier today—they were on the recommendation of a specialist from another hospital who has had great success in these cases—and it looks like there is a very new, very experimental drug we could try."
"Really?" Hope rose in her.
"And don't worry about the cost and the insurance stuff—I'll handle all that," Shock said, squeezing her shoulder.
Anxiety washed through her. "I can't let you—"
"Nonsense," Shock said, cutting her off.
"We can start right away and we'll know if it's successful in a few days." Dr. Greyson placed some paperwork and a pen in front of her. "All I need is for you to sign the forms."
Shock picked up the pen and handed it to her. She took it and signed the forms, then handed them back to the doctor.
"Good. We'll get started right away."
* * *
That night, as soon as Shock turned out the light, Liv rested her head against his chest and listened to the steady rhythm of his heart.
"I want to thank you for being here for me," she said in the darkness.
He stroked her hair. "Where else would I be?" "You could have gone back with your friends and just waited for me."
He tightened his arms around her.
"No. I really couldn't have done that." He kissed the top of her head. "Now get some sleep."
She used to get annoyed when he told her what to do, but now she knew it was because he cared about her, not because he was trying to control her. Or that he thought she couldn't take care of herself. He was just ... being supportive. And right now, she really needed that.
* * *
The next few days were one big blur. Julia wasn't awake very often, and when she was, she wasn't very coherent, but by the third day the doctor called them into his office again and told them that the treatment had worked and Julia was going to be fine.
"Hey, you're looking pretty good," Liv said as she and Shock walked into Julia's room.
Julia was sitting in one of the armchairs.
"I'm feeling pretty good. I went for a walk up and down the hall. Now I'm having a rest. This afternoon I'm going out to the courtyard to enjoy the sunshine."
Liv sat on the side of the bed, and Shock sat in the guest chair.
"That's great. That'll be good for you." She took Julia's hand and smiled. "I was so afraid I was going to lose you. I can't tell you how happy I am that you're going to be all right."
Julia squeezed her hand. "I know, Livvy. And I appreciate all you've done for me. I really do."
Julia glanced at Shock. "So who's this?" "I'm Devin," Shock said with a charming smile. "Liv and I knew each other in college."
"Oh, that's nice," Julia said with a big smile.
Liv was relieved that Julia didn't say anything about how she used to gush about Devin.
Shock stood up. "I know the two of you have a lot to talk about so I'll leave you alone."
Liv watched him leave, then turned to Julia again. Julia looked at her with a smug smile.
"So tell me about this guy. He's pretty sexy. And he doesn't look anything like what I expected from your description of him in college. I would have expected someone in an expensive suit, not jeans and tattoos.
"He's changed since college. Left the family business and made his own fortune. Now he spends his time traveling with his friends."
She squeezed Liv's hand. "So, is it serious between you?"
"What?" She glanced down at her hand. "No, not really."
"Are you sure? Because when he looks at you ..."
Liv was surprised. "When he looks at me what?"
Julia shrugged. "I think he's really hung up on you."
Liv's stomach clenched. "Let's change the subject. Did they tell you when you're getting out of the hospital?"
"In about a week." She took Liv's hand. "I'll still need intensive outpatient therapy, but it'll be nice to be home. My friend Jenn is going to come stay with me for a while. You remember her?"
Liv had met Jenn a couple of times. She was actually a nurse, so Julia would be in good hands.
"That's great. I just want to let you know I'm going to be out of town for a few weeks."
"With Devin?" Julia asked, with a devilish grin.
Liv wanted to deny it, but she couldn't lie to her sister, so she nodded.
"Good. You do that. And you don't need to worry about me. I want you to concentrate on that sexy man of yours."
* * *
When Liv got back to Shock's country house, the others were very solicitous about her sister. Shock had kept them updated about her sister's recovery, so they knew the basics, but they all made Liv feel very special and cared for.
She might not be used to having friends, but she understood that her relationship with Julia had helped her to accept comfort from Tempest and Raven. But she was surprised at how she was also comfortable with the men's attention. Usually she found it difficult to accept the attention of men, always being a little fearful they just wanted something from her. But these men—Shock's friends—actually made her feel that they really cared about her and what she was going through.
It was a strange feeling.
Finally, Shock took her hand and explained to them all that she was tired from the trip, then led her upstairs. As soon as the door closed on their bedroom, she slipped into his embrace and hugged him. His arms came around her and they stayed like that for several long moments, Liv just soaking in the loving, protective feel of his body enveloping her.
When they parted, she walked to the love seat by the window and sat down. He sat down beside her.
"We haven't talked about this," she said. "I haven't wanted to talk about this ..."
Shock took her hand. The feel of his big fingers enveloping hers filled her with warmth.
"You're responsible for my sister's recovery," she continued, "and I really want to thank you."
"I was happy to help," he said gently.
"It must have been expensive." Her stomach knotted at the thought.
"Don't worry about it."
"But I need to pay you back."
"No you don't. I couldn't just watch while someone you cared about died. I didn't do it expecting you or anyone else to pay me back." He stroked her hair from her face. "You know, you don't have to take on the responsibilities of the world."
Her throat tightened. She'd always thought he believed she was irresponsible and flighty, so those words meant the world to her.
She rested her hand on his arm. "You saved my sister's life. I don't know how to thank you for that."
Excerpted from Hard Ride: Part Three by Opal Carew. Copyright © 2015 Opal Carew. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Hard Ride: Part Three,
Also by Opal Carew,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wow! That’s exactly how I would sum up this book! Book three picks up right at the end of two and Shock is there for Liv when she needs him. What he did for her made me fall that much more in love with his character. Liv is even more vulnerable, but he stands by her, takes care of her, and helps her in the most needed way without any questions or payback expected. ::swoon:: Liv comes clean about her doubts and how she came about them. There is an interesting twist to Shock that wasn’t as shocking as I thought it would be. When Shock returns from a ride after he stormed out on Liv, things turned INTENSE!! My jaw dropped at what transpired – in a good way! Talk about sexy! Some may not like this type of scene, but I completely understand why Liv agreed to it and how it turned her on. This final book in the story was amazing as was the rest of the story! I LOVED IT! *I received a complimentary copy for review.
I loved this book! And would recommend it and the whole series
4 star I was pulled right into this story. The series has laughs, lies, secrets, suspense, and heartbreak. This is part three of a three part series. You need to read all three parts for the full story. Reading order Hard Ride #1: A Novel in Three Parts Hard Ride #2: A Novel in Three Parts Hard Ride #3: A Novel in Three Parts This is the end Liv and Shock’s story. This story picks up right where the last one ended. With everything that was sacrificed to help her sister is it all for nothing? Will she be able to help her sister? Will she end up losing Shock in the process? All secrets are revealed and they are stunners. Can they move on from the colossal mistakes they have made? Can they finally trust that the feeling they have for each other are real? Can they both have everything they have always wanted? I felt I was able to connect with the characters and the story was a great read. I recommend this book and this series.
This is the last installment in this wonderful series. I admit I was sad to see it end, however I feel it was a bit rushed. So much was going on when this installment began and all of a sudden everything was wrapped up in a neat little package. Was looking for more. I did enjoy the story overall and would certainly recommend. Just wanted more……
**I received an ARC for this story in exchange for an honest review Liv got a phone call from the hospital. Her sister was dying, yet she has learned she can lean on Shock. He is making calls to assure a quick way to return so Liv can be with her. Tempest offered Liv comfort and she accepted it, even if it was only a hand on her back. Even as young as 8yrs old Liv had taken care of her sister as they grew up and her sister had always looked out for her. Liv decided to not turn Shock away this time used his strength and caring to carry on. There was a new and experimental drug and Shock ensured Liv that her sister would have the best that money could buy. On returning to Shock's house, Liv was surprised at the support from his friends and that they all seemed to care. This was a really good book. I highly recommend it.
This is the 3rd installment in this story. The author gives us alot more detail in this one. Liv has agreed to the agreement drawn up by Devin / Shock. They are off on a road trip. When they arrive immediately Shock wants to have Liv but things go down hill from there or at least he thinks that is was happens. Liv finally comes clean and tells Shock everything that happened to her in college and he for the life of him can not make Liv keep her end of the agreement. He wants so much more from her but still hasn't let her know his feelings. However after Liv's sister yet again takes another turn for the worse and Shock goes with her they become so much closer and Liv finally trusts in Devin / Shock enough to let herself open up. This book gave us hotness, caring and a story about two people who lost each other before they told their true feelings. Very sexy read. I was gifted a copy of this book for my honest review
Be prepared. This last episode is like the Fireworks on the 4th of July. It starts with Liv's sister in the hospital. Spoiler. Liv doesn't have much money even with her loan. The Doctor says there is a chance but it is really expensive. Shock steps in. Now they head back home and he so wants her to love him. She is afraid he will break her heart. They get into a fight and he goes Dom on her. Spoiler. It ends with 6on1. She should be really tired. Then she tells him that she knows he is married. Major Spoiler. He doesn't love his wife and Liv won't have anything to do with a married man. Spoiler. You will have to read to the end to see how it ends. Enjoy your book! I have this book for an honest review for NetGalley.
The conclusion of Liv and Shock was a torrid affair. There's always those that wish to bring you down, the dealing with Julia's health, and the dealing with feelings. There's a happy ending which makes all the twists and turns so worth it. Opal Carew takes you on a journey from book one to here and ends it quite well . Shock is everything you could possibly ask for. He and Liv are dynamic together. I will definitely read other novels by her.