Riding the Night

Riding the Night - Jaci Burton The suspense/action plot of Riding The Night is somewhat different from the other "Wild Riders" stories because AJ and Pax are on a road trip vacation riding their Harley's. AJ wants to return to the town where he grew up to see if any old acquaintances still live there, in particular his childhood sweetheart, Teresa. Readers learn from the book's Prologue that AJ had left town 10 years earlier, leaving a 18 year old Teresa brokenhearted. He did this with the best of intentions because he was a young, in trouble youth and didn't want to ruin her chances for a good life.

AJ and Pax met and bonded as friends when they were recruited into the Wild Riders covert government agency by General Grange Lee. As part of their training they were required to share details of their difficult upbringings often laced with childhood abuse. AJ an Pax learned they had similar backgrounds and as they spent more time together their personalities and interests meshed extremely well. As part of the path to what became a special friendship they found they were attracted to the same types of women and began to enjoy 'threesomes' with the opposite sex. Both these men have major commitment issues and especially Pax has no intention of entering into a 'forever' relationship with a woman. Falling in love just isn't part of the equation. Love equals hurt after all. This is why both he and AJ always entered into their sexual encounters with a no strings attached expectation and made sure the lady in question is of the same mindset.

Then along comes AJ's childhood sweetheart Teresa who the guys learn has bought a failing bar on the outskirts of town and turned it into a lucrative business. Pax is immediately attracted to the raven haired beauty and AJ of course can't help but feel drawn to his old love now that she has matured into a striking woman. The waters are muddy however because 5 years previous to the book's opening Teresa endured a horrible physical and emotional assault, leaving deep scars. She hasn't been sexually attracted to a man since and while she keeps up a brave front and has learned to protect herself, there is a deep seated fear. Then AJ and Pax walk into her bar and things change.

What I really liked about Teresa, AJ and Pax's romance is that Jaci Burton crafts their story with painstaking delicacy over the course of the narrative. She doesn't just throw these three people in to bed together for hot sex from the get go. AJ and Pax allow Teresa the space and time she needs to trust them enough to want to be with them. Essentially both the guys give her time to get used to the other before they share her sexually. And, after learning what happened to her they make VERY sure she wants them as much as they want her. What I also loved about this story was the relationship between AJ and Pax, the depth of trust and commitment is palpable, they have worked through any issues with respect to jealousy concerning women and it just isn't there. Each knows the other better than himself and they know when push comes to shove on the job they will protect each other to the death.

Teresa's brother Joey is the leader of the "Thorns" a biker group that is on the up and up, in other words they not involved in illegal activity. A rival gang called the "Fists"are trying to move into Thorn territory to have access to the town's waterway so they can import drugs with ease. Ms. Burton develops a thrilling, suspense sub-plot involving the murder of the Fists's leader in Teresa's bar during a fight. Teresa's brother is falsely accused of the murder and she is the only eye witness as to who actually committed the crime. AJ and Pax's vacation therefore becomes an unexpected dangerous, treacherous mission that uncovers a conspiracy, and very nearly costs all their lives. The story is packed full of Wild Rider hot lovin, fast action and nail biting suspense!

There is one scene at the end of the story where Ms. Burton brings all the Wild Rider guys and their gals together at the Headquarters in Dallas. It was a nice way to finish up the series and let readers know how everyone is faring. As for Rick and AJ? Well, whether or not they can get past their issues and finally commit to one woman is the big question and not revealed until the final pages. I will say, readers finally learn what "AJ" stands for - poor guy! lol

I thoroughly enjoyed "Riding The Night", and hope everyone who chooses to read it will too. I think this one can easily be read as a standalone story, it would certainly whet the appetite for the other books in the series.