Tag Team Review: Ride Along (States of Love) by Meghan Maslow

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.

Sara - 3.5 Hearts

Told from the dual POV’s of our MC’s, we meet Drew Nolan as he is attending a writer’s conference, the Author’s Police Institute, to do research for his next book. After winning the prestigious Edgar Award for his first novel, there is a bit of pressure from his agent and publisher for this next book to be great. While at the conference, he spots a tall drink of water who just happens to be a cop and who just happens to want nothing to do with Drew or his fabulous shirt. But when Drew befriends a fan at the conference, she steps in and comes to his rescue.

That tall drink of water is Officer Josh de Oliveira and he does have a problem with Drew, his problem is attraction to the man with the ginger dreadlocks that he shouldn't find sexy. But Josh is having a few problems at work that go back to how he dealt with his partner and late secret lover. His brothers on the force aren’t letting him forget how he handled it and Josh takes it out on Drew before he even knows him. But when Drew wins the coveted ride along drawing for the conference, he gets paired up with Josh and well, things happen.

I loved the banter between Josh and Drew. This book was lighter than I expected and I liked that the men got off on the wrong foot with one another but soon find a path they can both be comfortable on. When Drew decides being direct is the best way to handle this new deal of flirting with Josh, Josh answers with a cheeky comment about Drew’s shirt he was wearing earlier. Goodness, these two were so much fun to get to know.

After a hot and freaking sexy night together, Drew sees Josh downstairs in the hotel and gets a glimpse of how deep Josh’s closet really is. It was heartbreaking to have Drew hear that, knowing he’d been kept a secret before but while it’s an asshole move, Josh has reasons. I was so hoping that Drew would be the one reason he would stop acting that way.

I have a soft spot for boys in the closet and I felt for Josh. Both he and Drew have secrets from past relationships and how they were the secrets and neither of them have fared well from it. But part of moving forward and growing is learning to trust again and it’s a good thing neither man thinks the night there shared was even close to enough.

I like that Josh manned up and did what was right after he hurt Drew. Though it wasn’t intentional it happened and he is prepared to make up for it as long as he has to. The way he goes about it was adorable and meeting Drew’s family that way was cringe worthy yet it set the tone for how meddlesome Drew’s family is. There were times I wanted to tell them off but they love Drew and don’t want him hurt again even if what they think happened never actually happened…. Ugh.

Things move fast between Drew and Josh but there is a lot of communication between them where you can see the trust building and the romance coming fast. It was hard not to fall for these two as they became grounded with each other by their side. Drew learned that trusting someone to not keep you a secret is hard but rewarding when your trust pays off, even if your boyfriend's timing is terrible and Josh learned he can lay his troubles down for Drew to hear and he’ll not only stand by his side but fight by his side as well.

This was a low angst, sweet and fun book. I went in expecting something a bit different but am glad with the outcome. Drew and Josh just really complement each other and this was a fun read.

SheReadsALot - 3.5 - 3.75 Hearts (sliding scale)

"I expect to test out the claim on your shirt too. Just so you know."

Did you read that blurb? It has all the fixings for an incredible ride, am I right?

Ginger MC meets hot police officer while wearing the fabulous shirt above and magic happens? Sounds like a good set up but also the start of a one shot scene.

Not the case in Ride Along from Dreamspinner Press's States of Love collection. There's an actually story behind the setup, with great main characters. This isn't my first time reading Meghan Maslow, she's impressed me last year with her paranormal short, A Cobra's Charm. Of course, I jumped at the chance to read longer contemporary from her. The fact that Ride Along features a ginger dreadlocked out and proud man who would wear that shirt? It's a bonus.

Set in Maryland, ginger mystery author/grant writer Drew Nolan attends a police/author convention where he can learn police procedures and hopefully get to interact in police daily life. There was one guy who caught his ye, but the hot cop screams straight and homophone to Drew. Lucky for him, he gets to attend a ride along with hot cop aka Joao "Josh" de Oliveira.

The two do not hit off despite the attraction. Josh is in the closet due to his job, his last lover did a number on him and his life, his family all but disowned him for his sexuality and his baggage has baggage. Let's say Joao has some issues he needs to work through but he bottles it up inside. The two share a car ride, travel along Josh's beat and start off on a sorta hostile/awkward beginning. After some time, assumptions are cracked open and Drew learns about the closeted hot cop... and likes what he finds underneath the gruff exterior.

Thankfully the story is dual POV, so we get to spend equal time in the main character's head and learn their feelings. That first day might've started rough but it ends very hotly.

The sex? *pants* Josh and Drew's bodies had no problems in the bedroom and definitely knew how to speak that language of lust. Rimming fans will be happy. Someone's a power bottom and I'm not made at it in the least.

After that magical night, the story could've ended. But there was a plot, more so a self discovery for Josh. He's unhappy with his lot in life. And has been quietly dealing with the stress and harassment at his job. It's taking a toll on him. Drew helps him put his work issues to words. And Drew isn't as happy go lucky as he seems. He has insecurities from a previous relationship and overprotective, meddling family to deal with.

The Nolans. *sigh* Some might gripe Drew's family is way too nosy and protective. And they'd be right. We're talking crossing the line such as showing up uninvited and unannounced, talking about Drew as if he's still an adolescent, putting his successes down. Thankfully, backbones were discovered and a believable end to that plot point was reached.

The story is funny, low angst and sweet. A good mix like sweet and salty. It's sort of on the quieter side and most of  'angst' is more internal and if not, family/work related. There were serious topics approached: community strife, homophobia, abusive relationships that didn't weigh down the tone of the book. It read light and easy. There were some lulls like the couple would have a conversation that could have been summarized and then a scene that might've added to the discovery part glossed over. It's not a super smooth ride but I enjoyed myself and keep thinking back on Drew and Josh after finishing.

They're cute. I love their relationship and their growth. I think it's a strong point of the story. Another strong point is the setting. It's clear someone is a native Marylander, or at least knows what they're talking about. It was a great mix of romance, personal growth and a love of Maryland.

Totally will read more from this author.

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