Wild Ride is the ninth book in the Black Knights Inc. series by Julie Ann Walker. I would not recommend coming into the series cold, since the character and larger story development helps readers start off with a good grasp on the characters, the dynamics, and where the book lies in the larger picture. I think the story here stands well on its own, but those that have at least a little prior knowledge will definitely enjoy the story more.
Ethan "Ozzie" Sykes is a former Navy SEAL and underground operator for Black Knights Inc., the covert government defense firm disguised as a custom motorcycle shop. In a black-on-black international mission that went seriously sideways, Ozzie was badly injured—now he's stuck at BKI headquarters in Chicago, champing at the bit to get out into the field again. He's tasked with distracting Chicago Tribune ace reporter Samantha Tate, who's been trying to dig up the dirt on BKI for years. Turns out Samantha's beauty, intelligence and sense of humor are a seriously big distraction, and Ozzie's losing his desire to keep her at bay. Ozzie's tired of hiding, and Samantha may be the best-and worst—person to share his secrets with.
Wild Ride is a story that starts with our couple already firmly in lust, and more than a little denial. I liked Samantha's determination and efforts to do the smart thing, even when her heart and body push her in the opposite direction. I also liked Ozzie's dedication to his team, and could empathize with how lost and useless he felt being out of the field. I think the emotional connection between the two and the growth they both undergo really made the book. However, readers that have not really followed the series will not fully understand the subtleties and references about Samantha's work to expose the BKI team, or the importance of the mission and teamwork that is key to the BKI family. While there was some danger and action, mixed in well with some BKI family moments, I felt almost like the coming together of our couple was too easy.
Wild Ride is a good edition to the series, although I think that it was a little too dependent on the previous books for the characters development and clues to the larger picture. I still enjoyed the read, but I think that that series dependence might put off readers that have not read all of the previous books.