Reviewed by Helyce
Shawn Hamby grew up around racing having been raised by her grandparents who owned a dirt track. She’d even tried her hand at racing when she was younger, but gave it up to handle the business side of the track, working side by side with her beloved grandfather. When he dies, he leaves her the track with some rather odd restrictions.
Rhett Ford is a young up and coming driver who works in a pit crew to make ends meet and support his driving habit. Racing is in his blood and he lives and breathes it. He know he has to work his way up the ranks, but every driver needs money and a kick ass sponsor or the dream remains simply that, a dream.
Shawn and Rhett meet by chance in a BDSM club one night. Shawn’s there with her girlfriends because they’d all read a book recently and didn’t believe that “those places” really existed. Rhett is there because he’s intrigued by the lifestyle and has yet to find a woman that fits his need to be in control in the bedroom. He sees Shawn, they dance a bit and sparks fly.
I’ve been a fan of this series since I happened upon book one, Flat-Out Sexy, several years ago at a Border’s sale. The hot cover caught my attention and I snapped it up. It was a great story and I’ve been hooked ever since. Though there seemed to be long gaps between releases, I did read Jacked Up in 2012 where we meet Rhett Ford for the first time so when I saw this release come up on Netgalley, I did not hesitate, because he’d already made an impression on me
If the blurb had said anything in it about a marriage of convenience I might have had second thoughts and I would have missed a really good, hot, sexy contemporary, because I really loved this book. I loved the premise of the older woman younger man and while the blurb hints at Rhett’s being a Dom I would classify this as BDSM on the (very) lighter side. Because hot damn, Rhett’s kind of control is all about giving, and he gives and gives and Shawn is one lucky girl.
“Because there was something undeniably sexy about what was happening between them. It was like she’d been having sex in the dark her entire adult life and now the lights had been turned on. It was sex in high def.”
Shawn finds herself between a rock and a hard place when her attorney tells her about the ridiculous stipulations of her grandfather’s will. In order to inherit fully, she needs to be married and if she does it by a certain date, funds will be released from the trust so that she can hire a badly needed marketing manager to get her track on the map, go national and make it successful. So find a husband or loose the track. The track is her life so she does the only thing she can, she finds a husband by propositioning Rhett Ford. This gave the book a very “Indecent Proposal” feel to it, but not in a bad way. It’s very clear, from the beginning that there is much more to these two than the contract between them. In fact, from the start, even with the “proposal” these two agree that they are exclusive. This certainly gives us a feeling of “relationship” and not simply an “agreement”.
I was totally engaged in this story. I loved Rhett and Shawn. There is humor between these two and it works because Shawn is no “sub”, not really. She is a successful, intelligent woman and she sticks to her guns and does not really let Rhett control her. I never saw her as a submissive, even when she “lets” Rhett call the shots in bed. In Rhett, Ms. McCarthy gives us a dream lover. He is gorgeous, super sexy and is beyond generous in bed. For him, control means giving pleasure and and Shawn benefited greatly from this.
I was enjoying this story so much, I booked marked more captions than I ever have in a book I’ve read for review. Here is an example of the humor between Shawn and her best friend Eve when Shawn asks, how much is too much sex?
“No, it’s not boring at all. I love it. It makes all the sex I’ve had before look like child’s play. I was just wondering if at some point we’re going to have a sexual crash, and then it will be nothing. Or if I might be doing harm, you know, like wrecking my vagina or something. I would think it needs a break at some point.”
“It’s not a Walmart worker. It doesn’t need an hour for lunch.”
I was riding along, completely entranced by this story. Up until about the 90% mark, it was everything I could have asked for in a contemporary romance. In the back of my mind I was cataloging my thoughts and thinking this could easily make one of my top reads of the year. Then some weak, albeit, predictable conflict is introduced, our couple falls apart, only to kiss and make-up in short order. It brought me so far out of the story if my arc had been a paperback I might have thrown it against the wall. I finished the book frustrated, with a feeling of being let down, even though there is an HEA.
It makes grading this story difficult. I understand the need for conflict and giving the character(s) a chance to be redeemed. I even thought about possible alternative conflicts and found them to be just as predictable as the path this author takes. In the end, I decided that I liked the story way more than I disliked it. It might still sneak in as a top read this year.