This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Berkley
Released on December 3, 3013
Shawn’s life is about to be upended and not in a good way. She thought she would inherit the dirt auto-racing track that has been in her family and she helped her grandfather run since she was little, but her grandfather’s will has crazy stipulations in it for that to take place. Between the vying emotions of shock that he expected her to marry in two months time or forfeit the track and the hurt that he didn’t trust her to run it on her own, she is reeling. She rejects, accepts, rejects and then accepts again the inevitability that she only has one choice if she wants to keep the most important thing in her life. So when handsome, intense Rhett Ford walks through her door determined to pick up where they left off the other night at the bar when her friends pulled her away from him, she’s game in more ways than one even if he is too young for her and the baby brother of her best friend’s husband.
Rhett spotted Shawn at the bar of the sex club where he was hanging out after yet another break up with a girl he scared off with his needs. His expression, demeanor and need to dominate in the bedroom sent women running, but then he catches sight of a beautiful self-assured woman who looks him right in the eye from across the room. He gets one dance with her before her friends drag her away and he knows he wants more. When he is finally able to hunt down Shawn and asks her out for a drink, she bowls him over with a crazy proposition. The trouble is; he doesn’t see it as crazy. She offers to pay him a hundred grand if he will marry her, live with her for six months and stay married to her for a year. Not only will it solve all his financial problems, it will give him the opportunity to explore this instinct he has that Shawn is the right woman for him.
So they go through with it in secret. Jumping off the cliff like this terrifies Shawn and yet she really wants this too. Rhett may be young, but he is honest about everything even the harder things to speak about and he knows what he wants which makes him more mature than his age. But her past track record has left her with little faith in people. She is determined to hold all the control and he is equally determined to show her that she doesn’t have to if she trusts someone.
Rhett wants her brazen, confident spirit that won’t cow to him and he wants her to trust him so deeply that she will turn over control to him in the bedroom. He has been accused of so many things and yet not all of it is true. He does feel, he does attach and he can do it quickly. It’s scary how much he wants to be with Shawn even after so little time. And he is certain that she feels it too.
I haven’t read any other books from this series (gasp) and nothing by this author, but the blurb drew me in along with the cover. I’ve never read a book with a backdrop in car racing so I wanted to give the author and this type of romance setting a try. I did just fine jumping in with book seven. I could tell that I was meeting people from former books and knew they had their stories already, but this book had its own separate plot. The characters may have been introduced in the books previous, but they were new to each other so it worked well.
As I read this book, it was quite obvious from the beginning that I would have to suspend belief about a few things if I was ever going to finish this one with any amount of enjoyment. The improbable marriage clause in the will, the confident thirty something business woman grabbing almost a total stranger to marry and then how quickly she gave charge of her most private life over to him. The other side of it is improbable about Rhett too. So even though it niggled now and then, I just said ‘heck with it’ and let myself go with it. The plot was good and the relationship that began after the elopement was well written. The relationship was the focal point of the story. There are peek-ins with Rhett’s family particularly his brother, Nolan and Eve, his sister in law who is Shawn’s best friend, but for the most part it is Rhett and Shawn at the forefront. There was the beginning of the little side trail with one of the bookclub friends that will probably get its own story soon and I’m definitely game with that when/if it comes.
Truthfully, I wasn’t very into Shawn at first. I found it ironic that she freaked out and called Rhett a ‘fetus’ in comparison to her with a vast (sarcasm included) gulf of almost eight years between them when all she did was play games with him at first. I was relieved when he took the mature approach and called her on her crap. After she manned-up and stopped treating everything like a manipulation game or a dare, I really started enjoying this story and even enjoyed her playful spirit that couldn’t turn down a dare with her best friend. It was fun to see her hanging out with the gals from her bookclub or her best friend and even later with all Rhett’s sisters. Rhett made her happier and a better person.
Rhett is intense, but he is loving and a sweet, caring gentleman that Shawn fully appreciates just as he is. It was neat how he is into all the good stuff she has to offer. The facade they are presenting to the others and the fears that it will be all over when the contract is fulfilled is their dilemma that keeps them both vulnerable. They have come to love each other and what they have together. It was such a relief when without too much angst and issues, Rhett realized he was in love and then told her so and then she reciprocated even if it scared the willies out of her to do so.
The romance was passionate and heated. I loved how it all started with communication and promises before it made it to the physical. Rhett knows he has to challenge Shawn because she will do her passive-aggressive thing if he lets her. He makes it clear that she will get what she wants in the end if she will relinquish control to him. They explore these dominant/submissive roles in the bedroom. It will eventually get more exploring in future, but I liked how it stayed fairly tame since it would have pushed even my suspended belief for them to go all hard core too quickly. And they really didn’t need it because just Rhett alone is enough to get a woman squirming and wanting.
The only real niggle I had and it is just me and might not even be noticed by others was that the nicknames Shawn gave her girl parts had me shaking my head because it just didn’t even sound attractive or sexy to me. A ‘cooter’? Um, okay. Guess I need to get out more so I can learn to appreciate more colorful language- nah, probably not. But body part nicknames is a relatively small thing.
All in all, I loved my first experience with this author and enjoyed the race car world she has set up in this series. I look forward to reading other books in the series and continuing on from here. I think this would appeal to most Contemporary Romance fans who like their romance hot and fast paced, but in particular sport romance fans should give these a try.
My thanks to Net Galley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read and review this book.
Review by Sophia Rose
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