Driven is a series of books that I was turned onto by finding out PassionFlix was making the first book into a movie. I have been following along with their movies, reading the books before the come out. Not knowing what I was getting into I found myself shocked by the ending as it left me hanging. I quickly started book 2, Fueled and also asking PassionFlix if the movie was just going to be Driven….yep, so that means a cliffhanger too. Please note that Colton and Rylee’s story takes up three books with books Driven and Fueled ending in cliffhangers. I am glad I took the chance to read this, but I don’t know if I would have if I had known about the cliffhangers. Please note that the first review I keep away from spoilers, but as the story continues from one to another it gets harder not saying a few things. Read my review only if you don’t mind being spoiled or have already read them.
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on May 8, 2013
Driven is an adrenaline rush of emotions that shake you and don’t let you go. A seriously broken hero hiding everything in his celebrity status and a heroine going through the motions of life holding onto heartache. A truly electrically charged romance, with a bitter ending.
Going into Driven, I just thought it was one story in a series, but quickly found out it was a trilogy just for this couple with a few more books thrown in about these two. Like Driven from the hero’s perspective since it is all from Rylee’s. There’s also a novella like epilogue that I haven’t picked up yet.
Each installment except for the last, Crashed, ends in a cliffhanger. All of the books to their story are out, but you have to read them all to get the full story. I didn’t know that going into this and was a little pissed off about it. I started reading it because it was a PassionFlix movie…that’s still not out. I tend to try to read the book before the movie, so I jumped on this one. So if PassionFlix stays the course, the movie will end in a cliffhanger. I guess I should say it will be coming out in installments of 3 in early August and 3 more a few weeks later.
Any ho! Time for the review part.
We meet Rylee at a benefit auction as she is running around looking for paddles and running the show. Backstage she encounters a couple making out, but sneaks quietly by them to the storage room where she promptly gets locked it and starts to panic. We don’t learn till later in the story what causes the panic. While it causes a few issues in the story, she’s ready to move on from the tragedy that has her going through the motions.
Who saves Rylee? Colton! Colton comes across as a playboy (which he is) and Rylee is not having any part of it. She rebuffs him, but he won’t take no for an answer and they kiss…and it’s the best kiss she has had…ever. Running away is her ammo, but then she is also running this auction and has to get back to work. Auctioning off dates feels wrong, but when someone doesn’t show, Rylee gets volunteered to go out there where Colton makes the highest bid.
The two do a dance of denial and cat and mouse. Rylee doesn’t want to let go of the past and we learn little by little what her issues are, but not everything. Colton comes across as the guy who has everything and gets everything. Adopted by a movie director and his wife, Colton seems to have it all, but deep down he is hiding wounds so deep, no one knows about.
Rylee starts to open up. To feel again. But she won’t be Colton’s plaything. Colton treats her like a queen one minute and like crap on his shoe the next. He doesn’t do relationship and he definitely doesn’t want a wife and kids. He makes that crystal clear. The two spend a lot of time sparring with words as things feel high one minute and the depths of low the next.
To top it all off, Colton makes a huge donation to Rylee’s place of employment where she works with a group of kids in a group home. They need a new center and the money Colton donates and raises will help them meet their goal sooner than later. But this also means she can’t side step Colton. He’s at her work and in her private life.
Her work life revolves around her boys. A group of boys traumatized by life with no family to take them in. She spends 24 hour shifts loving them and being the caring adult most of them don’t have. One particular boy witnessed the stabbing death of his mother by his father’s hands. He barely speaks, but when he sees Colton, he is star struck and starts to come out of his shell. Colton allows the boys to visit him at the track and become an integral part of their story.
There are scenes so sensual with out sex that will have you looking for ice water. The depth of emotion while also not touching any emotions, or maybe too many emotions best left untouched, drags you deep into their story. You get so invested only to have something happen at the end of this story that tears your heart apart.
I found myself hating Colton for dragging Rylee out of her abyss only to throw her back as if she meant nothing. But he is fighting is own demons, which we don’t really know about in this book because it is all from Rylee’s point of view. I loved she stood up for herself, but also started the healing process. Now it is Colton’s turn…or so I think.
Review Writing Challenge #24
Bad Boy of Romance Challenge #15
Never Ending Series #1
Literary Pickers #22 – bathroom mirror
Books ‘N Tunes #19 – I Don’t Want This Night to End by Luke Bryan
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on August 27, 2013
The drama continues as we get more of Colton’s side of the story and even more details of what happened to Rylee. The two still have so much to overcome, but their passion can only overcome so much. The deep hostile feelings boil up, but so do the emotions they so tightly held onto. Another cliffhanger, but different from the first one.
Fueled picks up right at the moment Driven ends, but we start off in Colton’s mind as he deals with the horrible terror going through his mind that made him rebuff Rylee. We start to see a glimpse of what happened to Colton. The Hell his life was before he was adopted at eight years of age. Little triggers start showing up throughout this story that set off the bad memories. Memories he has not shared with anyone. To escape the pain of his past he uses women to find pleasure. The deal is simple: he meets them at a separate residence, they have sex, he calls the shots, no emotions and when he is done, it is done. Now Rylee is pushing his buttons and not falling into line.
Colton tries hard. He calls pit stops in their relationship when he can’t deal with issues and Rylee gives them to him. But also, Rylee reveals more of her inner struggle. And Colton accepts what she says, the wounds she bares are deep, but he holds onto his own secrets.
There still is a lot of back and forth. Rylee has fallen in love and can’t say the words for fear of scaring Colton off. Colton tries hard to be the man Rylee needs, but often falls off the horse when dealing with his own demons.
We get to meet some more secondary characters that round out the huge feeling of security to this couple. We met Haddie in Driven as she is the best friend and roommate of Rylee. She seems to be the rock Rylee needs as well as the catalyst to get on with her life. Beckett is in Colton’s crew, but also the brother Colton never really had. He knows there is a deep burden on Colton’s soul, but he just tries to be the friend while calling him on his shit with Rylee.
There is a lot of accusations thrown around between these two and you just want to shake them as the story unfolds. You want Rylee to stop and listen to Colton and you want Colton not to throw his past in her face. At times if felt brutally tiring dealing with these two.
When we finally look to be coming to the happy place for them, an accident happens and we are left wondering what’s next and will they survive.
Review Writing Challenge #25
Bad Boy of Romance Challenge #16
Never Ending Series #2
Literary Pickers #23 – Just a Guy on the cover
Books ‘N Tunes #20 – Glitter in the Air by P!nk
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on February 27, 2014
The conclusion is here and while somethings can’t be fixed, we can learn to heal. Rylee and Colton are surviving several emergencies that throw them back and forth. A test to the strength of their hearts is going to either break them or make them unbreakable. While there is love, it isn’t an emotion that is mentioned much, but they use code words to express themselves. Rylee must make a choice and Colton must deal with the demons. This story will rip you to peaces and slowly put you back together…maybe better than before or maybe worse.
This is the conclusion of Colton and Rylee’s story. Maybe they have some time in future books, but this is the end of the biggest part of their story. An accident ends Fueled after Colton had the revelation he was in love with Rylee, but not in so many words. He had found peace before going into a race. When an accident happens, we see both Rylee’s side of the story as she watches in horror and Colton’s side as he comes so close to death.
When Colton wakes, his personality is slightly altered by the fact he has lost some of his memories and others are out of order. The road to recovery is long, but also Rylee has to live with the fact that Colton doesn’t remember his last words to her. You see Colton’s fear of what happened and wanting to get back on the race track as soon as possible, but also fearing he could crash again. You have Rylee dealing with the self-doubts that he will ever love her and holding onto the secret just as tight.
As the story moves on we get intrigue from Tawny, who is Colton’s ex-girlfriend from college and family friend. Tawny has taunted Rylee throughout each story and when Rylee puts her in her place, Tawny comes back blazing with a secret that could undo them all.
As life moves back to some normalcy with the fall out from Tawny still hanging over them, Rylee is still helping the boys she has come to love and council. But a child’s past comes roaring in to threaten them leaving Rylee injured, but also causing an even bigger pain from something she never thought would happen.
The two struggle to come to terms with what they both want, but can’t give. The impossible is now a slight hope, while the demons Colton has been pushing down finally rear their ugly heads. He must deal with it now or forever be haunted with the fact he can’t love or be loved.
This story makes you cry, but also ask the author what the more can these people go through to get a HEA? Yeah, what for God’s sake do you expect them to endure next? Good thing this was a conclusion to their story or I might have wept for days. At times I felt like a ping-pong ball between them.
I am trying to convey a lot of things without giving away the story completely. Healing and moving to a place in their lives is the name of this story. Coming to grip with the fact that you aren’t inconsequential. Dealing with someone actually loving you, but also putting your needs first.
I loved the ending for these two. They deserved to get a HEA when you most of the time didn’t think it would ever be in the cards for them. I cried. I mean I cried a lot with this one. It will mess you up, but it will also put you back together. And now I can’t wait to get more of the stories for all the other characters!
If you like angsty books, this is for you. It spans 3 whole books and you never really trust the author at times because she would throw you in a tailspin at the drop of a dime. The adrenaline will run for the racing, but also the passion that runs through these two. If you don’t like stories spanning many books, then skip it. It takes all that page time to get their story right.
Unfortunately, PassionFlix will leave you in the cliffhanger. They show they are going to make Fueled and Crashed on their site, but the next book they are making aren’t these. It’s sad to invest that much only to get one third of the story. But then my disgruntleness with PassionFlix is another story for another time.
Do yourself a favor? Grab a box of tissues, some chocolates and ice cream, fuzzy PJs and anything else comfortable and give this series a try. It knocked me on my ass.
Review Writing Challenge #26
Bad Boy of Romance Challenge #17
Never Ending Series #3
Literary Pickers #24 – Classic Car (named Sex)
Books ‘N Tunes #21 – Halo by Beyonce
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