In the Fast Lane, by Audra North

In The Fast Lane

Grade: B

Doing it at: 65%

Catnip: Race Car Drivers; Southern Boy; Fake Relationship; Strong Female Lead; Boxers Boner

Shame Scale: Light shame. The heroine is a total alpha and it’s refreshing to see a book about a woman with the cool catnippy job.

Fantasy Cast: Oliver Hudson; Eliza Dushku

Book Description:

Racing cars is in Kerri Hart’s blood–literally, since it’s the family business. But Hart Racing is in dire financial straits, and as the only female rookie driver, Kerri’s sponsorship offers always tend to be of the unzipped racing-suit variety. It’s a message she’d rather not sell to her young fans. But how can she afford not to?

Ranger Colt knows how to make a woman’s heart race. But when his voice pops up on Kerri’s headset–while she’s in mid-tailspin–she’s in no mood for his charms. Colt Hardware now has a significant stake in the Hart family business, and Kerri has no choice but to work with him. But when her ex-boyfriend makes a very public, tabloid-fodder scene that threatens to tarnish her image, it’s Ranger who comes to the rescue. Pretending to be engaged to generate some good publicity seems like a good plan. In fact, it works–all too well. What begins as a ruse is revving up to feel a whole lot like the real thing. Will Kerri and Ranger’s fake-lationship take a wild turn. . .and lead them toward the finish?

This is a quick story (170 pages) about Kerri, a gorgeous, confident race car driver, and Ranger, the new owner of her family’s racing team. Hart Racing has been struggling financially, and Kerri has a PR problem – as one of the only women in racing, she’s painted by the media as a diva, and hounded for things that are dismissed for the other male drivers. Ranger’s father bought Hart Racing, and sent Ranger down to prove himself by turning the team into a success.

The story opens when one of Kerri’s ex’s runs onto the track during a practice run, almost causing an accident, with a giant banner proposing to her. There are spelling errors. Ranger sees all this happen, and is all, “No big, we’ll just pretend we’re engaged and that will solve everything.” Kerry is predictably outraged, because her family legacy was just sold out from under her, and she’s in the middle of a media storm from a doofus ex boyfriend, but she’s taking the blame, being portrayed as a man-eater. She sees the logic in Ranger’s solution, but I love how she refused to let anyone mansplain to her:

“Settle down, now, and hear -”

“I swear to God, if anyone tells me one more time to settle down, I will gut him with a socket wrench.”

Violent, but effective. He made what he hoped was the right decision and simply shut up.

They decide to get things off on a professional start with some hot “practice kissing,” and predictably they have amazing chemistry. Nonetheless, they try and keep things on a platonic level, with occasional kissing for the cameras. We all know where this story is going – both of them want to fuck each other into the mattress, but try and hold off to keep things on a business level. In other words, fantastic tension. Ranger is worried to start anything with Kerri since he’ll be leaving in a few months to go back to his dad’s company, with a big promotion and he doesn’t want to break Kerri’s heart. But Kerri is all, “Maybe I just want to use you, bro.”

And the sex was a good blend of playful and hot, our favorite:

“Shit, Ranger, your cock is really big.”

The whispered words nearly shut him down, and he half laughed, half groaned through is teeth. “God, sugar. No offense, but I’m gonna need you to be quiet for a little bit if you need this to last more than ten seconds. Give or take five.”

I really enjoyed Kerri as our heroine. She’s working hard to empower young girls, and it was great to read a book where the girl gets the cool job. North does a good job highlighting inequities in how the media treats women vs. men, and Ranger was happy to sit back and let Kerri live dangerously. In a genre where overprotective men are celebrated, this was an immensely refreshing change.

This one comes out on July 14, click to view on Amazon:

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