Saturday, January 30, 2010

Oh My! Another Fun Book -- Hard And Fast by Erin McCarthy

An experiement in romance . . . New to Charlotte, North Carolina, stock car racing country, graduate student Imogen Wilson meets Ty McCordle, a driver who inexplicably has her pulse racing. After an encounter at the track with a woman whose main goal in life is to marry a driver, Imogen realizes she's hit on the perfect topic for her sociology thesis. If she follows "the rules" on how to get a man, can she steer her way into the hearts of the drivers and establish their dating and mating patterns?

That's testing the limits of passion . . . Although sexy and reckless Ty is the ideal test subject, Imogen knows she can't pursue him for the sake of science. Yet he's the one who's chasing after her, and Imogen realizes that she actually wants to be caught. A Southern gentleman like Ty won't disappoint--he will satisfy her curiosity and make all the risks worthwhile.

I had to chuckle when I first saw this book and read the title -- pictured with a gorgeous male in low-rider jeans, one of those models that made the title have new meaning! And the author, like one of the main characters, doesn't disappoint either. It is a funny, funny book with a studious, beautiful, sociology student who is friend of and teaching assistant to Professor Tamara Briggs as one of the main characters. She is not sexually inexperienced having had a somewhat extended affair while in college but has been focused on her academic pursuits while getting her master's degree. She encounters Ty McCordle at a party and who is squiring one classic empty-headed female,a woman obsessed with her figure and is interested only in money and celebrity. Ty breaks up with her at the beginning of our story and is almost immediately attracted to Imogen and who reciprocates with her own vibes. But the truly humorous part of their repartee is Imogen's almost incessant curiosity and the nearly endless flow of questions, questions, questions. Ty breaks the flow by engaging her in hours of heart-stopping, breath-arresting sex. There's alot of that in their relationship.

McCarthy is an author, though, that builds a parallel story consisting of their personal stories and their burgeoning emotional involvement. Ty is a very smart man who is insecure over his limited educational background, while Imogen is almost hamstrung in relating to others because she lets her scientific side interfere with expressing her feelings. Together they learn mutual giving and sharing, not only physically but in really talking and listening to one another. Imogen is fascinated with the world of stock car racing and while at the beginning she is seeking to make their culture and lifestyle the subject of her master's thesis, she ultimately abandons that idea because of her own emotional involvement with so many of the people in that world. She has a number of interviews with couples who have met and married within the racing world, and ultimately she uses this material to begin a book about racing relationships.

Ty, on the other hand, is bent on expanding Imogen's "real life" experiences with some down-home cooking, in addition to camping and hiking and fishing in the wonderful North Carolina country. Imagine a 28 year old, Manhattan born and bred Yankee who is learning to fish with earthworm bait (and the whole hilarious discussion of whether to kill the worm before putting it on the hook), swimming in the refreshing lakes of the south, learning the joy of expressing her desires in the remote confines of a tent at the end of the trail, and so on and so forth. It is fun and full of the joy of discovery. Ty shows us that he is a man of infinite patience who is slowly but surely realizing that there is not much on this earth nearly as sexy as a really smart woman. McCarthy intertwines Ty & Imogen's story with others who have become familiar to the reader if they have read her first book, Flat-Out Sexy, and further develops those personalities as a background scenario in this novel.

This is one of those books that is fun and easy to read. The people are real and warm and their private lives are removed from the celebrity that accompanies the adrenalin-saturated racing clime. This is not one of those multilayered, multi-situational novels that we sometimes love to read when we want something that demands all our attention and mental comprehension. This story is warm and funny, full of generous people, so well-written that it seems the characters are just folks like us, and who we would love to know in real life.

I like the fact that McCarthy fills her stories with men who are sensitive and generous with the people in their lives, who love their women wholeheartedly, and who, by virtue of their profession, are risk-takers to the max. But their risk-taking is not limited to their driving. They are open to emotional challenge and are smart enough to recognize authentic loving on those rare occasions when it surfaces in the sea of counterfeit emotion that swirls around public figures, perpetrated by those who would use sex to gain their own selfish goals.

This is a good book and a fun way to spend some time. And you'll love the guy on the cover, too. I give this book a rating of 4.75 out of 5.


Book Binge Guest Blogger said...
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Tracy said...

Sorry - that was me. :)

I didn't care for this book as much as I did the first one. There was just more sex than story, I thought, but that was a big point in the story as well.

I can't wait to read the next book - whenever's it's out. :)