Friday, January 29, 2010

Review -- Flat-out Sexy by Erin McCarthy

She met him at the racetrack which was the last place Tamara Briggs wanted to find a man, even a deeply intriguing, seductively sexy man like Elec Monroe. Tamara's a single mother now after losing her daredevil husband in an accident--and she's not about to get involved with another driver and put her kids, or herself, through that again. Besides, Elec's young enough to be her younger brother.

Now things are moving a little too fast. But he sure does get her heart racing. And after she's tricked into a blind date with him, Tamara gives in to her passion. Things screech to a halt, thought, when he asks to meet her children. Whatever happened to "wham-bam-thank-you-m'am? Suddenly Tamara has to decide how big a risk she's willing to take to experience the thrilling, terrifying power of true love.

Erin McCarthy has written a fast-paced, hot and heavy novel that embraces the peculiar and death-defying culture of stock car racing. Tamara Briggs is the widow of one of the racing legends and holder of many of stock car racing's records. She has been alone for two years and her loneliness has become a constant companion. As much as she loves her children and wants to honor their father's memory, she is more and more aware that she is still young and is not prepared to spend the rest of her life alone. The flip side of that situation is the presence of her husband's family and the young age of her son and daughter. She has ventured out into the world of adult dating only to find that her first attempt at dating a "safe and steady" person has nearly crushed her with boredom and the awareness that there is no zing or tingle, a condition that gives her a distinct loathing to continue the relationship with a fellow professor, a person she learns later even her children and her mother-in-law don't like very much.

Enter Elec Monroe, a "rookie" race car driver who is about six years younger than Tamara but who electrifies her immediately when she literally and physically bumps into him at a charity event and manages to spill an entire glass of wine on his shirt. She is swamped with the feelings she has buried for two years since her husband's death, and while she is totally unwilling to form any kind of enduring connection with anyone in the racing community, most especially a driver, Elec manages to make her body come alive in less time than it takes to imagine it. Circumstances beyond Tamara's control contrive to put Elec & Tamara in the same cab bound for the mobile park where the coaches for the drivers are parked. A tentative kiss ignites them both and Tamara says "Yes" to needs which have long been denied.

There's lots and lots of sizzle in this book, but the foundation of the story is the tender tale of a man who is mature beyond his years and who is weary beyond telling of the groupies who follow the racing drivers and who really care for the money and the publicity more than they do the men themselves. In Tamara he perceives he has found a woman who has the capacity to love deeply and truly, and who engages his heart long before he is aware that it is well and truly lost to her. Tamara is a woman who loves her children beyond all else and yet knows that loving them and caring for them can never be enough. She experiences surprise at many of Elec's kindnesses and his willingness to be a true friend to her children, to be a hands-on part of their lives, and who is completely sensitive to her feelings and concerns about dating and being involved with a member of a family with whom the father of her dead husband has a long-standing feud. Elec just simply wants to be with her and is willing to do whatever it takes. As much as she had loved her husband, it had always been about him. With Elec, Tamara is aware that he is focused on her in a way she has not experienced in the past. The underlying conflict really persists throughout this novel--can Tamara reach beyond her fears to allow Elec's love for her to be permanent?

McCarthy has peppered her story with colorful characters: the two drivers who are godparents to her kids, her dead husband's parents, a bimbo or two, a lovely but studious and otherwise focused teaching assistant, a best friend who can sometimes be more trouble than needed, and the winsome and delightful son and daughter. Love and caring are everywhere along with humor and genuine friendship. McCarthy has a proven ability to tell a great story and keeps the energy flowing without any lessening of the sexual tension. There are complications galore, but there always are in a good story. Her characters are real, flesh-and-blood people, celebraties possibly, but trying to live in a way that keeps them earth-bound. This is not a story with lots of complex situations or one that requires a great deal of energy to read, but if you like a great tale with lots of fun and bed-sport, you'll love this book! I give this book a 4.75 rating out of 5.


Tracy said...

This is one of my favorites from McCarthy. She has a great way of bringing the characters on the page alive and adding humor to the situations - which you know I love. :)

Great review!

Rowena said...

I haven't read this series yet and after reading your review, I need to fix it. =)

The Romance Girl said...

This has been on my TBR list since it came out (I just love the cover). Great review!