Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Hot Finish by Erin McCarthy

Not all marriages last forever . . .
Suzanne Jefferson is broke, which is why she has given up charity work for wedding planning. Fortunately, she has a high-profile client--and best of all, he's paid in advance. There are just two teensy problems: The bride is a bon fide bridezilla, and Suzanne's ex-husband is the best man. At least she thought he was her ex-husband.

Two years after their marriage fell apart, stock car race driver Ryder Jefferson still can't stop thinking about Suzanne. Which is why he isn't too upset that, due to a glitch, the two are still technically married. Now he is imagining easing Suzanne's woes by satisfying her needs in the bedroom. After all, that's the one room they never argued in. Besides, with wedding bells ringing all around them, Ryder is wondering if--even though they'd quite the race a few laps too early--they can still come on strong with a big, romantic finish.

Erin McCarthy's "Fast Track" novels are fun and full of energy, sex, hot guys, and the women who either love them or want to. Book 3 is no exception. It is somewhat different in character than the first two in that the main characters have had their hot and heavy relationship and it has blown all to smithereens. Now as a wedding planner, Suzanne is hired to plan the wedding of one of her ex's racing buddies--and she needs this job because it is now her only means of support. It is during one of the more trying encounters with the brainless twit who happens to be the bride, that Ryder Jefferson presents an envelope from their lawyer which contains the almost unbelievable news that in truth, Suzanne and Ryder are still married. Even as they try to work through the back-tracking and trying to get the divorce degree re-instated, they each must face the factors that brought them together and those which tore them apart.

The racing world in no different than any other professional sport: too much money and too much publicity. The romances and the break-ups are way too public and that factor alone can make a tentative situation really bad. These two individuals have gotten caught in the media meat grinder and on top of their personal issues there are all the other factors that being in the spotlight can engender. But most of all, it seems these two people just need to GROW UP. Their squabbles seem just a little on the adolescent side, and as one who has been in the helping professions for a number of years, I marvel how otherwise grown up adults can descend into the world of adolescent bickering when deep emotions become involved and heart really begin to hurt over real or perceived injuries.

McCarthy's style adds to the excitement of this series and this novel is no different. Some reviewers seem to feel that this third in the series is a disappointment. I don't think so. I just think that it takes a far different situation that the sexual rat race as its main plot. Public marriages don't seem to survive well, and often it is because of just the kinds of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, childish bickering, disappointments, and insecurities that drove these two so far from each other. Add in the loss of their unborn child and there was lots to overwhelm the good sense they were both born with.

I like novels that deal with substantive issues, and while McCarthy's writing embraces a sizzling eroticism and a fast-paced story development and dialogue, the journey these two make through their personal issues is fascinating and engaging. I think it is a fitting finish to this series. And, might I add, the guys on the covers are real "eye candy" too. (I may be old but I'm not dead). I give this novel a rating of 4 out of 5.


Tracy said...

I can't wait to read this one. Great review.

Carolyn Crane said...

Oh, I'm glad to see this review! I like a novel with actual issues, too, especially issues the get intertwined with the romance like this, where the couple has to struggle.