“An experiment 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…”
After reading Flat-Out Sexy it was a long wait till the release of Hard and Fast. I was never one for the car racing romance theme, it just did not appeal to me. Until this series, now I found myself waiting and eying my mailbox for my copy like a dog who eagerly awaits the return of his boss. The seed for the attraction between Ty and Imogen was already planted in Flat-Out Sexy so with Hard and Fast I could pick up where Flat-Out Sexy left off.
Because of the familiarity with the characters I was immediately pulled back into the story, enjoying and devouring every word. Ty is an easy going, likable, handsome guy who has made a name for himself in the stockcar racing business. Stockcar racing is his passion. He dates bimbos because they are low maintenance, all they want from him is a few moments in the racing spotlight and hot sex. He feels this attraction between him and Imogen and wants to give this relationship a serious go. He hides that he is dyslexic, he is ashamed of it and is very resourceful in hiding it, only one person knows about it. Because of his dyslexic he cannot wrap his brains around Imogen’s name and he playfully keeps calling her Emma Jean. Normally if a hero keeps forgetting a woman’s name it would irritate the hell out of me but Ty gets away with it, even if he weren’t dyslexic.
Imogen comes from a complete different background. Born and raised in New York she is a real city girl, she feels and is an outsider in Charlotte. She is a honest, loyal and hardworking woman but also lonely. She feels drawn to Ty but don’t know why, she realizes that if she wants to test her thesis that this is her change, so why not mix business with pleasure. I must say that I had some problems with Imogen’s character. I do like her but she has this tendency to over-analyze things, she has this need to explain everything with facts and science and therefore she sometimes comes across as someone who is not in touch with this world. So at first I could not wholly connect with her.
Opposites attract. And Ty and Imogen are complete opposites. They also let each other experience things they normally would not do. Imogen has persuaded Ty to read Shakespeare and Imogen has agreed to go camping with him. The camping trip is romantic but also has some hilarious scenes. It is funny to read how Ty sometimes totally do not understand Imogen’s scientific points of view but he is trying to make her feel more at home and less uptight. The love scenes are even more hot and sexy than the ones between Elec and Tamara. Especially the scene where Ty takes Imogen against the wall is breathtaking and scorching titillating.
The recurring characters in this story are also layered and rich, Tammy and Elec, Ryder, Suzanne, Elec’s family. Every time you turn a page you get to know them a little better, it incites you to even know more about them. These characters are like a safety net for Ty and Imogen, they are always there for support, to show their love and they always poke their noses into everything in kind of a funny way but they do so without dominating the story. It is going to be pure torture to wait for their own stories.
There is something about Erin McCarthy’s stories that turns you into this craving addict. This series leaves you all warm inside and has this feel-good vibe, it cheers you up. Erin McCarthy knows how to put a smile on your face and enchants you with this character-driven series. Her writing is fluent and fast-paced; she knows how to create different layers and depth in this series through her characters. Her characters all have so much more depth to them than they show at first sight. They grow and undergo changes while the story progresses. The dialogues are sometimes hilarious, making you laugh out loud or they are so hot you need to cool down before you can continue and sometimes they are simple so emotional that you need to get rid of that lump in your throat.
“Nikki was using Ty for fame and fortune. Imogen wanted him to recognize that at the same time she didn’t want him to suffer hurt feelings. “I can see that,” he said slowly. “I know exactly why Nikki is involved with me. It’s for my money and her share of the racing spotlight. It doesn’t exactly bother me because I know it is what it is, and I am not in any danger of falling in love with her.” His knee bumped Imogen’s when he shifted in his chair. “But the truth is, I want to be some woman’s work boots, not her high heels.” “Work boots?” What was sexy about that? And did women have work boots? “Yeah. You know, the boots she pulls out when she wants to get down and dirty, hiking or gardening or boating or painting the kitchen. The ones she relies on and trusts and lives her life hard and good and on her terms in. Her favorites.”
With Hard and Fast Erin McCarthy lives up to the high expectations I had after reading Flat-Out-Sexy. Although Ty and Imogen are not my favorite characters in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and loved this story. This series is getting better and better and is definitely one of my favorite contemporary romance series, one you will reread every once in a while!
PS Look at those covers of Flat-Out-Sexy and Hard and Fast!!!!! Wowwwww!!!!!!