Series: Adrenaline Highs #1
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Carina Press on 5 September 2011
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Tracey Bradshaw was almost pushed off the racing car circuit when someone poured oil on the track while she was training. Extensive physiotherapy and sheer bloody-mindedness has got her to a point where she should be able to win the competition she missed out on last time but the sudden death of her mentor (Uncle Joe) means she has a new team leader, Mac Reynolds, calling the shots.
Tracey is very independent and the way she interacts with others often comes across as abrasive or rude until she gets to know them. To make it in a man’s world, she has had to be tougher, stronger and faster. Tracey doesn’t even let the fact she has a steel rod inserted into her leg slow her down professionally. Her personal life is a bit of a mess. Her fiancé and son of the man she works for broke off their engagement after he saw the massive scar that ran down her leg because he couldn’t hack damaged goods. She expects other men to view her in the same light and so it makes sense that it takes her a long time to reveal her vulnerable side to Mac. I thought for someone so indifferent to her physical appearance and resilient in other areas of her life that her obsession with her scar was a bit over the top but the fact she gradually came to accept it was lovely.
Mac had his fair share of dramas as he was in a significant car crash years earlier. Unlike Tracey though, he never made it back into competitive racing and instead turned to producing racing cars. He can’t agree with Tracey on anything and her unwillingness to have a relationship right before her big race frustrates him. He gets on well with the other members of Tracey’s team but because he only agreed to help out for the Arrow 500, he isn’t exactly putting down roots.
The romance between the two worked at the ‘I want you but can’t admit to it’ stage but I didn’t like the dynamics that came into play when they first had sex or the cheesy dialogue. Mac was furious with Tracey for sensitively addressing his fear of getting back behind the wheel and wanted to punish her. He gets angry again when he discovers that she was a virgin because he thought it made his actions look bad. We are told multiple times that Tracey ‘tricked’ him by submitting to him and the assumption is that she was using him – I’m not sure how that differs from his behaviour.
There is a secondary romance between Tracey’s long lost identical twin sister Chelsea and her mechanic. This relationship goes at warp speed and even though at times it overshadowed Tracey and Mac’s relationship, it didn’t really value add. Nearly 300 pages wasn’t enough to deal with both romances properly, the relationship between Tracey and Chelsea and the suspense of someone trying to sabotage Tracey’s upcoming race. It felt rushed and we bounced around quite a bit which was a shame. I wanted to know why Tracey was abandoned by the mother but Chelsea wasn’t and that aspect wasn’t really addressed.
I really liked the fairly sensitive way mental and physical disabilities from accidents were explored and the suspense aspect. If the multiple story-lines had been pared down then I think I would have enjoyed this book far more because it felt like the great premise didn’t quite translate on the page.