Judith’s review of Jacked Up (Fast Track Series #6) by Erin McCarthy.
Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of her race-car brother’s jack-man, Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure. It may be purely a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten a little personal—and after a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it…
And they both have the same drive.
Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. It does more than that. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, Eve and Nolan wake up hitched, thanks to a post-sex-high detour to a Vegas chapel. A hangover marriage to a virtual stranger isn’t good for anyone’s image, so Eve plans to play the happy wife long enough to satisfy the press, and then quietly part ways. Now all she has to do is convince her new personal jack-man. But Nolan has plans of his own.
Anyone who has ever been to Vegas knows that people get crazy there and crazy things happen, some of which can make one’s normal life crazy as well. In this sixth story in Erin McCarthy’s “Fast Track” series is about people who don’t normally do crazy things. Both Even and Nolan are in their early 30’s, they have a fairly good grasp on their individual lives and abilities, but both are seeking that important ingredient–that important person–who can make their world complete. Eve is a worrier–I recognize her as the kind of people who have populated my family for generations. (I come from a long line of championship, blue-ribbon worriers.) She is unhappy; she hates her job; she resents the fact that both her brothers are doing what she really wants to do–stock car racing–and she has had to content herself with operating as their PR person–living on the edge of their careers, trying to be a part of the racing world in a capacity she hates. Her dad pressures her about a bunch of stuff, she is uptight about her image, she just doesn’t know how to relax anymore, and she has forgotten how to have fun.
Now Nolan Ford is fascinated with the sassy gal who can dish it out with the best of them, is curious about who really lives under those layers of business suit and what she might just be like if she found a way to have fun. Throughout this story I was absolutely amazed at Nolan’s patience with Eve–I kept asking myself if such a patient, understanding many could really exist in real life. The word for Nolan that kept popping into Eve’s head was always the word “thoughtful.” He is a generous uncle who is perfectly at ease around babies and little kids; he knows his value to the racing team that works for Eve’s brother; he makes enough money to live comfortably but the he does worry from time to time about the inequity financially between him and Eve, but he doesn’t let that hinder him from working really hard to get Eve to remember how to be human, how to relax, and most importantly, how to have fun.
But what do you do when you realize you have married someone you have known for only two weeks? How do you deal with your respective families? How do you deal with family members who are worried about issues you aren’t worried about at all? So it was with these two, and how they work it all out is an important part of this story. But perhaps the most important part of the story for me was to witness how this kind and patient, fun-loving, hard-working, genuine and gentle man simply absorbed Eve’s stress and gave it back to her as fun and caring and loving. It was like watching someone unwind a Slinky and it was fascinating to watch Eve respond to a person who wasn’t worried about a lot of insignificant stuff–a person who took life one day at a time, and one who valued her for who she was and not for her family name or who she was working for.
I have enjoyed all the stories in this series and have felt that each one has an important point to make about how individuals, couples and families manage to live with the stress, publicity, and fast pace of the racing world. This is another great story that points out another important lesson: one has to be true to one’s self, to live out one’s own dream, and find joy in the living of that dream. It’s a terrific read and one I am pleased to have experienced.
I give it a 4.25 out of 5
This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here