Trashy Read 2011 #2: Hard and Fast, by Erin McCarthy
Remember when I read Erin McCarthy's Flat-Out Sexy and really liked it? Well, I finally got around to reading the second book in her ongoing stock car racing romance series. Hard and Fast was just as easy-going and likeable as its predecessor. This book focuses on Ty McCordle, a fast-living race car driver, and Imogen Wilson, a graduate sociology student. Both characters were introduced in the previous book, and you could see their spark of mutual attraction even then. Imogen tries to focus her thesis on the idea of dating rules and whether or not they work for specific careers (specifically, stock car racing). But she basically gives up on this underdeveloped idea of hers when she begins dating Ty.
Flat-Out Sexy worked so well for me because of the characters. They were so down-to-earth and well-matched. And while I didn't love Ty or Imogen as much as I adored Elec and Tamara, this was still a highly enjoyable read. The characters act like responsible adults, but they also have fun and love being together. McCarthy isn't about putting drama where it doesn't belong, which is an extremely refreshing viewpoint in romance. Sometimes, I thought Imogen was a little too quirky-smart (as in an "she's overly curious and logical, ain't that funny/weird" kind of way) and not particular believable as an actual grad student. I have this problem with every romance I've ever read featuring a "genius" heroine. Why can't she be really smart without constantly stating the obvious? (On a side note: Do any of you romance readers out there have this problem, too? As someone who was a strong student and considers herself intellectually-curious, it always bothers me how un-fun these "smart girls" can be). But in general, Imogen does learn to relax and she's a genuinely good person, as is Ty.
Anyway, McCarthy rules and I'm going to keep following these stock car racing romances of hers. I may not like Nascar or thrill-seekers, but these characters are so believable and well-written that I have to look in on them every once in awhile. Despite those ridiculous, porn-film-esque titles.
Next in Trashy Reads: Probably some historical romance. I have a couple Lisa Kleypas books on my shelf begging to be read.