Saturday, November 19, 2011

Speed Dating by Nancy Warren

Posted by Laurielu Bona Fide Reflections at 12:00 AM
Today our good friend Kendra from Reader's Edyn is stopping by to guest post for us.  We are so happy to have her here on Bona Fide Reflections.

Book Blurb:
Dylan Hargreave thinks I'm an actress paid to pose as his girlfriend at a North Carolina society wedding. How did this happen to me, of all people? Kendall Clarke, award-winning actuary, the veritable shining star of number crunchers who, just hours ago, learned her responsible fiancé (sorry, ex-fiancé) called off our wedding because he'd gotten one of my colleagues pregnant. What are the odds?
Don't tell me you've never heard of Dylan Hargreave. Celebrity NASCAR driver? People magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year? Those eyes. That smile…
Forget sensible! I've assessed the risk…and I'm taking it! I usually keep the brakes on, but as of now I'm taking a vacation. From me.

Book Excerpt:
"So, you're dumping me. Just like that. Right before the biggest night of my life."

He smiled at her, obviously relieved to have the burden of his confession off his chest and no hysterics to wade through. "You're strong, Kendall. You don't need me the way Penelope does."

He walked to the door and opened it, then glanced back. "Good luck tonight." He sounded as though he really meant it.

After the door shut behind her ex-fiancé, Kendall stood there feeling frozen and numb. Bits of thoughts and phrases were jumbled up in her head. Not exciting enough. Pregnant. I need more.

And through it all flickered the humiliating knowledge that this relationship had gone on for months under her nose and she'd never noticed. She had the sick feeling that she was the only one in the office who hadn't.

This was supposed to be the night of her greatest triumph, not her greatest humiliation.

If only she could think more clearly.

She stood there in her new underwear and slowly tugged the engagement ring off her finger and regarded the diamond solitaire. Like her dreams, it was modest.

She ought to return it to Marvin, but he was just thrifty enough that he might offer the ring to Penelope.

She put the ring on the dresser where it made a tiny click. She'd leave it as a tip for the maid.

Having decided the ring's future to her satisfaction, she glanced at her clock and discovered with horror that the banquet was starting in fifteen minutes. Luckily she was ready. No, wait, she wasn't. Something was missing. She looked around vaguely.

Oh, of course. Her dress. The one Marvin had helped her pick out at Nordstrom.

Dylan Hargreave gave a rebel yell into the headset, knowing he'd half deafen his spotter and any of the crew who were listening.

"She's sweet," he yelled, feeling the grab of the tires, the tightness of tail. He accelerated into Turn Three at the Speedway in Charlotte, pulling the wheel hard left, hanging on to control as he fought for more speed. A glance at the oversize tachometer told him the engine was cooperating.

Charlotte was his track. He always did well here. Being a North Carolina boy, it was important for him to place high in Sunday's race for a lot of reasons. Today's training run was feeling good. He was pumped; the team members were working together like magic.

The run of bad luck they'd suffered recently was about to end. He loved race week in Charlotte, culminating in the big race.

Sunday, he fully intended to take a victory lap.

He owned this course, and anybody who wanted to try and take him better be ready to do serious battle.

Then he felt the speed fall away as though somebody'd turned off the ignition.

"Aaaaw, no!" he yelled, as a multicolored blur of cars zoomed past him like a swarm of bees. It was only a practice to make sure everything was running smoothly, but it was clear that things on the Hargreave team weren't going smoothly at all.

Favorite Dialogue:
“I feel like you’re trying to race the last lap without putting in all thr laps that come before it.”
He nodded. “Sorry. I’m a little nervous.”
She wouldn’t smile, she mustn’t smile, otherwise he’d think she was weak and easy. But she wanted to smile so badly. Dylan Hargreave nervous? In front of her?
Life was sweet.

Speed Dating is certainly speedy. I found this book on Kindle as I was browsing through titles one day. I hadn’t heard of Nancy Warren before, but the story seemed intriguing enough, so I decided to give it a shot. 

Basically Kendall has her whole life laid out in front of her. She is about to receive a prestigious award within her profession when her fiancé drops a bomb and tells her that he’s been messing around with a co-worker and, surprise, she’s pregnant. Not shocking that Kendall immediately begins to re-evaluate some of her life decisions. And certainly not unexpected that she sheds her cool exterior for a more daring persona – at least for one night when she accidentally encounters Dylan.

Dylan is in need of some luck. He’s been loosing races left and right. After a night with Kendall that deviates tremendously from his average night, he decides that he needs her longer to play a part. This part involves posing as his girlfriend not only for the cameras, but also to dissuade Dylan’s ex-wife from getting any ideas involving leaving her new husband in an effort to rekindle a relationship with Dylan. Sound confusing? Well, there is a lot going on in this book. 
Eventually Kendall has to make a decision. Stay with Dylan, or return to her demotion at work thanks to her philandering ex-fiancé. The two have come to care for each other, but it is not enough for Kendall despite considering trying to make it work. Dylan is set against a permanent future with anyone and his stubbornness threatens to cost him the one thing that could be the best thing that ever happened to him: Kendall. 

While I moved through this book quickly, I found a few aspects annoying and repetitive. First, Kendall is almost too sensible. She needs to take it down a notch. While she knows nothing about NASCAR, it seems odd that she seems to “get” Dylan right off the bat. And Dylan – let’s just say that I didn’t fall in love with him as a character. He takes dense to a whole new level. The most annoying aspect is the flighty, snobbish ex-wife. Get a clue Dylan! Sheesh! I felt like the book could have easily been a novella had the secondary characters of Ashlee and Harrison been cut out completely. Ironically, I ended up liking Harrison. Odd, that. Also, there is absolutely no SMEXY in this book! A couple of kisses that could have been promising, but then … crickets. Zero heat. The reader is left to conjure whatever thoughts he/she can based on the book, which will be less than stellar, I do assure you. And what fun is it when we have to conjure our own images of smexy? This is what I read for – it is my quest! Well, maybe that is a bit much, but don’t leave me hanging on the smexy! 

Overall, the book was a fun read. I have never read a book centered on the NASCAR sport prior to this one. Knowing nothing about the sport other than you need quick pit stops, and you need to drive very fast (avoiding collisions, of course), I found that I enjoyed the alternate backdrop from the books I usually read. I imagine that many of the details within the book concerning the life of a NASCAR driver are factual as they are very believable. Should I come across another book involving NASCAR, I will likely give it a try just to see what the differences are from author to author. So, liking the characters, not loving them, and totally bummed that there is nada for heat level. But if you are looking for a book to pass the time, Speed Dating would certainly accomplish such a feat. I just doubt that anyone would choose this book for a re-read. *whispers* It’s currently FREE on Nook and Kindle – it’s at least worth free. Might as well give it a shot while the giving’s good. 

(Kindle downloaded from Amazon)

Happy Reading from Kendra with Reader's Edyn!!