Buckle up for a race for the championship and the prize of a lifetime in this heartfelt reunion romance.
When racing team director Brad Thomas needs a new driver, his boss insists there’s only one answer: Gabrielle Marquez. The Indycar ace has newly returned to the United States after becoming one of the European circuit’s top drivers. But ten years ago, Gabrielle caused a crash that ended Brad’s racing career and killed their mutual best friend, along with the burgeoning crush they were exploring.
Gabby’s ready to put the past behind her, even though she knows making amends and regaining Brad’s trust won’t be easy. Rebuilding their professional relationship paves the way for healing, and old feelings soon rekindle, but a rival’s dangerous game of sabotage may threaten their team’s chance at the title.
Then an irresistible offers lands on Gabby’s windshield, forcing her to choose between her heart and her hard-fought career. Will achieving her professional dreams mean personal sacrifice?
I've read this author before and he writes great sports romances. More than that, he actually makes obscure sports interesting and a wonderful backdrop to the romance happening between the main characters. Not to say that open-wheel racing (yup I learned a new term) is obscure. I know it isn't however it is obscure to me having never watched a race in my entire life... and I'm a mega sports fan. After reading this story though, I actually watched racing that happened to be on when I flipped the television on Saturday. That's the thing with this author - he doesn't hit you over the head with the sport, but he does effortlessly weave the action into the story where by the end, you've learned enough to be dangerous.
Cangany writes sweet romance so I'll lodge my long-standing complaint there wasn't enough heat for my liking, but there was passion between the main characters, and love. Their backstory was unique enough to pique my interest and although this was certainly to be a HEA, I was a little concerned with their outcome.
Highly recommend for anyone who likes any romance, sweet, sports, or otherwise.
Oh, a warning. Do NOT finish this book the night before you have a 3-hour road trip. You may or may not break some speeding laws.
Full disclosure - I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Ten years ago, a racing crash killed their best friend, and put the male protagonist in the hospital. Though the cause was a cut tire, the female lead blames herself, and he blames her too, so now that they’re forced to work together on the same racing team they have to figure out how to deal with those residual emotions, as well as romance blossoming between them. Had to laugh at how this author made up names for the races, the tracks, even the series. In Tammy Kahler’s Kate Reilly series, everything is true to life other than the names of the racers, so it’s an unusual contrast. And I’m always amazed when a writer throws in the name of a favorite movie or a band I know, in this case Halestorm. So all in all, thoroughly enjoyable. Not the same feeling as other racing stories, like Tammy Kahler’s, but then this is a romance, not a mystery. There’s an amazing amount of psychology going on here, from the usual racing stuff to PTSD. Would have felt just the same without the romance, but then I don’t think I’m the target audience here; lack of communication rather than the usual miscommunication was the problem that popped up this time. One thing that annoyed me was that at the beginning of chapter two there’s too many male characters introduced at once! Easy there, tiger. But that was really–well, almost–the only negative. Though the driving scenes are short and undetailed, almost treated like afterthoughts, the behind-the-scenes stuff was fun. And it’s set up for a sequel. But I would be remiss if I did not point out something that bugged me. Though it’s made obvious that the one-dimensional villain and his cronies cause crashes and otherwise screw with the protagonists, they never get punished. There’s not even a mention of the race stewards—if there are any—checking the video evidence. And while it’s said a few times that Gabrielle checks her social media, nowhere does it say how the internet feels about the jerk antagonist. Those details would have made me feel better about the ending. At times it feels like, despite setting this in the world of auto racing, the author has no interest in it, just using it as a backdrop. 3.5 pushed up to 4/5
Start Your Engines is what would be called a second chance romance within the racing world. Ten years ago Brad Thomas and Gabrielle Marquez were friends who were just starting to explore the beginnings of a romance while also being fierce competitors on the track, when a crash killed a mutual best friend, and injured Brad bad enough that his career as a driver was over. Gabrielle left the United States to pursue driving in European series while the guilt that she caused the wreck that killed one and ruined a career ate at her. Fast forward ten years and Brad Thomas is a race director for a smaller struggling team with a driver that just doesn't seem to be working out. When the owner of the team hires Gabrielle as a replacement driver will the two be able to work together for the sake of the team? And will the budding romance between the two rekindle? Add in some possible sabotage into the book and you have the story. Will Gabrielle end up staying in the States or taking the offer of a lifetime in Europe to drive with an elite team? You will have to read the book to find out what happens. This isn't a smutty romance- more along the sweet lines. With some awesome racing action that I think drives the story along with it. You will like this story if you are a racing fan, a sweet contemporary romance fan or both. I enjoyed this story and I think you will too. It looks like this might be a first of a series of books- I can only hope that is the case because I would definitely be interested in reading more of these racing romances.
This is a sweet reunion romance. I appreciated the "swap" from traditional in Cangany's making the female the driver and upcoming star, while the male was in the support role. Cangany did a good job of building the backstory for each of the characters, showing their history and why they aren't together to begin with despite their attraction. I did feel that he should have used that backstory though to build more tension into their initial relationship. While I enjoyed the story, and the romance, I felt it was lacking the intensity that would have made it "un-put-downable". That being said, it was a lighthearted, easy read that would make a soothing beach read. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the characters and I hope that future books in this series will include the Gale Force racing team so we can revisit them.
I was given a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Good reunion story - but there felt like a lack of romantic connection between the two main characters, Gabrielle and Brad. Ten years ago, Gabrielle caused a crash that ended Brad’s racing career and killed their mutual best friend. When they are reunited through Brad's boss hiring Gabrielle as their new driver, we get a sense of their past friendship, but mostly the overwhelming guilt both feel surrounding the death of their mutual friend, J.P.., and Brad having to give up his dream of being a race car driver due to his injuries. What I did not get a sense of was that they were romantically interested in one another ten years ago.
And maybe that's why I had a harder time relating to these two as being reunited in a romantic sense. Both have issues surrounding the accident that need to be resolved so they can move forward. Maybe the story needed more background on the two of them together in the past to help me feel like they had a romantic connection? I don't know but I just didn't feel it.
What I did like was the strength and class Gabrielle showed in competing in a very male dominated field. Although she was struggling with her own demons, she put her best effort forward and focused on her race car driving career. Very hard to do in a sport dominated by men. The support the team owner gave her was also awesome!
Thank you NetGalley and Adams Media for an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
This is a really good book. It’s the first book by this author that I have read but I’m going to be looking for more by him. I’m not a race fan but I really enjoyed reading this one. Gabby and Brad used to be friends when things went bad between them. They are brought back together when Brad needs a new race car driver and Gabby walks in the door. This tells how friends become enemies and then they learn that love can fix all things. There’s excitement and espionage happening just like it happens in real life. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book that I received from Netgalley.
This was a sweet book that was well written with great characters. I love racing books and I appreciated the fact that the racer in this story was a woman. I would have given this book 5 stars if there had been any notable heat between Brad and Gabrielle. It wouldn’t have even been necessary for graphic sex scenes but a few kisses here and there left me craving more for this couple that the author just did not deliver.
Although this was not the best, or most well-researched, or hottest car-racing themed romance I have ever read, I still really enjoyed it. The characters were relatable, if a little bit on the over-achiever side of normal. Brad and Gabby's relationship seemed real, and I enjoyed watching them grow together, while dealing with external job-related pressures.
A tragic accident of a mutual friend pushed them apart. Ten long years passed until they met each other once again. Brad was surprised to see Gabrielle and still fostered some guilt over how they parted. Words that could never be taken back left each other feeling lost. They finally get a second chance to honor their friend and fill the aching hole that had been left in their hearts.
I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley and the author. This book grabbed my attention from the first page. I didn't put the book down until I finished reading the last page. I wanted more to this story, and was disappointed when I finished reading it.