Title: Test Drive by Marie Harte
Body Shop Bad Boys Series Book One
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 386 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A smokin’ hot new series from Marie Harte featuring tough-guy mechanics and the women who jump-start their hearts.
GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble mechanics of Webster’s Garage. These reformed bad boys are used to living fast, but it’s the women in their lives who take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.
Johnny Devlin’s a charmer with a checkered past. He’s had his eye on scorching-hot bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she’s rejected him more than once. That doesn’t mean he won’t come to her aid when some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a no-strings-attached thank you, he can’t say no. And then he’s saying nothing but hell, yes.
Test Drive by Marie Harte is a sizzling hot yet very touching romance between bad boy auto mechanic Johnny Devlin and good girl Lara Valley. With plenty of humorous banner, tons of sexual tension and loveable characters with realistic insecurities, this first installment in the Body Shop Bad Boys series is an irresistible love story that fans of contemporary romances are sure to love.
Despite a few missteps when he was younger, Johnny has mostly cleaned up his act although he does love the occasional brawl and swears like a sailor. He is hardworking, loyal and very protective of the people he cares about. Charming and sinfully sexy, Johnny’s reputation as a player is legendary but he is always honest about his intentions with the women he becomes involved with. Johnny has been lusting after the fresh faced bartender from the moment he laid eyes on her four years ago, but Lara turns him down every time he asks her out. Although he is still strongly attracted to her, Johnny is surprised to realize that he wants to actually date Lara but will he convince her to take a chance on him?
Having grown up without much money, Lara is ambitious and quite dedicated to getting a college degree. She has no social life since she spends most of her time either helping out with her nieces, working or going to classes. She is very close to her family and she is quick to volunteer to help out when her parents or sister are in a bind. Lara loves her bartending job but she does not date the customers. She is attracted to Johnny, but she is completely committed to finishing her degree and she does not want any distractions to interfere with her plans. However, after Johnny saves her from an unsettling altercation with her sister’s smarmy soon to be ex-husband, Lara decides to give dating Johnny a chance.
The romance between Johnny and Lara is surprisingly sweet and grows slowly over the course of the novel. Johnny wants more from Lara than the usual one night stand so he puts a lot of thought into the dates that he takes her on. He also tries to put a moratorium on sex, but it is virtually impossible for them to resist their scorching hot attraction. However, in between raucous bouts of insanely intense sex, Johnny and Lara do a lot of the things most couples do; they go to movies and dinner, they enjoy quiet evenings at home and occasionally, they babysit Lara’s nieces together. The longer they go out, the more uneasy Johnny becomes with budding relationship. Plagued by doubts and insecurities, Johnny misunderstands a conversation with Lara and he instinctively runs away. The future of their relationship then hangs in the balance as he tries to come to terms with the emotional baggage from his childhood.
Test Drive is a delightful romance with an appealing couple that are impossible not to root for. The storyline is well-developed with witty and engaging dialogue. The longstanding acquaintance between Johnny and Lara makes their transition from friends to lovers believable and it is an absolute joy watching them get to know one another and eventually fall in love. The last chapter in the novel neatly sets the stage for the next book in the Body Shop Bad Boys series and readers will be chomping at the bit to see what Marie Harte has planned for Foley Sanders in Roadside Assistance.