By Sherilee Gray
A man chased by childhood demons and terrified he’d become the thing he feared. A devastatingly beautiful woman controlled by her insecurities. This is Revved, by Sherilee Gray, a romantic, sexy love story that packs an emotional punch.
Rusty West knows cars and, with her sister and best friend, has continued her father’s legacy, making it bigger and better. West Restorations, first introduced in Crashed, book one in the Axle Alley Vipers series by Sherilee Gray, stands out for its hands on approach to car restoration and because it’s run by women, an oddity in the male-dominated restoration business. When Reid Parker, the very successful owner of R.I.P Classics, gets wind of his new rivals, he heads over to check out the competition, never expecting to find the beautiful and talented Rusty behind the toolbox. Stunned by her looks and impressed with her work, Reid decides he wants West Restoration as part of his empire and he’ll get it by getting Rusty in his bed. Reid never expects what Rusty is hiding behind the ice-cold persona she shows to everyone except family and how that will melt the ice around his heart.
Revved is definitely character driven and Reid and Rusty shine as its H/h. With both characters Gray takes it slow, peeling back their layers, letting the reader see a little at a time. I’m rarely surprised when I read, but Gray does a nice job of setting the reader up to make judgement calls, then pulls the rug out from under them by revealing something new that changes their perception. At the heart of both characters are insecurities that could have easily been seen as cliché but was made fresh due to Gray’s characterization. It takes a lot to make my heart hurt for a fictional character and Gray caused me some pain.
Rusty’s sister and best friend almost steal the show when they appear, especially Rusty’s sister Piper. It’s clear that Gray is setting up Piper’s story as the next book in the Vipers’ series, due out in February of 2016, but it’s done in a way that you can’t wait to read it. The three women are clearly tight and their relationship jumps off the page, the reader feeling how important they are to each other. Their scenes together are comfortable, funny, and-most importantly-honest. Reid has a best friend as well, though he isn’t as fleshed out as the girls. A sign of a good writer? I still wanted to know more about Law, who in addition to being Reid’s BFF, is also his second-in-command at R.I.P., and (wait for it) in a motorcycle club! Reid’s parents also play a significant role in Revved and, not surprisingly, Gray handles them as well as she did the other characters.
The backdrop of Revved (classic car restoration businesses) starts out important, but loses its significance as the story takes hold. If you’re a classic car fan you might be disappointed. My biggest (and, really only) problem with the book is the sex scenes. I enjoy love scenes as much as the next girl and know that they’re part of the story, but sadly, I found many of later moments of intimacy forced, despite the off the charts chemistry between Reid and Rusty.
Bottom line, this is a really good book and I can’t wait to jump into more of Sherilee Gray’s work. Heat Level: 4
Revved was published in October 2015 by Entangled: Indulgence
*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*