Driven to Distraction
The first of two books in the Road to Love series by Lori Foster, Driven to Distraction follows the story of Brodie Crews and Mary Daniels, who are trapped in a car for hours with nothing but Brodie’s dog and their sexual tension to keep them company. When Brodie is hired by Mary’s employer to be her driver, laid back, brash Brodie and buttoned-up, cool Mary never believe that the other could be more than a thorn-in-the-side co-worker. But their car rides begin to bring them precariously closer, and when they suddenly find themselves in more danger than either every imagined, they’ll be forced to discover exactly how far they’re willing to go for one another.
Mustang Transport – the business belonging to the two incredibly attractive Crews brothers – has been contracted to escort the young courier of an elderly collector of rare and unusual artefacts. Brodie is brash, crass and blatantly honest. Mary is poised, collected and constantly works at keeping her cool. Mary meets Brodie, and she knows she does not want him to be her driver. They’re immediately at odds, but are undeniably attracted to one another.
Their first encounter sets the stage for both characters. Mary comes upon Brodie working on his beloved car (Matilda). He’s disheveled and shirtless as a result of being hungover, but it’s a look on a broad-shouldered muscular man that anyone could appreciate – Mary included. But that appreciation immediately puts her on guard. She wears her carefully crafted level-headed persona as religiously as she wears her blocky, professional garb to hide her curves. Everything about Mary is intentionally masked, only letting people see what she wants them to. But Brodie immediately catches that she’s hiding herself, physically and emotionally. Mary protests having Brodie drive her and tries everything to avoid getting into a car with him, but her boss – eighty-six-year-old eccentric sweetheart Therman Ritter – insists it be Brodie and not his brother Jack.
The job is simple enough. Therman arranges for a transaction to be made, Mary is to execute that transaction and retrieve Therman’s desired artefact, Brodie is to drive. Mary owns her job. She likes to be in control and she doesn’t want anyone to interfere. But Brodie can’t help but feel protective of her – physically on the job and emotionally off of it. He can tell that there’s something in Mary’s past that’s made her build these incredible walls, but he’s decided to bide his time and be let in rather than knock them down. When their job proves to be more dangerous than he’d ever anticipated, Brodie may not be able to give Mary the space and the time she needs. The danger won’t deter her, and Brodie will do anything to prevent harm coming her way.
There’s always something so appealing about the tension that this kind of storyline inherently brings; strong-willed, loner woman forced to work alongside a sexy, slightly crass guy who ultimately falls hard for her and wants to bring down all of her defences. Sometimes the books end up feeling too forced, but Foster really delivers in this one. The secrets that Mary desperately tries to keep in her past give her believable reasons for wanting to stand on her own and keep the rest of the world out. And the reader can see instances where Brodie is genuinely surprised and intrigued by Mary, making it easy to understand how he could fall for her so quickly.
The only component of this book that took away from my enjoyment was the inclusion of a ‘bad guy’. I felt like there was enough innate tension in the love story and chaos coming from both sides that the insertion of an external villain felt forced. Every time we have to dip out of the main storyline to read more on the mystery that is the person targeting the couple, I was more annoyed than curious, which, I guess just reinforces how invested in the romance I was. There are some great steamy scenes between the two, but the emotional hurdles that Mary and Brodie get over is what kept the story moving. But Foster has also built a great world with interesting characters outside of the couple that I was happy to read more about.
I would recommend Driven to Distraction by Lori Foster to anyone looking for a quick read and a solid romance. And I’m so glad that we have the second novel in the Road to Love series, Slow Ride, to look forward to where we’ll get to encounter some of the same characters again.