Hot Finish is part of Erin McCarthy’s Fast Track series which features auto racers and the women who love them. This book was character driven all the way, with only a smidge of plot to move things along.
Suzanne and Ryder Jefferson’s marriage was one of total opposites. He was a slob, she was neat. She was a planner, he functioned on the spur of the moment. They sizzled in bed, but fizzled out of it and their communication skills were zilch. So they got divorced. As the book begins, it’s been two years and although they have both had other partners, they still miss the sizzle they had with each other.
Jonas Strickland, one of Ryder’s racing rivals is about to marry Nikki Borden and Suzanne is the wedding planner. Suzanne is happy since a high profile wedding will do wonders for her wedding planning business, but she faces a couple of problems. Nikki is dumber than a box of rocks, has terrible taste and is prone to screech and throw fits when she doesn’t get her way. Suzanne’s dreams of an elegant and classy wedding soon go down the tubes in the face of Miss Bridezilla on steroids. Suzanne can deal with that, she has ways of handling Nikki and curbing the worst of her scenes, but Ryder is the best man and, since Nikki wants all the wedding party in on all the planning, Suzanne and Ryder are thrown together constantly.
To throw another monkey wrench into things, Suzanne discovers that she and Ryder are still married. Seems as though he forgot to file the paperwork and the divorce never went through. No problem – or is it? Propinquity has worked its magic, and Suzanne and Ryder fall into having sex – lots and lots and lots and lots of sex. After all they are still married. Is the sizzle still there? Yes, and hotter than ever. Are they any better at communication? They’re working on it. Does Suzanne forget to take her pill? Of course – this is romanceland.
I could see all the plot points coming a mile away, and if I could sum Hot Finish up in one word it would be formulaic. There’s nothing really wrong with it, but it was all so predictable. Suzanne and Ryder were a pleasant enough pair, but they were so paint-by-number, that there was nothing to make them stand out from the crowd. The sex scenes, which were many and varied, were just sex scenes. They didn’t serve to add to the characters at all and they went on for so long, I wished I could skip them.
Nikki was an annoying little bint and I wanted her to go down in flames, but alas she didn’t, and Jonas is a cipher pure and simple. I gather that a lot of the other secondary characters were in earlier books in the series, and those who have been following it will find it ties up some of the loose threads.
Hot Finish is a perfect C book. It’s smooth as a well tuned engine, but when a book is as character-based as this one is, the hero and heroine need to be a more fully realized pair than Suzanne and Ryder turned out to be.