Slow Ride, the latest in Ms. McCarthy’s Fast Track series, is a wreck of a book. The heroine is abrasive and has an unpleasant drinking pattern; the hero, an emotionally stunted man who enables her bad behavior. I’ve read all five books in the series and this one comes in dead last.
The profoundly aggravating Tuesday Jones is having a rough time. Her father recently died and she is unable to deal with her grief in any healthy way. She continues to write “Tuesday Talladega” (her famous racing blog), and hang out with her best friend Kendall (the heroine of the last book), but mostly, she’s drinking and being an immature brat. At Kendall’s wedding, she encounters Diesel Lange, a gorgeous retired racecar driver. Diesel, who is struggling with pain and injuries from his career ending wreck, gives sloshed Kendall a ride home —she classily offers to blow him while he’s driving, an offer he politely declines. The next day, he returns to her home where she’s horribly hung-over, and drives her first to a post wedding luncheon, and then back to her car.
The two begin sleeping together and then seeing each other. I wish they’d done neither. On the night of their first real date, they are driving back to Diesel’s place when Tuesday tells him to pull over into a mini-mart so she can buy a six-pack. Diesel, who doesn’t drink because he still sometimes takes pain medication, asks her not to. He tells her he doesn’t want her to “be impaired” when he gives her an orgasm. Tuesday, rather than seeing this as a good thing, gets pissy with him. Ms. McCarthy writes: “She just wanted to win. He had no right to deny her liquor. This was a free county.” Diesel takes her to the store, she buys a six-pack, and they head to his house. Soon – after establishing that Diesel likes to be utterly in charge in the bedroom – the two are naked and ready to have sex… without a condom in sight. Tuesday, desperate for Diesel (he’s apparently wildly “well hung”) says to him, “I’m on the pill. Unless you have some gross disease, you need to fuck me right now.” And he does.
Really? Unprotected sex with a lush you hardly know? At that point, I lost all interest in Diesel; I’d given up on snarky Tuesday pages back. Dedicated reviewer that I am, however, I kept reading. Tuesday kept drinking and sniping, Diesel kept dating and doing her (often when she was buzzed), and by the time the two had their big necessary fight towards the book’s finale, I was hoping they’d crash and burn. When Diesel tells Tuesday, “It’s just all about you, isn’t it?” I actually yelled “Yes. Dump her, you moron!” but sadly, Diesel did not take my advice.
The best thing about Slow Ride, for fans of the Fast Track series, is that the couples from the other books have bit parts in this one. So, if you were curious about Ryder and Suzanne as new parents, whether Evan was the daddy of that girl’s baby, how Tammy and Elec are faring, and if Ty and Imogene have gotten married, you might want to read this book. Or you could just email and ask me. You’d save some money and not have to suffer through 304 pages of terrible Tuesday and disheartened Diesel.