Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Publication Date: February 2nd 2013
Series: Holland Springs #1
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Twenty-four year old Troublemaker Extraordinaire, Melanie Ann Smith, isn’t asking for much out of life: a house without wheels, to travel further than her home state and her best friend’s older brother, Carter Ambrose. Only three things stand in her way: juggling all of her odd jobs, keeping her daddy from gambling away all of their money and getting Carter to see her as a woman. NASCAR racer, Carter Ambrose, has finally decided to take his doctor’s advice and find a new occupation before another wreck on the track kills him. Only his doctor hadn’t counted on his little sister’s best friend, Melanie Ann Smith, crashing his weeks of solitude with her short skirts and platform heels. And that’s not the least of his problems. His mother has decided that she wants grandchildren and the only woman that's good enough for the job-his ex-fiance. Soon Melanie and Carter agree to a temporary relationship. One with benefits that is mutually satisfying in every way, or so each believes. And just when they are ready admit their feelings, family secrets are exposed, threatening Melanie and Carter's fragile relationship. Will Carter risk it all for love, or will Melanie be left holding the trophy for second place?
I always start these out by saying I love this type of storyline or that type of storyline. Bottom line is I love STORIES! Whether it's friends to lovers, childhood sweethearts or chance encounters, I'm a sucker for a good romance and Drive Me Crazy is no exception. This particular story is the classic childhood crush meets sisters best friend between Carter Ambrose and Melanie Anne Smith. Drive Me Crazy was exactly what I love about reading romance. It was fun, flirty, mildly angsty because let's face it I'm a wiener when it comes to people acting stupid and very sexy.
SO Melanie has known Carter her whole life. Her best friend is Zoe, Carter's sister and she's always held a torch for him secretly. She doesn't feel like she's his type seeing as how she's lived in a rundown trailer with her father most of her life and dreams of something different. She's a hard worker and is saving up to buy the home of her dreams and almost has enough to make it happen until her father ruins her plans. My heart really went out to Melanie. She lost her mother at a young age, her father is the town joke with a gambling problem and because of that her reputation is less than pure. She was a girl who Liked to have fun and cut loose and tried not to care what anyone thought about her. Melanie was the underdog in this story and I always sympathize with those character types. She's judged unfairly based on her background and I hated seeing how it affected her. I was really happy she had a friend like Zoe to look out for her and protect her and really stand up for her.
Carter Ambrose had his own share of hard knocks. Being a professional race car driver is a dangerous job flying down the track at 200+ mph. After one too many wrecks Carter is advised by his doctor he has to stop racing because one more wreck could kill him. I can't imagine what it's like having to give up something you love so much but Carter was just one of those down to earth guys who rolled with the punches. Opening his own car garage and working on cars was the next best thing for him. He comes from one of the towns most well known and loved families and after a seriously nasty breakup with his ex fiance he just wants to work on cars and do his own thing. His life is further complicated once his ex approaches him with an explosive revelation.
The sparks between Melanie and Carter started flying once she became his assistant at the garage. I loved the simmering chemistry between them. Carter did everything he could to resist his sister's best friend but Melanie didn't make it easy with her sexy theme outfits and flirty personality. She was the perfect match for his laid back demeanor and I enjoyed watching these two go back and forth. As with all small towns the drama factor was crazy in this one between his ex trying to drive a wedge between them, her father's tom cat ways and Carter's indecisiveness makes for some juicy reading. These are the kinds of romance novels I love. Very little angst because the couples are written so strongly and with such chemistry that you never doubt their connection. Even when the shit hits the fan you have a deep seeded knowledge that things will work out for everyone involved. One of the best parts is seeing a beloved character from Valentine's other series make an appearance in this one. I always love when the author sneaks in a cross over without warning. Drive Me Crazy lived up to it's name with the steamy sexy romance and the passion between these two characters.
“I’m a grown woman. If I want to prance up and down Broad Street wearing nothing but two band-aids and a leaf, there’s nothing you can do about it.” She tried wiggling out of his embrace, but his grip was like steel bands. “You don't own me.” “Damn, but you drive me crazy.” He brushed his lips over hers and she shivered. “Always have.” Kindle 26%
“I want you in my bed. I want to hear those breathy sighs when I’m inside of you.” Her breath hitched and her eyes opened.
“Carter…” “Tell me you want that, too.” “I want you in me,” she said, arching against him and rubbing her bottom against his erection. “Damn, but you say the sexiest things.” She shoved the plates away from her. “Right here is good.” “Right here is great.” He pushed her down on the table and flipped up her skirt. Kindle 73%
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Publication Date: March 13th 2013
Series: Holland Springs #1.5
Source: Gifted by author for review
Even Bad Girls deserve a Happily Ever After. Finn was supposed to be the rebound guy, the one that got April Billingsworth over her breakup with her fiancé. Only one night turned into two, two nights turned into a week, then months of pure happiness. Now this former bad girl's ready to settle down and go the distance with the man she loves, until the secret Finn's been keeping from her comes to light. There was only one rule, Private Investigator, Finn Kennedy lived by: Do not, under any circumstances, get involved with a client. That is, until he met his latest assignment, April Billingsworth, the current governor's daughter and Charlotte's most notorious bad girl. Not only has he broken his rule, but April has discovered his secret-he's been keeping tabs on her and reporting back to her father. Devastated by the truth, April leaves Finn and tries to go on with her life, without the lying bastard. But Finn has other plans, he's determined to win April back. And this time, nothing's going to stand in his way.
I love books as much as the next person but what really gets me going is a long drawn out series. I quickly fell in love with the Holland Springs series of books and couldn't put any of them down for even a second. every character is intriguing and unique and brings something to the table that enhances the story. One of the best parts of the Holland Springs series is the little novellas sprinkled in between. Sometimes while reading a book I will become fixated on a secondary character that catches my attention and makes me want to know more about them. I was so enamoured with these books that I didn't even take time to read the synopsis before starting the next one. Imagine my surprise when I found out Driving To You was about a character I hated from a previous book.
April is one of those women you just want to strangle. When she is first introduced in Drive Me Crazy she's a stone cold, stuck up, hateful bitch. The crazy ex of Carter Ambrose who tried her damnedest to get him back with a ridiculous request. I couldn't understand her motivation in that book and I was dead set to dislike her from the start. What I found in this book was a strong young woman with an underlying vulnerability that drew me in. She's the tough as nails daughter of the current Governor. The No nonsense type of woman most would consider a ball buster. Finn Kennedy is probably the only man who can handle April. Despite the fact that he works for her father the two get swept up in a once rebound fling turned serious relationship. Everything seems to be going fine between them until something Finn has been hiding from her comes to light causing April to second guess their entire relationship.
I have to say April and Finn were two of my favorites in this series. She was feisty and stubborn while Finn was headstrong and determined to do whatever he could to make April understand he wasn't going anywhere. I loved getting her side of the story because she came across as so nasty in Drive Me Crazy. After seeing how hurt she was by Finn's betrayal I could understand why she tried to con Carter into being the fall guy for her. Finn isn't the only one who had a secret though. April has to figure out how she is going to live her life once her father basically disowns her and cuts her off financially. The constant push and pull of emotions between Finn and April was exciting for me. These were two people who really cared about each other with one trying to prove his love and the other trying to push him away. Finn was a great guy and I loved that he had a bit of Irish fire in him that came in handy when dealing with April. She doesn't like to feel vulnerable and exposed so her feelings for Finn scare her a little bit. I didn't think she would ever let the poor guy off the hook for his mistake but as stubborn as she was, watching her give in was nice to see finally.
I respect and admire strong couples both in reality and in fiction, and Finn and April were one of those couples strong enough to overcome anything. I loved how Finn fought for and protected April even when she had no one left once her father turned his back. I was very pleased she let him win back her trust. It may have been a novella but Driving To You packed a lot of sexy goodness in the story in such a short time. The chemistry between these two was on fire throughout the ups and downs of their romance. This little novella held it's own against some big contenders in the series and added more depth and color to this already vibrant canvas full of amazing characters. With just the first few books the Holland Springs series solidified itself as one of my favorite book series' I've had the pleasure of reading. Most book series have a lull in between stories and sometimes It's hard for me NOT to lose interest but with such sweet romance and interesting plots there is never a dull moment in Holland Springs.
She would never admit it to him, but that combination of Irish accent with a touch of the Bronx drone her wild. Made her wt and hot. And she hated it now. Hi, really. Hated how out of control he could make her feel bu saying such mundane things as butter, hotter and basically any word ending with an "R". But that wasn't the worst of his crimes, not by a long shot. He had made her fall in love with him, or who she thought he was. Kindle 30%
"So... you and me, we're still together and in love until our teeth fall out?" "longer than that, babe, longer than that." She kissed him, then leaned back. "You know, I love it when you cal me babe." "That I do, babe." he dipped his head, claiming her mouth in a kiss that made her forget all about packing and moving and politics and everything else that wasn't Finn. Kindle 84%
About The Author:
New York Times Bestselling Author, MARQUITA VALENTINE, writes small town romances that are anything but small. She met her husband aka Hot Builder at Sonic when they were in high school. She suggests this location to all of her single friends in search of a good man -- and if that doesn't work, they can console themselves with cheesy tatertots. She lives in North Carolina in a very, very small town with Hot Builder and their two children.
Both Seduction Of The Billionaire and Drive Me Crazy are currently FREE on Amazon!!