"A romance that runs full throttle"
Reviewed by Miranda Owen
Posted August 9, 2016
TEST DRIVE is Book 1 in Marie Harte's Body Shop
series. Â After reading TEST DRIVE, I am interested in
reading WHAT TO DO WITH A BAD BOY because the female main
character is a prominent supporting character in this book.
Suave mechanic Johnny Devlin and hardworking nursing student
Lara Valley probably wouldn't have met if not for her job as
a bartender. Although Johnny and Lara may seem like
opposites and unlikely lovers, I love how well they get
along and thoroughly enjoyed their romance in TEST DRIVE.
Complex, well-developed, and likable characters are a
highlight of TEST DRIVE. Johnny has lusted after Lara from
afar and been half in love with her for years without her
knowing. I love stories like this in which a guy is head
over heels for a woman and works hard to show her how much
she matters to him. Although Johnny had a bit of a wild
youth, he is now equally as hardworking as Lara, and proves
to be a considerate and sweet hero under the tough guy
persona he puts on for his buddies. I adore all the ways
Johnny woos Lara, and the many ways he shows he cares.
Helping to babysit her nieces and making sure he doesn't
distract her from her studies are part of what makes him a
keeper. Marie Harte crafts a hero who exudes sex appeal and
masculine swagger, but who also has a hidden yet amazing
One of the things that makes TEST DRIVE so enjoyable, besides
the smoking hot scenes between Lara and Johnny, is that the
characters and relationships are realistically flawed. I
like learning about how the failed romantic relationships
Johnny's father had with women contributed to Johnny's own
view of relationships, but without making him bitter. This
background information makes for a more interesting
character. Likewise, Lara's complicated relationship with
her sister adds depth to her character. I also like that
Lara is willing to give Johnny a chance rather than
constantly try to push him away. The fun, snappy, and
occasionally racy dialogue makes TEST DRIVE refreshing to
read and a total treat.
TEST DRIVE is a romance that runs full throttle with
unforgettable characters. The ribbing between Johnny and his
fellow mechanics adds humor to TEST DRIVE and is another
reason to love this book. I look forward to what romantic
entanglements await Johnny's buddies Foley, Sam, and Lou in
the next Body Shop Bad Boys book by Marie Harte.
GET TO KNOW THE BODY SHOP BAD BOYS
Johnny, Foley, Sam, and Lou are the rough and tumble
mechanics of Webster's Garage. These reformed bad boys
used to living fast, but it's the women in their lives
take them from zero to sixty in a heartbeat.
Johnny Devlin's a charmer with
checkered past. He's has had his eye on scorching-hot
bartender Lara Valley for ages, but she's rejected him
than once. That doesn't mean he won't come to her aid
some dirtbag mauls her. When she asks him on a date as a
no-strings-attached thank you, he can't say no. And then
he's saying nothing but hell, yes.
ExcerptHe heard Lara moving around, as well as a few other
close-by tenants on either side of her place. It made him
appreciate his rental all the more, because he never
heard his neighbors.
His cheek throbbed and reminded him to watch out for
Laraâ€™s asshole of a brother-in-law. Good for her sister
for divorcing the schmuck. Heâ€™d met rich guys like Ron
before. Dickheads who thought they could buy their way
out of trouble. Ron might have financed his way through
life, but he hadnâ€™t been able to buy Lara.
Satisfaction at her refusal almost made his aches go
away. He sat back at the table and waited. His stomach
rumbled, the sight of that plate of cookies so near
causing him to salivate.
Lara returned in a pair of sweats and a worn, long-sleeve
T-shirt. She had her hair still up in a ponytail, but she
looked fresh, scrubbed clean. She came to the table,
carrying a small box.
â€śSorry. Had to get the stink of Rayâ€™s off me.â€ť
â€śYou mean Ron.â€ť
She grinned. â€śHim too.â€ť
He couldnâ€™t stop thinking about what heâ€™d felt when heâ€™d
seen her getting mauled. Pure, unadulterated rage. It had
taken some serious control not to bash Ronâ€™s brains all
over the concrete slab. Heâ€™d been distracted enough by
the thought of her trauma to let the ass get a shot in.
Sloppy of him, and he resolved to do better next time.
With Ron, he had a feeling thereâ€™d be one.
â€śWhatâ€™s in the box?â€ť
She set it down by him then slid a cookie his way.
An open invitation he couldnâ€™t refuse.
He took a bite and closed his eyes. â€śThese are sooo
good,â€ť he moaned and blinked his eyes open. â€śI took a hit
to the face. That means I get more than one, right?â€ť
Her finger grazing his cheek stilled him, and he felt the
contact all the way to his toes. He swallowed the cookie
heâ€™d been chewing and stared at her.
â€śIâ€™m so sorry you got hurt because of me, Johnny.â€ť
Her hand felt like pure heaven, and he cupped it to him,
loving her touch. â€śNot because of you, honey. Because
some dickhead needed to be taught a lesson.â€ť
â€śIf you say so.â€ť She tugged, and he let go. â€śAt least let
me patch you up.â€ť
Fascinated, because he hadnâ€™t had a woman take care of
him inâ€¦foreverâ€¦he sat still while she scooted her chair
â€śDrink your milk.â€ť She nudged his glass to him.
He chuckled and continued to watch her. She looked all
professional as she withdrew some antiseptic, cotton
balls, and a bandage from her plastic box. â€śSo youâ€™re
studying to become a nurse, huh?â€ť He could totally
envision her in one of those naughty nurse costumes from
Halloweenâ€”which was coming up in another month. He
wondered if he could talk her into wearing one.
â€śYep. Iâ€™ve been piecing together classes for a few years
now, but I finally decided to stop messing around and
fully commit. Iâ€™m now fulltime, and seriously, itâ€™s a
bitch. Weâ€™re starting clinicals again, where we actually
follow a nurse around and do what they doâ€”on real
people.â€ť She smiled. â€śSo youâ€™re not my first bandage. Fun
stuff, let me tell you. Fall term just started, and I got
a little lazy, having the summer off.â€ť She dabbed
something onto a cotton ball and raised it to his cheek.
â€śThis might sting a little.â€ť
Hell. His cock was hurting worse, so he didnâ€™t much mind.
Anytime around Lara, he ached with a fierce need to kiss
her. Hug her. Slam her against a wall and fuck her until
he passed out.
Heâ€™d never been so captivated by a woman before. Heâ€™d
seen prettier women. But something about Lara Valley
struck him in the heart, the brain, and yeah, right
between his legs.
He hoped she kept her gaze on his face, because he
couldnâ€™t do much about his erection with her so close.
She dabbed his cheek, and it stung. But then she blew on
it, and he swallowed a moan. Dear Jesus, she was killing
him. He smelled the flowery soap sheâ€™d used to wash her
face. Fresh and clean, the way he always thought of her.
â€śWhat?â€ť He sounded hoarse and had to clear his throat.
â€śFor hurting you. I saw you flinch.â€ť
From wanting you too much. â€śDonâ€™t tell the guys, okay? I
have a rep.â€ť
She chuckled and continued to be gentle with him. â€śI
promise. I owe you.â€ť
He stopped her from swabbing his cheek, his hand over
hers. â€śNo, you donâ€™t. You donâ€™t owe me a thing, Lara. Iâ€™m
serious.â€ť He didnâ€™t want her gratitude. It made him
uncomfortable, felt wrong, somehow. Taking care of her
was no big thing. It just was.
Her slow smile warmed him all over again. â€śOkay. I donâ€™t
owe you. Then can you do me another favor and be a
willing patient while I practice my nursing skills on
â€śWell, if you put it like that. And you did insist I eat
â€śI did.â€ť She tried to look solemn, but her smile ruined
He sat, staring at her, while she took care of him. Man,
she was something else. So damn beautiful it hurt to look
at her. Sheâ€™d make eye contact before quickly glancing
away, her eyes dark, a fathomless brown, rich and
addicting and impossible to deny.
His heart raced any time she was near. And damn if he
didnâ€™t want to protect her from the worldâ€”himself
includedâ€”while lusting after her all the same.
I am so totally gone on this chick.
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