Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have mad love for this book and it boils down to one thing: the hero, Ty, has dyslexia. He can barely read. Ty has created workarounds to hide this fact and relies heavily on his assistant to cover his ass. Yet it's crystal clear, just by virtue of how logical his workarounds are, that he's intelligent. He just can't read. The only other book I've read that featured a hero who couldn't read is Skin Heat by Ava Gray and that hero had mad scientists muck around in his brain (Percy Jackson doesn't count because he can read in Ancient Greek). No, Ty is just a famous, sexy, modern-day NASCAR driver who simply can't read that well.
Ty hides this fact because he's ashamed of it, which I totally understood, given his fame in this day and age. However, I felt like he doesn't dwell on it. He accepts it and moves on with his life. Part of Imogen's (the heroine) appeal for him is her intelligence. Ty feels his dyslexia makes him her inferior, but he goes for her anyway! He doesn't let his disability stand in the way of something he wants. His insecurity regarding the dyslexia does eventually trip him up, in true romance novel fashion, but in the end, he handles it like a man.
Imogen is indeed crazy smart and I could relate to her, especially her angst over her thesis. I loved how honest she was and her disdain for any kind of game-playing. There were several points where McCarthy could've fallen into romance cliche, but she skillfully avoids it by having Imogen using logic and good communication skills. There have been countless times when I've rolled my eyes at some spectacularly boneheaded move on the heroine's part, like not telling the hero about that phone call from that guy or pretending she can do something when she can't. Imogen is better than that.
I would have liked to seen just a bit more on behind-the-scenes on the NASCAR front, although I loved the scene where Ty takes Imogen to the garage to see his car. In addition, the only real conflict comes rather close to the end of the book and, therefore, gets wrapped up fairly quickly. Still, I highly recommend this book.