- File Size: 3328 KB
- Print Length: 322 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1626495718
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Riptide Publishing (July 8, 2017)
- Publication Date: July 8, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B073TLS5TR
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #225,179 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay Book 18) Kindle Edition
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***** "All Wheel drive earns 4.5 hearts, but I'll gladly round them up to 5 for Maxfield's audaciously sexy details, showcasing how an alpha with a spinal cord injury can rock and roll." Kimmer's Erotic Book Banter.
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Halfway through the book, I even realized that I'd be content if they didn't end up together forever. Through the course of the story, each person was learning important things about himself that would make them better people in the long run. And I firmly believe that two people should make a romantic pair, rather than a romantic pairing be the way in which people "complete" themselves.
As much as I love Diego and his stubborn angst, the combined twin power of Healey and Nash was definitely my favorite element of this book. They made a fantastic dynamic duo. Throw their dad into the mix, and I'd happily read pretty much anything with the Nash boys.
Maxfield doesn't shy away from the complications that must be addressed in a sexual relationship with a paraplegic. I also appreciated how Healey's experience with his wheelchair-bound little sister did not mean he fully escaped the verbal minefields an able person can still stumble through (see, even our language isn't necessarily designed for a person with physical limitations). Physical disability and mental illness are presented unflinchingly in this book, bringing a healthy dose of realism to this fantastic novel.
Second, I love the courage inherent in telling the story and the characters living it. I loved the sex. Hot and sweet and trembling and raw.
You really want to read this book. I promise.
Healey comes back to the place he always called home—his brother’s and dad’s garage and apartment (Hell on Wheels), but it’s now owned by a new guy—a paraplegic with an attitude. When Healey tries to buy his way into renting the upstairs apartment with a ridiculously large lump sum of cash, the guy can’t resist. But the apartment his twin brother always called home is filled with boxes from the landlord’s recently deceased mother, and in Healey’s exhausted and injured condition he’s happy to collapse among them, using his backpack as a pillow. Needless to say, this doesn’t last long and Healey ends up at the Burnt Toast B&B (Bluewater Bay #5) where Nash eventually finds him.
What he can’t get past, besides the injury and emotional loss of Ford, is his crazy attraction for Diego, the guy who now owns the garage, so he goes back again and again, making attempts to befriend the sexy guy, and when that doesn’t work, his attempts turn to pleas for being friends with benefits. Yes, Diego can have sex, but it involves prep and can’t be spur of the moment as many relationships are, so he had despaired of ever having anything long term. But he’s willing to try with Healey, and the two have an amazing night together, though Diego doesn’t allow Healey to spend the full night in his bed. Over time, though, the two begin to know each other as no one else can, and without even realizing it’s happening, they both begin to heal from their past emotional damage.
I liked the premise of this story, but it was difficult to warm to either character until the second half. Healey was sweet but at times he didn’t seem real. When I read Hell on Wheels, Nash’s story, I identified much faster with Nash, and though Healey was mentioned, he didn’t really appear in that one, so this book is the first time we get to really meet him. He was a bit too flaky and couldn’t seem to make up his mind if he wanted a relationship with Diego or if it was too soon after Ford. Then he spent time spinning about how he might still feel about Ford. Add to that the fact that Diego wasn’t sure he wanted, or could even have, a relationship with Healey, and his gruffness and bad attitude made it difficult for readers to get close to him. As I said, it wasn’t until the latter part of the book that readers could establish that yes indeed they were together and they were now apparently willing to commit to being together for more than a casual fling.
I did, however, appreciate the research that went into the medical issues surrounding Diego’s SCI and the psych issues related to Healey’s ex-boyfriend, Ford. Neither issue was glossed over and both issues were treated respectfully.
Another character I really liked more in this story than in the first was Healey’s dad. He was much more endearing and was very supportive of Healey, whereas my impression of him from the first book was that he was somewhat of a scatterbrain and absent-minded professor. Diego’s habit of comparing both Healey and his dad to American Staffordshire Terriers was an excellent descriptor and really helped me picture the characters more clearly.
And last, but not least, I loved their well-earned and well-deserved HEA when it finally came, though the scenes with Ford were spooky and felt unfinished. Maybe he’ll show up in a future story? I honestly hope so.
I love this series, and even though the authors change with each book, there’s still an underlying common theme and some might sweet MM romance. I highly recommend this one. It’s definitely got some very interesting MCs and very nice-to-see-again secondary characters as well.
Plot: Just as Healey obtained his PhD in Physics, his bipolar ex-boyfriend almost killed him in a road rage accident. Confused, he leaves the hospital AMA, thinking only to rent a room in his childhood home and lick his wounds. “He had the added bonus of incontrovertible proof that each second truly could be his last. Which wasn’t a problem, until he started to think about it. Until he started to dwell on it. Until he was aware of his mortality at the cellular level and it started closing in on him.”
Diego’s accident left him wheelchair-bound, unable to feel below his waist, forsaking his career as a photojournalist in favor of editing footage from Bluewater Bay’s vampire TV show. He has avoided intimacy because, “Being that emotionally interested without the corresponding physical sensations sucked. It frayed his nerves. It filled him with inexplicable rage.”
And now his family is pressuring him to create a documentary on his mother’s life as a renowned artist. “Each piece, each memory glittered sharp as a shard of glass under his skin. He unearthed them painfully. Quietly….” “Petulance, your name is Diego.”
For Diego, “Like an accountant, he’d drawn a great big double line beneath the date of his accident on his mental calendar, balanced the debits and credits, and paid his debts. Now there was nothing before. No pages, no notes, nothing worth looking back at. Nothing worth thinking about.”
Learning Healey’s whereabouts, his dad and twin, who readers met in Hell on Wheels (though All Wheel Drive reads as a standalone) arrive, circling while he recharges. “He could simply-finally-rest, because his family had his back.” Diego resents the twins’ comradery. “And he didn’t know why. But if he did know, it might be because he was lonely now that his mother was gone.”
Both men, defiantly avoid their memories. They circle each other cautiously, like drivers in a romantic NASCAR meet. “Why is it I always feel like I’m playing checkers and you’re playing chess?” Healey asks. When Diego responds “I have to protect…” Healey interrupts. “Your skin, I know. And your heart. And your dignity…your autonomy. Your independence… your self-concept…”
Like with his twin, Healey challenges Diego non-stop, often with brainy facts. Diego counters with sarcastic humor. “It works best if you hold the end and wiggle the tip sharply from side to side,” Healey offers at breakfast. “We still talking about sex?” Diego asks. “The ketchup, Jesus,” Healey answers.
Throughout “All Wheel Drive,” readers are treated to Maxfield’s signature homespun observations.
“There’s a problem when the distraction becomes as important as the mission.”
“When you love someone, you’ll do anything for them, even if it isn’t in your best interest…or theirs.”
“Funny thing. You can look into the distance, but not the future.”
“(Love isn’t) a resource issue like land or food. The more I give away, the more I’ll have to give.”
Maxfield simply revs my motor. Healey and Diego are etched to psychological perfection. Their tango of approach and avoidance have more passes and collisions than most races. And I would read her books for her gentle wisdoms and relationship advice alone. Maxfield explores the trust issues within and between the men brilliantly.
If you love witty verbal volley, well drawn personalities whose clashes prod growth, laugh aloud moments, tender, gritty intimacy, and want to learn a thing or two about love, this is a must-buy. “All Wheel Drive” earns 4.5 stars, but I’ll gladly round them up to 5 for her audaciously sexy details, showcasing how an alpha with a spinal cord injury can rock and roll.