Shifting Gears is the second book in Audra North’s new racing series, Hard Driving. The hero, Grady Hart, is the brother of rising NASCAR driver Kerri Hart, the heroine of the first book. I loved Kerri so much for her quick temper, her ambition and determination — all things you don’t usually find in a romance heroine. Grady and their younger brother Lee are one of the few things that bring out Kerri’s softer side.
Grady in his own way is a totally surprising hero. In the first book, his poor choices nearly bankrupts the family’s racing business. And he’s outshone by his talented sister. He doesn’t race because he’s no good at it. He abdicates his spot calling the races for his sister to his future brother-in-law because he isn’t great under pressure. Not exactly the typical setup for a hero. None of that has been erased at the start of this book. He’s a flawed character. And he is painfully aware of his shortcomings which is instantly endearing but then we learn how much Grady has sacrificed of his own personal ambitions to keep his family’s business afloat.
Grady had always wondered where he belonged amidst all that greatness. He practically had a heart attack every time he was on the track, he had a master’s degree in mechanical engineering that he’d never put to any use, and he’d nearly ruined the company with a year of Dad’s death.
He willingly allowed himself to be consumed by his siblings’ dreams at the price of his own. In just a few pages, North managed to make me see Grady in a completely different light. And slowly he starts to see himself in a new way as well.