Jun 1 2012 12:00pm

First Look: Erin McCarthy’s Jacked Up (June 5, 2012)

Jacked Up By Erin McCarthyErin McCarthy
Jacked Up
Berkley / $7.99 / June 5, 2012
She’s holding tight. He’s hanging loose.

Eve Monroe is a stock-car PR pro who puts her career first—until an on-track wardrobe malfunction reveals more than the sexy smile of jackman Nolan Ford. The video’s become an internet sensation, and it’s Eve’s job to calm the sponsors and put a spin on the unexpected exposure.

And they both have the same drive.

It may be a public relations job, but now that Eve’s seen what’s under Nolan’s crew suit, it’s gotten personal. After a few dates she has Nolan pretty revved up. If only she’d learn to relax and enjoy it. Nolan’s sure that the spontaneous birthday bash he’s throwing for Eve in Las Vegas should loosen her up. Somewhere between cocktails and a smoking-hot motel-room derby, it does more than that. Now Eve’s wrestling with feelings she never expected, as everything about her personal jackman gets harder than she ever imagined.

Though sex is an important part of a relationship, anybody who’s in one realizes that the most important things are the intangibles, the things one can’t quantify or qualify. Jacked Up by Erin McCarthy shows this in spades. Spicy, hot, and funny though it may be, the book tells the story of the heroine’s self discovery, spurred on by the support and understanding of the man with whom she’s involved.

Our heroine, Eve Monroe, is many things. She is misunderstood by her family,  as pointed out by her sister-in-law:

That was not the answer Kendall was looking for. “That’s not a theory, that’s laziness. Maybe you and Alec should have spent more time with Eve, trying to understand her feelings.

As a result of her relationship with her family, Eve Monroe has parlayed her dissatisfaction with the way her life has turned out into an intense desire to control everything else in her life. As she puts it herself,

I’m a disaster. You know that, don’t you? I’m a neurotic control freak bitch.

But as the book opens, Eve finds herself in a situation she cannot control: While fixing an unmitigated PR disaster, she discovers chemistry of the physical kind with Nolan Ford, a member of her brother’s NASCAR racing crew. Nolan is able to read her like a book. and more importantly, he won’t react when she tries to push his buttons. And that drives her crazy.

Didn’t he understand she had no idea how to deal with a man who didn’t get mad at her? Or more accurately, didn’t rise to the bait when she pushed his buttons?

As a result, Eve finds herself spilling her secrets to Nolan, even her long forgotten childhood dream of driving a race car on the NASCAR circuit.

It also disturbed her that she was telling him things about herself. Legitimate, honest answers to his questions where coming out of her mouth without hesitation, and that was so not her. It took a crowbar to pry her feelings out of her normally, and here she’d told him she had wanted to be a driver. It made no sense.

As the story continues, Nolan forces Eve out of her comfort zone, including a Las Vegas wedding in the aftermath of her surprise birthday party. But as the reality of their marriage hits home, Eve must fight disbelieving family as well as her own fears in order to figure out 1) who she is 2) what she wants from her life.

Eve wasn’t sure what her own taste was. She wasn’t even really sure who she was. What defined her? Career? Family? Both?

But was that her perception of her or really her?

She didn’t know.

My god, she was how old and she’d never found herself?

And, more importantly, 3) what place, if any, Nolan has in it. Which means heavy, heavy, soul searching for Eve. Which involves taking risks. Big risks. Like deciding whether to try and achieve her childhood dream. Because as she puts it, towards the end of the book:

But you and me…it taught me that taking risks brings the greatest rewards.

Risk. Reward. Stepping out of your comfort zone. All of those become much easier when you have someone in your corner, someone who’s willing to back you up, no matter the consequences. And when you’re in a good relationship, you know you have that support in your partner, who ever that person may be. For Eve, that person is Nolan.

Stacey Agdern, @nystacey

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. cinful1121
I love this series and can't wait to read this one! I am also enjoying the cover he sure is easy on the eyes ;)
2. MarnieColette
Great Review. It sounds like something I need to pick and read. I love me a Vegas Wedding. The cover rocks too.
Janis Clark
3. maliamartin
The whole series is a great read! I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this new book. As for the cover . . . yummy! If you haven't read any of them yet I'd suggest starting with the first one.
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