Every city needs a hero, but Detroit’s white knight just might be a villain.
A rough childhood branded Jasper Storm trouble. A bad boy. Not worth a damn. His love of cars was the only thing that could battle his delinquency. With the need for speed in his blood, he overcame his wayward ways. Mostly. All grown up, the broken city of Detroit hails him their shining star. And the man behind a new cutting-edge automobile is ready to turn this bankrupt town around.
Everything he does in life is fast. He talks fast, f*cks fast, and drives fast. But when one reckless turn brings him face-to-face with the childhood he has tried very hard to forget, he finds himself on the edge of wondering if he shouldn’t slow down.
Charlotte Lane was the tomboy who lived next door. She was his best friend. He was her protector. Then tragedy struck and she disappeared, forever—or so he thought.
Jasper has many reasons to hate Charlotte and keep his distance, but she’s infiltrating his every thought and he can’t stay away. Back in town with an agenda of her own, she should push him aside. Make him turn around. Walk away herself. Yet she can't.
With the past lurking between them, they proceed with caution. That is until one sex-filled night leads to murder. When Detroit’s biggest ally suddenly becomes suspect number one, will Charlotte—the girl Jasper once kept safe—be the one to save him?
Set the Pace
© 2016 by Kim Karr
Startled, I jump and quickly place the frame back in its place.
It’s the call button from the lobby. I’m not sure what to do. I should probably ask Jasper if he is expecting anyone before I let whomever it is up.
The hallway he disappeared down is fairly long and at the end are two doors. Both are slightly ajar. I can hear the shower running and music playing. I try to place the song. Just as I go to knock, I pause, and then grin, it’s Led Zeppelin—the same music that used to blare from his garage when he was out there with his father.
Somehow in my absentminded quandary, my fingertips have nudged the door open just enough that I can see inside the bathroom. Perfectly. In my direct line of sight is a huge glass wall and he is just beyond it.
My pulse is beating so hard I can feel it pounding at all my pulse points. I should leave. I don’t need to bother Jasper. Whoever it is buzzing to come up can just come back later. Yet, I can’t move. Or maybe it’s more like I don’t want to move.
Steam hovers in the air but there’s not nearly enough to obscure anything. And there he is, naked in the water, head bent as it sluices over him. His eyes are closed. One hand is on the wall. The other slides slowly down his belly and lands between his thighs.
Now I really can’t move. I’m frozen in place. His hand is on his cock. I swallow the noise my throat tries to make, but I’m sure I don’t do a good job of it. Thank you, Jesus, he doesn’t seem to notice. No, he definitely doesn’t notice because oh, my God, now he’s stroking himself. Slowly. Deliciously. Up, then down, and a twist of his palm around the head of his cock.
I shouldn’t be watching this, and yet I can’t look away. This is private. For him only, and yet I have to wonder if it’s because of me. Is it his attraction to me that made him step back just moments ago? Made him have to relieve the desire he was feeling? Then why did he say he wouldn’t kiss me again?
When he moves his wrist faster, I have to stifle my sudden harsh breath with my hand. My eyes are glued to his body and although I should leave, I can’t. I just can’t. Jasper, doing this to himself, is the most erotic thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The only thing stopping me from reaching between my own legs is my perverted fascination with wanting to watch him come. Oh, and of course the terror of getting caught.
His mouth opens, water filling it and overflowing when he tips his face into the spray. I want so much to be in there with him, share the water, and feel that mouth on my body, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen. We seem to be dancing around the attraction we feel for each other. Like both of us are afraid to take that leap from a two-decade-old friendship to intimacy. Afraid perhaps of where it might lead, or maybe where it won’t.
I can’t be sure.
Then again, it could be that the ghosts that accompany us are just too strong to bear.
Soon he’s fucking into his fist with a deliberation that makes me weak at the knees, and I watch. I watch the way his muscles cord in his arms, the way his cock moves within the confines of his fist, the way his face contorts into pure pleasure.
Looking at Jasper, watching him about to come, it opens up something within me. The feeling is hard to describe and I can only think of one word that is fitting—primal.
His cock disappears inside his curled fingers and this stroke seems somehow more determined. Up, down, a twist around his crown, and then another twist. This time his head dips down, and then lowers still.
I press my thighs together to ward off the ache of arousal that is flooding me. I can’t hear him, but I wish I could. I know what he’s feeling, though, because I can see his mouth open and his face contort with satisfaction. He’s close. I can tell. And then soon enough, his taut belly strains, the muscles in his legs bunch, and then it happens—his desire jets out.
Never in my life have I wanted to make myself come like I do right in this moment. No, that’s not true. Never in my life have I wished for a man to take me the way I wish for Jasper to take me right now. Still, this is all kinds of wrong. I shouldn’t have watched him. I know this. Chiding myself, I lick salt from my upper lip and slowly, cautiously take a step back.
“Is there a show going on that I wasn’t invited to?”
That voice. I know that voice. The cynicism behind the tone.
No. No. No.
Reader * Writer * Coffeelover * Romantic
Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is a daydreamer. So much so that if daydreaming could be a hobby it would be her favorite. It’s how her stories are born and how they take root. An imagination that runs wild is something to be thankful for, and she is very thankful.
She grew up in New York and now lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She’s always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, she wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. She went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise her family. Kim currently works part-time with her husband and with the rest of her time embraces one of her biggest passions–writing.
Kim wears a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of her family. However, she always finds time to read.
She likes to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. She loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.
The first half went pretty smoothly, we're introduced to an interesting set of characters. Jasper and his two best friends are trying to obtain land that will enable them to begin their plan for rejuvenating the city of Detroit. The city is absolutely destitute after declaring bankruptcy and he hopes to use his innovative automotive company to create more jobs and realize his dreams of producing his own automobiles. It's a winning situation for everyone, but with his bad boy and womanizing reputation, he has a battle ahead to convince the public to put their trust in him.
I thought Jasper and his friends had a lot of depth to them and their history and personalities were intriguing. They grew up together on "the wrong side of the tracks" after his father died in a tragic factory accident. He struggled desperately with his mother to make ends meet, and vowed that he would make something of himself through his one true passion-cars and speed. He became addicted to the rush he got with speed, the adrenaline and the high he got calmed the storm in him. It was the only thing that gave him that peace, that is, until fate brought his other childhood best friend Charlotte back to him.
Charlotte is now working for a blog and is in town with her boss and co-worker covering Jasper's bid for the abandoned land he needs on 8 mile road. But is anyone knew her ulterior motive for coming back to town...or even who she really is, she may be in danger. She became the town pariah after the horrible accident that took Jasper's father's life. Rumors and gossip were spread and she was despised and hated. But no one knows the truth of the past. Who is trustworthy, and who is corrupt? Charlotte is determined to find out and clear her family's name.
Jasper and Charlotte were as close as you can get in childhood. They were like two halves of a whole and Jasper took on the role of protector. But that's been shattered by distrust and suspicion. There was some nice tension as Jasper worked through his preconceptions of her.
It's foolish to think closing the distance between us and pushing her up against that door is the right way to handle the indecision battling within me. But it's more foolish to think it isn't. So I stride toward her as fast as I can. Once I reach her, I yank her to me and then I press my lips to hers. Sweet. Delicious. The craving I can no longer deny.
I really enjoy the childhood best friends to lovers trope, but in this case, I felt that I needed to see more time spent in the present seeing their romantic feelings grow. The progression was overshadowed by the murder mystery of the story and I needed more to become invested in their emotions for each other. I think this is the main issue I had, however, this won't be the case for everyone.
The mystery was unpredictable and it had me guessing throughout the book, it just didn't get my heart pounding in suspense like I would have wanted. Maybe it's a case of my own personal issues, wrong time/wrong book but my interest started to lose steam in the second half of the story. Like I said, from an objective standpoint I can see the appeal of this book, and the writing was skillfully done. But on a personal level I struggled with the romance of the story.
The book ends in a very tense cliffy, so anyone who's looking to avoid that should probably wait until the second book in the duet is released. After reading that ending, I already know I'm on board to find out how this story's puzzle pieces all fit together. I need all my loose strings tied tight. And the secondary characters were done so well, I would even be sold on reading their stories. Overall, I was satisfied with the unique and original story. If you're looking for a good murder mystery, this could be the book for you.
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