Title: Down Shift
Series: Driven #8
Author: K. Bromberg
Release date: October 4, 2016
Rating: 4 stars
Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow.
Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.
Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?
"Everyone’s churning ocean is fueled by a different type of storm.”
When I started reading Down Shift, I had no idea that it would be the type of book that would make me cry. Yes, I actually cried (and more than once). It's been a long time since I've read a K. Bromberg book, and I could really see in that time difference how her writing has matured. The first half or more was a five star read for me, easily. I was completely enthralled with Getty and Zander's own separate emotional struggles and how after meeting one another they helped to cushion each other's pain right from the start.
Zander has found success on the racing track, and a loving family to support him after a horrifically tragic childhood. However, after receiving a box of information and momentos from his past, he suddenly finds himself questioning his own actions and those of his family. He's lost, confused, and lashing out at everyone. His destructive behavior has his father Colton sending him away to get his head straight.
I must admit, I had forgotten who Zander was, it had been so long since I've read the earlier books and I was so surprised to see the lost little boy whom Colton and Rylee take under their wing all grown up. His horrible truths that come to haunt him again will really break your heart. What he had to endure was bad enough, but the consequences the memories have on his life were like a ripple effect that never settled.
Getty was in her own turmoil. Trying to alter the entire course of your life, and those that surround you, influence you, and have the power to break you is no easy thing. From an outsiders view, it seemed as if she had the world at her fingertips. But what people don't realize is that underneath the wealth and status that surrounds her, she's living in fear and shame. The constant abuse and control from her husband has her emotionally beat down and trying to heal.
How weak of a person could I have been to put up with it? Year after year. Criticism after criticism. Apology after apology. To not have walked away? To still believe his words hold some merit?
Getty and Zander's first meeting was unconventional and I felt such an immediate click between the two of them. While both are offered the chance to stay in the house while they work out their issues, neither one is very thrilled at the prospect of company. But maybe it was the recognition of that wounded part of each other that allowed them to find acceptance in their presence. It wasn't immediate, and it wasn't easy to let each other in, but the slow burn between them was so necessary I felt. They needed to work on themselves before they could even contemplate starting something with each other. Zander was wonderfully supportive, and I loved the way he helped her let go of the self-doubt and fears.
“You’re Getty Caster. A fighter in every sense of the word. A person who is ten times better than any man who puts her down. A woman who knows it’s okay to be afraid sometimes so long as she also realizes it takes a helluva lot more bravery to be scared and succeed than to fear and give in.”
These two were absolutely beautiful together, however I admit that his behavior didn't really make sense to me after they became physical. Originally shying away from calling each other friends because it "led to friends with benefits which led to disaster" he immediately contradicted himself and started trying to label them as just a fling and friends with benefits. It left me feeling confused. I understand that he wasn't feeling ready for a relationship at that point in his life, but everything he was thinking and saying was a complete about face from how he told her that he wanted to "worship her" the day before. As well, I wish there could have been a little bit more of a concrete resolution with her ex, especially after the incident between the two of them later on in the book.
Overall, the angst was so much more than I had anticipated and it was such a welcome surprise. Despite my few issues, I would recommend this to anyone looking for a sexy and emotional read.
All I see is love. All I want is him. All I feel is complete after being broken in pieces for so very long.
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