Rating: 4.25 stars
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After his last disastrous race, Daniel Leroux knows things have to change for him to achieve his dream of winning the World Rally Championship. For starters, he has to fire his co driver and then look for just the right partner to help him and his team get back in the race. One person’s name comes up as the best fit for the team – Frank Dufour, a young Canadian. Frank was making a name for himself in Canadian Junior World Rally racing, but then after two years, he disappeared from the circuit and no one seems to know why.

After some investigation, it turns out that Frank was let go by his racing team because he was gay. This is not a problem for Daniel as he is bisexual and his sexuality has never bothered his team’s owner or his crew. Then Frank shows up in France to interview and their attraction to each other is immediate and obvious. So much so that Jean Paul, the owner, informs Daniel and Frank separately that “sex and business don’t mix” so no sex between partners.

This rule becomes harder the longer they work together. They start to discover that the more in sync they are with each other, the better they function as a team and the hotter the attraction between them. When the competition heats up between them and a rival team and someone starts sabotaging the race cars, the stress placed on their relationship strains the partnership and their resolve. What will break first?

Ariel Tachna consistently demonstrates her ability to get inside the heads of different people and their professions in story after story. Overdrive is another of those wonderful stories she does so well. This time the profession is world rally racing and the teams that drive the circuit. After reading this story, I wonder when exactly Ariel last raced over the Sahara because all the details are there, making this story authentic from every angle. We look into the engines, we get a sneak peak at team strategy, and alternately feel the cold and heat of the various racing venues. It has the feel of insider information and our view of these racers is an intimate one. I may not have known much about world rally race teams before but at least now I feel I won’t embarrass myself in a conversation where they are concerned. And not once did it feel like an information dump.

Overdrive is populated with wonderful characters as well. Daniel and his sister, Isabelle the team mechanic, are French. They both work for Team Citroen so we get a wonderful base location of Clermont-Ferrand and the surrounding locale for the story. The French language as well as Quebecois is scattered throughout the story to a marvelous effect and helps to situate the reader into the French countryside and the Leroux’s lives. Frank is from Quebec, and I love that we get an explanation between the different dialects there as well as proper French. It is the lovely touch of realism that brings that extra layer to a story for the reader to appreciate. Tachna has lived in France and her familiarity with the French people and countryside shows.

Is this a case of instant love? No, and I appreciate that as well. We are given a slow climb into the relationship as each man must weigh their career versus the damage a broken relationship can do to a partnership. There are some hot sexual scenes and some angst to go along with our tagging along for a season of world rally racing and the formation of a team hard to beat. My only quibble is that I wished for more of the real racing towards the end, more of the various locations and circuit conditions. When we get to peer over their shoulders as they navigate tight turns on gravel at over 100 mph it is breath taking and I wanted more, much more to satisfy an itch I never knew I had. So while I recommend this story to you, I am off to look up more world rally race teams. Really, like I needed another addiction…..

Cover Art by Justin James (dare.empire@gmail.com). New artist for me and he has given us a very hot, on topic cover. Very nice.

Cover Design by Mara McKennen

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