Jesse is determined to win the latest street race and a chance to be part of the crew of the Dirty Angels. He’s modified his car and he knows it runs well, even if it doesn’t look as polished as the other racers. He also knows it’s a huge gamble as he took money from his police academy account and if his police chief father finds out, a severe beating will be in his immediate future. But the last thing Jesse wants is to be a policeman. Jesse is also trying to outrun the ghosts in his head as his brother crashed and died on the same streets he’ll be racing.
Lucifer, known to his friends as Luc, is the current leader of the Dirty Angels. Being the leader is a reluctant position and comes on the heels of his own brother having to step down after being injured in the same crash that killed Jesse’s brother. Being the son of the current governor is completely at odds within the world of street racing as he battles his father’s voice telling him not to embarrass the family.
Being gay doesn’t fit into either of their worlds as neither of their fathers or their crew would support them. Still, Luc and Jesse are drawn together in a wave of lust as they try to stay one step ahead of their rivals. In order to secure their own future, they have to be determined to go all in before secrets and revenge threaten to tear it all down.
Nasia Maksima is a new author for me and her edgy style really worked here. I was hooked between the dual POV from Jesse and Luc, as well as the lust and desperation that rolls off of these guys throughout the entire book. Add in some hot cars and some fast street racing and most of this book was a total win.
Jesse has just graduated college and is being forced by his father to attend the police academy and become a policeman, which is the last thing he wants to do. His father is abusive and Jesse wants nothing to do with him or the family career. Jesse also is carrying around a tremendous amount of guilt and pain after the death of his brother. He knows he likes guys, knows he likes Luc, but coming out to his father is definitely not at all part of the plan.
Luc is faking his way through his life. After he trusted the wrong person, he got thrown out of school and then played an unknowing role in a devastating car accident. He now is the leader of the Dirty Angels, but it’s not the best fit for him. He can’t stop thinking about Jesse, but nope, Luc keeps telling himself he is not gay, definitely not gay. Hookups with guys are just for physical release and Luc would never kiss a guy since that’s way too personal and his non-wavering mantra is that he is definitely not gay.
Jesse and Luc together are a perfect storm of want and need and tension. They are desperate to find a place to belong and they are desperate to have each other to a dizzying and intoxicating degree. It’s all stolen moments that are down and dirty up against cars and in backseats and these guys are on the edge.
There is so much guilt and responsibility weighing these guys down and they are both complex characters with Luc not being able to admit freely what he wants, so he gives Jesse control to ease his own conscience. There is a good balance here of the story being both character driven and plot driven with rivalry from another crew threatening to take them both down with jealousy and revenge that is specifically targeting the two of them.
It’s also not often, if ever, I get to say that a book has good sound effects. Maksima offers appropriate sounds to the actions such as the snick of a lock, the tink, tink, tink of fluorescent lighting, and the tack, tack, tack sounds of laces on a tile floor, that all further help to create the atmosphere.
The only area that was lacking for me was the stories with both of their fathers. There is so much story there and I wasn’t given enough backstory, details, resolution, or closure on any of those relationships to be truly satisfying.
Full Throttle is billed as the first in a series and so much more story is possible as Luc and Jesse just find their way to each other at the end. I’m all in for this series and you should be too.