~ Happy reading ~
If it Drives is book seven of the Market Garden series. It's about James Harcourt, whom readers of this series has met before as 'Red Tie', and his Driver Callum.
Callum (Cal) is very suprised when his boss, wealthy banker James Harcourt, leaves high priced gay brothel Market Garden one evening without a rentboy or two. It has never happend the last 18 month he's worked as James' Driver. James seems to be down and invites Cal into the house for some company. Cal isn't sure what to do. On the one hand he works as James Driver with integrity. In addition he needs the money to study and write on his book projects. On the other hand he is single, gay and has a huge crush on James. In the end he can't resist the temptation and follows James into the house. One action leads to another and they have some gorgeous sex.
And that's when the trouble starts. First James wants to pay Cal for his service and Cal gets seriously pissed about that. Then James acts like nothing has ever happend and picks up another rentboy from Market Garden. Cal doesn't know what to do. He doesn't only have this crush on James but sees that James is lonely and misses something in his live. One night Cal visits Market Garden on his own where he meets Stephen, one of Market Garden's security and boyfriend of Frank, the brothel's owner. They advise him to seek out Nick, one of Market Garden's former rentboys and a sadistic Dom who can tell him more about his bosses desires. Cal isn't sure about walking this road but gives it a try...
If it Drives was quite entertaining. Cal was as intriguing as a character as James was. I would describe Cal as still waters run deep. He was quite, polite and earnest. Cal worked for his uncle's and aunt's drivers service company and didn't want to disappoint his family by not taking their job offer as James Driver seriously. After he became intimate with James his whole world was put upside down because of the mixed signals James was sending. When he met Dom Nick and his Sub Spencer he learned some things about himself and recognize some more about James.
First I didn't know what to make out of James. His signals towards Cal weren't easy to decipher. Sometimes he was all hot than ice cold. But after some time when the reader learned (together with Cal) more about his desires his character wasn't so mysterious anymore and I started to like him too.
The sex scenes were often hot and sometimes more interesting than hot. Nonetheless I liked them. I was great to get a glimpse of Stephen and Frank and some more scenes with Nick and Spencer. I'm planning to read their stories in the near future. Especially the ones about Nick, who was a very interesting character in If it Drives and I want to know more about his time as a rentboy.
Although I really liked If it Drives, it wasn't perfect. For example I got confused about the timeline of the books. When Cal seeked out Market Garden he saw Jared and Tristan and recognized them as James' "playthings". How was that possible? Tristan and Jared decided in Payoff to leave the rentboy job behind. I thought the third and last encouter with James had happened before Cal's investigation of the brothel. So why were they there? In reminiscence of the good old days? Maybe I just got it wrong but it irritated my while reading.
Another thing was the l-word. Together with Cal the reader did not know what James thought about him. And after some hot sex scenes, two or three intimate moments and some cold shoulder from both sides (for different reasons) it was there - love. It came out of the blue for me. I got the attraction, the wish to build a friendship and even a relationship beyond the Dom/Sub thing. But love from both sides? From Cal's side it was believable but James didn't stick to me as the emotional type. His change came so late and fast I didn't interpret it as love. Maybe in another book, after them being in a serious relationship for some time. I have to admit these thoughts stuck with me after finishing the book and therefore my rating is a bit lower than first expected.
However. I enjoyed this book by L.A. Witt and Aleksandr Voinov and want to read more about the boys and men in Market Garden. It's nice to know I have three more books on my schedule.
*** I received a free ARC from Riptide Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. ***