I first heard Emily Durante narrate Nora Roberts’ Vision in White, book one of the Bride Quartet. For some reason, the other books in the series were narrated by Angela Dawe. As much as I generally enjoy Angela Dawe’s work, I actually preferred Emily Durante’s narration (though I may have been in the minority there). So when I saw that Emily Durante was narrating Flat-Out Sexy, (the first in the Fast Track series) a book I remember being a lot of fun in print, I jumped at the chance to listen and review.
Flat-Out Sexy is the story of Tamara Briggs, the 32-year-old widow of a NASCAR driver. Since the death of her husband in a race crash two years prior, Tamara has been away from the stockcar racing scene. When the book opens, she is attending a charity event the night before a race she is planning to watch with her in-laws and two children. Tamara has just started to dip her toe in the dating pool again but her date is a real dud and before the night is through, she ends things. One of the deciding factors is the instant chemistry she has with rookie driver Elec Monroe – her dud date doesn’t get her motor revving (pardon the pun) like Elec does with just one look and she knows it’s hopeless. After losing her purse, a friend offers her a place to stay at the track and Elec accompanies her in the taxi. Before she knows it, they are scorching the sheets – staid, uptight Tamara isn’t the type for a one night stand but there’s just something about Elec.
Elec, for his part is deeply smitten and even though Tamara is concerned about (in no particular order) – her children, the family feud between the Briggs and the Monroes, her plan to not get involved with another driver, their respective hectic schedules, the age difference (he is nearly 26) and her own body image – Elec is persistent. And hot. And good in bed. And, as it turns out, great with her kids. One by one (although not in that order) Elec demolishes Tamara’s objections. And then, of course, there’s the hotness.
I especially like the fact that all conflicts seem entirely reasonable and realistic. Even Elec’s stalker, a “pit lizard” who likes to have sex with drivers, is believable in context. Also, the in-laws aren’t demonized. In fact, they are very supportive of Tamara finding someone to love and moving on.
Elec is a very likeable hero. He is a genuinely good guy. He’s solution oriented so when something goes wrong, he doesn’t waste time yelling about it or punching the wall – he gets on with fixing it. He believes in talking out a problem. He likes children and is only too happy to take on assisting with parenting young children. He is mature for his age without being old. He’s sexually adventurous with Tamara but he’s not really a player. He loves driving but is uncomfortable with the media attention associated with it.
Although in my head, I had always pronounced Tamara with three syllables, Emily Durante pronounces it “Tamra”. I hadn’t actually ever been comfortable pronouncing “Elec” in my head – I always thought it was short for “electrical” which is how I’ve seen it used in my workplace so it seems odd to me. But Ms. Durante pronounces it like “Alec” but with an “e” and for the first time, his name made sense. So, bonus.
Ms. Durante gives Elec a husky voice complete with a sexy accent and though many of the differences in the other drivers’ voices are subtle, they are definitely there. Her voice for Suzanne (a secondary character who gets her own book later in the series) is spot on – brassy and funny and blunt. Her lines are some of the best in the book:
A total pit lizard. She’s always tramping around the garage looking to hit on drivers. I swear, if that girl had as many sticking out of her as she has sticking in her, she’d be a porcupine.
I’m less sure of Durante’s voicing of Imogen, the heroine in the next Fast Track book (which is on my TBL) so I’ll have a chance to listen more and decide if it works for me.
I thought the narration was mostly very good although I’m not a fan of narrators laughing (as in “ha ha ha” and then speaking) when the text indicates the character laughs. I much prefer the laugh to be within the dialogue (as in bubbling under the surface of the spoken words) – it sounds kind of creepy to me so Ms. Durante lost a few points for doing so.
Nevertheless, Flat Out Sexy was a fun listen and I recommend.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Flat-Out Sexy was provided to AudioGals for review by Tantor Audio.