Saturday, September 30, 2017

All Wheel Drive by Z.A. Maxfield

Healey Holly is battered, depressed, and looking to go to ground in his childhood home. He wants to rent the garage apartment, but it’s Diego Luz’s place now, and the last thing Diego wants is to share it.

Diego is recovering too — from the accident that put him in a wheelchair and the death of his mother shortly after. The garage apartment is where he’s keeping his mother’s things, and as long as they’re up those stairs and he’s down on the ground, there’s no way he can deal with his loss. And that’s just how he likes it.

Healey believes in science. Diego believes in luck. It will take a blend of both, and some prayer thrown in besides, for these two to learn that it’s the journey and the destination that matters.

The Bluewater Bay stories can be enjoyed in any order — jump in wherever you'd like!

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Book 18
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Riptide Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

The angst! Diego and Healey have way too much baggage. and at times it was almost painful to watch them tiptoe around each other. Healey is a scientist recently injured in an accident. Diego has learned to live with the injuries that put him in a wheelchair but he is grieving his mother and terrified of relationships.

It took me a while to even like either of these surly men. We learn about their pasts slowly and we see some pretty arsy behaviour before we know enough to have empathy for either of them. But they grew on me. Diego’s vulnerabilities around sex and his disability are heartbreaking. But so are the memories of the mother he’s lost. And it was impossible not to love Healey once I knew more about his accident and the toxic relationship that preceded it. But while I loved these two by the end, it took me some time to really engage with Diego and Healey.

While the chemistry between Diego and Healey is hot, Diego’s disability makes the actual sex quite complicated. And while the sex scenes are sometimes uncomfortably realistic, they are also surprisingly sexy. Because of the trust involved, the sex between these two builds a really beautiful intimacy between these two.

Unlike most of the Bluewater Bay books, this one doesn’t completely stand alone and readers will probably need to read Healey’s twin brother Nash’s book Hell on Wheels before they will fully understand this one. Here, Healey’s past is drip fed to readers out of sequence in a way that could potentially be confusing.

My first impressions of Diego and Healey were not great. Diego seemed like a bit of an a-hole with a chip on his shoulder and Healey seemed really stubborn and pretty clueless for a guy that is supposed to be super smart.

For a while I was wondering how these two were going to end up together because: 1. the first few interactions they had were cringe worthy, and 2. they both had heaps of baggage. But during one of their conversations Diego points out that they are complete opposites, and from that point on things started to improve for the characters and I really started to get into the story.

If, like me, you like lots of conversation in your books, you'll like All Wheel Drive. Diego and Healey talk a lot – even during sex. And not really sexy talk either. With Diego’s spinal cord injury, sexy times require a bit of adjusting and considering, but the sexy times are still sexy.

I would have liked to have delved more deeply into Healey's relationship with Ford. Certain things are hinted at and I was hoping to have more detail. Early in, that was what I was expecting. I was waiting for a big scene or reveal to make me cry, but it never panned out that way.

When this story wound up, I felt that it could have kept going. This is couple I'd be happy to see more of in the future to see where their life leads. So my verdict is 3.5 stars. I rarely give a half star rating but in this case, I'm making an exception. I really enjoyed All Wheel Drive. It is worth reading.

Z.A. Maxfield is a fifth-generation native of Los Angeles, although she now lives in the O.C. She started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four manages to find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can do if you completely give up housework.”

Connect with Z.A.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of All Wheel Drive (Bluewater Bay #18) by Z.A. Maxfield to read and review.

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