The world of racing is not a private world. Auto racing is one of the country’s national pastimes, it is very public, and rumors abound. Growing up in the racing industry would certainly be exciting, yet television and news is an avid reminder that everyone is in the spotlight, and secrets do not last long in the business. Romances are hot and breakups are cold, and most are reported in vivid detail.
In Racing Outside the Line, Kimberly Montague has given us a story of love and romance set in and around the racing industry. Well written, her knowledge of the industry and her characters seem to fit the classic characterization of those we often watch on television or hear about on the news. From the time of her parent’s death, all Alexis (Lexie) and her brother Desmond know is the love and caring of Wyatt Keller, her father’s best friend and their guardian. His son Seth also lives with them and they are frequently in and out of the racing circuit. Her brother Desmond goes into the business as a publicist, and Seth becomes one of the top drivers. In fact, Desmond is Seth’s publicist and he keeps Seth out of trouble and in good standing with the communications industry. Racing fans are often fickle and it is important to maintain a certain image. That was Desmond’s job.
For as long as Lexie can remember, she has been in love with Seth. To him she is just a kid. Not only a child, but his annoying kid sister. The difference in their ages seems insurmountable to Lexie at her young age, but as time moves on the spread no longer seems to matter. Seth is not as immune as he pretends. As he hands her off to her date for the senior prom, he struggles with his feeling, she is so beautiful and grown up. Her prom attire brings out her beauty, and Seth has mixed feelings.
When Lexie leaves the after-prom party early, and calls for Seth to pick her up, she is angry. Her date, whom she really does like, wants to be her first sexual partner, but she can only think of Seth. Knowing he is unreachable, she is angry with herself, but also at him for being there. As he tries to calm her down, one thing leads to another and they find themselves in bed together. To Lexie, she is in heaven; this is what she always envisioned. And Seth really cares for her. Life is suddenly everything she had ever expected.
Waking in the morning, she finds Seth has gone. She goes into a deep depression and loses herself much as she did after the death of her parents. To help keep sane, she goes through her college acceptance letters and finds the college furthest from where Seth lives. She will have to remake her world and rebuild her confidence in order to survive. Watching Seth’s career will be the only view she will have of him. Can she survive without him in her life? He is still a part of her extended family; will her heartbreak keep her from the rest of her family as well?
Racing Outside the Line is a fun and yet intricate story of love. Sadness and depression permeate parts of the story, and Lexie must lean on others to grow and regain her confidence. She struggles through the years trying to turn each of her conquests into Seth. No one seems to be able to live up to her expectations. She does not realize she is making this contrast, and yet it is apparent to all those who know and love her. I found myself a bit disturbed by her character. First, she has so much depression and low self-esteem, and then recoups with a strong backbone and high esteem. Yet as she encounters more vicissitudes again with Seth, she seems to lose her equilibrium and again sinks into a depression. It seems like such a manic-depressive state, and yet she is again an entirely different person at the end. Having grown through the years, she seemed to gain more control and not rely so much on others to know who she is.
Seth is very much aware of himself, and surrounded by beautiful women. Used to being fawned upon he only realizes how much he loves Lexie when it is too late for him. Now, engaged to be married, it is only when he sees Lexie again that he understands his reaction to women. He begins to comprehend why he has never been able to follow through on his commitments. Can life be fair, and allow each main character to finally be with the one they love?
Racing Outside the Line is a fun love story, but full of bits and pieces of depression and bitterness. Yet it is also full of love and yearning, family ties, and a love that lasts a lifetime. Sexual tension is high and there are some vivid love scenes. If you enjoy romance, this is the book for you. It is steamy and sensual, with a heartwarming tale of deep and abiding love.