Kerri Hart knows she is an oddity on the track but racing is her passion and family legacy. She will do almost anything to keep Hart Racing alive in the wake of her father's untimely death. She is blindsided however by the extent of the financial bleeding and is livid when she discovers her brother has sold a majority stake in the team to Colt Hardware, whose previous sponsorship offer had been offensively sexist.
Ranger Colt is sick of his estranged father's meddling and manipulation. He is annoyed and angry to be pulled from his successful European projects at Colt in order to rescue Hart Racing but he will do what he has to do to earn his promotion. He might not know anything about racing but he will do everything he can to turn the Hart/Colt Racing team into winning and money-making venture.
In The Fast Lane smushed together two of my favorite tropes, enemies to lovers/fake relationship story and did good job with it. There were a couple of eye-rolling moments where the hero and heroine wonder to themselves about their uncharacteristically strong reactions to those "fake" kisses but generally it sold the attraction and conflict between the hero and heroine. I did believe that Ranger and Kerri had every reason to mistrust and resent each other while at the same time having every motivation to work together. Although I was unfamiliar with racing as a sport, North was able to exploit Ranger's outsider status to provide the necessary introductions to the lingo and conventions of NASCAR.
North did a great job with Kerri. I loved that Kerri knows and loves NASCAR, but at the same time is frustrated by the double standards and casual sexism she runs into everyday. Individually the male racers can be her old friends, but collectively she is always excluded and set apart. She has to contend with expectations, demands and repercussions that don't affect them.
I was less convinced by Ranger's single-minded quest to best his father and his last-minute change of heart. Overall I didn't connect as much with Ranger and Al's conflict and I was relieved when they eventually talked it all out.
So while car racing is not my favorite sport, I still enjoyed In the Fast Lane primarily for Kerri and her conflicted feelings about falling for the wrong man at the wrong time.
I received a review copy of In the Fast Lane from the author via NetGalley.