The NASCAR Harlequin romances are amazing. The one I read last night (yes, I read the whole thing) is called On the Move, and the male love interest is an illiterate NASCAR driver.
No really. An illiterate NASCAR driver named Brandon. He always wanted to read, but his awful father, so intent was he on pushing his son into the world of competitive racing, neglected him in his homeschooling. Brandon asked for a tutor, but Daddy said no - and when Brandon failed his standardized tests, well, no biggie. He'd had racing sponsors since he was nine.
But luckily, he has this great new agent named Vicky. She's way hot, in a buttoned-up sort of way, and she's going to teach him to read if it's the last thing she does. Which is not to say it's the first thing she does - she isn't always successful in fending off his wholly unprofessional advances - but she sort of gets around to it. A couple of times anyway.
Vicky's hotness, working hand-in-hand with her sexual reticence, ultimately helps Brandon to man up, develop his confidence, and tell off his douchebag dad. Apparently Dad, in addition to giving Brandon an incredibly shitty education, used Brandon's earnings for his own benefit, buying cars, boats, and the like. Only he doesn't see it that way:
"I told you in Florida, I bought that for us," his father said, taking a step toward him.
"Yeah, right," Brandon said. "And when the money dried up, when I lost my ride, where was the us?" His cheek began to twitch. Brandon told himself to calm down. He shouldn't let his father rile him up, not anymore, and especially not just before qualifying. "I can't believe you," Brandon said. "I can't believe you have the nerve to come here as if nothing had happened."
"I came because I'm your father," Harold said.
"I lost my dad years ago," Brandon said, refusing to back down. "I lost him when I made my first million and my dad went on a gambling binge in Las Vegas. But you know what? I probably lost him before that. Back when I was thirteen and I begged you to get me a tutor because I wanted to learn how to read. Do you remember that, Dad? You told me I didn't need to learn that stuff. That I was going to be a famous race-car driver and all drivers needed to do was learn to go fast. I begged you to get me some help, and when I when I wouldn't shut up, what did you do?"
He waited for his father to answer. He wondered if he'd have the guts.
"You beat me black-and-blue," Brandon said.
His father's eyes went hard.
On the Move also features one of my all-time favorite relationship paradoxes: a man who wholeheartedly supports the driven, suit-donning female lead in her career, but acts like a condescending asshat who often jeopardizes said career, by - for example - running his hand up her leg during important meetings.
It's a great book, and I'm not the only one who thinks so; Amazon.com reviewers agree.
"Brandon Burke is the 'bad boy' to end all 'bad boys'. Big-time. He is so over-the-top you just want to punch him out. Or else shake him until his gorgeous blonde hair falls off his head." - Kelly in Cleveland Heights
"The story line is faster than a spin around the oval as Vicki and Brandon fight and kiss and fight." - Harriet Klausner, Amazon's #1 reviewer
"This book like more so the genre is G-rated but is a fun read - which I always pick up." - Brandon the Illiterate Driver