Review of Driven to Distraction by Lori Foster

Driven to Distraction by Lori Foster
Road to Love #1
Published 20th November 2018 by HQN Books

When desire gets this hot, you’d better buckle up…
Mary Daniels doesn’t let anything get in the way of her job acquiring rare artifacts for her wealthy boss. But this particular obstacle—huge, hard-muscled, unashamedly masculine—is impossible to ignore. Stuck in a cramped car with Brodie Crews for hours en route to their new assignment, Mary feels her carefully crafted persona—and her trademark self-control—is slipping, and she won’t allow it.
Brodie can’t imagine what secret in Mary’s past has left her so buttoned-up, though he’d dearly love to find out. Maybe then she’d trust him enough to explore their explosive chemistry. But he needs this job, so he’ll play by her rules and bide his time…until an enemy determined to outwit them strikes and he needs to get close—in every way—to protect her. Otherwise they could lose much more than a precious collectible. They could lose it all.

I think I’ve been reading Lori Foster since I was very young, but I truly discovered her to actually focus on her books when I was, mmm, 15 or 16 years old. So, I’ve been reading her for a while. I actually started this blog with the intention of gushing over books belonging to her, Christine Feehan, Lynsay Sands, Kerrilyn Sparks, and, of course, Shelly Laurenston. Then, I got distracted by books (what else). But, hey, look! Lori Foster book, right here.
Without further ado, my review of Driven to Distraction.
Driven to Distraction draws heavily on the ‘opposites attract’ trope. Mary Daniels is a no-nonsense professional sent by her billionaire employer, Therman Ritter, to hire the courier services of Brodie Crews, whose middle name is ‘Casual’ and their first meeting is less-than-professional. Little hint, Brodie’s half-naked and hungover and some woman is groping him outside of his shop. So much yikes, so little time, right?
The story shifts POVs between hero and heroine with the occasional villain POV dropped in to mix things up. The timeline is a couple months if my counting is right (I wouldn’t put money on it) and mainly consists of Mary and Brodie going on courier jobs together, Mary as the ‘bagman’ and Brodie as the wheels.
Character dish time! Obviously, Howler is my favourite from Driven to Distraction’s cast of characters. He reminds me of my dearly departed Zeus Amadeus. A goofy omnivore giant with clingy overprotective instincts but lazy dudebro tendencies. And playing opposite as my least favourite character is Therman Ritter. He cares more for his precious objects than he does his employees’ safety. He spends, I don’t even want to guess how much money, on stupid things just to say he owns them. And, he’s of the belief that he can do whatever he wants and get away with it because he’s rich. He admits in a conversation with Brodie that he not only didn’t bother with training his small breed dog, but that he took delight in letting it bite people when he was bored. That is not okay, folks.
Mary vacillates between masquerading as this character she’s created to protect herself from the world and who she really is and, honestly, a lot of us do it, it’s a great defensive measure. But she does it so much throughout the book, even in her POV, that I was a bit lost in figuring her out. There's a lot of alluding to a painful past and then we talk about it a smidgen and it's over and done with, complete with pretty bow tying up the problems. Then, towards the end, she's talking with Brodie's friend/co-worker who basically says "dude looks like he's serious about you, maybe you're not friends with benefits" and suddenly, bam!, she comes back over as a completely different person. And then there's a lot of coverage in there making sure we all understand that Mary didn't change for a boy. But she did?
Brodie is a pretty good hero character, Ms Foster knows how to write a male lead and leave us wanting more of him. Brodie is just enough of an alpha male to rev the engine but not enough to make me want to dig out my taser (I have my things and you have yours, we don't judge on my page, y'all). He supports Mary, left, right, and center, unless it endangers her, and then he's supporting her but also backing her up so when the bad guy rears his head, she's not alone. And he saves dogs. All the yes there.
The ending and the bad guy were both let-downs for me in a lot of ways. I won't say much on these subjects because this is a no-spoiler site, but normally Lori's villains can make me nervous for our hero and heroine set but this one fell flat on their face. Maybe my three-year-old niece might have cried over this baddie, but that's about it. The big ending where the bad guy gets what's coming to them and the hero and the heroine have their HEA moment is usually an OMG but this a "wait, that's it?"
I liked the made family of Therman Ritter's employees that adopted Mary. I would have loved to have more involvement from them in the book because that's some wholesomeness Mary needed. Charlotte does befriend Mary and she's adopted by Brodie's mom (who is next-level amazing, btw), but Mary needed some wrap-up, either dealing with her past or settling into her made family comfortably. Yes, this is going to be a thing for me.
Overall, I'm giving Driven to Distraction three stars and matching flames. For a variety of reasons, this book fell flat and it hurt me when I finished it to know that. Now. I do want to say things here. Lori Foster's writing is comfortable. It makes me feel warm and comfortable. Her books are books you take out on the porch with your handknit blanket and cup of hot tea and watch the sun come up after you've spent all night talking with your soulmate. Awww. I'm a huge fan of Lori's and I'm going to read Road to Love #2 shortly, asking whatever literary deity is listening to make sure it more than makes up for its predecessor. And I hope y'all give her books a chance if you haven't already.

Lori Foster first published with Harlequin in January 1996. Her second book launched Temptation Blaze and her 25th book launched Temptation Heat. Since those early days, Lori has routinely had 6 to 10 releases a year. She’s a Waldenbooks, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author with over 100 titles published through a variety of houses, including Berkley/Jove, Kensington, St. Martins, Harlequin and Silhouette.
Lori also writes as L.L. Foster.

You can connect with Lori on social media here::

This weekend is our household's autumnal cleaning frenzy. While we're all OCD (no, really), we're all OCD in different ways. But twice a year, we deep clean everything to sort of hit 'restart' and and it also helps make sure the packrat tendency is curbed. So while you're reading this, I'm going to scrubbing the grout of the tile floors. Fun. Until next time, have a happily ever after!

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