Every city needs a hero, but Detroit’s white knight just might be a villain.
A rough childhood branded Jasper Storm trouble. A bad boy. Not worth a damn. His love of cars was the only thing that could battle his delinquency. With the need for speed in his blood, he overcame his wayward ways. Mostly. All grown up, the broken city of Detroit hails him their shining star. And the man behind a new cutting-edge automobile is ready to turn this bankrupt town around.
Everything he does in life is fast. He talks fast, f*cks fast, and drives fast. But when one reckless turn brings him face-to-face with the childhood he has tried very hard to forget, he finds himself on the edge of wondering if he shouldn’t slow down.
Charlotte Lane was the tomboy who lived next door. She was his best friend. He was her protector. Then tragedy struck and she disappeared, forever—or so he thought.
Jasper has many reasons to hate Charlotte and keep his distance, but she’s infiltrating his every thought and he can’t stay away. Back in town with an agenda of her own, she should push him aside. Make him turn around. Walk away herself. Yet she can’t.
With the past lurking between them, they proceed with caution. That is until one sex-filled night leads to murder. When Detroit’s biggest ally suddenly becomes suspect number one, will Charlotte—the girl Jasper once kept safe—be the one to save him?
Set the Pace
© 2016 by Kim Karr
Startled, I jump and quickly place the frame back in its place.
It’s the call button from the lobby. I’m not sure what to do. I should probably ask Jasper if he is expecting anyone before I let whomever it is up.
The hallway he disappeared down is fairly long and at the end are two doors. Both are slightly ajar. I can hear the shower running and music playing. I try to place the song. Just as I go to knock, I pause, and then grin, it’s Led Zeppelin—the same music that used to blare from his garage when he was out there with his father.
Somehow in my absentminded quandary, my fingertips have nudged the door open just enough that I can see inside the bathroom. Perfectly. In my direct line of sight is a huge glass wall and he is just beyond it.
My pulse is beating so hard I can feel it pounding at all my pulse points. I should leave. I don’t need to bother Jasper. Whoever it is buzzing to come up can just come back later. Yet, I can’t move. Or maybe it’s more like I don’t want to move.
Steam hovers in the air but there’s not nearly enough to obscure anything. And there he is, naked in the water, head bent as it sluices over him. His eyes are closed. One hand is on the wall. The other slides slowly down his belly and lands between his thighs.
Now I really can’t move. I’m frozen in place. His hand is on his cock. I swallow the noise my throat tries to make, but I’m sure I don’t do a good job of it. Thank you, Jesus, he doesn’t seem to notice. No, he definitely doesn’t notice because oh, my God, now he’s stroking himself. Slowly. Deliciously. Up, then down, and a twist of his palm around the head of his cock.
I shouldn’t be watching this, and yet I can’t look away. This is private. For him only, and yet I have to wonder if it’s because of me. Is it his attraction to me that made him step back just moments ago? Made him have to relieve the desire he was feeling? Then why did he say he wouldn’t kiss me again?
When he moves his wrist faster, I have to stifle my sudden harsh breath with my hand. My eyes are glued to his body and although I should leave, I can’t. I just can’t. Jasper, doing this to himself, is the most erotic thing I’ve ever seen in my life. The only thing stopping me from reaching between my own legs is my perverted fascination with wanting to watch him come. Oh, and of course the terror of getting caught.
His mouth opens, water filling it and overflowing when he tips his face into the spray. I want so much to be in there with him, share the water, and feel that mouth on my body, but I’m not sure that’s ever going to happen. We seem to be dancing around the attraction we feel for each other. Like both of us are afraid to take that leap from a two-decade-old friendship to intimacy. Afraid perhaps of where it might lead, or maybe where it won’t.
I can’t be sure.
Then again, it could be that the ghosts that accompany us are just too strong to bear.
Soon he’s fucking into his fist with a deliberation that makes me weak at the knees, and I watch. I watch the way his muscles cord in his arms, the way his cock moves within the confines of his fist, the way his face contorts into pure pleasure.
Looking at Jasper, watching him about to come, it opens up something within me. The feeling is hard to describe and I can only think of one word that is fitting—primal.
His cock disappears inside his curled fingers and this stroke seems somehow more determined. Up, down, a twist around his crown, and then another twist. This time his head dips down, and then lowers still.
I press my thighs together to ward off the ache of arousal that is flooding me. I can’t hear him, but I wish I could. I know what he’s feeling, though, because I can see his mouth open and his face contort with satisfaction. He’s close. I can tell. And then soon enough, his taut belly strains, the muscles in his legs bunch, and then it happens—his desire jets out.
Never in my life have I wanted to make myself come like I do right in this moment. No, that’s not true. Never in my life have I wished for a man to take me the way I wish for Jasper to take me right now. Still, this is all kinds of wrong. I shouldn’t have watched him. I know this. Chiding myself, I lick salt from my upper lip and slowly, cautiously take a step back.
“Is there a show going on that I wasn’t invited to?”
That voice. I know that voice. The cynicism behind the tone.
No. No. No.
Kim Karr has done it yet again in ‘Set the Pace’ – this amazing kickoff to her latest Detroit Love Duet series! In her truly unique writing style, she offers this very touching story based on the bonds of childhood friendship, tragedy and loss, hope and success, and turns it up a notch (or five!) by adding passion, mystery, and many suspenseful twists. I love that this is par for the course in her books, and this one completely left me sitting on the edge of my seat!
Jasper Storm and Charlotte Lane were the best of childhood friends, and although very young had a seemingly lasting bond between them that should have lasted a lifetime. When a tragic incident separated them at age eight, Jasper and Charlotte were both left lost and alone in the rubble of their broken families and a broken city.
Trying to overcome his rough and troubled childhood past, Jasper is finally on the verge of making a name for himself. He has taken his passionate love of cars and created a new cutting edge technology, which would give him great success as Detroit’s White Knight and boost the city’s economy out of financial ruin. Jasper is sexy, his cars are sexy, and he now exudes a power and confidence that is completely irresistible. Charlotte Lane is desperately seeking answers and truth by returning to Detroit after so many years hoping to prove her father’s innocence in the tragic incident of her childhood and repair her family’s tainted reputation in the city which left her lost and alone. She is full of guilt and determined to avoid running into Jasper again at all costs. However, once their paths are forced, everything is flipped upside down once again stirring their pain from the past and a rekindling a wealth of feelings including a new attraction and chemistry between them. When murder comes into play, Jasper’s career hopes begin to crumble as well as a possible future together.
Karr uses many different elements and layers in ‘Set the Pace’ that drew me into the story in many ways. She clearly defines the strength in the bonds of friendship and how they are just as strong as those with family, not only with the relationship between Jasper and Charlotte but also between Jasper and his strong, loyal, and protective relationships with Jake, Will, and Drew as well. Her use of alternating points of view between Jasper and Charlotte helped to better understand the complex inner struggles within their characters. She was also very descriptive regarding The Motor City of Detroit and its automotive heritage, which I really enjoyed and it gave me better insight into how the city’s economy has been impacted and struggled throughout the years as well.
This story was a strong steady build which led to a fantastic cliffhanger – I have so many questions needing answers! Is it possible for Jasper and Charlotte to overcome their tragic past now that they have found each other again? Who is the killer and why? Can Jasper save himself, Charlotte, and the city of Detroit???
I am on the edge of my seat waiting for the follow up to this series, ‘ Turn It Up’, releasing in May of 2016!
Definitely a 5 Star read for me!!
*ARC provided by the author for an honest review*
Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She is a daydreamer. So much so that if daydreaming could be a hobby it would be her favorite. It’s how her stories are born and how they take root. An imagination that runs wild is something to be thankful for, and she is very thankful.
She grew up in New York and now lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She’s always had a love for reading books and writing. Being an English major in college, she wanted to teach at the college level but that was not to be. She went on to receive an MBA and became a project manager until quitting to raise her family. Kim currently works part-time with her husband and with the rest of her time embraces one of her biggest passions–writing.
Kim wears a lot of hats! Writer, book-lover, wife, soccer-mom, taxi driver, and the all around go-to person of her family. However, she always finds time to read.
She likes to believe in soulmates, kindred spirits, true friends, and Happily-Ever-Afters. She loves to drink champagne, listen to music, and hopes to always stay young at heart.